Episode 17: Are Limiting Beliefs Sabotaging Your Health Goals?

Today we will talk about self-limiting beliefs and how they can prevent us from achieving the health goals we desperately desire to make happen. We will review what limiting beliefs are, some of the more common limiting beliefs we have, how limiting beliefs can deter our growth, and some ways to challenge these beliefs.

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Are limiting beliefs sabotaging your health goals?

Tricia Stefankiewicz

Today we will talk about self-limiting beliefs and how they can prevent us from achieving the health goals we desperately desire to make happen. We will review what limiting beliefs are, some of the more common limiting beliefs we have, how limiting beliefs can deter our growth, and some ways to challenge these beliefs.

We all have limiting beliefs that hinder our ability to grow and achieve our own most desired goals. Because of these beliefs, no matter how badly you want something it may not be possible until you identify and change your thinking surrounding these beliefs. Health habits may be hard to implement if we don’t truly believe that we can do it. We all know that our health is important, but we may be carrying around old beliefs that prevent us from making the changes we desire when it comes to our health. What you think and believe about yourself matters and will become your story and shapes the actions you take to move forward towards your goals. 

I have a TON of my own limiting beliefs. When I first decided that I wanted to start a podcast, I felt scared of rejection and what people would think of me, and the podcast idea sat for many months without happening. Finally, my desire to serve others outweighed my fear and I was able to do it, but I had to challenge many self-limiting beliefs that I had such as “being good or smart enough” to get the podcast published. 

I am not an expert in this topic; I just know the limiting thoughts I have encountered in my own life and wanted to share with you what I learned because maybe it will help you too. 

What is a belief? 

A belief is some sort of acceptance of what we think to be true. They are formed from childhood, previous memories or experiences we have had, assumptions we have acquired along the way, any past failures or achievements, and the environment we grew up in. These beliefs may be subconscious thoughts that you may not even know exist, but they shape our decisions, desires, actions, and movement towards the potential life we desire.  They may have helped serve us in the past, but as we get older, may start to hinder our growth. For the purpose of this podcast, we will talk about how limiting beliefs may hinder our health goals. Some beliefs can become a self-fulfilling prophecy or a prediction you have that becomes true. When the belief is positive it can help you achieve the success you desire. But, when the belief is negative, it can keep you in a place without growth and make it hard for you to achieve your desired health goal or outcome.  This is called a self-limiting belief. 

In health, these limiting beliefs may look something like this: 

  • I am not good enough
  • To be worthy, I must be thinner, richer, prettier, smarter, younger
  • I don’t have enough motivation to make a change
  • I can’t lose weight because my family is overweight and I have bad genetics
  • I can’t make things that I want to happen 
  • I don’t have enough time

Why these beliefs are harmful is that they can become the narrative of what we believe about ourselves. When we think these thoughts, repeatedly, without knowing or challenging them, these thoughts become who we think we are. We end up creating a belief about ourselves, that may not be accurate, and we affirm the belief and our story every time we think or say the belief. Even if the belief is not true, it ends up becoming a story that can stay with us and prevent us from achieving our true potential. As Louise Hay had said “if you accept a limiting belief, then it will become a truth for you.”

We may not even like some of the beliefs we carry around but take comfort in the familiarity of it. We may even be more uncomfortable with CHANGING the belief than the belief itself no matter how much we dislike the belief. The self-limiting belief may even provide you with some sense of pleasure or satisfaction, making it hard for you to want to change it.  

What we tell ourselves, affects the actions we take in achieving our goal. If we have a positive belief that we achieve a goal, then we will be more likely for that goal to happen than if you have a self-limiting belief. For instance, if one of your goals is to increase your exercise and you have a positive mindset about exercise  and its benefits then it will be more likely to happen than if you have the self-limiting belief that exercise won’t make a difference, Ill just regain the weight, or that I don’t have time to do it. 

How do you know if you have a self-limiting belief around a behavior? Often these beliefs will manifest in ways such as: making excuses, procrastinating, perfectionism, complaining, negative self-talk, and constant worrying. 

What do we do to change the limiting beliefs we have? 

Acknowledge the self-limiting belief. What goal do you want to achieve? What are some thoughts you have surrounding this goal? List the belief and acknowledge why you need to believe this. How did this belief serve you in the past and do you need it anymore?

Example: I’m too busy or too lazy to exercise

Challenge the belief. Is this belief a fact? Why is the belief not real, challenge this belief? Put doubt into this belief. The more evidence you have to go against this belief, the more you are likely to be able to see it as a belief that is limiting you. List the consequences of not changing this belief? Really see the pain of what this belief is doing to your life

Example: I can make time to exercise. I have made time to exercise in the past. If I don’t exercise than it will be hard for me to feel good, become stronger, and lose the weight I desire. 

Create a new belief. How will this new belief make me better and move me closer to who I want to become. Visualize and imagine yourself achieving this goal. 

Example: Exercise makes my body and mind strong and powerful. 

Practice saying the new belief out loud. Find empowering quotes or videos to help keep you remember and help convince you of this belief. Continue to provide yourself evidence of this new belief. Every time you exercise reinforces that you can make the time to exercise. 

What self-limiting beliefs are holding you back from achieving your desired goal? The thoughts you have about yourself matter. They may not be true and are serving the story you are telling yourself to not achieve your goals. Realizing these beliefs will help us achieve the desired goals we have. Limiting beliefs are typically deeply rooted. You may find it beneficial to work with a therapist to help you identify and challenge some of your core limiting beliefs. I know it has worked for me. The journey to self-care, wellness, and health may take you outside of your comfort zone. It may even sound woo-woo. Growth and change come from discomfort and challenges. Whole Health is not an impossibility – but only you can make it happen. Remember to start where you’re at. It’s not about being perfect, it’s about being 1% better each day.  Be kind to yourself friends.

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