In this article, you’ll learn 7 simple and powerful ways to change a paradigm.
I’ll start by defining what a paradigm is, using definitions from Bob Proctor and others.
I will then cover the 5 specific things that keep a paradigm in place. When you know these, you’ll know why you stay stuck, and why it’s hard to change a paradigm permanently. If you want to make a paradigm shift, then you need to know what these are.
I then explain how paradigms are created in the first place. There are 5 components behind any paradigm. It is one or more of these that are behind all the unwanted paradigms in your life. I’ll also talk about the influence between the conscious and subconscious mind and how that keeps old paradigms in place.
I then cover my 7 simple and effective ways to change a paradigm. You can follow these step by step if you wish or take on some and add the others later. However, once you learn and apply them, you’ll be on the road to making the paradigm shift in your life that you desire.
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What Is a Paradigm?
Bob Proctor defines a paradigm as “a group of habits that are programmed in your subconscious mind that control your behaviour.”
A paradigm is a road map of events that have happened in your life and the meaning that you give to them.
Paradigms are known as set-points. Think of how the thermostat on a central heating or air-conditioning system keeps the temperature within a precise range.
The same happens subconsciously within us. We like life to be a certain way that feels comfortable. If life falls below this level, we make changes to improve things.
If it goes above, we start to believe that “life can’t be this good”, or “I don’t deserve this”, and we start to self-sabotage. Has this happened to you?
What Keeps Paradigms in Place?
There are 5 things that tend to keep paradigms in place. Knowing these will make it easier to change them. These are:
Sense of Identity
This is your sense of who you are in a certain area of your life. It’s normally defined using an “I am” statement. For example, “I am a fat and greedy person.”
All behavior comes from your sense of identity, so if you identify yourself as a fat and greedy person, then it’s going to be harder to change your paradigm to a slimmer person.
If you want to make a paradigm shift towards being calm and relaxed, but you identify yourself as “an anxious person”, then that’s going to create a conflict.
So you want to change your identity statements so that they are in the positive and towards what you want. For example, “I am a calm and relaxed person” or “I am a successful person”, or “I am a person that is good with money”.
Another one is your beliefs about what is possible for you.
Let’s say you wish to change your paradigm around money, but you have a belief that making money is hard or requires a lot of effort. So that belief is going to hold your existing paradigm around money in place.
Perhaps you would like to make a paradigm shift towards attracting the perfect person into your life, so that you can have a wonderful, beautiful, romantic, and loving relationship.
However, if you have a belief that dating is difficult or that all the best people are taken, then this will make it much harder to change this paradigm.
At a deeper level, you might have beliefs about not being good or worthy enough. This can really hold you back from shifting your paradigm in one or more areas of life.
Consistent Thoughts, Actions and Habits
Your consistent thoughts, actions and habits can also play a part in reinforcing your current paradigm or forming a new one.
How You See the World
This is your mental view of the world. Do you see the world as abundant, beautiful or do you see it as difficult or competitive, like a “dog eat dog” world.
This is how you see yourself. Your self-image is the internal sense of who you are and your ability to do things.
You Can’t Live Without Paradigms!
We couldn’t function in life without paradigms! We need paradigms to drive a car, to master a sport or to learn to play the piano or another musical instrument.
We have a paradigm for jumping out of bed when the alarm goes off or staying in bed and hitting the snooze button! Being motivated or not motivated is also a paradigm. Focussing on what you want versus what you don’t want, is also a paradigm.
How Paradigms Are Created
Paradigms don’t just happen! They are created, and often at a very young age! Knowing how they are created will give you some clues on how to change them.
Paradigms are created from habits that we gain as we grow up. Some of these habits serve us, others don’t.
They come from what people told you. This could be family members, friends, teachers, even the lyrics of songs. Examples include, “you’ll never amount to much”, “you’re useless at math, why don’t you just give up”.
When you are under the age of 8, you tend to naturally accept anything that family, teachers and friends tell you. Even if its super negative or hurtful! The part of the brain that challenges these ideas is not fully formed until the age of 8.
If these limiting ideas are not challenged as you become older, then they become subconscious beliefs that drive your thoughts, feelings, and actions.
They also come from life experiences and the meaning we give them. And from other people around you, especially those you spend a lot of time with. Childhood friendships can influence your paradigms in positive or negative ways as well.
The 7 Ways to Change a Paradigm
My 7 ways to help you change a paradigm are listed in a logical order, so you can make this a step-by-step process if you wish to. Alternatively, you can try one or two for now and add the others later.
1. Identify Negative Paradigm and the Opposite Positive One
The current negative paradigm will either be in a specific area of life. This could be health, relationships, career, or money. Or it could be changing something about yourself, which will then improve all areas of your life.
Here are some examples.
- Looking for solutions internally, rather than externally. This is a wonderful shift when dealing with health challenges.
- Living in the present, instead of regretting the past or worrying about the future.
- Moving from drifting to living with intention.
- Changing your focus from lack to gratitude.
- Transforming from a lazy person to someone that takes massive action.
- Going from self-obsessed to focussing on others needs.
- Switching from thinking about what you don’t want to what you do want.
2. Create a New Identity Statement
As mentioned earlier, all our beliefs, thoughts, feelings, actions, and habits come from our sense of identity. Our sense of who we are.
Many people say things to themselves that reinforce an identity that is limiting. For example,
- I am an anxious person
- I’m not a good mother
Also look out for identity statements that start with My”. For example, “my anxiety”, or “my addiction”.
When you spot these, change “my” to “this”. For example, “this anxiety”, or “this addiction”. This immediately changes it from something you are (part of your identity) to something you do (a behavior). It’s a subtle, but very important shift.
