5 Steps To Challenge Limiting Beliefs That Hold You Back

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Happy woman and friends having fun without limiting beliefs

Do you know what "limiting beliefs" are? Whether you're aware of it or not, these are accepted thoughts you have about yourself and the world around you that will keep you from being able to succeed in areas of your life.

Limiting beliefs can be small, like, "I could never skydive, I'd die of fright!" to bigger things, like, "I'll never get promoted at work, so why should I bother?"

Big or small, these beliefs keep you from experiencing the fullness of your life

RELATED: How To Change Limiting Beliefs In One Minute

You're holding yourself back by believing, speaking, and even internally repeating these limiting beliefs to yourself.

One small example would be the number 13. What does it mean to you?

Some say it’s unlucky. Maybe it sends chills up your spine or leaves you convinced that bad things are going to happen. If so, you’re not alone. So many people who suffer from a fear of the number 13, there's a term for it: triskaidekaphobia.

Maybe you don’t buy into the whole "unlucky number" thing, but that doesn't mean you don't hold similar beliefs or thoughts that border on phobias.

If you want to move forward in life, you'll need to examine your belief system.

Where do your beliefs come from — both good and bad? And how do they become a part of your reality?

Take for example, a bad belief. Perhaps you believe something doesn’t exist, because it makes you uncomfortable. Does that mean it’s not real? Of course not!

It's like closing your eyes because you're afraid. The object of your fear still exists; you just can't see it. It doesn't solve any problems — in fact, it can create more.

When I was growing up, my stepfather, whom I adored, was scared of the day Friday the 13th. Every time one showed up on the calendar, he made a big deal about being careful. As a result, I, too, avoided taking risks or making big plans on those days.

But here’s what happened — as I relaunched my life, I started to learn about the common practice of limiting your beliefs through emotional blocks. And since then, I’ve had some amazing Friday the 13ths!

In order to grow, you need to shine a light on your thought patterns and limiting beliefs.

To get started, ask yourself two questions:

  • Where did my beliefs come from?
  • Why do I think the way I do?

These are big questions, but essential to growth. That’s because your beliefs determine your quality of life. And if you want a positive quality of life, you need to recognize where your shortcomings are.

Here are 5 steps to challenge and change the limiting beliefs that are holding you back.

1. Know where your beliefs come from.

It’s important to understand that your parents, teachers, and other mentors are the ones that gave you the knowledge base that formed your beliefs. They helped build the foundation for how you think today.

Address what limiting beliefs you may have internalized based on what they taught you.

2. Learn how these beliefs drive your questions.

As you grow, your beliefs form the questions you begin to ask yourself. But these beliefs can limit your potential.

You can’t ask a question and get a better answer if you’re limited by the question you ask. After all, you know what you know from what you were taught!

But if you move into a growth mindset, you begin to ask better questions.

Einstein said, “You can’t solve a problem at the level it was created.” If you find yourself with a problem, you need to get above it in order to look down at what you truly believe.

RELATED: 11 Limiting Beliefs That Are Seriously Holding You Back In Life

3. Understand how your questions impact your decisions.

If you ask the same questions you always have, you’ll be stuck where you are.

But if you ask better questions, you can make decisions that lead to the quality of life you want — one that is positive and fulfilling.

4. Use your decisions about your limiting beliefs to take action.

Wonder why you always date the same kind of guy? Or why you never get the promotion? The decisions that you make are based on what you believe.

When you grow into making good decisions, you can take real action. You move out of the loop of circling and no longer fall back on what you’ve always done or known.

Instead of believing, "I may as well give up on finding true love because no one could ever love me," you can change the way you speak to yourself, and therefore start changing what you accept as "true."

5. Pay attention to the results you get based on how you're changing your mindset.

The results you want are all based on your belief system. You need to take action in order to change your quality of life. Once you do, you can get the results you want: The life you were born for.

Your brain believes everything you tell it, so if you're always saying how you'll never be happy, don't be surprised if you're never happy.

But once you start changing how you address yourself, by removing those emotionally-blocking limiting beliefs, you'll discover a world of possibility is available to you.

What you put out there, you get back.

It’s true! So, challenge the beliefs you hold and see what happens.

Many of these are simply not fact-based beliefs, and in some cases, are just what you were taught as you grew up. They may not even make sense for you to continue believing them today.

Limiting beliefs can hold you back in all aspects of your life: Love, wealth, happiness... So, you must challenge them in order to change it.

In order to challenge a belief, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Where did this belief come from?
  • Where did it start?
  • Is this belief serving me or is it ruining my plans?

If it’s dragging you down, it’s time for a change. After all, your underlying beliefs can be your limitation.

I grew up thinking the number 13 was unlucky because of my stepfather's fear. But I know now I was holding on to a faulty belief, so I no longer let that belief define me. You can do the same.

Which beliefs are serving you? Which ones are holding you back? Once you determine that, you can truly begin to change your life.

RELATED: If You Really Want To Be Happy, Stop Telling Yourself (& Believing) These 5 Lies

Hilary DeCesare is a personal development coach, CEO, and founder of The ReLaunch Collective, and has appeared on The Secret Millionaire and other major news outlets, such as CBS, ABC, FOX, Huffington Post, and Yahoo. To connect with her directly or for media requests, please email her.

This article was originally published at The ReLaunch Collective. Reprinted with permission from the author.