“I can’t do that. I’m not a ________.”
– Current Me
Have you ever caught yourself just completely shutting down a great idea or an amazing opportunity in your life with the phrase above?
– I can’t sign up for that marathon. I’m not a runner.
– I can’t submit this article. I’m not a writer.
– I can’t start this business. I’m not an entrepreneur.
This type of negative self talk is very common in all of us, and it may stem from another experience you’ve had, or your parents or other authority figure overtly telling you or maybe even just implying that message. You might not even remember what exactly happened to create this belief, but it’s there in your subconscious, creating a hard check on you stepping out of your comfort zone and taking on a new challenge.
This ingrained thought pattern is a limiting belief – it is limiting many worthwhile things we may otherwise have taken on in our lives, out of the fear of failure, or embarrassment (because of that failure). In a strange way it could even be a fear of success – as in, what if I do this and my life suddenly changes? What will I have to give up? Which of my friends who are reinforcing this limiting belief will I have to leave behind?
So if we know that thought pattern is there, what do we do about it?
I’m all for “living in the moment” and “being present”. Those are great philosophies to help us feel connection with the people around us, and not to stress about what’s already happened in the past, or the unknowable future. However, if part of our current state is this entrenched limiting belief, we do need to use our ability to visualize the future, in a positive way.
We need to create a “Future Me” mindset. Here are three simple steps to get you on your way. Repeat these every morning until you’ve replaced that negative thought loop with this positive reinforcement:
- Close your eyes and breathe deeply for 5 minutes to calm down your mind. If you know the Box Breathing technique, use this.
- Say to yourself 5 times, “I am a __________.” Whatever it is – a runner, an athlete, a CEO, a good friend. Repeat it 5 times to cement the thought pattern in your mind.
- Visualize yourself as that person. Create the “Future Me” image in your head. Over time this image will get more and more specific and complex – maybe you’re even imagining yourself accomplishing your big challenge, or being rewarded for a job well done. Imagine yourself smiling and standing tall, with the attitude that you can take on anything that you want to. You can do it!
If this seems simple, it is! The key is that you have to be consistent and do the work, because there is a big wall of negativity built up that you’ll have to crack. Be patient with yourself, and this Future Me mindset will help you stop telling yourself that you aren’t this or you can’t do that.
“I can do anything. I can be anything!”
— Future Me