So create some new identity statements that support the paradigm shift that you wish to create in your life. Here are some examples.
- I am a motivated person who gets things done
- I am a successful person and I’m great at what I do
- I am a healthy person who looks after my body and mind.
Your new identity statement should begin with the words “I am”
Now repeat your new statement out-loud and in front of a mirror if you can. As you say them, notice how your body feels. Focus on the feelings behind certain words, such as motivated, successful or healthy.
Your subconscious mind will pick up on the feelings behind the words, far more than the words themselves.
As you’re saying this new phrase, look out for any resistance. This will often be a voice in your head that says something like “that’s not true” or “who are you kidding!”
It could also be a physical change, such as a muscle twitch when you repeat a certain word or phrase. Be on the lookout for these. They can be very subtle.
3. Identify New Beliefs
From the above identity statement, come up with some new empowering beliefs that will support this new identity statement.
For most people, it’s easier to start with limiting beliefs. So write a list of all those old limiting beliefs that no longer serve you. Then write the exact opposites. These will be your new positive, empowering beliefs.
Ensure that your new positive beliefs are about what you do want. For example, I can be calm and relaxed, as opposed to I don’t want to be stressed.
Here are some examples of positive, empowering, and supportive beliefs
- I find it easy to come across really well in interviews
- I am naturally good with money
- Every day, in everyway, my health is improving.
- I find it easy to make the right food choices
- I can be natural and myself on dates
- Dating is fun
4. Creative Visualization
Using creative visualization is a fantastic way to change a paradigm. This is because your subconscious mind cannot tell the difference between a real experience and one that is vividly imagined. When you imagine something clearly, it uses exactly the same circuits in your brain and nervous system as actually experiencing it!
This is hugely powerful! It means that the more you imagine the outcome (or paradigm shift) that you desire, the more your brain begins to see it as something that you already have. It begins to feel natural and real, as if it’s already happened!
It also helps dissolve any negative or limiting memories that might be keeping you stuck in your current paradigm.
When using creative visualization, imagine what you want in precise detail and use all the senses. Notice what you can see, hear, feel, taste, and touch.
Also, notice your empowering internal self-talk and the positive feelings in your body as you see this goal achieved in graphic detail!
To learn more about creative visualization, read my two related blog posts below
A Powerful Creative Visualization Exercise for Rapid Change
10 Steps to Transform Your Creative Visualization Skills
Your brain is constantly repeating affirmations and most of the time, they are negative! Do you ever say these regularly to yourself?
- I’m stupid.
- I always make mistakes
- My memory is going
- I always feel anxious
Well, these are all negative affirmations that are affirming what we don’t want.
So repeating positive affirmations is essential to redress the balance and help your subconscious mind focus on what you want, rather than what you don’t want. It’s a no brainer, really!
Positive affirmations that improve your sense of “enoughness” are a great place to start. For example,
- I have enough money
- I have enough friends
- I have enough knowledge
- I am good enough
- I am smart enough
- I am intelligent enough
These types of affirmations can really help improve your self-esteem, self-worth, and self-confidence.
Affirmations that start with “I am” are incredibly powerful too. For example:
- I am good at making money
- I am good at making friends
- I am good at attracting the right people into my life.
When repeating affirmations, look out for resistance. This will either be a voice in your head that says something like “oh no you’re not” or “who are you kidding!”. Or it can be a slightly uncomfortable feeling.
If you notice this, change the affirmations to start with “I want”. For example,
- I want to be good at making money
- I want to be good at making friends
- I want to be good at attracting the right people into my life.
This makes the affirmations less direct and will usually satisfy any inner resistance.
After a few days, you can progress to “I can” affirmations. These are a little more direct. For example.
- I can be good at making money
- I can be good at making friends
- I can be good at attracting the right people into my life.
To understand more about the different types of phrases used to start affirmations, check out my related article below.
How to Create Affirmations That Work Extremely Effectively
Developing faith can be a wonderful way to change a paradigm. Faith is taking action anyway, even when you don’t believe that something is possible, or that you can do it.
In most cases, people take action when they have some degree of belief that they can do it. However, this creates a catch-22 situation.
If you don’t believe something is possible, then you probably won’t take action. However, often taking action can be a catalyst for changing your beliefs.
To change your paradigm, you’ll need to overcome this catch-22 situation. And the way to do this is by having faith.
Faith is also believing in someone or something that you can’t see or physically prove.
So faith is beyond belief. Faith comes from the heart, belief comes from the mind. Faith is trusting in the process or trusting in a higher power.
Faith is also focussing more on the What, and letting go of the How.
The main thing that gets in the way of faith is the analytical brain. When you can let go of the how or simply ignore this part of your brain and take action anyway, then you are acting with faith.
So whenever you don’t believe that something will work, but you take action anyway, you are acting with faith.
7. Get out of Your Comfort Zone
What do you think is the biggest thing preventing you from changing a paradigm? The answer for many people is fear. This could be fear of failure, fear of rejection, or fear of getting hurt.
The solution is to do the thing that you fear. To take action, in-spite of the fear. Or, as Susan Jeffers recommends, “Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway” Often, this means getting out of your comfort zone.
When you do something you fear, it will feel uncomfortable initially, but you’ll feel wonderful afterwards! Think of a time when you overcame a fear, and you’ll probably find that this is the case for you too.
Also, look at the things that people you admire do. What do they do differently? Start doing those things. When you can do the things that other people are not prepared to do, then you’ll get the results (and the paradigm shift) that other people only dream about!
To Sum Up
Paradigms are essential for developing skills and habits. However, Paradigms that don’t serve you can be changed. It might take some effort, but it’s well worth it. So start applying one or more of these 7 steps today, so that you can make a paradigm shift in your life and reap the rewards!
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