How do you recognize self-sabotaging thoughts?
Some common self-limiting thoughts are:
• “I’ll never be able to save any money for retirement.”
• “I guess I won’t ever fall in love again.”
• “Why can’t I find any trustworthy friends?”
• “I’ll be fat forever.”
• “I'm sure Pat will get that promotion over me.”
• “I wish I could take a vacation to Europe, but I know I could never afford it.”
• “How will I ever live the life I want earning what I earn now?”
If you identified some of your limiting thoughts while reading the above examples, take steps to break your cognitive ties to those thinking patterns.
1. Refrain from labeling yourself. If you see yourself as “poor” financially, then you might unconsciously strive to match that label. Or if you think of yourself as “fat” you may be unable to imagine yourself as beautiful and thin.
2. Take baby steps. When you continually move towards your goals, you’ll gain the momentum to keep on going. Rather than think you’re unable to achieve success, make a plan of achievable steps to ensure you do.
• For example, perhaps you’d like a European vacation. Instead of believing you’ll never get there, establish a small weekly savings goal of $20, and keep putting the money aside until you have enough.
3. Learn to be your own best friend. Love yourself enough to be your own best friend. Do this by giving yourself the benefit of the doubt. Think positive thoughts such as, "I can do this." When you practice this, you’ll reject self-limiting thoughts.
4. Believe in yourself. Instead of insisting you’ll “never” do something, say that you can, and then do it. If you turn those negatives into positives, it boosts your self-esteem. Trust that you can accomplish, succeed, and prevail.
5. Assess the truth. Ask yourself, “Is what I’m thinking really true?” For example, is it an absolute reality that you'll never be able to save any money at all for retirement? It doesn't have to be true, unless you strive for that.
• Change your mindset by beginning your retirement fund today. At the end of the day, put all your change into a jar. See how simple it is to start saving?
• Question your self-limiting thoughts. When you realize they’re unrealistic, untrue, and within your power to change, you’ll be able to break away.
6. Recognize how powerful your negative thoughts are. You create who you are by what you think about yourself. Why not turn that power into positive energy that drives you towards the things that you want in life?
7. Learn from prior errors. Instead of using your past against you, think about the knowledge you’ve gained from each experience. Maybe an important relationship dissolved a few years ago. The loss of that relationship doesn’t mean you’ll never find another partner again.
• Rather than getting bogged down with self-limiting thoughts, reflect on the shortcomings of your previous relationship. What part did you play? If you proactively learn from your past mistakes, you’ll make healthier choices in the future.
When you apply the above strategies to your life, you’ll see the possibilities that are all around you. You can do anything you set your mind to. Extinguish those self-limiting beliefs right now so you can start embracing the good life that’s yours for the taking.