So, by now, you are in the middle of it, right?
Charging ahead, working on those “New Year, New You” resolutions. Headed to the gym before work, reading a new book each week…
Oh wait.. no?
Are you feeling defeated?
Are you losing some steam?
Feeling discouraged or overwhelmed?
Psst – it’s totally normal.
Have you heard of limiting beliefs? It’s a concept we talk a lot about in coaching. Limiting beliefs, simply put, are lies we tell ourselves that stop us from succeeding, that stop us from even moving. We’ve picked them up over the years, through watching our parents figure out their own place in the world, from crabby teachers who don’t like children, from bossy friends telling us how to fit in – even from society at large giving us “information” on what women and men “should” be like.
Limiting beliefs tell us when we “can’t” do something. Falsely. These lies create little stories in our head and attach emotions such as fear, doubt, or shame. Powerful, paralyzing emotions. And those thoughts, paired with emotion, over time, become habits. It becomes normal to sabotage our dreams, to believe we can’t achieve goals we set.
Samples of limiting beliefs:
- I can’t quit, addiction is too powerful.
- I’m never going to be as good as she is, so why try?
- I don’t deserve it anyway.
- No one even cares what I do anyway, so why try?
- It doesn’t matter what I do.
- No one will like me that way.
- Being rejected is too painful to risk it.
- I’m just going to embarrass myself by trying.
- I’m not good enough.
Lies. All of them.
What if … we stopped believing the lies?
Does it seem possible to stop believing the lies?
I will admit, it’s not easy. It takes time, it takes practice, and it takes a real desire for change. And sometimes, a new wave comes up and you have to start over again. (Another thing that’s normal!)
But the good news? These thought patterns ARE YOURS. You are the only one who has the power to change them, and you can overcome!
How to begin to overcome your limiting beliefs:
1. Make the choice. First you have to want to, really want to, let go of those old thinking patterns. It’s hard – even when they are unpleasant, they are still comfortable. They are known. So the first step is to set your mind, set your will, choose to step out of this dirty comfort.
2. Get some help. Because these thoughts are habits, they are quite comfortable. So it’s hard to recognize when we are falling into these old traps. Get a friend or a coach who will hold you accountable. Someone who will gently remind you of what is truth, what is possible, and what you can really do!
3. Replace the lies. You need new truth to fill the thought space of your old thinking. And you need to remind yourself constantly of this new truth! Put post-it notes on your computer screen, your bathroom mirror. Change your passwords, your screen-savers, your lock screen on your phone to phrases that will remind you of all that you can do.
4. Practice, Practice, Practice. It takes time to train your brain. Just like learning to play the piano, it takes time to learn a new skill. So be kind to yourself while you learn to make new statements and let go of the old.
Samples of overcoming statements:
- I am more powerful than addiction.
- With God’s help, I can do anything.
- I am doing what I am meant to do.
- I am meant to fully live this life.
- Through my work, I can help others.
- Everything I do is a learning experience.
- I am enough.
Your statements will be yours. They will lift you up, remind you of who you truly are and all you meant to be.
So play with this idea. Talk with a friend about what holds you back and what would get you going again.
Because we have to recognize it in order to conquer it.
And we can.