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Last Updated on January 12, 2021

9 Self Limiting Beliefs That Are Holding You Back from Success

9 Self Limiting Beliefs That Are Holding You Back from Success

It’s easy to blame situations or other people when we don’t reach our targets.

Have you ever wondered though, if it could be YOU holding yourself back from achieving success or, if you possibly limit your results because of what you believe?

We hold beliefs about all things and they have a direct influence over what we achieve or not. When we have empowering beliefs, our achievements can feel almost effortless. If we have self limiting beliefs, however, then it can often feel like we are pushing a big rock up a steep hill.

Limiting beliefs have a way of creeping up on us; they reveal themselves in different ways. Even if we think our beliefs all support us, a limiting belief can often rear its ugly head just when we least expect it and completely stop us in our tracks or make things feel harder than they actually could be.

A belief is simply a feeling of certainty about what something means. The reason it can feel so certain is because it’s a story we have been telling ourselves throughout our lives unconsciously looking for proof of its truth. We find plenty of proof because that’s what we are looking for and, the more proof we find, the more certain we feel. This means we can either create more potential, or more limitation depending on what the belief actually is.

My question to you is this:

If your beliefs have this powerful influence on your results, can you imagine how much more personal potential you could create and what you could accomplish, if every belief you had really did completely sustain, support and nurture you?

And, can you imagine how much you could be getting in your own way if they don’t?

That’s why it’s essential to become aware of what your beliefs are.

Here you will find 9 of the most common self limiting beliefs you need to be aware of and some practical tips to assist you to move through them. Even if you implement one simple tip, it can have a profoundly positive effect on your results.

1. I Don’t Have Time

This may be a statement; the truth is though, when you repeatedly say the same thing, you start to believe it and this means you will never find the time to do what you want.

Holding on to this belief can keep you stuck for years.

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Nathan Palmer, a sociologist and lecturer at Georgia Southern University said “Time is a social construct’. To me, this means time doesn’t really exist, it’s just an idea or concept we believe as a society and we all live by its rules. This might explain why we all have 24 hours in a day, yet some of us achieve so much more than others.

When you start to see time as it really is which is just a social construct, you empower yourself to create a belief that works for you instead of against you. There is a simple and practical way you can do this:

Use a spreadsheet to measure the way you use your time and being truthful with yourself about what you find.

As you look closely at how you use time, you will notice patterns of behavior that can cause you to get in your own way. Patterns such as doing the easy repetitive tasks first or putting everyone else’s demands or requests first really limit you.

Making a few simple tweaks in your own behavior, you will notice that you “always have enough time”, it’s just your choice as to how you use it, and you can begin to nurture that new belief.

2. I Can’t

This is one of the most limiting beliefs you can imagine, because it gives no opportunity of you being able to do what you are telling yourself you can’t. You might as well tie your hands behind your back.

The more you repeat this statement, the more you begin to believe it. Your unconscious mind is always listening and it responds to what you are telling it. Some people have even described this response as physically feeling blocked.

Even if you are just using this phrase to excuse yourself from doing something for someone else, then find another way of saying it, for example “I am unable to do that for you right now”.

There is no such thing as, “I can’t” and this is because you always have a choice. You can do anything you set your mind to and even if you don’t have the skills yet, then you have the ability to learn those skills. If you truly believe you can’t at the moment, then add the word “yet” to the end of your statement to create more potential.

And whenever you hear yourself say, “I can’t”, immediately remind yourself that you always have a choice. You either choose to or choose not to.

3. I Can’t Because I Am Not…

Adding a reason to “I can’t” gives the limitation even more power, especially when that reason begins with the words “I am”.

When you use the words “I am,” you are making a statement about yourself, your identity and who you believe you are. It’s called an identity belief and this type of belief can be the most self-limiting you can have. Let me give you an example of this;

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Many years ago, I would frequently say “I am not creative”, it was a belief I had hung onto since childhood. Because of this, I never attempted anything that had a creative feel to it.

