As I’ve worked with women in my private coaching business, I’ve realized that while a lot of women have big goals they want to achieve and the best intentions of going after them, most of them stay stuck because of limiting beliefs, or old thought patterns, that keep getting in their way. It’s only when we start working together to release these limiting beliefs that things actually start to change, for the better.
Ok, so what exactly, is a limiting belief anyway?
Before we jump in, I wanted to clearly define what a limiting belief is so we’re all on the same page (no pun intended).
A limiting belief is a belief that you believe to be true about yourself, about others, or about the world, that is holding you back in some way. Source: AllisonFallon.com
It’s a core belief you’ve created over time through repetition. You’ve thought it so many times that it becomes ingrained in your neural pathways and it becomes really hard to change, as you’ve actually wired your brain to think a certain way. You start seeing your world through grey-colored glasses instead of rose-colored ones. Instead of seeing the possibilities, you only see the negative side of things. Which is actually something humans are wired to do anyways as a measure of self-protection. We have an innate negativity bias, so it becomes pretty clear why we hold onto negative experiences or events to “prove” our negative beliefs.
Some common examples include:
“I’m not good enough.”
“I will never succeed.”
“I can’t lose weight.”
“I don’t have enough experience.”
“I’m lazy and unmotivated.”
“I don’t have enough time to go after my goals.”
Alright, so now that you know what a limiting belief is, let me tell you a few ways you can start to unpack your old thought patterns so that you’re no longer stuck and can actually move forward creating a life you love, lived on your own terms.
1. Become aware of them.
In order to release our limiting beliefs and get unstuck, we have to first become aware of them. We have to listen to what we’re telling ourselves every day. If the script in your head is always negative, there’s no way you’re going to change your present reality!
You have to become aware of your inner dialogue and start questioning those thoughts, one by one. So start listening to whatever you’re telling yourself, when you’re trying to work towards a goal. Is it positive language or are you putting yourself down? Start paying attention and writing down the beliefs that are coming up for you.
2. Change your script and start questioning your old thoughts.
So let’s say you keep telling yourself that you’ll never succeed. If you keep saying that, it will eventually become true. You have to break the pattern and start telling yourself something positive like: I have the ability to do a good job. If I keep trying, I will learn and get better.
Or maybe you tell yourself that whatever you’re trying to accomplish is too hard. Or you don’t have enough time for it. Question this in the same way. For time, we are all working with the same 24 hours in a day. If some people can manage to carve out time in their schedule, so can you. It’s a matter of choosing to. And around something being too difficult, have you even really tried? Don’t give up before you’ve even started and given yourself an actual chance to succeed.
And also question if your belief is actually 100% true. Do you know without a shadow of a doubt that you’ve never succeeded in anything in your life? If you really look at it, you can probably find multiple situations or events where you were successful. Use that as proof and evidence that maybe your belief isn’t really true.
3. And the secret to changing your beliefs is also changing your behavior.
In order to truly change, you also need to start behaving in a way that supports this new thought. So, in order to change your belief, you need to support it with a positive behavior related to it.
To give you an example: Say you’re trying to work on losing weight. If you mock yourself every time you pass a mirror and stop yourself from wearing clothes you love, you’ll never feel ok in the present moment. And so it will be harder to shed the weight.
So pay attention to the things you say AND do. Your actions needs to support whatever it is you’re trying to change in your life.
If you keep saying you want one thing and do another, it won’t work. This creates cognitive dissonance, where you have conflicting thoughts and behaviors.
The funny thing with these stories and beliefs is that sometimes they provide us safety and comfort because they’re what we know and what we’re familiar with. If you’ve told yourself all your life that you’re not good enough, it’s hard to all of a sudden let that story go. But in order to change, you have to be brave enough to be a little bit uncomfortable. You have to challenge that belief in order to let it go, once and for all.