“Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right”
– Henry Ford –
Are Your Self-Limiting Beliefs Holding You Back?
The dictionary definition of a belief is something you can trust, have faith, and have confidence in. You see what you believe; you don’t think what you see. However, we see the world through our own filters. This filter has been constructed from our past experiences, good and bad. This means that many of the things we believe in or believe to be true may not actually be so. If you think something and you experience it, you’ll always find evidence or ideas to support that belief, even if it’s not true. It could be a story. A story we’ve told ourselves repeatedly. This story could be positive and empowering but very often it’s negative and disempowering. It can often be destructive, demotivating, and demoralising.
In the context of health, fitness, and weight loss, I often hear extremely negative self-limiting beliefs. Here are some classic examples. “I can’t lose weight.” “I’ve got big bones.” “I’ve tried everything”. “It’s hereditary”. “I’ve got a slow metabolism”. “I’m no good”. “I don’t deserve it”. “I have never been slim,” and many, many more. The truth is very often entirely different. In nearly all the clients I’ve worked with over the last 20 years, these beliefs were made up in their own heads and told with such frequency that they became real.
Your Self-Limiting Beliefs Won’t Let You Improve
“I’ve tried everything”.
Well, you haven’t tried everything because if you had, you would have lost weight. But the truth is you’ve tried a few things, and they didn’t work. Maybe you’ve tried many things, and you quit before they worked, or maybe they were just stupid ideas in the first place. Besides, these failures have given you enough evidence to convince you this is true.
If you’re trying to lose weight and your family and friends like to eat and drink a lot, you’ll find it quite hard to shake that influence. On the flip side, if you spend time with people that support your goals; who eat healthily, your chances increase significantly in achieving those goals. You might be thinking, “Oh, I need to ditch all my fat friends.” No, I’m not saying that. I am saying limit your exposure to them and increase the time you spend with people that are fit and healthy.
This can make a huge difference. Read books on health and fitness. Influences and mentors are not limited to people you know in person, but there is an inexhaustible supply of books available to you in bookshops and online. Use these resources. Soak up the vast amount of information that someone else took years and maybe a lifetime to experience and put down on paper. It’s all there for you. Educate yourself. Be inspired by greatness.
Avoid Reading the Newspapers and Watching the News
Someone says, “I need to know what’s going on in the world!” Do you? Do you really? You need to know that a typhoon just wiped out 2,000 people in the Philippines. And you need to know that an aircraft just crashed into the sea, killing all 360 passengers and crew, many of whom were children. Still, the truth is we DON’T need to know this, but we like it. It’s addictive. Newspapers are not designed to inform you. This is part of your self-limiting beliefs.
They’re designed to shock you and report the latest scandal or tragedy and as humans, we lap it up. And we can’t get enough of it. I counted the ratio of negative to positive stories in the first 20 pages of a well-known newspaper here in the UK. There was a 10:1 ratio in favor of doom and gloom. The truth is, all around us there are millions of great things that happen all the time, but it doesn’t grab your attention. It doesn’t pull you in and shock you.
A Monk & A Ferrari
Six years ago, I picked up a book from my bookcase called ‘The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari’ by Robin Sharma. I’d previously read the book in 1997, but like many books back in my early 20s, I discarded it and took nothing from it. Fast-forward to 2012, I reread the book and it was like the lights went on. You will have heard the phrase, “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.” Well, this student was more than ready to soak up everything he could get his hands on.
The 5am Club
What I Did?
Here are a couple of mine to get you started
1. I can’t write a book. I don’t have the skills or the knowledge to write a book.
2. People will think I’m stupid, have a disability and think that I’m not attractive when they know I wear hearing aids.
Both are complete rubbish. Self-limiting beliefs. That I do know. In fact, I always knew it deep down, but it didn’t stop me playing the story over and over in my head for years. OK, now it’s your turn. DDon’tbe shy. The first step to mastery is admitting weakness. There is strength in vulnerability.
Go ahead and write down 3 self-limiting beliefs about your weight loss and health.
Stop Making Excuses.
“I’ve tried everything, but I can’t lose weight. Some people say I’ve got big bones, but is that really the reason?”. There is a history of depression in our family. I’ve got a slow metabolism. I have an underactive thyroid gland. I don’t like exercise. I bulk up too quickly. Whenever I do weight training, I put on too much muscle. I just want to tone up. I don’t want to get too big. I need carbohydrates. It’s the weekend and I’ve been good all week. Red wine is good for the heart. I need motivation. I just can’t stop myself. It’s not my fault. It’s my parents’ spouse’s boss’ fault.
You got to know that all of these above are self-limiting beliefs; you can win them and be better.
It’s Not My Fault!
