Everyone has conscious or subconscious ideas that can become limiting beliefs that stop us from achieving our goals if we let them. Sometimes these beliefs are instilled in us in childhood and sometimes we create them ourselves.
If you believe you will always struggle and always be poor, chances are you’ll set yourself up for failure. Your limiting belief that you’re poor and that you always will be poor becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. The same can be said about anything negative in your life that limits you - whether it’s career, education, or personal such as being healthy and of normal weight. If you see yourself a certain way, it can be hard to change that view and let go of that limiting belief.
Here are eight telling phrases that point to a limiting belief:
1. “It’s hopeless” – Anytime you use the word “never” is a clue that you’re focusing on a limiting belief. For example: “I’ll never be healthy.”
2. “I’m helpless” – When most people feel uneducated or helpless, they blame their circumstances instead of working to change them. “I can’t manage my health because I don’t know how” sounds insightful, but the part that’s missing is the feeling of helplessness, all you need to do is take a personal interest in your health. Yes, really pay attention how do you feel right now and then explore what can make things better. Step by step.
3. “It’s useless” – The idea that nothing you do will make a difference is that you believe that any action you take won’t make a difference. “It doesn’t matter if I work out an hour a day, I won’t lose weight anyway.” How do you know? Have you tried to do anything for longer than a couple weeks?
4. “It’s the universe” - Sometimes a limiting belief has to do with the idea that outside forces that you can’t control are at work keeping you down. You can’t find a job or get clients because the economy sucks, where you live is depressed, you don’t have the right clothing and so forth, but you do nothing in your power to change it because it’s destiny. “Everything happens for a reason” type of thinking can be very limiting and make you feel powerless.
5. “I’m worthless” – The idea that you’re not smart enough or good enough to do what you really want can be a very strong limiting belief system and seems to affect women more than men. You feel you're not pretty enough, smart enough, or good enough to have something, so you don’t take the steps to achieve it, because you don’t feel that you deserve it.
6. “It’s genetic” – While there are certainly some instances where genetics play a role in a person’s life, the truth is that almost everything that is genetic can be fixed with the right mindset, training, exercise, and outlook. You’re not stuck with your genetics, but if you think you are, you may not try any of the things to pull yourself out of the rut you’re stuck in.
7. “I’ll fail” – The truth is the fear of failure is something most people have as a limiting belief. “I’m a bad public speaker so if I do it, I’ll be judged, and I’ll fail anyway so why try” is a common refrain. But, how can you set that belief in stone if you’ve not tried?
8. “I’m different” – The limiting belief about being different is that different is necessarily bad. You don’t want to be who you are because you’re different and you’ll be looked at as different by other people. You’re afraid to be who you are, and because of that you don’t even know who you are, and you’re too scared to find out due to fear of rejection and ending up alone.
If you ever hear any of these phrases go through your head, try to disconnect from them, and turn them around to “why not me” or "how can this work for me" instead of “why me.” “Why not me” because the truth is, you’re not feeling anything different from anyone else who has made goals and achieved them. The difference is in the doing, not the intelligence or talent. "How can this work for me" opens up the possibility of using obstacles as stepping stones.