When I was a little girl, my mother would never let me join after school activities or clubs. Her main reasoning being that, "You're not going to finish it anyway. You're just going to quit."
Considering she never let me join anything anyway, one had to wonder how she knew I'd quit before even trying. However, my mother hated being called out on stuff, so I would wisely keep my mouth shut. And after awhile, I just stopped asking my mom to let me do stuff.
In doing so, I came to believe that I would never finish anything and so there was no point in even trying. It built up this belief in my head that I was a lazy and unmotivated person. And it shaped my behavior quite a bit during my teens and early twenties.
You see - my mother had unintentionally (maybe) instilled in me a self-limiting belief. And this self-limiting belief made me miss many opportunities. When I just 18 years old, I missed out on a golden opportunity to intern at a local magazine company because there was this part of me that thought I couldn't do it.
Do you know how much I could have learned without ever stepping foot inside a college? I still kick myself for missing out on that opportunity.
My point, though, is that the reason many of us don't accomplish our goals is because of self-limiting beliefs. We let these negative thoughts impact our decisions. And the worse part about it is that it's all subconscious. Unless you take time to really evaluate your thoughts and feelings, you won't even realize your self limiting behavior.
Let's switch gears for a moment.
There's a type of person I absolutely can't stand.
It's the type of person who decides to start a freelance business, don't see immediate success, and then quit. Because it's too hard. Because the market is too saturated. Because there's too much competition.
Those are bullshit excuses to hide your fear of failing and frustration of not seeing immediate success. And I can speak on that confidently because I made those same excuses.
If you dig a little further, you'll find that those excuses are covering up some subconscious self limiting beliefs.
Working from home is not easy. There is rarely immediate success. And yes, I do want to take the thickest book possible and slap the shit out of bloggers that claim, "I just started freelancing yesterday and I've already made a $1,000!"
The only way to see success is through hard work and never giving up. It's remaining positive. And it's getting rid of those dumb self-limiting ideas that's seeped into your subconscious and making you hesitate without even realizing why.
Let's work on identifying your self-limiting beliefs.
these are self-limiting beliefs
Ok, so I've basically talked about how self-limiting beliefs are negative, subconscious thoughts that prevent you from pursuing and committing to the goals you set. But that's easy enough to say, but what some actual examples of self-limiting beliefs?
- I'm not pretty enough.
- I'm not smart enough.
- Making money is hard. <--- That was my own self-limiting belief.
- I don't deserve to have nice things.
- I'll never finish what I start. <---- My other self-limiting belief.
- I don't have any traits that people find attractive.
- I'm so stupid.
- I really suck at writing.
- I'm just a fraud. I can't help other people.
- No one is going to support me anyway so there's no point.
- I'm not a lucky person. Nothing good ever happens to me.
- I can't lose weight. It'll just come back and bring friends and I'll be right back where I started. <---- Another self-limiting belief of mine.
So, those are examples of self-limiting beliefs. You've already convinced yourself that you're not pretty, that you don't deserve it, that you can't do it. And so all your actions align to those beliefs.
So now that we got some examples down of self-limiting beliefs, how do we recognize them if they're subconscious thoughts?
Write it down
Get out a piece of pen and piece of paper. Open up a new tab in your browser and go to this online timer. Set your timer for about five minutes and write down all your goals. Don't even think about it: just write it down. It can be your goals, wants, desire - whatever it is that you want, write it down. But do try to be specific.
now how do you feel?
At the end of five minutes, review what you wrote down. As you read your list, pay attention to how each one makes you feel. If your goal is to make $100,000 at the end of the year, do you feel like this:
Or are you feeling more like this:
If you're feeling more like that second meme when you look at your goals, then there's definitely something more going on that we need to look at it. Ask yourself, why doesn't this goal get you excited out of your mind?
Do you feel you can't accomplish it? Why?
Are you afraid to fail? Why?
Is it something that you really don't want but think you should do? Why?
Do you think you're not clever enough to pull it off? Why?
Now play the switch-a-roo game
So, now you've identified your self-limiting beliefs. How are you going to get rid of them?
By playing the switch-a-roo game, which is basically taking that self-limiting belief and finding an instance in your life where it just wasn't true. For example, my self limiting belief was that I can never finish what I start.
But, you know you what? I finished nursing school. If I can complete a program, where half of the students dropped out by the end of the first semester, a program that made grown, tough as nails women break down into crying, whimpering pile of snot, tears, and self-doubt - then I can finish anything that I start.
By realizing this, I found a new confidence in myself.
So to wrap things on up
Goals are important part of success. They help drive and motivate us to success, but so many people never accomplish them. And I believe the underlying reason is the subconscious self-limiting beliefs.
By learning to identify these beliefs, you take the first steps towards success. Once you start believing in your heart that you can do it, then your actions will line up to reflect this.
And you will complete all your goals.