4 Steps to Overcome Self-Limiting Beliefs

Written by Jim Huntzicker | Category: Behavioral Addiction January 9th, 2023

Understanding and identifying your limiting beliefs is the first step you need to take in order to break through and get past them. The best way I can explain this is they feel like an invisible barrier that you physically have to move if you want to get rid of them for good. Our beliefs play a role in every decision we make.  

Beliefs are a mindset or a habit that we accept and consider to be true. When it comes to limiting beliefs that are holding us back, oftentimes these beliefs are only backed by opinion, not fact. This all tracks back to how you’ve interpreted your life experiences since you were born. This goes for both pleasurable and painful experiences. We create the foundation for our beliefs by assigning meaning or emotion to events, situations, and people associated with these experiences. As a result, these beliefs act as mental cues that shape your thoughts and interpret your experiences. The link between your thoughts and actions are hidden in your beliefs.  

In order to get to the bottom of this you need to look back at your life and identify patterns. You are looking for habit patterns that have a negative impact on your life. These patterns are directly affecting your life and holding you back from where you want to go. 

These negative habit patterns that you repeat are quite literally the definition of self-sabotage.  

These patterns cause us to feel like life is on repeat. For example take a look at your financial habits, your relationships, and your commitment and overall attitude to your chosen profession, or even how you spend your free time. 

What’s wild is that when we have a limiting belief, we don’t even test it. We just believe it as an absolute truth. 

It’s important to remember that nothing in life has any meaning except for the meaning we give it. If you’ve never heard that before, it might take you a minute to process it.

What Are Self-Limiting Beliefs?

In short, self-limiting beliefs are assumed truths. All of our beliefs, good or bad, start out as an idea, then become an opinion, then turn into a belief. So really, they are assumptions and opinions that have turned into perceived truths. 

As a result, they are now pre-wired beliefs that we all have about ourselves, our circumstances, our surroundings, and the way the world works. Then we go through life creating experiences that match our beliefs. We all get to the point that we don’t even question them.  

Any excuse that you say to yourself to justify why something isn’t working out the way you want is a limiting belief. It’s important to realize these are beliefs, not truths, that hold us back and severely limit our growth capabilities no matter how hard we seem to try.

Here are a few examples of limiting beliefs:

  • I can’t do it because ______. 
  • I can’t because I’m not _______. 
  • I don’t deserve this because ______. 
  • I’m too old, fat, unattractive for _______.  
  • I don’t have the ______. 
  • I have failed before 
  • I don’t have time
  • I am a _______. 
  • I am not a______. 
  • I have to _______. 
  • I can’t relax because I am nowhere near where I want to be in life. 
  • I want to but what will “they” say?

And on and on and on…In the last example “they” is likely the people who gave up on their dreams, and are unconsciously or maybe consciously trying to hold you back from yours.

Your self-limiting beliefs are hiding out in the areas of your life where you are not getting the results that you want.

How are your self-limiting beliefs formed?

  • Most are formed by the time we are 8
  • Automatically acquired from the influential people around you most often 
  • Start out as an idea, then become an opinion, then turn into a belief
  • Self-Sabotage plays a big role in this
  • For good or bad we give meaning to everything in life – No one else does

Unbeknownst to most of us, many of our beliefs are formed by the time we turn 8 but make no mistake, we continue to form them as adults too. They are naturally picked up from those we were in close proximity to that have the greatest influence on us. It’s amazing how the human mind and subconscious work. Our subconscious is very good at picking up patterns and associating them. 

We automatically pick up habits and personality traits just from being around the same people over and over (Pro tip: you can also intentionally do this as an adult if you want to).  If you surround yourself with people that you want to be like, you are much more likely to be more like them over time. It is just how humans are wired. 

As we get older our beliefs start to become more complex (in many cases, A LOT more complex). They continue to build and get stronger from our own personal experiences. From the people we spend time with to the advertisements, books, and movies we see. All of these things play a role in shaping our “Full On, Adult-Size-Self-Sabotaging-Self-Limiting Beliefs”. This is not something that is super easy to do a self-analysis on. Heck, it is pretty likely one of your self-limiting beliefs will get in your way when you’re trying to figure out what your self-limiting beliefs are…stick with me and I’ll walk you through the how. 

