Beliefs & limiting beliefs: choose your attitude


What stops people making progress with healthy living? Or any other aims and goals they’d like to achieve?


All of us see the world in a unique way, much in part to our belief system. Our beliefs lead our behaviours and our results in all areas of life. But sometimes our beliefs can become outdated. So how do you uncover any beliefs that you hold that are limiting your progress?


Begin by thinking about statements such as these:

  • I don’t have time to exercise

  • Healthy eating is boring / expensive / too much effort

  • Living a healthy life is hard work

  • I’ve always been a bad sleeper

  • There just aren’t enough hours in the day to fit everything in

  • Life’s a struggle

Understanding your beliefs in order to help guide you through life is a very useful process, but be aware that holding on to your beliefs too tightly could also lead to frustrations and limitations.


If you hold a firm belief that you don’t have time to exercise, how easy do you think it will be to change your habits around activity? Instead of seeing opportunities to get active, this belief leads you to look for the parts of each day that will reinforce this thought process. Your brain will actively seek out the moments when you’re pushed for time, hone in on these and satisfy itself that you’re absolutely right to hold the belief that you don’t have time for exercise.


In fact, over time, you will be aware of only the things that reinforce your belief and you will overlook any evidence to the contrary.


It is a presupposition in many forms of coaching that there is a positive intention in every thought or behaviour that you demonstrate. You would never set out to deliberately make life hard for yourself so there must have been a reason for you to form what might now, on closer inspection, turn out to be limiting or negative beliefs. Perhaps you felt in the past that getting more active was too much effort and you began using lack of time as an excuse to let yourself off the hook.


But what could you be missing out on? By living with a belief system that was created for particular reasons and has become reinforced over time without ever being questioned or updated, you’ll never know if these beliefs might be doing you more harm than good.


Compare the following beliefs and consider how life might be different for the individuals whose minds are preoccupied with either the first or second statement of each pair.

  • I don’t have time to exercise

  • I’ll always make time to exercise. It’s the only thing that keeps me sane

  • Healthy eating is boring / expensive / too much effort

  • The right food choices help me feel great every day

  • Living a healthy life is hard work

  • Living a healthy life is an investment in myself and my future

  • I’ve always been a bad sleeper

  • I know what I need to do to optimise my sleep

  • There just aren’t enough hours in the day to fit everything in

  • My friend is an inspiration. She packs so much into every day

  • I’m always tired

  • I know how to control my energy levels and keep them high

Some people will argue that all this is just playing with words but you can image the different types of results that could be achieved by those who hold the red beliefs compared with those who hold the beliefs in green.


So try it for yourself. Explore any limiting beliefs that you hold in relation to achieving your desired healthy living results and begin updating your beliefs into a system that supports you every day.