Too often, we talk ourselves out of what we really want, merely because old beliefs and feelings associated with those dreams pop up as soon as we start to visualize them.

Think about how many times in your life you’ve abandoned something that was important to you because it just felt too hard, or you didn’t get the support you wanted, or there was some other “insurmountable” obstacle in your way.  How many excuses have you heard yourself use in your lifetime? How many dreams have fallen by the wayside?

This is not about judging your past – the last thing I would ever want you to do is to kick yourself for not having “done it better” in the past! You did the best you could at that time, whatever it was, and you’re still standing – you deserve compassion and lots of credit for that!

No, this is about starting fresh, no matter what has gone before. It’s about trying something new, so your old beliefs no longer interfere or stop you. And it’s not complicated – it’s simply about becoming newly aware of your patterns and habits.

This may sound like an abstract, “nice idea” that isn’t really achievable. It’s not. This is something anyone can do. It requires basic skills, like listening. The “textbook” uses your own words, and you can start right away!

Best of all, it can create phenomenal results. In fact, it just may be the ONLY process that can produce those sorts of results.

Just daydreaming about big change may be a nice distraction. Still, unless you actually take on making some needed adjustments, you’ll likely just stay in the vicious cycle.

The Vicious Cycle

1. Have a wonderful, inspiring moment of thinking “how things COULD be….”

2. Get clobbered by a big dose of apathy, cynicism, or fatalism (“well, it’s never worked before…so why get my hopes up? Why bother?”)

3. Change the subject, check your email, go on social media, or see what’s on TV (or whatever it is that you do when you don’t want to think about something!)

4. Keep busy doing “what needs to be done” until the next wonderful, inspiring thought comes along

5. Rinse and repeat!

Here’s an example

You may be aware that you’re suffering from low self-esteem and that you could be much more successful if you had more confidence and courage. Well…you can wish for higher self-esteem, and that wishing can go on for years. But wishing alone will never be enough to actually create real change because those old beliefs will continue to sabotage you by quietly convincing you that you are that lesser version of yourself. The higher self-esteem you desire won’t just happen to you – you have to make it happen!

So the first thing you need to do is,…you guessed it! Visualize your desired outcome. Can you actually see what it is you want for yourself, for your life?

Sometimes in this process, people need to spend more time alone, which is a challenge for many.  The sabotaging beliefs get louder when there’s no “background noise” to drown them out. If that happens to you and being alone feels uncomfortable at first, take heart…and BREATHE!

Your inner voice/dialogue may be pushing you to “look out there,” “get busy,” “get involved in something else…” When in truth, chances are, being alone is exactly what’s going to start the process of real change. Remember to breathe, and give it a chance. Increase, bit by bit, how much “alone time” – or time and energy focusing on your dream – you make sure to carve out for yourself each day.

Just remind yourself that you deserve to feel whole and empowered because who you are is enough. You do not need to fill your time with people or activities that undermine or sabotage your self-esteem.

Whatever your particular challenges, if they are changes you have already made, give yourself a huge amount of credit for your courage and commitment to let go of your disempowering old beliefs.  If you are tackling a new challenge by investing this year, always do your token research. This will require lots of perseverance, and acknowledge yourself for taking a stand for having the kind of life you really want.

You may be “a work in progress” (we all are!). Still, you are already a worthwhile being just as you are, with something valuable to contribute to others and worthy of love, success, and happiness. So learn to listen to your true inner voice – the one that wants you to have what you really want, instead of the one trying to stop you from it.