Why do we self-sabotage ourselves like this? I don’t know…maybe because life isn’t fair or easy? Even though so many of us keep thinking life is supposed to be both. If you change your mindset to expect life to be unjust and hard AF you will be upset a lot less (a whole lot less). 

You give meaning to everything you experience from our past experiences. The meaning you give something is always a choice. 

Once our core beliefs are established as young children it is difficult to shake them. Despite hearing new explanations or getting new or updated information over the years, we often stick to our core beliefs. Our core beliefs run extremely deep.

How can you identify limiting beliefs?

First of all you only need to identify beliefs that hold you back and have a negative effect on daily life. 

IMPORTANT REQUIREMENT: You need to be brutally honest with yourself or this isn’t going to work. I mean absolute, total and complete honesty. 

Sit down with a pad of paper and a pen (specifically not on a computer for this). Write down all of your limiting beliefs that you are already aware of. Here is some help to get your wheels spinning: 

What areas of your life do you regularly…

  • have negative thinking patterns? 
  • procrastinate?
  • make excuses? 
  • react unfavorably? 
  • make judgements or assumptions? 
  • complain? 
  • get annoyed?
  • feel stressed? 

Think about what areas of your life are stressful but you are not actively trying to fix. Or think about those areas of your life that you have tried to improve but no matter how hard you try and no matter what you do, things just don’t get better.

How do you feel about your business or career? Your finances? Do you make enough money to afford your lifestyle? How is your health? Your diet? How are your relationships? What do you do with your free time and why? 

Your self-limiting beliefs are hidden in all of these situations. If you want to accomplish something that you still have yet to accomplish, it is pretty likely one of your limiting beliefs getting in your way. If you look at any area of your life that you are not happy with, you better believe there is a limiting belief there to help you to continue to feel unhappy. 

Now you want to rank them starting with the one that is holding you back the most.

Understanding the root cause

In order to completely whip out your limiting beliefs, it is helpful to know the root cause. You might need to ask yourself a few questions to help you get there. Since you now know many of your limiting beliefs start when we are kids here are a few questions to help:

– Who were the major influences in your life growing up? 

– What were they like? What were their views, goals, and aspirations? 

– What did you learn from them? What was right and what was wrong? 

– What did they teach you about safety? What did you learn about taking risks? 

– What biases did they have? What did they like or not like? 

– Were they strong-willed or more reserved? 

– Did they have strong political views? Strong Religious views? 

– Were they health conscious? Did they workout or smoke or drink? Do drugs? 

– What did they talk to you about the most? 

– What did they teach you about the world around you? School? Family? Economic Status? Sports? 

– Did they watch a lot of TV? Watch the news? Read the newspaper? 

– What were they passionate about? 

These are just some questions to help get the ball rolling… 

This is the time to really dig in, like all the way in, ask questions and explore absolutely everything

WARNING: If you notice yourself starting to avoid exploring something, you need to stop what you are doing and explore that more immediately! There is no question you have a limiting belief hiding behind whatever you are avoiding. 

You are looking to identify patterns that you repeat over and over that have a negative effect on your life. Once you understand why you have these beliefs, you can start the process to create a new belief in its place. You need to replace the old belief with a new one. It’s the only way.  

You do this by changing the stories that you tell yourself (a.k.a. the self-talk) that are behind every single one of our decisions. The good, the bad and the ugly…this voice is behind all of them.     

“Argue for your limitations, and sure enough they’re yours.” —Richard Bach 

How to overcome Limiting Beliefs

Now that we have a better understanding of where these beliefs came from and what they are, we can start to get rid of them for good! 

What’s nuts is that your mind can overcome limitations that seem real but also create limitations that are totally false. 

You need to attack your limiting beliefs one at a time. Anyone can knock out one limiting belief at a time if they choose to.

4 Steps To Removing Your Self-Limiting Beliefs:

1. Decide if It’s Even True

Do you have any real tangible evidence that it’s true? What actual proof do you have? Or is it all in your head? What would happen if you told someone about it? Would they think you’re nuts? You need to play devil’s advocate and ask yourself questions to poke holes in it to see if it’s valid. 

Remember these are just perceived truths. Unless you’ve spoken to someone else about them to validate them, they only exist in your head. 

