Whatever date the calendar is showing, you know very well that any day, of any month, of any year is the perfect moment to make a fresh start. Too many of us however struggle needlessly on the path to change and success. We set goals we don’t achieve. Then we lose motivation after a few weeks or months. We avoid taking the big break-through steps, preferring to get lost in the comfort of “busy”. We talk a good story but the results just don’t come.
There are a number of reasons, but all lead back to one foundational element, which is often overlooked. It is your beliefs that will determine whether you succeed or fail. You have both empowering and limiting beliefs and they are directing and influencing you constantly, whether you’re aware of it or not.
I don’t care how cute your workout outfit is, how gorgeous your home office, how beautifully organized your life planner – If you don’t believe you can reach your fitness, or business, or life goals, no accessory can take you there.
It’s easy to get very busy being busy and to ignore the elephant in the room – those pesky limiting beliefs. Unless you take a cold hard look at what you really believe about yourself, unless you decide to be brave and really examine and challenge your limiting beliefs, you’re lying to yourself. You are in denial and wasting your precious time. Just to be clear, and in case no-one has reminded you of this yet today-
Shush! No, not you. I’m talking to your inner critic. I’m guessing as soon as I laid that compliment on you, a little voice in your head started to whisper that it wasn’t true…
That little voice, that inner critic, is the mouthpiece of your limiting beliefs. Its job is to keep you from reaching too high, daring to try new things, and generally stay within the boundaries of your comfort zone. Your inner critic is a total and utter killjoy!
We become what we believe. There are no accidental self-made millionaires, 6 figure entrepreneurs, or marathon-runners. Right now, wherever you are, you are “self-made”.
You are where you are based on your beliefs, which are the drivers for your behaviors and habits. How’s that working out for you? If you are in fact where you want to be, you would probably not be reading this post but, congratulations! If not, congratulations to you too because you are reading this which means you, fabulous you, are primed for change and committed to transformation. Go you!! You are getting intentional about what you want and you are ready to ditch those limiting beliefs. So, let’s get to work shall we?!
To kick-off let’s assess where you are and look at where you want to be. A very simple way to do this is just to complete two sentences below;
I am a self-made [insert your current reality]
I am a self-made [insert your desired reality]
Now I’m going to share with you three crazy effective steps to destroy your limiting beliefs, a process that will set you up for success in every endeavor. It really is only when you’ve dealt with your inner self that you can begin to see the success you desire reflected externally.
You can watch my introduction video on limiting beliefs, part of a companion series to my book The Little Book of Good Enough – Quiet Your Inner Critic, Ditch The Doubt, and Own Your Worth, on my YouTube Channel.
There are a few general categories of limiting beliefs; personal, career, relationships, and money but I’m going to focus on just our personal limiting beliefs in this post. The process I discuss is very similar for the other categories.
I don’t think that anybody wants to wear ugly, unflattering clothes, or drive a dingy car, or live in a house that’s a dump. All those things are visible and obvious and people will make a judgement about us, like it or not, based on those visible cues. We feel the same way about our limiting beliefs. They’re very unattractive and we generally wouldn’t want people to see us that way.
The beliefs we hold about ourselves however are much less obvious than the external accessories of lifestyle. Perhaps they might reveal themselves in conversation at times but mostly they’re a little more obscure. Most people never examine what they really believe about themselves at all because it’s just too damned uncomfortable and hey, it’s much easier to write in our planners, recite a mantra, tidy our offices and rely on wishful thinking…
The thing is, as long as you persist in dodging this confrontation and ownership of your limiting beliefs, they will continue to own you! They will steer you, and your life, regardless of your beautifully crafted goals or life plan, and condemn you to the same old lacklustre results.
A question for you; Are you done with lacklustre results and ready to take action to uplevel your life? Great! Let’s go!
Write a short paragraph, or however much feels right for you, starting with the sentence highlighted in bold below. Before you begin, quietly bring to mind how you feel about yourself, and your capabilities, on a physical, emotional, intellectual, professional and social level. Think about challenges or opportunities that you stepped back from in the past and may have regretted. Contemplate your failures, from a place of self-compassion, and get curious about what you believe about yourself that may have played a part.
This exercise isn’t about beautiful composition or getting the “right” answer. It’s an exploratory exercise aimed at raising your awareness and consciousness. Many of these limiting beliefs can be painful to admit. Many were formed long ago, perhaps from the seed of an off-hand comment from a momentarily thoughtless adult. We must see them to be able to confront them effectively though, so this step, as uncomfortable as it may feel, is 100% necessary.
