How do you get rid of limiting beliefs?
Want to know, what’s getting in the way of your success?
Most of us have goals for our future for what we would like to accomplish or what you want your life to look like.
Sometimes it can be tough to get started towards achieving these goals, or you may get stuck somewhere along the way. Once you start working to overcome limiting beliefs, you will be well on your way to achieving your dreams and goals.
We allow our fears to stop us from truly living the life we want. The “what-ifs” or the “I can only do this when…”
When will that time ever come? Will it ever be the perfect time to take the plunge? Or are you just putting barriers in your way to a life you can truly love?
Sometimes we don’t think we deserve to be happy. “If I have everything I want, what if that isn’t enough?” Sometimes these types of beliefs and negative self-talk can get in the way of us even getting started.
Things like self-sabotage get in the way of success. Maybe it comes in the forms of busyness, overworking yourself, overeating, or any other unhealthy coping skill.
You can only be as successful as you believe you can be. You can only accomplish the goals that you believe you can. In order to do that, you need to clear limiting beliefs and self-doubts. You need to overcome limiting beliefs!
Your Beliefs and Fears Create Your Reality
If you think that you are not worthy of happiness, or you are not good enough to be successful, or you are not smart enough… then that is what will happen.
Every single person has fears and limiting beliefs. But where do you even start clearing limiting beliefs?
Fears can be helpful when they are protective. When you are fearful of a dangerous situation (for example: driving too fast on the highway) that can help you survive.
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When your fear is unfounded and not based on facts – then limiting beliefs can arise.
What do you want for your life? What do you want it to look like?
You can have the life that you strive for. Most of the time the only thing getting in the way is… you.
What Are Limiting Beliefs?
Limiting beliefs are what stop people from striving towards and accomplishing their goals and what they truly want in life. Often times, this happens unconsciously and people put barriers in their own way without even realizing it.
Some examples of limiting beliefs are:
- I don’t have enough money or time.
- I don’t know how to get started.
- I’m too old or too young.
- It will be too hard/scary to make a change.
- What will other people think?
- I can’t do it.
- Getting a job with no experience is impossible.
- I’m not lovable enough to find somebody who will treat me well.
- I’m not good enough to go to college/start my own business/perform in public.
Making changes and setting goals to do things differently absolutely can be scary. But, if the part of you that is fearful is bigger than the part of you that is determined and motivated- that is when your goals suffer.
What do I mean when I say that people unconsciously put barriers in their own way?
I mean that you may do things such as procrastinating, distracting yourself, or other things to give yourself another excuse to not do something.
Example of Limiting Beliefs in Action
For example, you have an exam for school that you need to study for. It’s a big exam and it is worth half of your grade…
So, you say to yourself, “I don’t want to mess up.”
You are afraid of failing or doing poorly, so you procrastinate studying. You tidy up your room, you chat with friends, scroll through social media… It’s crunch time and now you are left cramming for the exam with barely enough time to study.
Why did you do this?
- You were fearful of starting studying for the exam because of how big of a task it was.
- It gives you another excuse to use if you didn’t do well. Instead of “I just didn’t know the material,” “I’m not smart enough,” or “It’s too hard for me.” You can say, “I didn’t study for long enough.
This externalizes the problem and takes the attention away from the fear and limiting belief you have at the root.
Where Do Limiting Beliefs Come From?
Are we born with limiting beliefs? Or do they come about through time and experience? Knowing this can help you start to overcome limiting beliefs.
Your beliefs are created throughout your lifetime, starting from birth. The things your parents teach you, what you learn from teachers at school, and what your friends say to you. The content you consume also influences your beliefs. This can include television, social media, movies, the news, podcasts, and more.
We get so much information on a daily basis. So what sticks with you and what doesn’t?
Each and every person is different and has vastly different experiences. Your gender, age, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, financial means, and many other factors can influence the way people treat you, the opportunities you have, and your beliefs as a result.
To simplify it a bit, your beliefs can come from any one of the following:
- Social pressure
- Media (news, entertainment)
- Personal experiences
These beliefs are limiting when they stem from fears, negative emotions, or negative experiences.
Why Do We Doubt Ourselves?
Self-doubt is common. There is always the possibility of failure, so why even get started? If we thought this way, nothing would ever get accomplished.
We certainly need moments of failure in order to learn and grow. Progress and improvement does not happen without difficulty and discomfort. People are often afraid of change and the unknown.
Sometimes remaining comfortable in a situation that isn’t the greatest can be better than moving on to better things because people don’t want to get out of their comfort zones.
