Have you ever talked yourself out of taking action on something you really wanted to achieve? If you have, there were limiting beliefs at play.

Limiting beliefs are beliefs you have that keep you from doing what you want to do. The human mind has the ability to come up with amazing reasons why you can’t do something. It’s also possible to have limiting beliefs stopping you right now without you being aware of them.

This is the fourth article in a series of 5 articles on How to Develop a Success Mindset. Here are the articles in the Series:
  1. How to Embrace Change and Make it Work Towards Your Success
  2. Why Charting Your Progress is Key as You Develop a Growth Mindset
  3. 6 Tips to Help You Overcome the Fear of Making Mistakes
  4. How to Identify and Break Limiting Beliefs That Hold You Back

How to Identify and Break the Limiting Beliefs That Hold You Back

Limiting beliefs come in different shapes and forms. They might be thoughts like:

  • “I always mess up when I try something like this.”
  • “I’m not good at this.”
  • “It’s selfish or immoral of me to desire success.”
  • “It’s selfish of me to be more successful than my parents.”
  • “If I try this, people will judge me.”
  • “What will people think of me?”
  • “What if I fail?”
  • “I don’t have the right education or credentials to try this.”
  • “I’m not good enough for this.”
  • “This is too huge for me…I can’t do it.”

A limiting belief is therefore any negative recurring thought that stops you or makes you feel unworthy. This type of negative thinking will hold you back from achieving your goals.

Here are some strategies you can use to identify and eliminate your limiting beliefs.

1. Call out your limiting beliefs

If you’ve ever overcome bullying, you must have noticed that the first step to stopping a bully is to call them out. Also, just doing this once doesn’t change things permanently. You have to call the bully out over and over again. Each time you do this, they lose their power over you.

You can do the same with limiting beliefs. Identify these negative thoughts, call them out, and tell yourself that they are not true.

Everyone has their own pattern of recurring negative thoughts. What are yours? Simply realizing when you’ve shifted into these thought patterns is a great first step toward breaking them.

2. Look for examples of having overcome limiting beliefs

There are times in your life when you’ve overcome challenges. And there were other times when you ignored the negative thoughts and self-talk and took action, sometimes with great results!

Sift through your memory bank to identify these personal experiences and the times when you surprised yourself by taking action despite your fears.

Additionally, look for people who have overcome similar or more difficult challenges. If you can find some people within your circle, invite them for coffee and talk to them. Ask them what they did and the mindset they developed in order to move forward despite their challenges.

There are also many examples of people who have overcome obstacles that seemed insurmountable to them at that time and are probably too big for you. Search the internet for such people and study what they told themselves, how they acted, and the results they got. Use them as models to help you grow.

Finally, if you fear taking action in case you make mistakes and fail, think of a time you were successful before. Did people judge you? Some people may have, but there are others who were quite happy for you.

The more examples you come up with (both personal and other people’s), the easier it will be to diminish the power of your limiting beliefs.

3. Use positive affirmations

Limiting beliefs start off as thoughts. They grow with constant use and become habits in your mind. The good thing is that habits can be created and also changed.

An easy way to start changing your negative beliefs is through positive affirmations. Start catching yourself when you move into negative thinking and turn these thoughts around into their positive equivalents.

  • Instead of repeating to yourself that you can’t do it, tell yourself you can.
  • If you suffer from fear of success, tell yourself, “I am successful. I will succeed and this will help and inspire others.”
  • If you’re not good at something, tell yourself, “I am learning this, and I can master it just like any other skill.”

The key to success with affirmations is to repeat them many times, especially when you don’t need them. Simply repeating these positive phrases over and over again can combat negative self-talk.

You can also write your affirmations on index cards and post them in places that you use regularly such as your bathroom mirror, your car dashboard, or on your desk.

4. Adopt a Growth Mindset

This series of articles aims to help you adopt a growth mindset. This is a way of thinking that helps you reframe negative thoughts like these into positive ones.

The growth mindset asserts that we aren’t static and fixed. We change and grow over time and can do this deliberately. This mindset can be applied to any area of your life as it teaches you to defeat the inner critic that tells you that you can’t do something.

5. Remind yourself of your “Why”

When you set a goal or decide to go for something, there are normally one or more reasons behind your decision. The most compelling reasons why you’re doing this can be springboards to overcoming limiting beliefs.

Going back to the “why” that lies behind your current efforts will help you see things in a more positive light. So reconnect with your original vision and goals as often as you can. Evaluate how far you’ve come and use this to fight negative thinking.

6. Visualize a positive outcome

Negative self-talk leads to visualizing negative outcomes. Turn this around by focusing on the reward you’ll get as you work on your goals and as you change and become a more positive person.

You can also respond to your own limiting beliefs by telling yourself that the worst that could happen is that you make a mistake. As noted in the previous article, mistakes are nothing more than great learning experiences…if you choose to learn from them.

If you grasp this and change your visualization to a positive one, you can defeat the inner critic’s limiting beliefs and take action.

Over to you…

Limiting beliefs are not reserved for unsuccessful people. It’s possible to succeed despite having them. However, life is much easier when you can identify and eliminate them. This article shares some strategies you can use right now to change your mindset and have more empowering beliefs.

Do you want to learn more about breaking the power your inner critic has over you?

The negative voice inside has more power than you can imagine. It’s also been in control for a very long time. So it knows how to catch you when your guard is down.

Check out my program Break Free, Live Your Life if you’re feeling stuck and have lost the confidence you once had. This is a personal growth program for high-achieving women who are finding it hard to go for their BIG goals in the way they used to.

Click here to find out more about this program so that you break free of the thoughts, beliefs, attitudes, and behaviours that keep you playing small.

(Image by A3DigitalStudio at Pixabay)

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Caroline Gikonyo
Caroline Gikonyo

Caroline Gikonyo is a Life and Business Coach at Biashara 360. She's an avid blogger and also oversees our content creation. This ensures that we give our readers quality and well researched information and tips.

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