How to Gain the Edge Over Limiting Beliefs

Limiting beliefs are a modern day barrier.

How many times do you let limiting beliefs control your life?

See what I did there? I didn’t ask if you had limiting beliefs. I assumed you did. And for good reason.

Eavesdrop on a conversation the next time you are at Starbuck’s or record your next phone call. You’ll hear these statements:

  • “I can’t…”
  • “I don’t…”
  • “I’ll never be able to…”
  • “Yeah, I tried that once before…”

We all have said these phrases, but if you say them more than you like, it’s ok.

Help has arrived.

Why We Are Talking About Limiting Beliefs

This is a health and fitness blog but at the core of why so many fail to change is those pesky limiting beliefs. Losing weight or regaining health isn’t only eating good food and exercise. Our minds need to be re-trained as well.

As I consult with individuals, I’m amazed at the use of limiting beliefs (also known as “excuses”) and how people use them to delude their thinking.

Many seek me out, ask me questions about how to lose weight, etc. — and then digress to why doing anything won’t help because… it never worked before.

Imagine a life where you never took a second chance.

You’d never get out of bed.

Your Limiting Beliefs Are By-Products of Your Environment

Let’s focus on a few areas that are behind limiting beliefs. You’ll recognize more than a few.

Experience, or as I call it, cause and effect, is a large barrier toward activating your potential. If you go outside on the hottest day of the year and get sunburned, does that stop you from ever wanting to go outside again? If one bad thing happened to you just one time causing you to make ultimatums around that one event, recognize that this is dysfunctional thinking.

You’re not dysfunctional — just your thoughts. Big difference.

Education is another limiting belief. Assume you had a teacher or friend who once told you something. Was every word they uttered at all times correct? These unintended but false statements will stop you in your tracks. Assuming you believe everything you hear, you’ll stop exploring the possibilities rather than researching further.

Faulty logic is another source of limiting beliefs. Or perhaps no logic at all. We project false probabilities of success (based on education, experience, etc.) which solidifies our faith something can’t be done.

Fear is another culprit behind limiting beliefs. Fear strikes most when it comes to doing things we’ve never done before or that we have failed at in the past. Fear is normal, but if it limits your actions, then it becomes a real problem.

What Limiting Beliefs Look Like In the Real World

Let’s put the limiters in a real world setting. Pretend a friend asked you to run a 5K race with them.

  • Experience — “Uh, I tried once before and the week before the race, I hurt my leg. I better not.”
  • Education — “My brother told me that running is bad for your knees.”
  • Faulty logic — “Running shoes are expensive. I don’t think I can afford to run.”
  • Fear — “Me running? Seriously? Everyone will laugh at me when they see me jogging own the street. Forget it!”

Three Strategies to Stop Limiting Beliefs

There are various strategies to stop your limiting beliefs, but here are three recommended steps you can take to limit or eliminate your limiting beliefs.

  1. Track your limiting beliefs for a few days to demonstrate what you’re up against. You can’t manage what you don’t measure, so keep a notepad and add a check mark each time you limit yourself in speech or thought.
  2. Look at consistent statements that pop up and say the opposite. Instead of saying, “All those diets I’ve done before didn’t do me any good,” say this: “I’ve learned what doesn’t work, so it’s time to learn what does work!”
  3. Play with your internal dialogue. Self-talk is an important aspect of what we say and do. Listen to positive affirmations and repeat affirmative action statements. We are our product of our thoughts, so you need to re-program those thoughts. “I can do this. I will figure it out. Just take the first step.”
  4. While this may sound a bit woo-woo, in psychological terms, recognize when your thoughts become dysfunctional or irrational. At Psychology.Tools, they have a resource you can print out which allows you to look at each situation, write out the emotion you experienced, your first thought that entered your mind, the alternative or rational response — and the outcome. Mindfully tracking daily situations will be a powerful ally to manage what is standing in your way and how you can run it over.

Recognize as you read this how old you are and how long these beliefs have been holding you hostage. The longer these thoughts have plagued you, the more unwilling they’ll be to go away. The tactics listed above aren’t all overnight solutions but given time they will provide you a path to less limiting beliefs and realization of your potential.

Action Steps

In the next day or two, be mindful and think about everything before you say it. Stop any negative thoughts you might have. Flick them away with your mental finger. Replace the thought or words with a positively worded statement. Rinse and repeat.

Now that you’re ready for the next steps to regaining your health, we offer a free mini-course. The course provides foundational tips and advice to help you avoid detractors on your path to a better life. Over 600 students (and counting) have taken the course. Don’t limit yourself. Get started today!