Limiting beliefs used to run my life. I feel like the universe is trying to tell me something. Lately, everywhere I turn I hear someone mentioning limiting beliefs, including my therapist. So I took that as an opportunity to do a deep dive into what that is and give myself some strategies to overcome them.
So first of all, what the heck are limiting beliefs and how do I know I have them? I had to break it down for myself to truly understand what I was dealing with. First I looked up the definitions for belief and limiting at dictionary.com
So putting it all together, I realized that these limiting beliefs were confining opinions or convictions about certain aspects of my life. The thoughts such as “I’m not smart enough to deserve this degree” or “I can never have as much money as that person” or “This business idea isn’t going to work out even if I try hard so I might as well give up.”
I could go on and on and I bet if you think about it, there is at least one aspect of your life where this may be the case. Perhaps the limiting beliefs are not so obvious to you anymore because these are things you’ve been telling yourself for so long that you truly believe them to be true.
What I’m learning is that we can make conscious choices to change our thought patterns and that can have direct impacts on our daily lives.
It’s one of the reasons that I started to write daily affirmations to change these limiting beliefs and start to create limitless beliefs and strategies to work through them. Here are some of the things I’ve been doing to help myself grow:
Look for Solutions
If my immediate reaction to something is “oh, that won’t work” or “that’s impossible” I look at the big picture and try to find solutions. Perhaps it seems like it won’t work or it’s not possible because I haven’t tried before or that’s the way I’ve always done it. For example, I’ve been struggling to lose weight. Instead of saying that nothing is working, I can reframe it and say the things I’ve tried haven’t worked. Therefore, what else can I try? Perhaps I need to combine some strategies and make them work in tandem to see the kind of results that I’m looking for.
Take Breaks – let it marinate
If I have lots of negative thoughts or limiting beliefs in a row, then I know it’s time to step back or step away. It’s easy to get caught up in the rat race of work, work, work, but that connection to a greater purpose needs to stay front and center. This is where I use strategies of visualization or go outside for a walk and breathe in that fresh air.
Recognize the thoughts in real time
This is a challenging one that I’ve truly been working on. It’s especially difficult when limiting beliefs have been such a part of my practice and I didn’t even realize it. I’ve particularly had a lot of financial blocks associated with what I thought I deserved or what was possible. So even though my blog hasn’t even made a full dollar yet, I’m taking any limiting belief or thought that comes my way and transforming them.
Now when I have thoughts about an action or activity or myself, I analyze them and decide if it serves me in a positive or negative capacity. If I determine that it’s negative or holding me back from greater potential, then I go back to the solutions aspect.
Write positive affirmations and surround yourself with them
Truly one of the most powerful things that I’ve done to break free from limiting beliefs is to write down affirmations. I have a goal of at least 3-5 per day that should be written. I also have cards posted in my office work area – “I am thankful”, “I am capable”, “I am valued”, “Anything is possible” so that there are constant visual reminders of that change in thought patterns.
My therapist and I have a goal that I will repeat my chosen affirmations to myself in the mirror at least 3 times per day. That has been transforming me to see myself in a more positive light as well.
What can you do?
This process is highly individual and requires a commitment to change. The first thing you need to do is recognize the limiting beliefs you have about family, personal growth, finances, professional goals, and prioritize the areas you wish to change.
Limiting beliefs can be a detriment to reaching personal goals and creating the life you want. And realize that you don’t have to be the way you’ve always been or believe the things you’ve always believed. Start small and set guiding goals for each week and keep going!