How to Overcome Self-Limiting Beliefs to Be the Best You
Have you heard of Chau Smith? She’s a 70 –year-old woman who ran 7 marathons on 7 continents in 7 days. There’s no typo there! This woman is extraordinary. To top it off, she works a day job operating a dry cleaning and alterations business. You can read more about her here.
I first came across Smith’s story early last year and it has stuck with me since. Every time I feel unmotivated or I doubt my abilities, I think of her and what she has accomplished. If she can run 7 marathons on 7 continents in 7 days, what am I able to do? Why haven’t I met some of my peskier life goals?
I’ve found from observing and talking to others that much of one’s ability to meet financial and life goals is due to having both the right tools and the right mindset. When it comes to financial health, it’s important to have financial literacy and a good income. It’s also important to have mental strength to overcome self-limiting beliefs that hold you back from achieving more. Since January posts typically focus on self-improvement and New Year’s resolutions, today I want to address self-limiting beliefs that prevent us from meeting our financial and other life goals.
By the way, I created an in-depth worksheet to help you identify and overcome your self-limiting beliefs. Just click the button below or scroll to the bottom of the page and enter your email address. It’ll be delivered straight to your inbox.
What are self-limiting beliefs?
Self-limiting beliefs are ideas we have about ourselves or the world around us that keep us from reaching our full potential. They are not necessarily true, but we believe them to be true and they affect our lives as such. Here are several examples:
- I’m too old to learn a new language or _______.
- I’m not smart enough to succeed at my school or program.
- I can’t teach or write about a subject because I’m not an expert on it.
- I won’t charge what my services are worth because other people are better than me.
- I can’t run my own business because I wasn’t born with entrepreneurial skills.
- I can’t travel because I don’t have money and too many family responsibilities.
- I’m not lovable enough to find a quality partner.
- I can’t get married because my parents got divorced.
- I’m always going to live paycheck to paycheck because I’m not good with money.
- I can’t perform in public because people are judgmental and will criticize me.
Do any of these sound familiar? Just about everyone has self-limiting beliefs to some extent.
Why do we have these beliefs and where do they come from?
These beliefs come about in a number of ways. Starting from when we were young, our experiences and interactions with others have shaped our view of the world and ourselves. Here are some examples:
You tried out for a sports team two years in a row as a child and did not make it either year. That created and reinforced your belief that you’re not very physically capable and certainly not athletically skilled enough to play sports. Now that you want to get in shape, you don’t even want to join a gym because you think you’re not able to do that kind of physical activity. You think you’re a klutz. Your family or friends have reinforced these beliefs by bringing up old stories of trying out for youth sports and teasing you about how uncoordinated you are.
When it comes to finances, you believe that you’re bad at handling money and are destined to struggle financially through life. You made poor financial choices in the past such as taking out too much in student loans and are now struggling to pay them back. Then you forgot to pay your credit card one month and overdrafted another month, reinforcing your belief that you’re not good with money. Now you accept this belief as truth and feel that negative financial choices are inevitable for you.
How do you overcome your self-limiting beliefs?
You can see how the two examples above would be detrimental to one’s life. These self-limiting beliefs keep you from being your best self, meeting your goals, and living the life that you want to live. The next step then is to recognize the beliefs that are affecting you and combat them.
1) Identify a self-limiting belief.
Example 1: I’m bad with money.
Example 2: I can’t earn extra money with a side hustle because I don’t have any extra time.
2) Determine why you feel this way.
Example 1: I spend more than I earn. I carry a balance on my credit card, despite trying my best to pay it off. I didn’t learn how to budget and save growing up without much money.
Example 2: I work full-time and take care of my family seven days a week.
3) Determine what you want to believe about yourself instead.
Example 1: I’m a financially savvy woman who manages my money smartly to meet my financial goals.
Example 2: I have time and skills to start a profitable side hustle.
4) Decide what you are going to do next to make it happen.
Example 1: I’m going to make a budget to see where my money goes. Then I’ll set aside a portion each month to pay extra towards my credit card debt until it’s paid off.
Example 2: I will set aside 30 minutes a day to research side hustles that I can start soon. I will ask members of my family to do more for themselves in order to give me time for this.
Some additional tips:
- Think about the future and think positively. No more ruminating on past mistakes and thinking negative thoughts about yourself. Those won’t help.
- Find role models to inspire you on your journey. Think about Chau Smith mentioned above!
- Find ways to keep yourself accountable. That might mean keeping a calendar or journal of your efforts, telling an accountability partner, or making a vision board of your goal.
One of the hardest things I’ve found about trying to be my best self is the self-limiting beliefs I have about myself and the world around me. This year, as I continue to work on improving my finances, personal life, and side hustles, I’ll be using the steps above to work through a few of these beliefs. I realize that it’s easier said than done. If this is something you want to work on too, I hope you’ll be more motivated knowing that I’m working on them with you. Be sure to grab the free in-depth worksheet below to help you get started.
What self-limiting beliefs do you have? How are you going to challenge them in order to meet your goals this year?