If you want to achieve your goals this year, say goodbye to these 10 self-limiting beliefs

Do you start every New Year with big plans and grand resolutions, only to find yourselves slipping back into your old habits a few months (or weeks!) down the line? 

You’re not alone! Often, this happens because of things we tell ourselves that aren’t really true. 

These self-limiting beliefs are deeply ingrained in our minds, and act like invisible shackles, holding us back from reaching our full potential and achieving our goals.

If you’re tired of seeing the same pattern year after year and are eager to make real, sustainable changes in your life, then you’re in the right place!

In this article, we’ll be dissecting some of the most common self-limiting beliefs that are probably keeping you stuck right where you are.

So buckle up and get ready to say goodbye to those pesky mental roadblocks. It’s time to break free and soar towards your goals!

1) “I’m not good enough, I’m not worthy of success”

One of the most common self-limiting beliefs is thinking that you’re not good enough and not worthy of success. This is a belief that many of us carry around, often without even realizing it. We think that good things are for others, but not for us.

This belief can take many forms: maybe you think you’re not smart enough, not experienced enough, not talented enough…the list goes on.

This mentality lurks in the shadows of our minds, quietly sabotaging our efforts to achieve our goals.  This belief undermines your self-worth and can prevent you from trying new things or taking risks.

The truth is, this belief is a lie. It’s a lie that we tell ourselves out of fear, self-doubt, and insecurity.

No one was born feeling “not enough”. It’s a belief that we pick up along the way from negative experiences, harsh criticism and negative comments from others, our own insecurities or unrealistic societal expectations.

You are enough, just as you are. You have unique talents, skills, abilities, and experiences that make you perfectly equipped for your journey and capable of realizing your dreams.

If you’ve been carrying around this belief, it’s time to let it go this year. Don’t let this belief keep you stuck and hold you back from achieving your goals.

You are enough, and you are certainly worthy of all the success in the world!

Start recognizing your own worth and believing in your potentials. It will make a world of difference in your pursuit of your goals. You’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish!

2) “My dreams are too big and unrealistic” 

Another common self-limiting belief is thinking that your dreams are too big, too ambitious, too unrealistic or even on the borderline of delusional. This mindset can significantly hinder you from pursuing your goals and realizing your full potential.

This belief overlooks the fact that many of the world’s most notable achievements and innovations throughout history were once considered unrealistic or impossible dreams. History is replete with examples of individuals who achieved extraordinary things because they dared to dream big. 

Tim Ferriss, the Number 1 New York Times best-selling author, famously wrote in one of his best-sellers “The Four Hour Work Week”, “Ninety-nine percent of people in the world are convinced they are incapable of achieving great things, so they aim for the mediocre.

The level of competition is thus fiercest for “realistic” goals, paradoxically making them the most time- and energy-consuming. If you are insecure, guess what? The rest of the world is, too.

Do not overestimate the competition and underestimate yourself. You are better than you think.” 

Categorizing a dream as ‘too big’ or ‘unrealistic’ usually underestimates one’s own abilities and potential. It stems from a place of self-doubt and fear, often rooted in the idea that success is reserved for a select few or that certain aspirations are unattainable for ‘ordinary’ individuals.

Tim Ferriss pointed out that most people aspire to set “realistic” goals due to their self-limiting beliefs, thus making them the most competitive. 

Tim Ferriss went on to prove his points, “Unreasonable and unrealistic goals are easier to achieve for yet another reason. Having an unusually large goal is an adrenaline infusion that provides the endurance to overcome the inevitable trials and tribulations that go along with any goal.

Realistic goals, goals restricted to the average ambition level, are uninspiring and will only fuel you through the first or second problem, at which point you throw in the towel. If the potential payoff is mediocre or average, so is your effort.

The fishing is best where the fewest go, and the collective insecurity of the world makes it easy for people to hit home runs while everyone else is aiming for base hits. There is just less competition for bigger goals.”

How amazing is that? Doesn’t it make perfect sense to you the level of competition is just the least fierce for the biggest goals and the most unrealistic or ambitious dreams? 

No dream is too big if you’re willing to work for it. Setting high, unrealistic goals can be inspiring and motivational. 

