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  • Writer's pictureNick Howell

Overcoming Limiting Beliefs

Updated: May 10, 2023

Head with a sad face inside
Break Free From 'Limiting Beliefs'

We All Have Them. Those pesky thoughts that stop us from achieving what we want from life.

As we go through life, we develop beliefs about ourselves, others, and the world around us.

Some of these beliefs are helpful and enable us to lead happy, fulfilling lives.

Others, however, can be restrictive and cause us to miss out on opportunities, stop us from making good decisions, limiting our ability to reach our full potential.

These latter beliefs are known as "limiting beliefs". In this post, we'll explore what limiting beliefs are, where they come from, and how they can hold us back. I’ll also provide you with some steps to start tackling them. Read on to unlock your potential…

What Are Limiting Beliefs?

A limiting belief is any belief that restricts us. Common examples of limiting beliefs include:

"I'm not good enough,"

"I don't deserve success,"

"I'm not worthy of love"

"I can't do that"

"I'm not smart enough"

"I have to be perfect".

These beliefs can limit our ability to pursue our dreams, reach our potential or find happiness in life.

Where Do Limiting Beliefs Come From?

Most of us develop our limiting beliefs in childhood because of our experiences and the messages we receive from the people around us.

For example, if we're repeatedly told that we're not good enough or that we'll never amount to anything, we may start to believe those things about ourselves.

Or, if for example, we witness someone close to us struggling again and again without ever achieving success, we may develop the belief that success is unattainable.

How Do Limiting Beliefs Hold Us Back?

The primeval part of our brain can have a tendency to overplay itself and it tries to protect us from experiencing pain in the future.

Whilst this primeval part of our brain is doing its best to protect, it can have the unwanted effect of holding us back.

When we believe that for example 'we're not good enough' or that 'success is unattainable', we will tend to avoid situations or opportunities that would, in our mind, make these beliefs come true.

We may even start self-sabotaging our efforts before we even get started because deep down we are thinking that the worst will happen.

We may keep on telling ourselves these stories until these beliefs are well and truly cemented into our thinking.

So, How Can I Overcome My Limiting Beliefs?

If you suspect that you have some limiting beliefs holding you back in life, don't despair.

The first step is acknowledging that these negative beliefs exist and that they may be impacting your life in negative ways.

You can make the choice to move to a growth mindset, which is to acknowledge that not everything is fixed and you can choose to make changes.

You can then start working on reframing your thinking and confronting these beliefs head-on. Here are some steps that will help...

1. Acknowledge That Your Beliefs May Not Be Reality - The first step is to consider the thought that your beliefs are thoughts - nothing more, nothing less.

Just because you think something doesn't make it true. Once you realise this, it becomes much easier to start questioning the thoughts that are holding you back and start to see them for what they really could be - false beliefs that if countered, should not deserve your attention or energy.

2. Challenge Your Limiting Beliefs with Evidence - Once you start considering that these beliefs may be just thoughts, it's time to put them to the test.

Firstly write your beliefs out on a piece of paper, it can be very useful to get these beliefs down on paper and out of your head.

Next, think about what evidence you have to support your belief. Chances are, you'll find that there is none, or at least very little. This is because most of our limiting beliefs are based on fears and assumptions, rather than facts. Think about whether these beliefs are grounded in any reality.

3. Reframe Your Beliefs Into Something More Powerful - Now that you have started to challenge your beliefs, it's time to replace them with something new, something more empowering, positive, and aligned with what you want to achieve.

So instead of framing a belief as:

"I don't have the time to focus on my family'

you could look to reframe it as:

"I can seek opportunities to organise my time differently, to spend quality time with my family."

or instead of:

"I'm not good enough"

you could look to reframe it as:

"I'm doing my best and I'm constantly improving".

This simple shift in perspective can make all the difference in how you feel about yourself and your ability to take action.

4. Take Action Towards Your Goals - Keep these statements somewhere visible and revisit them often, make sure that you replay them with yourself.

You can then utilise these new statements to help form new actions or goals to move forward in the areas where previously you may have been held back by your limiting beliefs.

Wrapping Up:

You can break free from your limiting beliefs and achieve those things that you most want to achieve.

It can take time to reform and remove limiting beliefs, so don't give up if you initially slip backward, that's part of the journey.

Keep moving forward and continue to challenge these beliefs as they come up. Over time your brain will arrive more automatically at the reframed, more positive position.

Want to explore this area more?

Do feel free to reach out for a no-obligation conversation. I’d love to partner with you as your life coach and help you navigate your journey toward the change you deserve.

Nick is a Life, Personal Development, Career & Leadership Coach based in Norfolk, England. Through his work with individuals and businesses, he helps unlock potential. Helping his clients achieve success and happiness in their personal lives and careers -

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