Are limiting beliefs holding you back from achieving your New Year’s Resolutions?

Are you tired of making New Year’s Resolutions that you never keep? Tired of all the guilt that comes with it?

Do you feel like no matter how hard you try it’s impossible to keep your promises to yourself? If so, it could be due to the thoughts that are taking up rent in your head, in the form of limiting beliefs.

Limiting beliefs are thoughts or beliefs that hold us back and prevent us from achieving our goals or reaching our full potential.

These beliefs can be about ourselves, our capabilities, or the world around us, and they can limit our actions, behaviors, and choices…and all those things impact our overall health.

Limiting beliefs are often formed in childhood or early life experiences and can be reinforced by negative experiences or messages we receive from others.

They can also be the result of negative self-talk or automatic thoughts that we have internalized over time. Limiting beliefs can be difficult to identify and challenge, but it is possible to overcome them and develop a more positive and empowering mindset.

Common limiting beliefs that hold you back from changing your health:

“I’m not good enough.”
This belief can lead you to not try to make changes because you don’t believe you have what it takes to succeed. If you feel like you’ve already have tried SO many things yet nothing worked, this can contribute to this limiting belief.

“I don’t have the resources.”
This belief can cause people to feel like they don’t have the time, money, or support they need to make changes. Many people (maybe even yourself included) feel as though being healthy comes at a large financial cost. However, that does NOT have to be the case. The truth is that the cost of an unhealthy lifestyle consisting of fast food, Netflix, and microwave meals can add up pretty quickly – not only for your bank account but also for your health. But becoming healthy doesn’t have to cost an arm and leg. You might be surprised that when comparing a healthy lifestyle to an unhealthy one, you can actually save more money in the long run, and there are even many healthy practices that are entirely free!

“I don’t deserve it.”
This belief can cause people to feel undeserving of success, happiness or even a basic foundational human right: health. I truly believe that everyone deserves to feel their best…even you.

“I can’t do it.”
This belief can cause people to doubt their abilities and give up when faced with challenges. You don’t have to face your health journey alone. Build a healthcare team to support you on your journey. By having support, you can ask questions and feel like you can achieve your goals when you have an actionable plan.

“It’s not worth the effort.”
This belief can cause people to believe that the benefits of making a change are not worth the time and effort it would take. Getting healthy doesn’t have to be depriving or challenging. By working with someone who knows your specific needs / challenges can make the process easier.

Are these beliefs true or false?

These beliefs are not necessarily false, but they can be limiting and prevent people from making progress on their health goals.

It’s important to recognize that everyone has the ability to grow, learn, and make positive changes in regards to their health, no matter their past experiences or perceived limitations.

While it may take time, effort, and resources to make changes, the benefits of working towards and achieving one’s goals can be well worth it.

It can be helpful to reframe these limiting beliefs and instead adopt a growth mindset, which means approaching challenges with the belief that one can learn, grow, and improve through effort and perseverance.

Limiting belief exercises

Identify the limiting beliefs.
Start by becoming aware of the specific thoughts and beliefs that are holding you back when it comes to your health. Pay attention to negative self-talk or automatic thoughts that pop up when you’re faced with challenges whenever you try to implement a new habit (like going to the gym!) or trying to make a change. Write these beliefs down and try to understand where they came from and how they are impacting your actions and behaviors.

Challenge the evidence.
Once you have identified a limiting belief, try to evaluate the evidence for and against it. Are there any examples in your life where you were able to overcome a challenge or achieve a goal despite this belief? Is there evidence to suggest that this belief is not true or is not always true in every situation?

Practice reframing.
Once you have challenged the evidence for a limiting belief, try to reframe it in a more positive or realistic way. For example, instead of thinking “Why do I always fall off track,” try thinking “I may not be perfect at this yet, but I am learning and improving with every effort I make. Every little improvement adds up.”

Set small, achievable goals.
One way to challenge and overcome limiting beliefs is to set small, achievable goals that help you build confidence and momentum. These goals should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART goals).

Practice gratitude and self-compassion.
Focusing on the things you are grateful for and being kind and understanding to yourself can help you build resilience and a more positive mindset. It’s important to recognize that everyone makes mistakes and has setbacks, and it’s okay to be imperfect. Instead of beating yourself up, try to be compassionate and understanding, and focus on the progress you have made.

Visualize
“Visualizing success” isn’t a waste of time – it’s science. Many incredibly successful people use visualization. Visualization alone won’t make you Tiger Woods – but combining visualization with practice makes your potential soar. Science shows us four main benefits from visualization:

1) Reinforces positives with the power of your “reticular activation system” (RAS). Every day, we’re bathed in an incredible amount of stimulus. What’s dangerous? What’s beneficial? What’s worthy of attention? Your RAS helps you spot that car swerving into your lane – but it’ll also reject anything that doesn’t reinforce your beliefs. Visualizing negative beliefs? Positives become invisible. Visualizing success? Your RAS helps you achieve by showing you what you need.

2) Reduces fear and anxiety by hacking your brain. The root of fear and anxiety? The anticipation of unknown future events. Real and vividly imagined memories look the same to our brain. Intensely visualize a situation to make it familiar to your brain, which can reduce the impact of crippling anxiety.

3) Reprogramming your subconscious with positive beliefs. Relaxing slows your brain waves, making it easier to replace any negative beliefs held deep in your mind. Relax and visualize to overwrite negative, limiting subconscious beliefs (while putting
positive ones in their place).

4) Learning new skills (MUCH faster).
Visualizing a skill stimulates the same regions of your brain as actually performing the skill. This
boosts your learning speed by building the same neural networks as actual practice.

Seek support and accountability.
It can be helpful to enlist the help of a trusted health care practitioner to guide you on your health journey so that you can minimize setbacks.. Having someone to share your progress with and seek guidance from can be a powerful motivator.

If you want to learn more about how our team can support you, sign up for an initial consult.

Dr. Inna lukyanovsky, PharmD

Dr. Inna lukyanovsky, PharmD

Doctor of Pharmacy, Functional Medicine Practitioner, Gut Health Expert and Best Selling Author of the book "Crohn's and Colitis Fix."

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