Stop Limiting Yourself: 5 Beliefs to Banish from Your Life Immediately

limiting beliefs

Tell me if you’ve every experienced this:

You’ve had a great day, week, month, or even a great year. The moves you’ve been making are starting to pay off and things are really looking up for you. As you think about your goals and dreams, you’ve noticed you get an increased fluttery feeling in your stomach because now more than ever, you see yourself actually accomplishing that One Big Dream. While you’ve always believed in yourself, it always seemed so distant because you knew you still had a lot of work to do. But with the way things have been working out lately…the doors that have been opening…the chance meetings with influential people…this is actually becoming real. You dreams are actually unfolding right in front of you. And yet…

…you sense yourself doing something weird. The closer this gets and the more real your dream becomes…

…the more you start doing crazy things! Little self-sabotaging things. And they truly are little at first — procrastinating on an important project, not following up with that important person who offered to help — but they bother you nonetheless. You have no idea why you are doing this — you know your behavior flies in the face of what you say you want. “I’m being stupid” you tell yourself. “Ugh, snap out of it!”

But it’s so hard to stop! It’s like this force field that’s sitting over your life! The closer you get to that One Big Dream, the more tempted you are to do dumb little things that make absolutely no sense. If you don’t get a handle on it soon, you fear you will ruin your opportunity. And the more you think about ruining this, the worse the problem gets…

Have you ever experienced this?

Introducing: “The Resistance”

I used to do this A LOT a few years ago. I almost felt like I had two people living inside of me! There was the Courtney that wanted to succeed, who knew all the right things to do and daydreamed about that One Big Dream night and day. And then there was this other Courtney, this crazy girl who, at the last minute, would do something stupid and risk throwing the whole dream away!

Steven Pressfield, author of the bestseller, The War of Art, personifies this phenomenon as The Resistance, a pesky anti-muse that shows when, and only when, you are on the verge of doing something great.

“Rule of thumb: The more important a call or action is to our soul’s evolution, the Resistance we will feel toward pursuing it.”

Over the past few weeks, I began to feel this self-limiting craziness creep back up again. Lately, things have been going really well for Think & Grow Chick. I’ve been blessed to see a lot of growth with this blog and connect with some really great women online. Others are starting to recognize and commend the work I do here, and for the first time in a while, I feel *really* close to my dream. I feel like I’m on the verge of a major turning point.

And at the same time…

I could feel The Resistance lurking again! “Not again!” I thought. How was I going to overcome this?

How I Almost Limited Myself

Lately, I’ve met with someone wonderful people both in-person and online who have encouraged me towards my dreams. Whether it’s GG Renee of All the Many Layers who encouraged me to write a book or Pauleanna Reid who reached out and offered to help me start coaching other women, I’ve been astounded with the influx of support I’ve received! Yet, in talking with all these encouraging people who are literally cheering for me to make my next big move, I found myself doing one small but strange thing:

I would say something like, “Really? You think I can do that? Wow. But I don’t know how…”

“I don’t know how.”

It seems like such a harmless statement — like I’m just stating a simple fact, but the more I thought about it, I realized “I don’t know” and statements like it are actually The Resistance in disguise. If you don’t know how to do something, you figure it out. “I don’t know” is not a valid excuse.

Limiting beliefs such as “I don’t know” slip in among other thoughts unnoticed at first, like a virus remaining camouflaged among other healthy cells. But if you allow such a thought to sit there, it will start to poison everything it comes in contact with. And you will find yourself acting in strange, self-sabotaging ways. You’ll begin subconsciously acting as if that limiting belief is true, which is what used to happen to me.

How to Stop the Resistance

Once I realized this, I was both angry and mortified — I’m supposed to be the self-help girl extraordinaire…what do I look like walking around limiting myself??? How hypocritical is that?

So immediately began banishing limiting thoughts from my life by writing them in my notebook every time I felt one creep up. I would write it down, see it for the ridiculous statement it is, then tell myself the exact opposite. So if I felt myself begin to think, “Well I don’t know how to do that” I would stop myself, write it down, then tell myself, “No, I DO know how to do that. And if there is something I don’t know, I can figure it out!”

This little practice has helped TREMENDOUSLY! Here’s a list of the top limiting believes I was tempted to tell myself — banish them from your life today!

Beliefs to Banish

  1. “I don’t know.” (No, you do know. You know enough to get started. And if you don’t know, you can figure it out.)
  2. “I’m not talented/smart/rich/connected/whatever enough..” (Neither were the people who actually did it)
  3. “Well of course she could do that, she’s [insert lame excuse here]. I don’t have that so…” (Everyone has an “unfair” advantage. Find yours.)
  4. “I’ll start when [insert future situation here].” (No time is the perfect time, start now!)
  5. “I’m scared.” (There is no courage without fear. You can do this.)


Talk to Me:

Have you ever experienced “The Resistance”? What limiting beliefs have held you back in the past? Let me know by leaving a comment!

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  • Ida

    This post is just what I needed to read today. I’ve been going back and forth in my mind about relocating to another state but doubt keeps creeping in. ‘What if you don’t get hired? Why would you leave a sure thing for uncertainty? What if it’s not what you expect? etc…’. This post motivates me to take the risk and step outside of my comfort zone! Thank you for the inspiration.

    • Courtney

      So glad you are taking a chance on yourself Ida! The only one who can really hold you back is…you!


    This post really speaks to me. I totally understand what you mean about the self-sabotaging voice, and it doesn’t help that I have others in my life that help me think badly of myself. Right now, I’ve come to an epiphany by choosing to believe the opposite of what I think of myself and take different actions. Instead of thinking all day about negative situations that I would use as examples of me not succeeding. I’m beginning to work on my skills to become a better ME. I’m learning that confidence can take a person a long way. Believing in yourself is a great weapon against negative situations and thinking.