I used to excuse myself telling people “I am not creative”. That was all fine until I became an entrepreneur. It was then I realized how much that belief had the potential to limit me, because entrepreneurship is all about being creative!

Identity beliefs are statements you make about who you think you are and who you think you are not. To give you a few examples, “I can’t get organized because I am not a planner”, “I can’t go networking because I am not a people person”.

Can you imagine how much these beliefs can hold you back?

You can make gradual changes by looking at different ways of describing yourself. For example; “I am becoming more organized as I learn to plan each day” or “I am learning to network as I meet new people”. Then take the actions that support those new beliefs.

4. I Am Not Good Enough

This is probably the most fundamentally limiting belief there is; and it’s one that most of us can attest to having been at the mercy of at some point in our life.

We are always good enough and that’s the reason why we are here. We are good enough for each person, situation and opportunity that presents itself. Yet at some point in our life when our safety and certainty was threatened, we chose to believe that wasn’t true.

Because of this experience and what we decided to believe, we run patterns of behavior that are designed to protect us. When we are about to do something that will stretch our capabilities, we have a little voice that warns us of danger and tells us we can’t do it or we shouldn’t do it. This means we can often get in our own way and miss out on those opportunities, relationships and situations that can help us achieve what we want.

You can change this by negotiating with your little voice. It may sound simple or even silly but, it works. Remember that what we resist persists; and the more we try to ignore the voice, the more it will persist.

Start acknowledging the little voice by thanking it and letting it know you are okay and, you will give it a go anyway. As you repeatedly give things a go, you will begin to build more belief in yourself and see how good enough you always are.

5. I Will Be Judged

We can often hold ourselves back from doing new things because we are afraid other people will judge us and see us as lacking in some way. Remember, we often focus on our fear; and the more we focus on this, we will see more examples of people judging us.

You have no control over what others think or feel and most of the time, they don’t think anything about you at all. They are more concerned with what they think or feel about themselves, just like you are.

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If you feel judged by other people, it’s more often than not just a reflection you see of your own thoughts and judgments about yourself.

When fear of judgment comes up for you, ask yourself “Where am I judging myself right now?” Remind yourself that no matter what outcome you get, just the fact that you are showing up and giving things a go means you are always more than good enough, and that deserves acknowledgment.

6. I Am Not as Good as Them

This is a self-limiting belief based on comparison. When we compare ourselves with others, it can really freeze us in our tracks.

This very limiting belief has become more prevalent since the upward surge of social media. It can cause us to waste precious energy, feeling we don’t have what it takes.

If you find yourself comparing and feeling emotions like jealousy, loss of confidence, annoyance or self-consciousness, then you can bet your bottom dollar this belief is playing out unconsciously.

Remind yourself that we are all different. This means we all have unique personalities, a range of different strengths and natural talents. It also means we all have different traits that require development. No one does everything perfectly and this is why we can all easily compliment each other in different ways.

There is no less than or more than, there is just difference. Just because they do it differently to you, doesn’t mean you are not as good as them; it just means you are unique and that is a good thing.

7. I Have Failed

If you often tell yourself you have failed, then you will eventually stop giving things a go.

Believing that you have failed is so disempowering, because it is very closely linked to the belief that you are a failure, and it means you will avoid doing things that may lead you to feel that way about yourself in the future.

Remember, the more you repeat a statement, the more you believe it to be true. This is why it is essential to completely banish this phrase from your vocabulary.

Just because something hasn’t worked out the way you wanted it to, does not mean you have failed. Neuro Linguistic Programming is a modality that develops a person to achieve excellence. One of the presuppositions of NLP states that there is “no failure, only feedback”. The feedback being the information you receive, which can help you change things next time around. This means there is learning and growth in the experience.[1]

Instead of telling yourself you have failed, see the experience as a lesson. Ask yourself what you can learn from it and how you can use that feedback to assist you in the future.

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8. I Am an Idiot

If you tell yourself you are an idiot, please stop.

This is a statement you may use a bit tongue in cheek, when you have made a mistake. Here’s the thing though:

Even if you say something in jest, your unconscious mind is always listening and will respond and remind you accordingly.

