Are self-limiting beliefs holding you back from becoming who you want to be or doing the things you want to do in your life? Here’s how to stop self-limiting beliefs and change your self-image to the limitless person you truly are.
What are Self Limiting Beliefs?
Self-limiting beliefs are decisions you have made about how the world works and what you are able to do and not do in that world.
They are created based on your experiences, what you have heard or learned from other people and your own perceptions. Self-limiting beliefs can prevent you from being, doing or creating what you want in your life.
How to Stop Self-Limiting Beliefs
First, you have to identify them. Self-limiting beliefs operate in the background, like music in an elevator. They can be so familiar and entwined with your self-image that you may not realize they are there.
How do you uncover them?
Think of what you want. Think of something that you want or that you have been trying to do – something that you haven’t been able to accomplish – yet.
For example, perhaps you want to learn to play guitar.
Notice what other thoughts come up when you think about it. Maybe you think “I’m too old,” or “I tried to play before but it was a disaster. I’m no good at playing guitar.”
Be aware of these thoughts.
Pretend that you’re a scientist taking notes on an experiment. Don’t judge them, or fight them, just notice them.
Are any of them self-limiting beliefs?
Analyze Your Self-Limiting Beliefs
Write them down so that you can analyze them. Ask yourself the following questions for each one:
Is this belief a fact or an opinion?
- The last time I tried to play guitar I couldn’t remember the chords. This is a fact.
- It was a disaster and it sounded like fingernails on a chalkboard. This is an opinion.
Is your self-image involved in the belief? Is it something you did or is it who you believe you are?
- I kept dropping the guitar pick. This is something you did.
- I’m a terrible guitarist and I have no musical ability. This is a decision you have made about who you believe you are. While it’s definitely a self-limiting belief, it’s also just an opinion.
When you look at this belief, how do you feel? Do you feel good or bad?
- If it feels bad, it’s a self-limiting belief. It is holding you back from being able to get or accomplish what you desire.
How to Change Self Limiting Beliefs
Once you’ve identified them, you can change and stop self-limiting beliefs.
Change Your Rules
Give yourself permission to change yourself and your self-image. Not only to think differently but to be different. After all, in order to do something new, you’ll have to become a little bit different, at the very least.
Focus on the facts. Let go of the opinions.
It’s okay to make a mistake. You don’t have to put a label on yourself just because you messed up.
Ask yourself, does this thought help me get my objective?
By telling myself that I’m a terrible guitar player, will this help me to be a better guitar player? No.
Then what thought would help me get my objective? Try something like “I’ll keep practicing until I can play the guitar easily.”
Change Your Perspective
Is what you want possible? Has someone else done it or something similar? If someone else has done it, then you can do it, too.
But don’t stop there. Take some time and find out how they did it. What steps did they take? By learning how something is done, you gain the knowledge to be able to do it yourself.
Change Your Self-Image
What would it look like (and feel like) to succeed? See yourself as a musician and someone who can play the guitar well. What would you do on a regular basis to be a good guitar player? How often would you practice? What songs would you learn?
Change your self-image. Think like the successful person you want to be. As a good guitar player, what would you think about practicing? What would you tell yourself to help you improve? What beliefs would you have?
Most importantly, take action to prove to yourself that you can do it. The quickest way to change any limiting belief is to actually do what you believe is impossible.
Even the first step, can show your mind that it is possible for you, too.
Give yourself credit for each step. Notice how your perception changes as you move forward. You may be surprised at how easy the steps may be or wish you had started sooner.
Allow yourself to feel and enjoy your accomplishments.
A lot of people skip this step, preferring to stay focused on the final goal. But it’s important to celebrate the steps along the way, as well.
By recognizing them, you train your mind to stop self-limiting beliefs, recognize your progress and learn that you can let go of your limitations.