How To Spot What’s Holding You Back — And Then Let It Go

A step-by-step guide.

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What’s the one thing that is holding you back?

What belief about yourself or your skills is holding you back from having more love, greater peace of mind, or enhanced well-being?

Are there particular habits that keep “interrupting” your positive forward movement?

I often see with clients that they don’t necessarily recognize what’s holding them back, yet they do know what they’ve not been able to achieve (yet).


This is because the limiting beliefs that they’re hauling around are based on trauma from their past.

RELATED: 3 Subtle Ways You Self-Sabotage Your Own Life Without Realizing It

The "misbeliefs" that hold you back

Somewhere along your life path, you experienced something traumatic that had you decide something about yourself that was necessary to help you stay “safe” in the world.


Here are some common misbeliefs people hold about themselves:

  • “I’m not good enough so I better not speak up.”
  • “I’m not really lovable so I’ll just settle for whatever I can get in a relationship.”
  • “It has to be perfect or else I’ll get rejected.”
  • “I’m not worthy of having XYZ because that’s what I was told when I was younger (and I believed them).”
  • “My needs/opinion don’t matter so I’ll just shape-shift myself to keep others happy.”

You can thank your limbic brain for this.

One of its favorite roles in your brain is to keep you safe.

Now, where we all get stuck is that these beliefs, these decisions about ourselves happened instantaneously at a subconscious level. These old beliefs and decision points are embedded in your nervous system based on the moment in time of that traumatic event.

And it's this emotional residue that's stuck in your body that has you feeling anxious, avoiding conflict or wanting to get argumentative in particular situations.


All of this keeps you from achieving your goals in the present moment because these beliefs keep throwing you back into the past. Into your history and trying to keep you safe from an outdated set of rules and programming.

How often do you upgrade the software on your smartphone?

When was the last time you upgraded your mental programming for greater self-empowerment?

RELATED: 10 Strategies To Stop Self-Sabotaging For Good

Here are 7 steps for helping you get unstuck and get into action to achieve your goals.

How to release old trauma from your nervous system and start retraining it with new empowering ways of being in the world.

First, I’d like you to write this down:


1. Identify the goal that you’d like to achieve in the next six-12 months.

Perhaps you even have a Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG) in mind that you’ve really been wanting to tackle?

But for some reason, every time you start to move in the direction of that goal, you get distracted or overwhelmed with other things, or even nervous and afraid of actually attaining the thing you think you want to achieve.

Does any of this sound familiar to you?

The key to achieving the goal you’ve written down is to first identify the negative thought loops or even bad habits that are keeping you from achieving your goal and living your best life yet.

So how do you identify those less than helpful patterns you find yourself caught in?


Each of these steps is designed to help you find a new perspective to replace the old ones that are no longer serving your present reality.

RELATED: 9 Ways Only The Most Difficult Changes In Life Make You Stronger & More Resilient

When you think about the goal you’ve written down that you want to achieve, what are the thoughts that cause you to stress about it?

These thoughts or beliefs might sound something like this…

  • Overwhelm — “I’m not doing enough.”
  • Business problems  “I’m terrible at sales.”
  • Relationship challenges — “If only they would be different.”
  • Perfectionism — “It’s not quite ready yet.”
  • Career challenges  “I’ll never get that promotion.”
  • Burnout  “I should be doing more!”
  • Chronic health issues — “I’ve got to lose this weight.”

Do any of these ring true for you?


2. Find the thought that is causing you the most stress for the moment and write it down.

The list can be as long or as short as you need it to be, but it should be as complete as you can make it. Write it all down, even if it might seem only mildly annoying. Annoyance can create stress, too!

3. Now, notice any tension in your body as you think those thoughts or beliefs that are causing you stress.

Where in your body do you feel it? Does it have a color or a texture to it?

See if you can really amplify the sensation of it in your body just for a moment to really feel it fully.

Do you feel it in your stomach, your chest, or your abdomen?

Perhaps it’s making your lower back or neck twinge?


Focusing on that tension for just a moment longer to the count of, 1 … 2 …3 ... 4.

Now fully release that tension, as you watch or sense that energy dissolve out of your system.

Imagine that it is disappearing like smoke, drifting away.

RELATED: 14 Super-Simple Ways To Relieve Stress In 5 Minutes Or Less

4. Take a deep breath in and slowly exhale. I want you to now imagine the positive, exact opposite of the stress triggers you wrote down just a few moments ago.

For example, if you wrote down:

“I’m terrible at sales and don’t know how to achieve my goal.”

The exact positive opposite of this would be:

“I’m getting better and better at sales every day, which takes me closer and closer to achieving my goal.”


5. Of the two thoughts that you wrote down, which one FEELS better?

Which thought gives you more room to breathe?

How does the tension, the energy in your body shift and move when you focus on the positive opposite of the previous negative thought or belief?

Fun Fact: Did you know that everything is made up of energy?

Yup! Every part of you is just energy.


Your emotions are energy too!

RELATED: 4 Steps To Feeling Emotions Deeply Without Becoming Overwhelmed

6. Start to notice the energy of the emotions you’re feeling in the different places in your body. Watch or sense that energy shift, move and dissipate as you focus your attention on it.

And as you sense the energy of your emotions, you can also notice how much better your body feels when you think the positive opposite thought.

This allows you to recognize that by changing your thoughts, by simply changing your perspective of the situation at hand, you can shift the energy and feelings in your body and your mindset into a better space.

7. Harness the power of your mind by choosing a better thought.

You can shift how you feel and use that positive energy to fuel your action steps toward reaching the goals you’ve set for yourself.


Imagine what’s possible for you if you were to remove the negative thoughts, the limiting beliefs, the old habitual ways of being that no longer serve your growth together from your nervous system.

Really sit with that possibility for a moment.

By tapping into this simple seven-step process you can start to release pain, trepidation, old beliefs and pre-conceived notions about how your life, your career, your relationships are “supposed” to look or feel and up-level your thinking to a new set of possibilities.

The truth is, as you release more of these old patterns and habitual ways of thinking or seeing yourself at a deeper subconscious level, you create space for new beliefs, new habits and levels of success to arise within you. Literally rewiring the neural pathways in your brain for greater happiness and peace of mind.


More importantly, it will enable you to be more present with others in the moment, instead of living your life based on fears from your past.

RELATED: The 3 Biggest Things That Hold People Back From Actually Growing

Michele Molitor, CPCC, C-Hyp (Your Mind Detective), is a certified coach and hypnotherapist, and co-author of the best-selling book, “Breakthrough Healing.”