Putting limits on yourself is not always a bad thing. Everyone observes certain limits that keep them safe and keep society running more or less smoothly.

However, all too often, it can be easy to let those limits get narrower and narrower and eventually trap you.

If you often find yourself saying or thinking sentences that start something like “I’m not the kind of person who…” then it might be time to examine your limiting beliefs and see which ones you can do without.

confident smart lady with brown hair and white shirt holding a takeaway cup of coffee

Your Own Limitations

What are some of the things that you believe about yourself that limit you? Maybe you want to run a marathon, but you’ve never been a very active person, so you think you could never do that.

But every marathon starts with a step, and if you take the first step, even if it’s only to walk to the end of your street, you can go a little bit further tomorrow or next week. 

It’s common for people to think that they are not intelligent enough to get a college degree or start a business. The truth is that most of the people who succeed at those things are no different from you.

If you want to start a business, you can begin by reading an article on writing a business plan. If you’re going to go to college, you can start by thinking about what you might like to study and researching colleges near you.

Find some stress relieving activities that you enjoy so that when these negative thoughts creep in you can dispel them quickly. 

External Limitations

On the other hand, you may think you have a lot of external limitations. You’re smart enough to go to school, but you wouldn’t be able to get in or pay for it.

Maybe there’s a job you want, but you assume you’d never get a call back if you applied. Try to think about what is at the core of these types of beliefs.

Often, they grow from things others have told you. Even if you can’t stop believing them, one way to deal with them is to ask yourself how you would proceed if you didn’t believe them. 

So, look into taking some classes at a community college that will better prepare you academically to apply to a four-year university, or find out what your options are for funding.

When you look online, you may be surprised to discover Going Merry scholarships for help with tuition that you may not have been aware of. Some of those scholarships have narrow parameters and may not even have many applicants. You can also apply for loans and grants.

Lifelong Tool

You can use these same tools to avoid limiting yourself throughout your life. Examine the beliefs that you have and whether they are about you and your capabilities or an external situation.

Then, think about what is behind them, and how you can test those beliefs. Maybe you think you can’t write a screenplay because you don’t have time.

But what happens if you set aside just 20 or 30 minutes each day for a week to work on it? When you see progress from small experiments like this, it can give you the incentive to press on.

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