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How to Deflate Self-Limiting Beliefs

Ever felt like a goal or dream was outside your reach because you lacked the talent or expertise to make it happen?  Maybe someone informed you, you were not capable of doing it or felt it was out of character for you to do it. 

This can happen frequently.  There’s a goal or a dream – that thing you just can’t stop thinking about.  You want it.  You’ve always wanted it, yet you never went for it. 

The assumptions you have about yourself or the world, have held you back.  You’re not athletic enough to run a marathon.  You’re not disciplined enough to lose fifteen pounds. You are not talented enough for the promotion.  These beliefs entered your mind, often times at a young age and they stayed there.  I can never be _____ because that is not who I am.  You filtered out any evidence that proved otherwise and convinced yourself it wasn’t meant to be.  The perceptions we hold of ourselves can be distorted. 

We may not realize just how ingrained our self-limiting beliefs really are until we start to explore what is stopping us from living our best life.  Sometimes it is the self-limiting obstacles that cause the most harm, especially when we label them incorrectly as facts.  Looking back, you begin to see just how many opportunities were missed simply because self-limiting beliefs held you back.  The should’ve, would’ve, could’ve appear. 

Those beliefs can be a heavy cross to bear.  They can infiltrate all aspects of your body, mind, and spirit.  The effect can be seen in so many ways: career trajectories, fitness goals, life choices.  The good thing is there are ways to see past them and find a realistic way to live outside of the walls these self-limiting beliefs have built.   

Here are four things you can do to start deflating those beliefs and start seeing the possibilities:

  • Be uncomfortable.  Don’t be afraid to step out of your box and seek goals you never thought were attainable.  Your comfort zone was built on self-limiting beliefs but, what’s the worst that can happen if you step outside of previously-marked boundaries?  You kill it and live happily ever after?  New will always be scary and even overwhelming, but that doesn’t need to stop you.  Making the commitment to work on reaching your goal could mean you actually attain it.  It can still happen, so dip your toe (baby toe is fine) into unchartered waters.  
  • Acknowledge mistakes happen.  Mistakes can mean you failed, or it can mean you tried.   You get to decide the meaning.  Mistakes are a part of life, plain and simple.  Mistakes happen, you move on.  Mistakes are also how we learn what works and what doesn’t work in our careers, our lives, our homes.  Mistakes do not mean you did something wrong, on the contrary it means you tried.  One mistake – one misstep, does not kill the entire story.  It is merely a learning tool. 
  • Test it out.  Instead of worrying about an end goal, just go for it.  You don’t have to become Picasso in order to paint.  You certainly do not have to get perfect grades in order to attend college.  And you certainly do not need to be the best dancer, runner, meditator in order to give it a shot.  Sometimes, the triumph comes from simply trying.  If you dreamed of becoming a hiker, but always held yourself back because you were told you are not an active person, success could merely mean buying a pair of hiking boots and go from there.  Hitting a trail or two may be the start of your new belief.  Remember the rest will come in due time, but you will never know until you try.
  • Ignore the haters.  You don’t have to impress the haters, regardless of who they are.  They have their own problems to deal with.  Trust me they will not support your accomplishments regardless of how successful you become, so relax, put your blinders on, and keep going.  They may have contributed to your self-limiting beliefs, but that doesn’t mean they have to continue to control your life.  Their opinions do not necessarily need to affect the road you need to be on.  Even the most talented, beautiful, courageous individuals have people telling them otherwise.  That’s just the way it is.

Change will not happen overnight.  These beliefs were not created instantaneously therefore, do not expect them to disappear with a snap of a finger.  Give it time.  Make progress at the tempo that is right for you. 

– Progress, Not Perfection –

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