Changing Your Limiting Beliefs
Identifying Your Limiting Beliefs
Last week we took a look at an intro to Limiting Beliefs. We discussed what they are and why we they limit ourselves. Before we move on, it’s imperative to remind yourself that all beliefs are neutral. You might for instance share a belief with another person. This belief might work for you in your situation, however, it might not work for the other person in their situation. Likewise, a certain belief might work for you in one situation, but not in another situation. It, therefore, depends on the situation and on the person holding that same belief.
So, it’s important to keep in mind how useful and powerful a belief “is” in your particular situation. If it serves you, is loving to you, and supports the goal you are working toward, then keep it. However, if it doesn’t serve you and hinders your progress, then this is a clear indication that you are dealing with a limiting belief.
Your limiting beliefs often hide beyond conscious awareness. However, there are key signals you can look for that will provide you with the indicators you need to identify these limiting beliefs. These key indicators will be evident when you confront obstacles and challenges along your adventure toward your goals.
You typically won’t be able to overcome obstacles and problems because of the limiting beliefs that are occupying the space between your ears. For instance, your limiting beliefs can potentially manifest in the following ways:
- Excuse making
- Negative Thought Indulgence
- Unhealthy Habit Indulgence
- Limited and Unhelpful Self-Talk
- Conclusion Jumping and Assumptions
- Hesitations and Fear Talk
- Worrying Incessantly
Take all of these things into consideration and list down all the limiting beliefs that come to mind as you work toward your goals. And yes, even “thinking”about your goals applies.
How to Transform Your Limiting Beliefs
If you’ve done the work, you should have identified a good amount of the limiting beliefs that are holding you back in life. Truth is that this is unfortunately where most people stop. They think that having an awareness of their limiting beliefs will now encourage them to think differently about their lives and circumstances. There some truth to this.
Being aware of your beliefs will indeed encourage you to think differently about them. However, your limiting beliefs have the support of many references and are habitual. You’ve practiced and supported them for a long time. Most of them have a lot of emotional investment behind them, which is where the problems lie.
You can’t just half-ass it through this process and hope that you will change your mind. Whenever you have a high level of emotion invested in something it creates a barrier to change. That’s why you hear people say things like “you are emotionally attached to X”. In these cases you need to cut your ties, and this will require some work. In fact, the deeper the belief and/or conviction, the more difficult this process is going to be, and the longer it might take. You didn’t learn this habit overnight and you won’t unlearn it that fast either.
As you work through this belief transformation process it’s important you remain observant and curious. You must be open to the possibilities, you must welcome new perspectives, and you must accept alternate viewpoints. Openmindedness is essential but a warning. You don’t want your mind totally open where it accepts any new idea, thought or belief. The new beliefs need to align with who you are.
Being receptive and willing to adapt to changing conditions and circumstances lies at the cornerstone of any change that you would like to make. This is especially true when it comes to transforming your limiting beliefs.
Step 1: Choose Your Desired Outcome
Your very first step is to choose your desired outcome. This will help you gain clarity about what it is you would like to change. Ask yourself:
What goals would I like to achieve?
What’s currently preventing me from achieving these goals?
What kind of person would l ideally like to become?
What is it specifically that I would like to change?
What specific beliefs are not working for me?
What beliefs are preventing me from achieving my desired outcomes?
Once you are clear about the limiting beliefs that are holding you back, you can move to step two of this process.
Step 2: Question Your Limiting Beliefs
Your limiting beliefs are only as strong as the references that support them. And, often your limiting beliefs probably have a plethora of references that influence your perspective on reality.
It’s important to keep in mind that these references were only once ideas, that became opinions, and later came together to form your beliefs. As such, they aren’t real. They are of course real for you, but that’s only your perspective. Change your perspective and opinion about them, and you will likewise throw doubt on your limiting beliefs.
And that is precisely what you’re going to do right now. You are going to throw doubt upon these beliefs from all possible angles.
Here are some questions to get you started on this process. This list will hopefully get you going, but you should certainly add your own questions as you move through this process.
Throw doubt on your limiting belief by asking yourself:
Is this belief really that accurate?
Have I always believed this? Why?
Was there a time when I didn’t believe this? Why?
Are there times in some situations when this belief just doesn’t make any rational sense?
What evidence is there that disproves this limiting belief?
What’s the exact opposite way of thinking about this belief? How is this helpful?
What’s funny about this belief? What’s strange about this belief? What’s embarrassing about this belief?
Is this belief helping me get what I want most in life? Will it help me reach my goals?
How would others question the validity of this belief? How would they think about it?
How does the opposite of what I believe work for other people? How is this of value?
What famous quotes throw doubt upon this limiting belief?
What are the critical flaws in believing what I believe? How is it silly to think this way?
How would I think about this belief if I was Albert Einstein? Bugs Bunny? Harry Potter? A child? An entrepreneur? A rock? An elephant? An ant?
Some of these questions might seem silly and strange. However, they are designed to help you expand your perspective and the possibilities of your situation.