That’s probably the biggest excuse known to man. IIt’salso the most disempowering. You must take responsibility for everything in your life, whether it’s good or bad. You created it. You created it all. In one way or another, where you are in your life financially, emotionally, physically, mentally, or in any other way you can possibly think of, it’ll be down to you and the decisions you made.
I’m not saying you had it easy. Your life may have been tough. It may have been extremely violent or filled with abuse. I’m not judging you or anyone by trying to suggest that it’s easy. However, you do have a choice in how to react to these conditions. You have a choice to overcome those problems, self-limiting beliefs, and difficulties, however wrong, disgusting, and diabolical they are/were. Or you can let them overcome you and rule your life.
Before you shout and scream at this page saying, ” what the fuck do you know about a shitty life” I will tell you right now. I know nothing about it. My childhood was great. I had a great family, good education, in a great home environment with brilliant parents that loved and supported me throughout my formative and teenage years. I have nothing to complain about. If you compare my life to some people’s lives, you will know for sure that life isn’t fair.
What are the solutions?
You are the first one
Moreover, people care about you. I don’t mean that no one cares about you in the normal sense, as long as you’re safe and have enough to get by. People will help but when it comes down to it, as long as they and theirs are all good, that is their main concern. Not you. So, get over that fact. And stop telling yourself and everybody else that you can’t make anything from your life because of the bullshit story you keep telling yourself. However, the story going on in your head that stops you from taking action. The bullshit story that is on repeat, day after day, night after night, that keeps telling you that you’re not good enough.
You are good enough, despite the shit that’s happened to you. This stuff does not define you. It doesn’t have to create your reality moving forward. It happened. Now choose to move past that and get on with your life. Most people are constantly thinking about the past or worrying about the future. How about living in the present and focusing on the next 24 hours ahead of you? Stop thinking about what someone said or did to you, what someone didn’t say to you or how you were let down. Stop it. Look at your day ahead. How can you make this next 24 hours really count? How can you turn what you have into what you want?
Rather than looking at what you don’t have in your life, look at what you do have. Look at the skills you possess rather than the skills you don’t possess. What skills do you possess? Look at what you have and where you are. Don’t blame anyone or anything for what you don’t have. That’s the blame game.
No one wins, and no one cares.
What’s the difference?
This wasn’t your average 5km park run on a Sunday morning. He decided he was going to run 100 miles in less than 24 hours. Ultra-marathons are a thing, and many compete in events like this every week all over the world. But for a guy who didn’t have any training, Goggins ran 100 miles in about 19 hours. Later he went on to compete in many other ultra-marathons and extreme endurance events, including breaking the world record for completing 4,030 pull-ups in 17 hours. He did all of this despite shitty childhood circumstances and the fact that he used to weigh 297 lbs. David Goggins should have been a statistic. He decided otherwise.
I could spend the next 20 pages of this book telling you about people that overcame extreme circumstances and have achieved greatness, but I won’t There is no need. Wherever you are in your life, whatever has happened to you, you must realise that this doesn’t need to define you. And you can still be successful and achieve what you want with your health, fitness, fat loss, and anything else in life that you put your mind to. You have the power to do this. You have the power right now to change your life in any way you want. All it takes is a decision. A snap of the fingers. A heartbeat. The choice is yours.
Don’t Compare Yourself To Others
With the world of social media dominating many people’s lives today, it’s sometimes hard not to compare yourself to others. What you must realise is that the “one shot selfie” was taken 36 times, and the “o make-up selfie” is still made up slightly. The “Woke up looking like this selfie” is also a fake, just like the Breitling you bought in that Turkish souk last year on holiday.
We all want to look and feel good in life, I know that, but much of what we see these days just isn’t the truth. Even if it was true, comparing yourself to others is futile and will serve you no good. Assuming what you see is true, you have no idea where that person has come from, the work they have put in to achieve what they have achieved, or the struggle they have in life. You have no idea where that person is in their journey of life, so it’s silly to compare your beginning to someone else’s middle or end.
Focus on your own goals and your own life. Look in the mirror; that’s your competition. But I get it; you’ve got Facebook and Instagram showing you all day long these beautiful people having an amazing life. Ignore it. Focus on your own shit. IIt’snot real, anyway. IIt’sa tiny snapshot of 1% of their life. If someone has a million pounds in the bank, they have million-pound problems. Everyone’slife is full of the same problems. We all have problems, rest assured. We all have self-limiting beliefs. Concentrate on being the best YOU that you can be in every area of your life that’s important to you.
“Don’t compare yourself with anyone in this world. If you do so, you are insulting yourself”.
– Bill Gates –
Like this article? This was chapter 16 of my book, “The GHG Method.”
I wrote the book back in 2019. Fancy picking up a copy? Click the link above, and I will send you a signed copy personally. My autograph could be worth a million dollars one day. Or not.
All the best.
Gav. I committed to a routine, getting up at 5 am every morning and aiming to be in bed by 10 pm. I rarely missed a day.