If making a mistake means you are an idiot, then you will avoid doing things where there is a chance you might make a mistake. This can massively keep you inside your comfort zone when outside your comfort zone is where you need to be.

Mistakes are part of achieving success. If you are like many of us, you probably do something at least three times before you do it well. And for each mistake you make, you get closer to the result you want.

Totally banish this belief statement from your vocabulary and just remind yourself that when you make a mistake, you are that much closer to where you want to be.

9. I Can Never Do This

This is a personal capability belief teamed up with a gross generalisation. Generalizations are words like, “always”, “everything”, “never;” and when we use them, we delete any possible exceptions of the opposite being true.

If you tell yourself you can never do something, you will avoid it at all costs in the future, because it doesn’t feel good when you receive lots of reminders of your inability to do it.

When you change this belief to “I haven’t succeeded in doing this yet” and then, plan small steps to show yourself that you actually can; you will give yourself more opportunity to expand your capabilities and open yourself up to your true potential.

The Bottom Line

Identifying and acknowledging your self-limiting beliefs is the first step in taking back your own power. Blame can keep you stuck for years and over time erodes your self-esteem and can even cause you to go backwards.

True sustainable success is achieved from the inside out, by making the choice to work on your own belief system. It’s vital you weed out any beliefs that are limiting you in any way. This is the way to true empowerment and success, where you will open up your full potential and over time you will notice your life will become limitless.

More to Help You Get Unstuck

Featured photo credit: Austin Prock via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] NLP UK: No failure only feedback

More by this author

Deb Johnstone

Deb is a professional mindset speaker and a transformational life, business and career coach. Specialising in NLP and dynamic mindset.

How to Use the Theories of Motivation to Keep Yourself Uplifted How to Survive a Quarter Life Crisis (The Complete Guide) How to Learn Patience to Get Your Thoughts and Feelings Under Control 9 Self Limiting Beliefs That Are Holding You Back from Success How to Make a Plan And Reach Your Goals in Life

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Last Updated on January 21, 2021

10 Willpower Hacks to Help Achieve Your Goals

10 Willpower Hacks to Help Achieve Your Goals

“Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.” – Mahatma Gandhi

“Willpower is essential to the accomplishment of anything worthwhile.” – Brian Tracy

“Just do it.” – Nike

The most important and satisfying things in life usually aren’t the easiest ones.

The good news: In today’s hyper-connected world, we have access to all the information we could want to help us achieve our future goals. We know what foods will make us healthier (would kale or quinoa be as popular without the internet and Dr. Oz? I think not). We can also estimate for ourselves the benefits of starting retirement savings early – and the implications for the lifestyles of our future selves (that boat at 65 means fewer vacations in your 20’s).

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We almost always know what we should do thanks to endless knowledge at our fingertips. But actually doing it is an entirely different kind of challenge. Most of us can relate to that feeling of inertia at the start of a big project, or the struggle to consistently make good, long-term choices for our health, or saving for the future. This mental tug-of-war we experience has evolutionary roots. While knowing this might bring comfort, it doesn’t help solve the problem at hand:

How can we flex our willpower to become better, faster, smarter, and stronger?

The bad news: you can’t Google your way out of this one.

Or can you? A fascinating body of research (much of which you can turn up online through popular press and academic articles) sheds light on how to hack your willpower for better, easier results in all areas of your life. The Willpower Instinct, a great book by Stanford prof Kelly McGonigal, provides a deep dive into these and more topics for anyone keenly interested.

Here’s the short version: we can make the most of our willpower through two types of hacks. First, there are ways to turbo boost your willpower. Second, there are ways to hack the system so you make the best use of whatever (sometimes infinitely modest) willpower you have.

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The following 10 tips draw on both of these toolkits.

