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How to Stop Self Sabotage!

Those of you follow the Sky High Coaching Facebook page would know that something I love to do is fun runs. I love the challenge and I love that registering for the event forces me to hit the footpath (training!) And if the event raises money for charity, then even better.

This time last year I was in training for a half marathon - a distance that I had never attempted before. I had been participating in fun runs for almost 10 years, but no matter which event I registered for I always chose the shortest or second shortest distance. Time after time. Year after year.

But last year I signed up for the longer distance of 22km, determined to complete it. To assist with my motivation I asked friends and family to sponsor me – if those nearest and dearest had enough faith in me to put their own money on the line then I would have no excuse. Not showing up wouldn’t be an option (can anyone say “oh no, it’s raining”?) nor would relegating myself to the shorter, more familiar 10km course.

Why on earth would I consider being a no show OR completing a distance that I’ve done many times before and is no longer a challenge? Because I had a self limiting belief that I could not run as far as 22km.

What is a self limiting belief?

It is a belief that prevents us from moving towards things we want to do, be or have in our life. It is worth separating a belief from a self limiting belief because whilst they can be the same thing, they most likely are not.

** Self limiting beliefs are sneaky, and we usually have no idea they are with us. **

Where did my self limiting belief come from?

As per most of these types of beliefs, it came from events that occurred during my childhood and adolescence. I suffered from asthma as a child and have many memories of spending winter nights sleeping with a ventilator in my room and during episodes being held by my mother in our bathroom enveloped with steam from the hot water taps running in the bath, shower and basin to open my airways. Well meaning parents, teachers and sport coaches constantly reminded me that I "could not run far" or may experience an asthma attack.

It isn’t hard to see when the self limiting belief that I “couldn’t run” started and how it secured itself firmly in my mind.

It is also a great example of how most self limiting beliefs may have served us once in our lives but may no longer serve us now.

I held onto this belief well into adulthood, long after I’d grown out of my childhood asthma and thrown away my medication.

When I was 30 years old I started with an organisation that sponsored its employees to participate in fun runs and triathlons.

I watched with envy as they went off on their lunchtime training runs and cheered them over the finish line at the event. I really wanted to participate, but I "could not run". I had no idea I was entertaining a self limiting belief. To me, it was a belief!

Then two things happened. Firstly, I started working with a life coach and actually learned about self limiting beliefs and how to identify and overcome them. Secondly, I started with another organisation where it was part of my role to encourage staff and members to participate in charity fun runs!! What the??? I decided to put professionalism over personal beliefs, act on what I’d learned with my life coach and starting training for a run. How could I entice others to do something that I would not do myself? I ran 1km, then 2km, then 3km then increased the distance over time. My first ever fun run was 10kms and I was extremely proud of myself. A secondary self limiting belief kept me there for a while but I’ve now completed the 22km and can't wait to set myself a new challenge. I am not going to break any speed records, and I don’t put pressure on myself, but I make it to the end and that’s the goal.

So how do you identify a self limiting belief and take steps to overcome it so as to achieve your true potential?

Most self limiting beliefs start with "I can't" or "I don't". Start to pay attention to the things you tell yourself, and others.

How do you overcome your limiting beliefs?

Isolate the belief – Think of a time when you made a choice that was limiting you in some way. Consider why you made that choice.

Seek the source – When were you first made aware of this belief? What happened to make you believe it?

Recognise it’s false – You are retaining this belief it because it was helpful you once or someone has told you to. If it did help you in the past, reflect on that, appreciate it and let the belief go.

Replace it with empowering beliefs ­– Now is the time to replace this belief with a new, enabling belief.

“I am stupid” can be replaced with “I am willing to learn new things and expand my mind”.

Start – now

Create Evidence of Success – You have identified and challenged your limiting beliefs and put some empowering beliefs in their place. It’s now time to build evidence which supports your enabling beliefs. As I said earlier, it’s sometimes best to start small and build your confidence. Once you’ve achieved one small step, you can then move onto another and another.

If the limiting belief was ingrained this may be challenging for a little while, but stay focused and determined.

Continue to celebrate your successes and move forward until the new, empowering belief is comfortable and automatic.

Good luck!

Hi and thanks for reading! My name is Janelle Ryan and I am an International Personal Coach and Change Catalyst whose main passion is helping high performers (like you) get out of their own way, align their goals with their actions and create the life of their dreams.

Self doubt is a sneaky little thing and it shows up in our lives in a myriad of ways. Procrastination, stubbornness, feeling stuck, inability to make a decision, not using our voices, making excuses, playing small. That tiny voice inside you that tells you not to move forward because YOU CAN'T is wrong! Join me for my upcoming TAKING IT SKY HIGH WORKSHOP this coming March and learn how to silence that voice for GOOD! Click here for all the details.

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