How to Overcome Limiting Beliefs
Over the past several months, I’ve begun pursuing some pretty big things…things that are taking me outside of my comfort zone. With that came all the fear and self-doubt, and I came face to face with several limiting beliefs. Limiting beliefs are just thoughts we have about ourselves, about life or about how others should behave in our lives. These beliefs are deeply ingrained in our brains because we’ve spent so many years looking for evidence to prove that they were true for us.
Our brains are really good at creating beliefs and hanging on to them. We were actually designed that way. Did you know that? Our brains were created to keep us safe, to avoid pain and to keep things the status quo. That’s how our ancestors were able to survive hundreds of years ago. Because our brains are wired to operate this way, it’s perfectly normal for us to have these beliefs. They only become a problem for us when they limit us in some way…hold us back from being our best selves…keep us stuck…or cause us to show up in ways we don’t like.
I’ve spent the last few months working on overcoming some of those limiting beliefs….the ones that are holding me back from accomplishing what I want to accomplish…the ones that keep me stuck in inaction or cause me to show up as less than my absolute best. While I’m still a work in progress (aren’t we all), I want to share with you how you can also overcome those beliefs that are holding you back in your own life.
What Do You Believe?
First, you have to determine what it is that is holding you back in your life? What belief do you have about yourself or about how things should be that is keeping you stuck? Here are some common limiting beliefs that may resonate with you:
- I’m not good enough to/for/at…
- No one will want what I have to offer
- It’s their fault
- This isn’t fair
- I’ll never…
- I can’t handle it
- I’m not good at…
- It’s too hard
- I can’t be happy until I find my person
- I’ll never make that kind of money
- Other people will think I’m a fraud
- No one will take me seriously
- It’s too late to start over
- I don’t deserve…
Any of these strike a chord within you? Spend some time getting familiar with what your limiting beliefs are. Take 10-15 minutes to dump all your thoughts down on paper. There is something about writing things down that make them come to life…that really get them to stick.
Is It Serving You?
Now that you’ve discovered some of your beliefs, I want you to take a closer look at each of them and ask yourself these questions. Be sure to write them down!
- Is this belief serving me well? Has it been getting me the outcome that I want?
- Is this belief a fact? Can it be proven in a court of law?
- How does this belief make me feel?
- When I feel this way, how do I show up in the world or with others?
- When I show up this way, what result do I get?
To give you an example, I’ll share one of my own (eekk!):
Did you just notice something? Did you notice that my result is just proof for my original belief? This is how powerful our limiting beliefs are, and why they are holding us back. This is why we’re not getting the results we want in our life. And we will continue to get this SAME result until we make the decision to change our belief.
What Do You Want to Believe?
Once you decide that you no longer want to have that belief, you are totally capable of changing it! Remember, it’s just a thought that your brain is offering you. You get to choose not to believe it. I want you to ask yourself these questions, and write the answers down.
- What new, more useful thought could I have?
- If I choose this new thought, how will I feel?
- When I feel the way I want to feel, how will I likely show up in the world or with others?
- When I show up as a better version of myself, what will be my result?
Now, let’s look at my new belief model from the example I shared above.
Do you see how just changing your thoughts by choosing different, more useful thoughts, will bring you a better outcome? The only thing you have control over is YOU! You can absolutely create whatever outcome you want.
Bring in the Reinforcements
This method for changing your beliefs is easy, but making it stick isn’t. Our brains have paved neural pathways over the years to reinforce our old beliefs. Some of these beliefs have been paving ground since we were kids. This means it will take some consistent work on your part to pave new pathways in your brain in order for your new belief to really stick. Think of a hiker in a forest. If that one hiker decides to go off the usual path, you likely won’t see a trail of where he walked. But if 100 hikers take that same new path, it will start to create a new, more visible path….one that will be easy to follow. It’s the same with creating new beliefs in your brain. Saying your new thoughts out loud one time probably won’t do much. But if you say it every day for the next 3-4 months, it will start to stick and come much easier for you to believe.
Take just 5 minutes each morning and each evening before bed to either write out or say your new belief. The more you do it, the more effective it will be. As time goes on, observe your feelings, behavior and results after replacing your old belief to see if they have changed.
Yes, your brain will want to go back to your old belief. But when you notice your brain wanting to go back to its old ways, redirect it to your new belief. Find evidence in your life that this new belief is true. You’ll have to do this over and over, but I promise it works. Eventually, you’ll notice that you no longer have to redirect your brain…it will automatically go to your new belief!
“It’s not the events in our lives that shape us, but our beliefs as to what those events mean” – Tony Robbins
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