1. Slow the heck down.

Most regrettable decisions (the splurge at the mall, the procrastination on the project, the snacks in the break room) happen when one part of our brain effectively hijacks the other. We go into automatic pilot (and unfortunately the pilot in question has a penchant for shoes, Facebook and cookies!). Researchers suggest that we can override this system by charging up the other. That is, slow down and focus on the moment at hand. Think about your breathing. Bring yourself back to this moment in time, feel the compulsion but don’t act on it yet. Try telling yourself, “If this feeling is still just as uncomfortable in 10 minutes, I’ll act on it.” Take a little time to be mindful – then make your decision.

2. Dream of ‘done.’

Imagine yourself handing in the big project, soaking up the appreciation from your colleagues or boss. Or crossing the finish line for the half-marathon you’ve always wanted to run. The rush, the aliveness, the wind on your face, the medal …

That’s a lot more fun and motivating to think about than how much work it is to get out of bed for your long, Sunday morning run!

Re-orient your brain by summoning more motivating feelings than just “not running this morning is more enjoyable than running this morning.” If your goals are meaningful, this will help.

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3. Make your toughest choices first.

Scientists have found that willpower is like a full bathtub that’s drained throughout the day. So, why not start your toughest challenges when you have a full reserve? Get that project started or fit that workout in before you even check your email or have breakfast. Bonus: the high you’ll get from crossing off your hardest ‘to-do’ will help you sail through the rest of your day.

4. Progress = commitment, not a license to backslide.

A lot of times people will ‘cheat’ right after taking positive steps towards their goals. (A common version of this trap is, “I worked out three days in a row, so I deserve this cookie.”) Most of us can relate to this thinking – but it’s totally irrational! We’ll often trick ourselves into setbacks because we think we deserve them, even if we don’t really want them and deep down we know they’ll work against us in the long-run.

How can you counteract this effect? Research finds that if you use your positive streak to recommit (“If I worked out three days this week, I must be really committed to my health and fitness goal!”) rather than an excuse for wiggle room, we don’t take the same cheat options. Cool, right?

5. Meditate.

Meditation is an expressway to better willpower. Bringing your attention to your breathing for 15 minutes, or even five, flexes your willpower muscles by applying discipline to your thinking. It does this by working two mental ‘muscle groups’: first, the set of muscles that notice when your attention is drifting, and second, the set of muscles that bring you back to your task at hand. Over time, even small amounts of meditation will help you build the discipline to easily do what was once hard – like pushing through a long stretch at work.

6. Set mini-goals.

Which seems more doable: committing to three 20 minute runs this week or a half-marathon? Mini-goals are brilliant because they’re easier to achieve and boost your commitment to continuing. When we size them up, we see them as achievable rather than daunting. Each time you succeed at one, it boosts your sense of efficacy and personal integrity: not only are you capable of doing what you set out to do, but you followed through on it. Nice.

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The beauty of mini-goals is that over time, mini-goals – and the momentum you’ve built by doing them – can quickly turn into super-goals. So that half marathon might be more likely to happen, and sooner and more easily than you think!

7. Eat.

Low blood sugar decreases your ability to make tough decisions. If you’re running on empty physically, you’ll also be running on empty mentally. (Yes, this one’s somewhat ironic if your goal involves changing food patterns – but even so, letting your blood sugar drop too far will only sabotage you over time.)

8. Sleep.

Research shows people who don’t get enough sleep have a tough time exercising their willpower. Sleep is critical for a healthy brain – along with just about everything else. So to optimize your willpower muscle, make sure you’re catching your zzz’s.

9. Nix the self-sabotage.

Making yourself feel bad hurts, rather than helps, your willpower efforts. Researchers have found that compassion is a far better strategy than tough love – telling yourself “It’s OK, everyone has setbacks sometimes,” will help you bounce back more quickly than negative self-talk.

10. Take the first hard step.

As a new behavior becomes a habit, it is more natural. You have to use less and less willpower to ‘make it so.’ When you’re starting a new pattern that feels hard, remind yourself that the first steps are truly the hardest. It will probably never feel harder than it does in those first few choices. In the case of repeated behaviors, like exercise or saving money, it takes weeks for new habits to take hold. By that point, the habit will be so ingrained, you’d have to try hard not to do it.

Featured photo credit: Kym Ellis via unsplash.com

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