Even if the belief is true you can change it if you choose to.

2. Understand What The Repercussions of Keeping It Are

You need to really think long and hard about what this is stopping you from doing.  What personal or financial growth is this getting in the way of? What unpleasant situation will continue to lurk if you don’t change this false belief. You need to think about and really feel the pain that is associated with these beliefs. Feel the regret you will have if 1 more year passes and you still have this belief that you know is hurting you. How would you feel in 5 years or 10 if you still held on to this belief? What pain would you continue to feel?

3. Change Your The Story – Create New Beliefs

Your current set of stories are in place because of the choices, decisions, and habits of your past. You need to retrain your brain with new stories that match your desired outcome. The good news is, anyone can do anytime they choose to. 

To completely stomp out the old limiting beliefs you will need to replace them with new uplifting and empowering beliefs. You can do this by changing your old story as soon as it comes up. Saying affirmations contrary to and over the top of your limiting beliefs is a key step to quickly removing the old belief. 

You should make fun of them. This will help your subconscious know how ridiculous you truly feel they are. This will help in the process to remove them from your brain. You need to be careful what you say to yourself because after a while your subconscious (and you) will start to believe it, even when it’s not true.  

For example: My financial challenges in the past have taught me how to be more frugal. Now I am better prepared to handle having excess income.” Or “I am stronger now because __________ happened to me. Now I know what I need to do next time.”

4. Find, Follow, or Hire a Mentor to Help You Get There

If you need help there is no shortage of people to find that can help you. But no facebook or insta phonies here. They need to be the real deal. You need to find someone who has been down that road and someone that inspires you!

You can read books or magazines, listen to podcasts, watch videos or movies that inspire you. Be intentional about what kind of information gets in your head. The world of advertising is not set up for our best interest. 

Quality in > Quality out – Garbage in > Garbage out. 

Also, surround yourself with like-minded people. Total and full immersion is the only way. You are the average of the 5 people you hang out with the most. Like it or not this is always true. 

Your mind and body are just like a race car. If you don’t put in the best fuel you won’t get the results you want  

“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t–you’re right.” – Henry Ford

You need to be persistently relentless and resilient. You need to have nothing but the highest standards for yourself if you are going to reach the next level. It takes consistent, persistent, and deliberate daily actions if you are going to get where you want to go. Especially if you’ve never been there before. 

You need to start living as if your new belief is already true. Hopefully you didn’t have some crazy weak mindset that this was going to be easy. You want it to be hard! If it isn’t that hard then it isn’t that limiting of a belief. 

Here is a good principle to live your life by: 

“Anything in life worth doing isn’t easy and anything easy isn’t worth doing.”  

You’ve got to be ready to work for it. Eventually, your new habits and beliefs will become second nature rituals but to make that happen you’ve got to put in the work. 

Limitations are only limitations if you believe them to be.

So after doing a ton of research on this topic here is what I came up with: we all totally mess with and screw ourselves every single day. But the good news is that you can fix it if you choose to. Just like everything in life it’s a choice; a decision. This is not going to happen overnight but with conscious, consistent, and deliberate daily action you will make it happen.

“It doesn’t matter how you start, just START!” – Les Brown

 You can start fixing this right now, today if you like. You just need to START! Your first few steps don’t need to be perfect. As long as you are headed in the right direction and you want it bad enough you will figure it out.   

Good news, bad news…now that you are aware of this process, if you choose to avoid taking the steps to ingrain your new belief it will just fuel and make your old limiting belief stronger. So yeah, this part kinda sucks. Taking massive deliberate action is the only way to make a change. 

“If you want it bad enough, you’ll find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse.”
– Jim Rohn

If you don’t take actions toward your new beliefs then they will never be new beliefs at all. Thought without action is worthless. Action with the absence of consistent follow-through will never become a habit. You have to be intentional about the actions you take if you expect to make a lasting change. 

Never Stop Growing. 


P.S. This article was written as much for you as it was for me personally. I have gotten very good at this but I still have a long way to go myself. Our limiting beliefs run extremely deep. Don’t give up! Never stop fighting to get what you want out of life.

For information on Jim’s Unaddicted 1-on-1 Confidential Habit Restructuring Program CLICK HERE

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