Limiting beliefs are subconscious thoughts that frame how we see ourselves, our world, and our possibilities. And they can affect our health and well-being.
“I have bad genes.”
“My body is too _______.”
“I’m not athletic.”
“I don’t like to work out.”
“Everyone in my family is _______.”
Any of those sound familiar? If we recognize our limiting beliefs and work to overcome them, we can change our stories to newer and more accurate truths about ourselves. And those can take us in a different direction.
Overcoming limiting beliefs isn’t about ignoring parts of ourselves or pretending everything is sunshine and roses. It is about recognizing negative thoughts for what they often are – unhelpful – and investigating how they might be restricting us.
Sometimes these stories begin in childhood and serve as a defense mechanism against emotions such as sadness, anger, frustration, or disappointment. And they may serve us well, to a point. But then we realize they’re holding us back, and they’re not the whole truth.
Since our mindset is vital to our health, overcoming limiting beliefs can be essential.
So how do we do that?
7 questions to help overcome limiting beliefs
Here are 7 questions you can reflect on when you catch yourself saying I do/I don’t …, I can’t …, I should/shouldn’t …, I’m too …, I’m not …, I already tried everything, and/or It’s selfish of me to …
Those phrases can be the start of a limiting belief. It can be helpful, and even healthy, to write down your answers to the following questions.
- Pause and reflect on your narrative. How and when does the limiting belief show up?
- Where did that belief come from, and how has it protected you in the past?
- What’s that belief preventing you from doing or trying now?
- What might be possible if you shake yourself free of that belief?
- What’s a new belief (however small) that can counteract the older, limiting belief?
- Where’s some proof for that new supportive belief?
- How can you further test out that supportive belief?
By reflecting and acting on these questions, testing a new belief with a small action, then reflecting on that experience before taking another small action, you can write a new story over time. Perhaps a friend or professional can help you create some action and accountability toward this new direction.
Instead of focusing on what you cannot do, creatively consider what you can do.
Give it a go.
As a national board-certified health and wellness coach, Amy Hoogervorst offers grace and space for a healthier you. If you’re ready to write a new story and fit healthier habits into your life for more energy, focus, and fun, schedule a free discovery call here to learn more about health coaching and how it might benefit you.
Lianne MacGregor says
Great tips! Thanks for addressing this pesky problem.