Big, ambitious dreams act as powerful motivators that push individuals to stretch their limits, step out of their comfort zones, face challenges and persist through setbacks. The journey towards achieving a big dream is filled with opportunities for growth and self-improvement.

Even if the dream is adjusted or refined along the way, the process of striving for it can lead to significant personal achievements and satisfaction.

Believing in the feasibility of your dreams is crucial. It’s about balancing optimism with realism — setting ambitious goals while also being practical about the steps needed to achieve them.

It involves breaking down a big dream into smaller, achievable goals and understanding the actionable steps required to reach them.

Each small step forward is progress towards your larger goal. This approach turns what seems overwhelming into something more manageable, keeping motivation high and progress continuous.

Realism in goal-setting doesn’t mean limiting one’s aspirations. It means recognizing the challenges ahead and planning accordingly. You might need to acquire new skills, seek advice, or adjust your plans along the way, but none of these challenges make your dreams unrealistic.

They simply form part of the journey.

Changing your mindset from “my dreams are unrealistic” to “my dreams are challenging and I am capable of rising to the challenge” can open up possibilities for growth and achievement.

Remember, what seems impossible now might just be a matter of time, consistent effort and persistence.

3) “I might fail”

Fear of failure is one self-limiting belief that often stops us in our tracks. We’re so afraid of messing up or not meeting expectations that we don’t even try at all. 

This fear often leads to a negative mindset that focuses more on what could go wrong rather than what could go right. It can create a self-fulfilling prophecy where the fear of failure actually increases the likelihood of it occurring due to a lack of confidence or half-hearted efforts.

Fear of failure can significantly hinder personal and professional growth by creating an invisible barrier that prevents individuals from taking risks, trying new things, or pursuing their goals. This fear often stems from a variety of sources such as past experiences, societal pressures, or personal insecurities.

Many people with a fear of failure tend to set lower expectations for themselves or choose easier tasks to ensure success. This self-imposed limitation can prevent them from reaching their full potential.

Out of fear of failing, individuals might pass up opportunities that could lead to major breakthroughs in their personal or professional lives. The regret of missed opportunities can sometimes be greater than the disappointment of failure.

Some of the most successful people in the world have failed multiple times. Thomas Edison, for example, made 1,000 unsuccessful attempts at inventing the light bulb. When asked about it, he simply said, “I didn’t fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps.”

Fear of failure can stifle growth and learning. Failure is a key component of learning and your fear of failure limit opportunities to learn from mistakes and grow. Every successful person has a history of failures and mistakes from which they have learned valuable lessons.

So if you’re gripped by the fear of failure, remember that failure isn’t the end of the world, and every failure is a step closer to success.

Shift your perspective to see mistakes as valuable learning opportunities. Every misstep is a step towards growth and understanding. It’s all part of the process.

Don’t let fear of failure keep you stuck in one place and stop you from pursuing your goals. Instead, embrace failure as a stepping stone to success. Every successful person has failed at some point. After all, It’s all about getting back up and trying again!

4) “It’s too late to start”

you probably had a pretty tough childhood If you want to achieve your goals this year, say goodbye to these 10 self-limiting beliefs

Another common self-limiting belief is thinking it’s too late to start pursuing our dreams or goals. We often feel like we’ve missed the boat, especially when we compare ourselves to others who seem to be ahead.

But here’s the reality: it’s never too late to start and pursue your dreams or goals. Many successful people started late in their life. Colonel Sanders was 62 years old when he first franchised Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) and sold the business for $2 million dollars 12 years later at the age of 74.

Designer Vera Wang made a career switch to the fashion industry to design bridal gowns at the age of 40. Wang even confessed later on, “I thought maybe it’s just too late for me” and that she would never have a chance at success in such a competitive industry. Her business went on to become a mega success despite a late start. 

Your journey is unique, age is just a number and it shouldn’t hold you back from pursuing your dreams.

Each day provides us with a fresh opportunity to take a step towards our goals. It doesn’t matter how old you are, what stage of life you’re at, or how far behind you think you are. What matters is taking that first step and not giving up until you get where you want to be.

So if you’ve been holding back because you think it’s too late, it’s time to let go of that belief. It’s never too late to make changes and work towards your goals. Start today, and remember, the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

5) “Success is a matter of luck or chance” 

Many people hold the self-limiting belief that success comes down to luck. They think that successful people just happen to be in the right place at the right time, and that there’s no point in trying because they’ll never get that lucky.

