The Core Belief Log
One of the tools I use with my clients is called the Core Belief Log. When, during our coaching a belief is uncovered, I ask my clients to record the belief in the Core Belief Log.
Noticing our beliefs and logging them is important because…
- Beliefs are subconscious and automatic
- Beliefs form the lens through which we view the circumstances of our lives.
- Until our beliefs change, we won’t be able to sustain changes in how we feel, what we think, and how we react to the circumstances of our lives.
- How we see, feel about, think about and react to life determines the quality of our lives.
- Logging beliefs and measuring them provides motivating empirical evidence that the hard work of deliberate change is working.
A belief can change suddenly or gradually. The internal work required to deliberately change a belief requires intention and persistence. It’s easy to give up and stop doing that work if we don’t know we’re making progress.
Beliefs are subconscious and automatic
Let’s draw a distinction between thoughts and beliefs. A belief is a thought that has become a habit. Habits live in the unconscious and make any behavior, feeling or thought automatic. Think of someone who you love. When that person comes to mind, you automatically feel and act a certain way. Think of someone you resent. When that person comes to mind, you automatically feel and act a certain way. In both cases, you repeated thoughts and feelings about, and reactions to each of these people long enough and often enough that the brain noticed the pattern and turned it into a habit. That is why beliefs feel like they are true.
Beliefs are accessible if you go looking for them, but you must know where to look. Thoughts are easily accessible because they are conscious. You may be under the impression that you think your thoughts. But consider that it may be more accurate to say that you notice them. We only think thoughts that support what we already believe until we begin to challenge those thoughts and the beliefs that generate them.
Beliefs form the lens through which we view the circumstances of our lives.
I like to tell the story of the 35-year old man who believes he is unattractive to women. One day, as he walks through the mall, he spots a beautiful woman. The two make eye contact and she immediately looks away. Because he believes he is unattractive, the first thoughts that come to mind are, “She thinks I’m ugly. She doesn’t want to attract the attention of someone she isn’t attracted to.” He feels shame and sadness and stares at the floor in front of him.
But if he believed he was God’s gift to women the entire experience would change for him. The circumstance remains the same but his reaction to it is dramatically different. She looks away and he immediately thinks, “Poor woman, she doesn’t know how attractive she is. She is obviously intimidated by me. Maybe she’s embarrassed to show her interest in me.” He feels compassion for the woman and love for himself as he walks through the mall with his head held high.
Our beliefs determine how we see the circumstances of our lives. While it appears that those same circumstances are the cause of our thoughts, feelings and reactions, they are only the triggers. The circumstances of our lives provide the content and our beliefs provide the context.
Sustainable change is possible when beliefs change
Think of something you would like to change about yourself. Would you like more sleep, time, love or money? Would you like less debt, conflict, depression, or anxiety?
Think of changing something about yourself in terms of a formula.
If Results = Circumstances + Reaction
And Reaction = Circumstances + Feeling
And Feeling = Circumstances + Thought
And Thought = Circumstances + Belief
Then, Results = Circumstance + Belief
Until our beliefs change, we won’t be able to sustain changes in how we feel, what we think, and how we react to the circumstances of our lives.
You can try to change how you react when you’re around that person you fear or resent. But as long as the fear or resentment is present, you will have to use up your limited supply of will power to react as you wish to. This change is unsustainable. Eventually you will run out of will power and your reaction will return to its authentic and default state.
How we see, think about, feel about and react to life determines the quality of our lives
How we see life is determined by what we believe about what we are seeing. Our thoughts about our lives are determined by those same beliefs. How we feel in the circumstances of our lives is determined by our thoughts about those circumstances. Our reactions to those circumstances are motivated by how we feel about them.
Quality of life = quality of thoughts, feelings and reactions to the circumstances of our lives.
A quality thought is a thought that reflects the facts, reality.
All feelings are valid. But quality feelings come from quality thoughts and enable us to respond to circumstances as the best version of ourselves.
Quality responses (rather than impaired reactions) bring about a quality life.
Deliberate and intentional change can be hard work
And it’s easy to give up when we don’t see immediate results.
But be patient and log your progress using the Core Belief Log.
Here’s how to use it.
When you discover a belief, record it in the Core Belief Log. For example, you get upset when a refund arrives but is about half of what you expected. You do some internal work using The Work of Byron Katie or one of the Breakthrough Success Club Mindset Tools and discover that you believe you can’t trust anyone.
Enter the disempowering belief along with the date of discovery and a believability rating. If 1 is not believable at all and 10 feels like the truth, how much do you believe it?Then, identify and enter an empowering belief to replace the disempowering belief.
After several months, look back at your Core Belief Log, enter the date and see if the believability rating has changed.
If you have continued to do your personal development /mindset work, your disempowering beliefs will be less believable, and your empowering beliefs will be more believable.
Using this tool, you can change your beliefs. As your beliefs change, so will your thoughts, feelings, actions and results.