The power of our beliefs system is immense. If we all developed an understanding of the thoughts and ideas that we automatically have, those that we no longer question when they appear at the forefront of our minds; then we could all be leading a better life through banishing the negative chatter.
Limiting beliefs are held in the subconscious of your mind. If you think about the last time you wanted to try something new and a fearful thought popped up in your mind and warned you away from it, that is recognising a limiting belief.
Limiting beliefs tell us we’re not good enough, clever enough or attractive enough to do, have or be what we really want in life. They keep us from trying something new or changing how we’ve always done things in order to achieve better, more positive outcomes for ourselves.
You don’t have to look far to recognise a limiting belief, they tend to let themselves known when there’s a particular part of your life you’re hoping to change.
For example, someone who is unhappy in their relationship might have a limiting belief that says, “my parents’ marriage was a wreck so I doubt mine could be better”. Or “most relationships go bad after a time anyway”. This would be a limiting belief that may then lead to settling with a less than desirable situation.
Limiting beliefs are personal to you. Yes, you may have been heavily influenced by your childhood, parents or peers but as they come from your subconscious, only you have the power to change them.
Work now on identifying 2 or 3 limiting beliefs that you may have or have had about yourself. Common examples are:
We all have limiting beliefs but the trick is to tap into our inner voices, hear our negative chatter, so that we can work on banishing those thoughts that limit our abilities. In doing so this could lead to a more positive and fulfilled life where more and more becomes possible.
Here are some questions and exercises to help you tap into your limiting beliefs:
1. What’s really important?
Think of a goal in the most important areas of your life. This can be your family life, your career, social life, spirituality, contribution, fun, work/life balance or any other area that is important to you. The Wheel of Life is a useful tool to break down your goals in the big areas of your life.
If it’s useful for you, grab a pen and paper, settle into a comfortable position and make sure you have 15 minutes of undisturbed time to reflect.
Then, think about each goal separately and answer the following question:
What’s most important to you about it?
2. The 'I must' exercise
Sit down with your pen and paper and get ready to jot down the first things that come to mind.
Then, complete 6 sentences that begin with the words ‘I must….’
Once you’re done, ask yourself – What would happen if I didn’t?
Reflect on the insights you learned.
3. The 'I can’t' exercise
Similar to the previous exercise, complete 6 sentences that begin with the words ‘I can’t…’
Once you’re finished, ask yourself – What’s stopping me?
After answering the question, it is important to reflect on what you learned about yourself. That’s the key insight into your limiting beliefs.
We’re all allowed to change our beliefs, often there isn’t anything stopping us doing so but refusing to believe any different or an alternative point of view.
Just recognising limiting beliefs alone is a great step to banishing them. Many people also find the use of affirmations a powerful tool.
An affirmation is a positive thinking technique to encourage change. The idea being, if we make positive statements and repeat them over and over, they will go on to affect our life positively.
Using one of the limiting beliefs you’ve just identified, use the exercise template below to create a new affirmation for yourself
Now your turn – What is your limiting belief and what will your affirmation be?
Work on recognising your limiting beliefs and making some positive affirmations in your life – you just might notice a great change. Even becoming more aware of your thought process is a huge leap in the right direction.
And if you’re trying these exercise and tips, share it with us! Use the hashtag #TheCoachingAcademy so we can see what you’re working on and cheer you on in your self-development journey!
Challenging limiting beliefs is a core part of being a life coach. Coaches help their clients move forward with their dreams and goals.
If you would like to find out more about life coaching, how you can empower others and challenge their limiting beliefs, we’re hosting a two-part Introduction to Life Coaching free training!
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