Categories: Gettin The Mind Right

How to Defeat Self-Limiting Beliefs

Happy Monday!

The other day I was journaling and a negative “story” wouldn’t stop running through my mind.


It started a few days ago but its frequency started to increase, so I finally addressed it.


Over the years I’ve learned that we create these internal “stories” in our heads. Most times these stories are worse than actual reality. But these stories in our heads are not real. Rather, they’re just self-limiting beliefs we create from our fears and past experiences. These stories will run endlessly through our minds until we interrupt the cycling and “take them off the air.”


Sometimes a tiny, self-inflicted physical signal like a pinch or a snap of an elastic band will do the trick. I find this tactic especially useful if I find myself getting nervous before filming or speaking on stage or even sometimes on a plane when hitting extreme turbulence.


But the most effective tactic I know is to address the story head on. Our ego will gather evidence to support limiting beliefs in an attempt to “protect” us and that can really trick us into thinking it’s a real thing.


Here’s a process I’ve developed to help me defeat my self-limiting beliefs:


Step 1: Identify the story you are telling yourself: What fear keeps popping through your head? What limitation are you continually reminding yourself of?


Step 2: Identify the perceptual evidence your ego has gathered to support this story: You need to be as objective as possible here. What if you were to tell the story to an objective third party (not your pity party friends/family)–what would they question? If someone you cared about was telling you this, what would you question? What is not supported by absolute truth?


Step 3: Lay out the actual facts: What indisputable evidence exists? For example, if there’s extreme turbulence on the plane yet you are convinced the plane is going down, ask yourself: Is plane actually going down or have the crew calmly announced that there will be a few minutes of turbulence and are going about their business? The facts (announcement, calm crew, business as usual) does not support your perceptions/fears (“The shaking means we’re going down!).


As another example; if you keep telling yourself you always quit and you have no discipline, write a list of things you haven’t quit. By showing yourself that you do have discipline–waking up to go to work, being a good friend, taking care of your kids—you can believe in yourself and eliminate the false notion that you are a quitter.


Here are some common stories I hear all the time:

  • “I can’t lose weight”
  • “I can’t keep the weight off”
  • “I can’t do X exercise”
  • “I can’t stick to eating clean”

Let’s be real– these are self-limiting thoughts that carry no truth. Sure, you may not be demonstrating the exact behavior in this very moment or up to this point, but when have you actually committed 100% to an extended period of time (greater than 6 months) with the right resources?  You can’t eat clean for only two days and expect a 10 lb. weight loss. Yet isn’t that the unrealistic result many people expect?


I hear the natural follow up ringing in my ear already and it starts with “but…”


AGAIN, you must distinguish between lack of resources/effort and the actual truth, so that you can understand that it’s not that you can’t. The truth is, you don’t lack anything.  I’m really going on a tangent here but it’s this stuff is sooooooo common and soooooooooooooooo WRONG! PLEASE, if you find yourself in this pattern, respond back and I will gladly take time to talk you off the ledge at no cost and NO judgment.


Step 4: Find a rational alternative perspective for each perceptive piece of evidence your ego uses to support your story: The quickest way to objectivity is to question our beliefs. It can be as simple as the exact opposite of the story you’re telling yourself.


Let’s look at the weight loss example. To someone who says, “I can’t lose weight,” the alternative rational perspective to would be “Well I actually have lost weight in the past when I was doing XYZ; my challenge is keeping it off.”


Do you see the difference?


A self-limiting story will paralyze progress. Admitting you have a problem is different from staying stuck within the program.


It’s time to take these stories off the air.





ILLUSTRATION via: Pinterest


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