These questions are designed to encourage you to think outside the box. They are designed to make you feel a little uncomfortable, and they are, of course, designed to help shift how you think about your limiting belief.
The more effort you put into answering these questions, the more doubt you will throw on your limiting belief, and the faster you will move through this belief transformation process.
Transforming Limiting Beliefs
Step 3: Consider the Consequences of Your Limiting Beliefs
Having thrown doubt on your limiting belief, it’s now time to consider the consequences of holding onto this belief. Really have a good long, and hard think about the following questions:
What will the consequences be if I’m unable to make this change and eliminate this limiting belief?
How will not changing affect me physically? Emotionally? Spiritually? Financially? In my relationships with others?
How will not changing affect my life?
What are the short-term consequences of not changing?
What are the potential long-term consequences of not making this change?
How will all this make me feel?
Given all this, why is it important to make this change right now?
The more pain you can associate with holding onto this belief, the more motivation you will have to make a positive change in your life.
For this reason, it’s paramount that you move through these questions progressively one at a time and fully experience the pain passing through all your sensory organs.
Feel the anger, experience the grief, think about the regrets, and even allow yourself to cry. The more pain you generate, the more motivation you will have to change.
Step 4: Choose a New Empowering Belief to Adopt
You must now choose a new empowering belief that you would like to use moving forward.
The one guiding principle that you must follow here is to make sure that this new belief is believable. If it’s not believable, then you will, unfortunately, fail to condition it into your psyche.
To unlock this new empowering belief, take into consideration the goal that you would like to achieve, the person that you would want to become, and the core values you would like to uphold, then ask yourself the following set of questions from a third person’s perspective:
What would this person likely believe while in pursuit of this goal?
What would this person believe about themselves?
What would this person believe about their goal?
What’s their attitude like? How do they think about this goal?
What would this person believe after having achieved their goal?
How would they think about the obstacles they confront along their journey?
What would they believe if they had to achieve this goal again for a second time?
Now, consider the advantages of this belief and how it could potentially help improve your life and circumstances. Ask yourself:
What are the benefits of using this new belief?
How will this new belief help me to attain my goals?
How will this belief change my life for the better?
How will this belief help me in the short-term and in the long-term?
How will all this make me feel about myself?
To what extent is this belief likely to empower me moving forward?
Why is all this important? What does all this really mean?
The more reasons you can find, the more motivation you will have to change your old patterns of behavior and replace them with new empowering belief systems.
Step 5: Strengthen Your New Empowering Belief
Now, let’s look at ways you can potentially strengthen this new empowering belief.
Strengthening a belief requires taking into consideration ways you could build upon the references that support this new belief. Ask yourself:
What kinds of behaviors, decisions and actions could help me strengthen this belief?
What habits and/or rituals could help me strengthen this belief?
What famous quotes could potentially help me strengthen this belief?
Are there any symbols I could use that might help me strengthen this belief?
Could I create a slogan for myself that might help me strengthen this belief?
Are there any stories that support the philosophy behind this new empowering belief?
What about role models? Are there any role models I could turn to that could help me strengthen this belief?
There are many ideas here that will help you strengthen your new belief. One of the most practical ideas involves simply finding a handful of quotes that support the philosophy behind your new empowering belief.
Write these quotes down on a piece of paper and keep them in your pocket. Then, whenever you feel yourself indulging in your old limiting belief, take some time to read over these quotes. This will help you get back on track. It’s as easy as that. And what’s more, each time you read these quotes you build stronger references that will help support your new empowering belief moving forward.
Likewise keep an eye out for stories, documentaries, and films that support the philosophy behind your empowering belief. Keep them listed on that sheet of paper as well, then turn to these stories for some added insight, direction, and inspiration.
Working through the belief transformation process comes down to building solid references that help support your new empowering belief. The more references you are able to collect, the stronger your new belief will become, and this will subsequently weaken your old limiting belief.
Just keep building the evidence against your limiting belief and in favor of your empowering belief. Once the evidence begins to overwhelmingly support your empowering belief, that is when the tables will turn, and your mindset will permanently shift.
Step 6: Make a Firm Decision About What to Change
You must now make a firm decision that you will begin making the necessary changes to overcome your limiting belief.
For this to happen, you must have the necessary commitment, self-confidence, and motivation to make the required changes stick. Ask yourself:
What’s my commitment level to making this change?
Do I feel confident that I can successfully make this change?
How motivated am I to make this change?
Go through each of these questions and rank them from 1 to 10. If you’re not at least at an 8 out of 10 on all three questions, then go back to the previous steps and work through them again.
Don’t proceed unless you have reached an eight or above. Otherwise, you’re just wasting your time, and you will continue to sabotage yourself when facing adversity.
Step 7: Progressively Condition Your New Belief
Having committed yourself to this new empowering belief, it’s now time to progressively condition this new belief into your nervous system. And there are some ways you can do this.
