We all grow up believing that there are limits to the things we can achieve. These limits stem from your interaction with friends, family, peers and even the media.
You believe you can’t talk in front of a crowd because you’re an introvert. You believe you can’t help paint a community mural because you’re not creative. You believe you’ll never have success because it’s just not in your blood.
All of these things are completely false and what’s worse – part of us knows they’re false, but it’s easier to hold onto limiting beliefs like comfort blankets.
Well, it’s time we changed that, in this article, I’m going to teach you what ‘breaking limits’ means, how to find your limiting beliefs and a technique to help you keep breaking those limits so you can finally achieve what you really want in life.
A limiting belief is a thought you have about yourself that you believe to be true but is actually holding you back. This belief is called a belief because you believe it.
Here are a few examples:
- I can’t earn more than X amount, I’m not good with money
- I won’t try X new thing, I’m not the adventurous type
- I won’t be able to learn X thing, I’m too old to learn new things
Limiting beliefs are not excuses, they’re things you’ve believed for years because you’ve been influenced to believe them.
Ever had a teacher say you’re not learning quick enough? I bet you now believe you’re a slow learner. Ever had a parent call you shy? I bet you now struggle in social situations. Even the media can shape how we think and feel about ourselves.
So now we know what a limiting belief is, we can work on breaking them.
What does ‘breaking limits’ mean?
Limiting beliefs don’t belong in your life. If there’s something you want to do or try and a limiting belief is holding you back, then it’s time to literally break your limit so you can get on with doing it.
Just like breaking a bad habit, when you break your limits, you’re recognising them, acknowledging they exist, and then you’re taking them apart – breaking them so they no longer represent the limiting beliefs you once had.
Sounds complicated, but let’s get on with it, shall we?
How to break your limits
Let’s do this in a step-by-step process, so get ready with your first limiting belief.
1. Recognise and acknowledge your limiting belief
Your limiting belief wasn’t created overnight. The likelihood is that you’ve been holding onto it for years. Just like bad habits, you’re not going to be able to break your limit within a few days. It’s going to take some work and self-belief to get there.
So at this stage, recognise your limiting belief for what it is, how it got there and how you feel about it. Write it down if it helps you to process.
2. Reframe your limiting belief
Now that we recognise our limiting belief exists and where it came from. It’s time to shift our thinking. Reframing your limiting belief simply means shifting the words you use when you talk about it to become positive.
Here’s an example. Instead of ‘I can’t earn more than X, I’m not good with money.’ You’d shift the words you use to instead say ‘I can earn more than X because I will take the time to invest in my money mindset and with practice, I can achieve my goals.’
The goal here isn’t to change your limiting beliefs into ridiculous statements which seems completely out of reach. A simple and realistic shift in your mindset is the perfect place to start breaking your limits. You can always go bigger down the line.
How to motivate yourself to keep breaking limits
So now we’ve gone through how to break your limits, it’s time to take a look at how to motivate yourself to keep breaking limits.
Breaking a limit doesn’t end when you change the way you talk about it. This is where it only really begins. To keep breaking limits, you’ll need to start taking action.
Just like when we re-framed our limiting beliefs, we’ll want to keep this simple. If you start planning to take massive action, the likelihood is, you won’t keep it up.
Breaking limits into short tasks
In order to really start breaking limits, you’ll want some quick wins. So write down 4 things that you can do over the next week to start breaking that limit. Make these tasks as small as possible and make sure one of them you can do today.
By breaking it down this small, the tasks become much more manageable and you’ll be able to see progress immediately.
Here’s an example for someone who wants to start exercising regularly:
- Join the gym
- Go to the gym the next day
- Go to the gym 2 times that week
- Give myself a good pat on the back
This looks really silly, doesn’t it? It basically says, join the gym and go to the gym. But if you’ve been putting limits on this for years, then breaking it down this small is necessary to get going.
This is just one week of activity. It’s not looking at your limit as a huge task. You’re not planning a month’s gym schedule, you’re not deciding which machines to use or which exercises to do. You’re not even thinking about the clothes you’ll wear, you’re just saying you’ll join the gym and go to the gym. And without much effort, you’re breaking your limits already!
If you look at your limits as massive goals that are way in the future, you’ll never move towards them.
Now it’s your turn, you have your limiting belief. Write 4 things you can do over the next week to start breaking it. Break the tasks down to even smaller ones if you need to, but don’t go over a week. These quick wins are meant to be quick.
When it comes to breaking your limits, you’re in full control. You can either take control of them or let them take control of you. Don’t let your life be defined by the limits you’ve acquired. Get to recognising them, and then get to breaking them.
How have you worked past your limiting beliefs? Leave us a comment below and let’s share our limit breaking tips.
Featured image by by Adolfo Félix