At the New Year, many people make resolutions for change. In fact, many of their resolutions are the same ones year after year! Yours may be to increase your income, expand your circle of friends, or find a more exciting and fulfilling career. But the foundation of achieving any type of goal is the ability to activate your potential to create the results you seek.
In my coaching practice, workshops, and trainings, I often refer to the life conditioning process, and the core beliefs and habitual behaviors we develop in response to the environment we grew up in. Although rooted in the unconscious and hidden from most people, our core beliefs drive our everyday behaviors. And while these beliefs and behaviors allowed us to adapt to and function within our families growing up, they often negate our adult lives. So identifying and shedding these core limiting beliefs and behaviors is a critical key to success.
To help you understand how your own core limiting beliefs and habitual behaviors may be sabotaging your success, I’m going to present three examples of self-defeating behavior patterns I often see in my coaching practice.
The first behavior pattern is avoidance. If you grew up in a family in which you were often criticized, you might hold a core limiting belief of I’m not good enough. Your habitual behavior might be to keep quiet–staying under the radar screen to avoid being judged. While that behavior may have helped you avoid criticism growing up, it sabotages your success as an adult. You may avoid speaking up in meetings or asking for a raise. Or you might settle for a job beneath your abilities to avoid making mistakes and being judged.
The second pattern is controlling. Do you tend to be dominating and confrontational, getting angry when you don’t get your way? Controlling behavior is usually driven by the core limiting belief that I am powerless and have no control. You may have had a controlling parent, or experienced a difficult event beyond your control such as a disruptive parental divorce. This pattern is very destructive. Controllers can have difficulty holding jobs, get passed over for promotions, alienate people, and waste a lot of energy in conflict with others.
The third pattern is approval-seeking. Do you continually put other people’s needs before your own–never saying no for fear of others’ disapproval? If you grew up in a family in which you were loved or accepted only if you did what was expected–if love was conditional–you may hold the core belief that if I meet others’ needs I’ll be loved and accepted. Approval-seekers often experience work overload, and feel unappreciated by and resentful of others.
The first step in overcoming these hidden barriers to achieving your goals involves recognizing what they are. Without judging yourself, observe how you behave in your life. When you start to recognize your behavior patterns, dig down to identify the core beliefs that drive them. Once you’ve identified your self-defeating patterns, develop and start activating the new beliefs and behaviors that support you in achieving the goals to which you aspire.