That is why people remain at crappy, unfulfilling jobs, and stay in bad relationships. Comfort is comfortable.
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People doubt that they have the ability to be in a better situation, or they are fearful of leaving and hurting others.
You may doubt your abilities when you have received criticism or negative feedback in the past.
Maybe you doubt that you have what it takes to make a change.
You could think that you are too shy, too loud, too insecure, too uneducated, too skinny, too fat, too old, or too young. The point is that you can find any reason to doubt yourself.
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Every single person experiences self-doubt – even the most successful, happiest people.
What differentiates successful and happy people from those who never start working towards achieving their goals? Successful and happy people don’t allow their doubts and limiting beliefs to stop them. They work to overcome limiting beliefs and accomplish their goals.
How To Identify Your Limiting Beliefs
Do you have any ideas yet as to what your limiting beliefs are? They may not be so obvious for everybody, but that does not mean that it is a lost cause to figure out what your limiting beliefs are.
I want you to think back to how you imagined your life one year from now.
Think about your job, family, where you will live, how you will feel, and what you want your lifestyle to be like. I want you to dream big, but also be realistic (maybe a huge mansion isn’t in the cards that soon).
What is stopping you from getting there?
Are you staying in a job you don’t like because you are afraid of not having money, but you could be doing something else that fit your lifestyle better? Or maybe you are in a relationship where you aren’t satisfied, but you are afraid to be alone.
Additionally, this can apply to lifestyle goals. Do you want to be healthier, but you aren’t making the time to exercise and eat healthier meals? Do you want more time with your family, but you just can’t find the time now?
You always have a choice. Doing nothing and staying in a life that you are not happy in is a choice.
What choices are you making now, and what choices do you have to make to have the lifestyle you truly want? And what is getting in the way?
5 Steps to Clearing Limiting Beliefs
Step #1: Identify Your Goals
Think about that future life one year from now. What do you have to do to get there? Break it down into short-term goals that are achievable, but still challenging.
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Step #2: Identify Your Fears about Your Goals
Are you afraid of failure, change, or the unknown?
Dig deep and think about what scares you. Imagine yourself taking the steps towards this goal and leaving where you are now.
Ask yourself these questions:
- What are you fearful of?
- What could go wrong?
- Have you ever tried this before?
- What is the worst thing that could happen?
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Step #3: Identify Your Beliefs Surrounding Your Fears
I’m not good enough, I won’t be able to do it, etc.
Now, dig a little deeper and think about those fears. Are you afraid of failure? What beliefs do you have about yourself, or maybe the goal, that is making you afraid of that?
Are you afraid of…
- failure because you think it will be really hard and you don’t have what it takes?
- rejection because you have been rejected before?
- being embarrassed because you think others will think you’re stupid?
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Reflect on yourself, your past experiences related to this goal, and times you may have failed or been fearful in the past.
Step #4: Challenge your Limiting Beliefs with Facts
You need to investigate the truth! That’s how you overcome your self-limiting beliefs.
Take a look at those beliefs from above.
What are the facts? Is it true that you will be rejected again just because you have been rejected before? Is it a fact that you don’t have what it takes? (Hint: No, it’s not.)
List the facts about your beliefs, and compare the facts to the actual beliefs.
Step #5: Practice Self-Compassion and Self-Love
List your strengths and reasons why you want this goal and how you know you can make it!
Notice any doubts or limiting beliefs that come up when you think about this… write them down and repeat step 4 as needed!
Be compassionate towards yourself. You are not a bad person and there is nothing wrong with you for having fears and doubts. It is a normal part of being human! Studies have shown that self-compassion can help people increase motivation and positive coping strategies.
A study conducted regarding self-compassion and goal performance among students concluded the following:
“Self-compassion helps … by freeing individuals from the debilitating consequences of harsh self-criticism, isolation, and over-identification in the face of failure, and instead provides students with self-kindness, a sense of common humanity, and emotional balance.”
You need to be compassionate towards yourself!
Printable Mindset Reset Workbook
Do you need to identify and overcome limiting beliefs? Ready to have a champion mindset? Get your FREE Printable workbook, with ten questions to help your mindset.
Your beliefs create your reality.
The possibility to achieve your goals is within you – only your beliefs are stopping you.
How will you clear your limiting beliefs?
More About Guest Contributor
Tatiana is a Licensed Professional Counselor in the state of New Jersey. Tatiana works as a counselor in private practice and as a blogger with tips and resources to help people with anxiety and stress live more fulfilling, calm lives. Connect with her at Brighter Path Counseling.