First of all, you can use the process of visualization to help condition this new belief into your nervous system. Just spend time daily visualizing yourself in your imagination using this new way of thinking in your day-to-day undertakings. Take note of the actions you take, the decisions you make, how you talk to yourself, how you speak to others, etc. Think about your new attitude and the results that this new belief is helping you to manifest in your life.
You are in essence imagining a new and better you in your minds-eye and then transferring the “new you” from your imagination into the physical world.
Everything first begins in your imagination and then gets transferred across into the real world. Doing things this way will help you to develop the self-confidence you need to work with this new belief.
Secondly, you can use the process of anchoring to condition this new belief into your nervous system. This primarily involves anchoring a physical sensation to your body that will automatically allow you to get into an optimal state-of-mind that is congruent with your new empowering belief.
Thirdly, you can condition this new belief into your nervous system by making some helpful adjustments to your sub-modalities. These modifications can help add more emotional firepower to your new belief. This will increase the strength of the references that help support this belief.
Next, you can use a technique known as Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT). This method works for some people but may not work for all people. It involves tapping on end points of the body’s energy meridians. This tapping process can help you overcome your limiting beliefs and habits.
Finally, you might want to consider modeling or emulating other people who are actively living this empowering belief. Get to know these people and find out what makes them tick.
But what if these people are just not accessible? Then learn all you can about them from books, documentaries, films, interviews, etc. Find out why they do what they do, and also how they do it. Then emulate them and model their decisions and actions. This will hopefully help you build even more references that support your new belief.
In the end, what’s most important is reminding yourself about the value of this new belief and how it will help improve your life moving forward.
Step 8: Make Room for this New Belief in Your Life
It’s time now to make the necessary changes to your values, environment, thoughts, language patterns, life, etc. Everything must align to support your new empowering belief.
If incongruities exist, or conflicts are still present, then you will probably find it difficult to adopt this new belief. For this very reason, you must make the necessary changes to allow for a successful transition. Ask yourself:
Is this new belief congruent and consistent with my values? Do any changes need to be made?
How must my thoughts and perspectives change to match this new belief?
How must I alter my language patterns to match this new belief?
Do I need to develop some new habits and/or rituals that will help support this new belief?
How must I change my environment to match this new belief?
Are there any other aspects of my life that need adjusting in order to integrate this new belief successfully into my life?
When it comes to altering your language patterns, you might like to use scripted affirmations throughout your day. These affirmations will help you to stay on track. Affirmations such as:
I can do this… I believe in myself…
I am strong, confident and capable…
I will find a way to make this work…
Alternatively, you can turn these affirmations into questions. Questions are more powerful than affirmations because they focus your mind on solutions and on taking the necessary action steps to solve problems. You might, for instance, alter the above three affirmations in the following way:
How can I do this? How can I solve this problem?
What are my strengths? How can I use them to muster the self-confidence I need to get this done?
How can I make this work? What if I tried…? Who could help me make this work?
When you ask questions, you’re no longer focused on what can’t be done, but rather on the possibilities that are laid out before you. Moreover, you begin thinking proactively and taking decisive action toward your desired outcomes. Yes, you will make mistakes, but if you continue to ask proactive questions, you will quickly learn from those mistakes and make course corrections.
Step 9: Begin Using Your New Empowering Belief
Take action, and get into the habit of using your new empowering belief as often as possible until it begins to feel comfortable and familiar.
You may, of course, need to get through that initial awkward stage where you feel a little discomfort and uncertainty. That’s normal. With persistence, dedication, and commitment you will get through it. Just keep moving forward.
It might be helpful to write down your new belief on a sheet of paper and carry it around with you throughout the day. Read your new belief as often as possible until it begins feeling comfortable and natural.
As you make progress along your journey, it’s important to always stay flexible in your approach and make course corrections when required.
Your new empowering belief might have made sense when you initially created it, however, as you begin to take proactive action toward the attainment of your goals, you might need to make some alternations to this belief. What worked for you initially might not work for you down the track. And if you’re not flexible in your approach then you just won’t get the long-term results you expect from this process.
It’s also very possible that as you work toward your goals, that other limiting beliefs (you didn’t previously acknowledge) might crop up.
These limiting beliefs have been lying dormant for years. They haven’t cropped up until now because you haven’t had to do anything that made you feel uncomfortable in this area of your life.
Now that you’re stepping into new territory, these limiting beliefs have been forced to the surface. Given this, it’s helpful that you come back to this limiting belief transformation process time and again until you successfully work through all the limiting beliefs that are standing between you and the attainment of your goals and objectives.
Overcoming our limiting beliefs isn’t easy but self-improvement is the most valuable work we can do. It takes a significant investment of work, reflections, and time. this isn’t a one and done once kind of thing. It’s a perpetual adventure of steps that we must revisit daily, weekly and monthly. This means committing ourselves to long-term change. And our beliefs are at the core of that transformation or limitation. We all get to choose.
Remember that the beliefs that got you to where you are today won’t get you to where you want to be tomorrow. Your beliefs must be progressive and open to the new awareness you allow. therefore. It’s like they say, “if nothing changes, then nothing changes.” That includes us too!
Live & Lead Exceptionally,