Luck isn’t something that just happens. It’s a byproduct of certain attitudes, mindsets and principles. Success isn’t the result of extraordinary luck or unique talent alone, but also of perseverance, resilience, and the relentless pursuit of a goal.

Silicon Valley’s legendary entrepreneur and investor Peter Thiel, the author of the timeless book “Zero to One”, rejected chance in the success of the startup world: “A startup is the largest endeavor over which you can have definite mastery. It begins by rejecting the unjust tyranny of Chance.

You are not a lottery ticket.” Peter Thiel also quoted another legend in the Silicon Valley’s startup world, Jack Dorsey who tweeted to his millions of followers on Twitter, the social media platform he created: “Success is never accidental.” Peter went on to state, “It’s true that already successful people have an easier time doing new things whether due to their network, wealth or experience.

But perhaps we become too quick to dismiss anyone who claimed to have succeeded according to plan.” 

Luck does play a role in success. It can come in many forms, such as being born into a supportive family, meeting the right mentor, being at the right place at the right time, or even random chance events that lead to big opportunities.

Luck can create opportunities that individuals might not have had otherwise, regardless of their skills.

However, it’s important to note that luck alone is rarely enough for lasting success. What often makes the difference is how individuals capitalize on the luck they encounter. This is where skill, preparation, and hard work come into play.

The saying “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity” encapsulates this idea well.

Success is typically the result of both luck and skill, along with hard work, determination, and the ability to seize opportunities when they arise. While luck can present opportunities, skills and effort are what enable individuals to take advantage of these opportunities and achieve sustained success.

So, success isn’t about waiting for good fortune to strike. It’s about creating your own luck through hard work and perseverance. Don’t let this self-limiting belief hold you back from reaching your goals!

6) “I don’t have what it takes”

At some point in our lives, many of us have been plagued by this belief. When faced with a daunting goal or a challenging situation, we often doubt our abilities and question whether we have what it takes to succeed.

This self-limiting belief can prevent us from even attempting to reach our goals. It sows seeds of self-doubt and plants roots of insecurity that can hold us back from realizing our potential.

The truth is, you do have what it takes. You are capable, you are resilient, and you have within you the power to overcome any obstacle that stands in your way.

So, if you’ve been doubting your capabilities, it’s time to change your mindset. Believe in yourself and your ability to figure things out. Remember, the only thing standing between you and your goals is the story you keep telling yourself about why you can’t achieve them. Change the narrative, and you change the outcome.

7) “My past determines my future”

Often, we let our past mistakes or failures define our future. We think that because we failed once, we’re destined to fail again.

But the truth is, your past doesn’t determine your future.

Your past is a lesson, not a life sentence. Every mistake, every failure, is an opportunity to learn and grow. It’s not an indicator of your future success.

So don’t let your past weigh you down. Instead, use it as a stepping stone towards your goals. Remember, the only time you should ever look back is to see how far you’ve come.

8) “I don’t have enough time”

bad to keep your emotions inside If you want to achieve your goals this year, say goodbye to these 10 self-limiting beliefs

Let’s face it, we’re all guilty of saying we don’t have enough time. It’s a convenient excuse for not pursuing our goals or trying new things. But is it really true?

Here’s an interesting fact: According to a study by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average American has roughly 5 hours of leisure time per day. That’s plenty of time to work towards your goals!

Best-selling author Tim Ferriss famously quoted, “If you don’t have time, the truth is, you don’t have priorities. Think harder; don’t work harder.” 

Time management and prioritization are key. The best entrepreneur in the world know how to prioritize tasks and goals according to their importance and urgency. 

Stop telling yourself you don’t have time. Instead, focus on managing your time effectively and prioritizing the things that matter most. You might be surprised at what you can accomplish!

9) “I’m stuck in my current situation”

Life can sometimes feel like a hamster wheel. You’re running as fast as you can, but you don’t seem to be getting anywhere. This can lead to a sense of hopelessness and the belief that you’re stuck.

But here’s the reality check: You’re not stuck. Change is always possible. It might take hard work, dedication, and stepping out of your comfort zone, but you have the power to change your situation.

Don’t let the belief that you’re stuck prevent you from making changes and pursuing your goals. It’s your life and you have the power to steer it in the direction you want to go.

