What’s that burning dream you have?  That goal that gets you excited and gives you butterflies. Maybe it’s a dream to climb Kilimanjaro, to move into that idyllic cottage, to start your own business or run the marathon. That dream that starts to light you up inside.

But then you find all the reasons why you can’t do it. The timings not right, the finances won’t work, your family wouldn’t approve, and it’s just too big a project to take on at the moment. Before you know it the light is switched off and the dream is put back in its box for another day when it will be considered once more only to be shunned again.

Sound familiar?

Yet these dreams aren’t impossible others have achieved similar. You watch as they walk away from their boring job, build the house of their dreams; you water their plants while they’re on their dream holiday. If other people can make their dreams come true, why can’t you? The simple answer is you.

Over time we develop beliefs about the world which help us make sense of our experiences. These beliefs become crystallised until we can no longer imagine that they aren’t true. Maybe you have developed a belief that only super fit people run the marathon or can climb a mountain. To get that next promotion you believe that you have to work longer hours. The important point is a belief is not a fact. You are choosing to accept a belief as the truth. When I contemplated running my own business, I would quickly reject the idea as I didn’t feel I had the skills to attract clients. I had developed a belief that you had to be an exceptional salesperson and I had no experience of selling. As a result every time it was discussed I would say it wasn’t for me. I choose to accept this belief. 

How do you change these beliefs?

You start by recognising them for what they are; perspectives that you have chosen to accept and then challenge them.

Step 1 - Take your dream and get clear about what are the beliefs you are accepting. What are the reasons you can’t do this... I can’t lose weight as I don’t have any will power. I can’t change jobs as I couldn’t do anything else. These reasons turn into excuses. I was making excuses that I couldn’t start my own business because I couldn’t sell. While excuses can protect us from the fear of failure or disappointment they are also the very thing that holds us back. What are the excuses you are telling yourself?

Step 2 Look for contrary evidence. We have reconfirmed these beliefs and excuses by storing evidence that supports them and ignoring contradictory evidence. Now we need to open our eyes and find this new evidence.

In my own example, I looked for people who were successful business owners who had no prior experience of sales. I also reflected on my experience and realised that whilst I hadn’t been selling in the traditional sense I been selling concepts to others. By taking this approach I was able to challenge my belief, which gave me the power to stop limiting myself and move forward.

How are you holding yourself back from your dreams?

Make 2020 the year those dreams become your reality.

Kerrie Maitland is a Life and Career Coach. If you would like to know more about Coaching and how it works visit