Don’t negotiate with yourself over this. You are an adult who is committed to fully owning her/his life. You want to live your best life, realising your full potential. And you are not a frightened child who hides in the shadows or runs from the bully in the school yard. You, incredible and fabulous you, are prepared to put the work in and to claim your reward. Deep breath – just begin.
I believe that I am…
Well done you!! I’m giving you a virtual high five right now!
Now, have you heard of the Pareto Principle? Sometimes it’s referred to as the 80:20 Rule. Essentially it means that a disproportionately large percentage of your results and successes can come from choosing to focus on the few right things rather than losing yourself in the fog of the many things. You need to learn what focus represents the 20% which will lead you to 80% of your results.
How is that relevant here? When you identify and own your limiting beliefs you are deep in the magic 20% territory of Pareto’s Principle! You are being effective, choosing the high impact work that leads to big results. Let’s see what our next step is.
Fear is a liar and so are your limiting beliefs. They erode your self worth and cripple your self confidence and they derive their power from residing in the darkness of your unconscious where they can remain unchallenged. Like any adversary, you can’t beat what you don’t face so here’s where you roll up your sleeves and take on the fight.
You now have a few sentences, paragraphs, or even pages (yay you!!) where you’ve identified what you believe about who you are, your capabilities, and how you value yourself. As you reread your work I hope you feel really uncomfortable. That’s not because I’m evil (promise!), but because it’s an indication of how well you did. Admitting that we believe negative, limiting things about ourselves and acknowledging that these beliefs are hampering our success in life, should feel really uncomfortable.
It’s time to turn detective now though because we are going to take these limiting beliefs on and blow them out of the water! List say 3 of the beliefs that you uncovered and, below each, write down between 3 and 5 reasons why that belief is false. Think back, to any instance or comment made, which is evidence that the belief is false. Here’s an example to help you out.
I am terrible with money and I will always struggle and never be financially secure.
EVIDENCE MY BELIEF IS FALSE
Sure it’s a little work but it’s time extremely well spent. This is Pareto Principle 20% work. It’s the foundation to everything because it’s you, getting real with you, and committing to the kind of work that leads to breakout change and results. You deserve those results, that life, and this work.
A very useful strategy when you’re challenging a limiting belief, is to adopt a growth mindset. Approach any non-achievement or obstacle as something you just haven’t conquered yet but which you can grow into achieving. Psychologist and author Carol Dweck first proposed the term “growth mindset” and if you’d like a little more inspiration on how powerful this approach can be, bookmark and watch her TED Talk.
We become what we believe, not what we think, or what we want. So we need to adopt beliefs that will serve us and help us on our paths to becoming our “self-made [desired reality]”. Perhaps you have a vision board already, or you’ve done the work of writing a Life Plan, or maybe you’ve written an Envisioned Future Statement. If so, these are great resources from which to develop the empowering beliefs which will serve you in achieving your goals and the life you envision for your future self.
If you haven’t done this work, panic not! You can still make awesome progress. Looking at the evidence from the work you just did on challenging your limiting beliefs, you have all the material you need to craft a substitute empowering belief. Using the example above, on the finance theme as an example again, I could substitute the following belief
SUBSTITUTE EMPOWERING BELIEF FOR OLD LIMITING BELIEF
My actions create constant prosperity and I manage all aspects of my finances with ease and expertise.
For each of the limiting beliefs you identified, after completing the challenge step, craft a substitute empowering belief. Read each aloud several times, preferably while you’re standing tall (so you can feel every more badass and empowered!), and really commit to owning them. As you move forward it is these beliefs which will be the driving force to propel you to your envisioned future. Claim them eagerly and root them in action through new habits and behaviors.
If you’re looking for some help with how to set yourself up for success adopting new habits to reflect your empowering beliefs, I highly recommend the work of Charles Duhigg and specifically his book, The Power of Habit available from Amazon.
Congratulations! Take a deep breath and breathe the rare air. Completing the steps I’ve outlined above means that you’ve just up-levelled, massively!
Eimear Zone is an author, mindset coach, and entrepreneur. Her first book, available worldwide from Amazon, The Little Book Of Good Enough, is a powerful call to women to ditch the self-doubt, own their worth, and say a loud “Hell Yeah!” to life!
You can find, follow, and contact Eimear online at:
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