10) “I don’t have enough resources”

“I don’t have enough time. I don’t have enough money. I don’t have the right connections.” Does this sound familiar?

This self-limiting belief convinces us that we lack the necessary resources to achieve our goals. It’s an easy excuse to not even try.

But let’s remember that resourcefulness is more important than resources. In other words, it’s not about what you have, but how you use what you have.

It might be true that people already born into wealth and privilege might have a much easier time succeeding due to their existing network or abundance of resources. However, let’s not forget that many successful people started with very little.

They were simply creative and persistent with the resources they had. 

As Theodore Roosevelt famously said, “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” No matter what you have or where you are, always try to make the best use of your circumstances to pursue your goals. Don’t point fingers or whine if you get the short end of the stick. Look around you, what resources you have?

So instead of focusing on what you lack, focus on how you can make the most of what you do have. It might be challenging, but it’s definitely possible to achieve your goals with limited resources.

Overcoming self-limiting beliefs: It’s all in your mind

The journey to achieving our goals is often a mental one, more than anything else. 

At the heart of it all are our beliefs. These deeply ingrained thoughts can be our biggest allies or our worst enemies.

The power of belief is immense. Henry Ford summed it up perfectly when he said, “Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.”

Self-limiting beliefs are like invisible chains that hold us back from reaching our full potential. They are rooted in our subconscious mind and often go unnoticed, subtly influencing our thoughts, actions, and decisions.

These beliefs usually stem from past experiences, societal conditioning, or messages we’ve absorbed from the people around us. They weave a narrative of self-doubt and fear that stifles our ability to grow and evolve.

Recognizing these beliefs is the first step towards overcoming them. Awareness brings them into the light, allowing us to challenge and question them. Are they really true? Do they serve us, or are they holding us back?

It’s important to remember that self-limiting beliefs are not facts. They are merely perceptions that we’ve accepted as truth. And just as we’ve learned to believe them, we can also unlearn them.

If we hold onto self-limiting beliefs, we create barriers that hinder our progress. But if we choose to let go of these beliefs and replace them with empowering ones, we pave the way for growth and success.

Overcoming self-limiting beliefs requires patience and persistence. It’s not about flipping a switch and suddenly believing that everything is possible. Instead, it’s a gradual process of replacing old, limiting beliefs with new, empowering ones.

One effective way to do this is through affirmations – positive statements that help reshape our mindset. For instance, if you believe you’re not good enough, you could use affirmations like “I am enough just as I am” or “I am worthy of success”.

It’s also helpful to surround yourself with positive influences – people who believe in you and inspire you to chase your dreams. Avoid negative energy that feeds your self-doubt and reinforces your self-limiting beliefs.

Finally, practice self-compassion. Be gentle with yourself as you navigate this journey of self-improvement. Remember that growth takes time, and it’s okay to make mistakes along the way.

Overcoming self-limiting beliefs is not easy, but it’s worth the effort. It’s about freeing yourself from the shackles of self-doubt and fear, and stepping into your power. It’s about believing in yourself and your ability to achieve your dreams.

It’s about realizing that you are capable, you are worthy, and you are enough. And most importantly, it’s about embracing the truth that the only limits that exist are the ones we place on ourselves. 

As you journey towards your goals this year, let’s remember to examine your beliefs. Let’s pledge to bid farewell to those self-limiting beliefs and embrace the mindset of possibility and achievement.

After all, your beliefs shape your reality. And it’s within your power to shape them in a way that leads you straight to your goals.

Picture of Caroline Le

Caroline Le

Caroline is a content writer, internet entrepreneur and digital nomad based in between Bali and Vietnam. An advocate for freedom and living life on one's own terms, Caroline became a freelance writer, trading the 9-5 life for the freedom of a location-independent lifestyle. Caroline writes about love & relationships, personal development & entrepreneurship, among others. Caroline is an avid reader & traveller. When she's not busy hustling, Caroline can be seen sunbathing & reading her books on a pristine beach, soaking up the goodness in life. You can connect with her on Twitter @mavryk68.

Enhance your experience of Ideapod and join Tribe, our community of free thinkers and seekers.

Related articles

Most read articles

Get our articles

Ideapod news, articles, and resources, sent straight to your inbox every month.