As some of my more avid readers may remember, last summer I wrote about my fairly tedious method of entering the ocean. I’ve always enjoyed having fun in the ocean but entering the ‘cold water’ has never been something I’ve enjoyed. So I developed a slow and meticulous method to deal with it.

Recently I decided that this belief wasn’t serving me and had no logic so it was time to see if I could apply the same process we apply to changing limiting money beliefs, to the ‘cold water’ in the ocean.

Start with “Why?”

First, there has to be a good reason to change a belief.  And the reason has to contribute to a better life.

It didn’t take much research to find that cold water swimming is very good for health. From boosting the immune system to boosting the body’s inflammatory response and many other benefits were convincing enough for me. Mainly, just feeling fantastic for most of the day resulting in more enjoyment.

Second, understand your current frame of reference and how it was formed. Having grown up in a land-locked city, I wasn’t much of a swimmer when I was young so never got used to being in cold water. So I never got used to getting into cold water. Understandable.

Third, change your frame of reference. This can be done by either limiting it or finding someone who has achieved your purpose, with a different frame. I found that putting my goggles on before entering the water somehow meant that I didn’t ‘see’ the cold water as much. I also noticed how many men and women at least my age (many older) were swimming daily without much fuss. It couldn’t be that bad.

And last, set some goals. Make them simple and easy. I decided to swim at least once a week for at least 15 minutes until the end of June – then July and now August.

Staying out of hot water

The same process could be applied to limiting money beliefs. Beliefs like:

“I can’t control my spending”

“The stock market is a gamble”

“Debt is dangerous”

“I don’t understand investing”

Begin with a good reason – how will the opposite belief improve your life? In most cases, better financial management will provide more choice.

Then think about where your beliefs came from. Don’t judge, just understand and observe. When was the first experience, what was the emotional impact and how did this shape the beliefs?

Then change your frame of reference – find someone who believes the opposite and has been successful. Do some research. Who controls their spending, invests very successfully in the stock market or uses debt to create wealth? You could also just tell yourself that investing must be based on simple principles.

And finally set some simple goals. Maybe set spending goals for a week, or for a specific topic like how much you can spend on lunches. Try some small investments in the stock market. But a solid understanding of what you’re doing is essential.

Cold Comfort

The surprise for me has been how pleased I am with my efforts. It was a simple exercise to see if I could change a lifelong belief and the benefits have been way beyond my expectations. I can’t believe that I have got through winter without a wetsuit and it’s made me question other beliefs which may be limiting.

Give it a go. Pick something about your current situation that you aren’t happy with, find the limiting belief that has been the cause, and begin the process. It’s not as difficult as you’ve told yourself and provides much greater rewards.