Once you have considered the above quote, please fill out the blanks in the following question:
I can't.... because I......
What did you say? I always mess up because I'm hopeless? I can't run because I'm not a runner? I can't get a new job because I can't do interviews? I can't speak in public because I will make a fool of myself? I can't fit this into my day because I'm not sleeping well and don't have enough energy.
These are all self limiting beliefs. We repeat them to ourselves when we think about challenging ourselves, getting out of our comfort zones, doing something different.
Other limiting beliefs are things like 'I'm overweight because I can't stick to any diet'; 'I can't do this for myself because I must put everybody's needs first'; 'I never reach my goals'.
They are limiting because they stop us trying something different. We accept them not just as beliefs but as hard facts and therefore we don't take steps to explore whether they are in fact true: we just use them as a reason not to try. Why go for that new job if you CAN'T DO interviews? What is the point of setting new goals when you never reach them? Why go on yet another diet when you can't stick to one?
When we hold this type of belief (and we all do!) we focus on examples that validate the belief and don't recognise any time when we have disproved it.
So as 2016 approaches and you are considering new challenges, or doing something out of the ordinary, if you hear that inner voice telling you that you can't possibly do that, STOP! Take time to challenge that belief from a position of logic and curiosity. Have you really messed up EVERY interview? Start focussing on the times that went well, not the occasions when you were disappointed by the outcome. Start thinking of the times that you have managed to lose weight - even if you put it on again! Because that means that you can lose it, you just need to do something different to maintain it. Are you really not a runner? Have you followed a run/walk programme for weeks and not managed to run a single step? Or is it an easy excuse not to try? (This is a subject so close to my heart - I was 'not a runner' until a couple of years ago. I ran my first marathon in October!) The point is that when I was telling myself - and anyone who would listen - that I wasn't a runner, it meant I didn't even have to try. I just knew I couldn't. Then when I realised that I really didn't have much evidence to support the belief (OK, occasionally I had tried running on a treadmill and it was really difficult, I got out of breath and gave up) I decided to follow a programme and see what happened.
Once you have shaken the foundation of your belief, and seen what counter examples you can find, then ask yourself what benefit you receive from the belief - this is also called secondary gain. Normally the gain is that we allow ourselves to stay in our comfort zone. Can't do interviews? You don't need to put yourself into that scary situation! Can't run? Excellent - you don't need to get all out of breath and uncomfortable training! Can't reach goals? Cool - you don't even have to bother trying: after all, this comfort zone is quite comfortable! Then ask what do you want more - to stay in the comfort zone or to see what new jobs are out there? To sit on the sofa or get out and challenge your body and see what it's capable of when you build up gradually?
The next step is to decide what you would rather believe: I've had some good interviews, I've also had one or two that have not gone the way I'd like, but I received helpful feedback and can make sure that I know what to do the next time? I've managed to lose weight in the past, I'm going to do it again in 2016, but I'm going to get a strategy that helps me keep it off this time. I've reached some goals in the past, but sometimes life just gets in the way. I'm going to set myself some amazing goals in 2016 and put time in my diary to make sure I get them. I might get a coach to help me maintain motivation in those areas that are most important to me.
Create a mental portfolio of evidence supporting the new belief - those good interviews; the times when you didn't sleep well but the next day was still productive; the goals you smashed. Focus on them and they will start to override the old false belief.
Good luck - what limiting beliefs have you identified? What new beliefs are you going to cultivate in 2016?