”We are always aiming for something with our actions. Our goals can be conscious or unconscious.” - Terttu Grönfors & Trygve Roos

Everything that we do really does have some kind of a goal behind it. Think about it: You go to a supermarket. The goal behind this action could be that you need food or perhaps detergent. Or maybe you go there just to “kill some time.” That’s a goal too.

What about just lying on a couch? Surely there’s no goal behind that? There most certainly is. Your goal could be to relax or perhaps that same “killing some time.” The goal could also be, as stated above, totally unconscious. The point is that behind every doing or action, there is always some sort of purpose.

If your goal is to kill some time, you might also want to ask yourself: what would be the most purposeful way of reaching your goal? Is it shopping, lying on the couch or maybe going to a gym of for a jog?

”It has been proven many times that if you do not have goals, chances are you will not be able to find what you truly want.” - Shelle Rose Charvet

So, goals are important to us, as they guide our lives. Therefore, it is also important that you know what you want to achieve and, above all, why you want to achieve what you want. That why is exactly the one thing that makes your goal worth a living.

Research has indicated that up to 90-95% of people are not consciously or systematically trying to achieve their goals. If reaching for a goal, that is important to you, makes your life more meaningful, then why are more people not trying to achieve their goals?

The answer is: limiting beliefs and paradigms.

What are they, then?

Beliefs are a person’s perceptions of the reality. We all have our own belief systems that guide our thinking and actions. A limiting belief, then, is a belief or perception of the reality that limits our actions. One kind of a limiting belief could be your belief of what you can do, like “I will never learn how to drive a car” or “I will never meet the perfect partner.” Most of these kinds of limiting beliefs have absolutely no correlation at all with what you are actually capable of doing or achieving.

By paradigms I mean here the thought patterns and behavioral frameworks that we consider to be correct and generally accepted. In other words: they are learned patterns and procedures that are rooted deeply in our minds. Examples of paradigms are the way you get dressed, brush your teeth, fold your arms, and - in a larger scale – even the way you make your living. Paradigms represent, in a way, your comfort zones: they are the familiar and safe daily patterns and procedures that carry you through the day.

Since a paradigm is a kind of a deeply rooted habit or behavior, it oftentimes has the same effect as a limiting belief. This means that if by acting according to your present paradigms you are not achieving your goal or dream, you need to change your paradigms.

Let’s take an imaginary example from the athletic world. Let us assume that your goal is to achieve black belt in taekwondo. You practice maybe once or twice a week and the rest of your free time you spend by watching TV, eating junk food and maybe hanging around in bars. However, in order for you to pass the black belt graduation tests, you would need to improve your stamina and flexibility, and also master the required techniques exquisitely. You, on the other hand, hate circuit training and stretching and don’t want to practice them. However, attaining a black belt requires that you have the above mentioned skills and abilities. So, in order for you to achieve a black belt, you need to step out of your comfort zone and change those deeply rooted habits of yours - your paradigms - and train in a new way.

Where have these limiting beliefs and paradigms come from, then?

We observe our surrounding world through our five sensory factors, which are seeing, hearing, feeling/touching, smelling and tasting. Through these senses we have formed – and continue to form – our representation of the world. Hence, the reality that we experience is the one we have formed in our minds through our sensory factors, and all this is stored in our unconscious mind.

As some kind of a filter between our senses and unconscious mind, we have our conscious mind. Our conscious mind reasons, thinks and makes conscious conclusions from all that information that we constantly receive. It can therefore, for example, reject or approve any thought or idea that we get.

Our unconscious mind, on the other hand, is not able to reject anything. It simply accepts everything that our conscious mind tells it. From all this information our unconscious mind, for example, builds us our emotional framework.

When we were little children, our conscious mind – our reasoning and thinking – was not yet developed and therefore our mind was like an open bowl. Our unconscious mind simply took in everything that was “poured in to that bowl.” That means that every person around us got to throw in their own ingredients to our soup of mind. In came all their beliefs and paradigms, including their beneficial beliefs and paradigms, as well as their limiting beliefs and harmful paradigms. This went on until our own reasoning and thinking faculties were developed and we slowly formed our own filters.

It is therefore quite useful to understand that most of our limiting beliefs and paradigms are learned from elsewhere and that there is no way that we could have influenced on their birth and existence in our unconscious mind. And since they are so deeply rooted, changing them can be quite difficult.

The good news is, however, that you can change them – no matter how old you are.

Changing beliefs and paradigms

As far as I know, there are two main ways to change beliefs and paradigms. The traditional way is to change your conscious thinking and let the conscious mind change the perception of the unconscious mind through constant suggestions. This, however, can sometimes take a long time to take an affect and it requires patience and determination. On the other hand, many people have provably gotten permanent results that way.

”We become what we think about.” - Earl Nightingale

The other way is to use NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) techniques, which enable us to achieve changes even within minutes. Somewhere in between these two, works also hypnosis, which is used a lot as a part of NLP. In hypnosis our unconscious mind can also be fed with suggestions, but due to the altered state (or trance) we do not need as many repetitions as with the “traditional” way, described above.

So, if you want to change your belief that you will never learn how to drive a car, you can begin to give yourself constant suggestions, like “I will learn to drive. I have all the skills and qualities that are required to drive well. I can drive well. I am a good driver.” After you have repeated these suggestions several times a day for several days in a row, you will one day simply realize that can drive a car pretty well. This is, of course, assuming that you have practiced driving at least a little bit.

”If we want to achieve different kinds of results, we have to change the way we think, act and feel.” - Terttu Grönfors & Trygve Roos

In order to use NLP techniques you will probably need an instructor or a coach. You can learn how to perform the techniques by yourself, but I have noticed that although I knew how to instruct other people to do those techniques, doing them all by myself was far more difficult – at least in the beginning.

The most important message is, however, that you can change the beliefs and paradigms that are limiting your life. It might not be easy and it will practically always require some kind of sacrifices. But on the other hand, the reward from making those changes can be an enormous improvement in the quality of your life.

For more information on how to achieve your goals, visit: http://www.yourpersonaldevelopmentandsuccess.com/

Author's Bio: 

Written by Hannu Pirila, CEO and founder of HPA Consulting, eMBA, Licensed Trainer of NLP, Licensed NLP Coach, Licensed Sports Performance Coach and Licensed Business NLP Practitioner. The author is one of the leading Personal Development and NLP Coaches in Finland.