    I like your writing down self-sabotaging statements. I’m going to try that out.

    • Courtney

      I’m glad this is helpful to you, let me know how the writing down activity goes. I also like that you said you are not only choosing to *believe* the positive, you are choosing to *act* that way too. Our actions can really affect our outlook too. I’m sure we’ve all had days when we were feeling so great but we still chose to get up and start moving around anyway. Pretty soon, you start feeling better! It’s no different with believing in yourself. The more you act like you believe, the more you do! So happy you are changing your actions as much as your thoughts. Thank you for sharing!

  • Joppa Penn

    This is a very – real thing. Self-sabotage is a deep seated matter and I’ve definitely experienced this. On the surface it may have seemed that I just “didn’t want it bad enough”, but I think I was just afraid to pursue certain things. I’d end up feeling like I couldn’t finish anything I started. Admittedly, a lot of it was just the process of finding myself that we all go through. But, the self-doubt had to GO. Thank God that’s over! Heather Lindsey said that our old man will always eat with our new man. I believe that self-sabotage is indicative of a spiritual battle more than anything else. The closer you are to destiny and your purpose – the more your flesh will try to pull you into mediocrity; leaving you feeling stuck. Great post.

    • Courtney

      Hi Joppa! I love Heather Lindsey and I LOVE that idea of “our old man vs new man”. I’ve never heard her say that before but I think it is spot on. And I 100% agree that the self-sabotage is ultimately a spiritual battle. Just like you said, the closer you get to your destiny and purpose…watch out! So glad you stopped by, thank you for sharing!

      • MJ

        Courtney, yours and Joppa’s words have been a God-send today. I was just in tears over disappointment from yet AGAIN another self-sabotage right when a glimmer of light has come in to what have been some pretty dark moments. As I got the call on Friday for an awesome job interview set for this up-coming Tuesday and as I got a personal invite from a federal judge’s clerk to be part of her inner circle women’s group as well as an invite from the judge to come to the courthouse to shadow and speak to him anytime, I saw the hand of God moving for me and the fist of God destroying the obstacles in my life (some that I undoubtedly had created). At any rate, no sooner than these things are unfolding at the latter part of last week, I find myself (a single woman who holds fast to biblical principles regarding sexual immorality) in the company of a gentleman who has not divorced and engaged in compromising behavior. I was so crushed for so many reasons. I am a woman of God who knows better but SO upset because I mentor people about such things. Like you, I felt like such a hypocrite. I know most people would say don’t beat yourself up, but how can you expect to acquire all that Father has when you break His laws. We cannot transgress the ordinances of God and expect that things will still work out. That is why it is so hard from me sometimes to have a positive self image when I make a bad choice. It is so difficult to accept all of the wonderful prophetic words of who I am in God and what I will do for Him. I feel like an amateur as I am typing this even now because I KNOW the answers for others who feel this way, yet here I am. Thank you for being transparent and sharing the funk you were in and how you came out of it. My battle is certainly two fold….so much promise in the secular arena for God’s glory (efforts to become a magistrate judge, finishing my bachelors degree although I’m 38) while being the minister that Father has called me to be (volunteer chaplain at the detention center, president of single women’s ministry…yes, me and an Elder in the church) all while caring for an ailing mother with whom I had a broken relationship who has now come to live with me from out of town and rearing a teenage son with his own unique challenges who is slated to begin college next month. When I have so much on me, it seems easier to make a bad judgment call. I just feel so awful for my recent choice with this man. Bad choices produce a self-loathing sabotage oriented behavior that stunts growth. I don’t know what is worse: being in this position or KNOWING all that I know while being in this position

        • Courtney

          Wow MJ, thank you for sharing your heart! I really feel for you but it’s important to remember “For the LORD corrects those he loves, just as a father corrects a child in whom he delights.” — Proverbs 3:12. It is a blessing that God is bringing your mistake to light so that you will not self-sabotage yourself for what He has planned for you in the future! I don’t know the details of what you are going through but “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9)” — this applies to you too, girl! When we walk in our own strength (something I catch myself doing literally everyday) we are prone to fall just as you have, but when we run to God, He will pick us back up. Keep your head up and keep seeking God, just as you’ve decided to do again. Sending you my prayers!

  • Leanne Lindsey, Career Coach

    Resistance is REAL! As I told you yesterday, I’ve had a video recorded since Easter and still haven’t uploaded it to my website, even though I know it would be beneficial. I think it’s also good to take yourself out of the equation and think about who you are trying to help. That can help you move past resistance I’ve found.

    • Courtney

      Hey Leanne! I like that — take yourself out of the equation and think about who you’re trying to help. Hopefully the desire to help will motivate you to press on. Great tip!

  • Steph

    Omgahhhh I needed this! I’ve been is this haze of trying to plan my future and being worried about being prepared for my first job and worrying about getting the experience and being qualified. All these things make me worry so much that it stops me from doing anything. I shut down. But I am slowly getting out of this from reading affirmations like this. Thank you!

    • Courtney

      You are welcome Steph! Do not doubt yourself — everyone had to start from somewhere. If a company sees something in you to hire you, then trust in your own abilities and know that you are qualified for where you are at this point in time. No one is perfect or the most qualified when they first start out, that’s why you keep “thinking and growing” hehe! Keep your head up and thanks for stopping by!

  • Inspyre You

    Wow!! Coming across this blog is yet another sign that I am on my way! Blessings have been coming left and right. Blessings that I have been praying for and waiting for what feels like an eternity to happen… why have I caught myself allowing self-sabotage to kick in?? Resistance. I am a Health Coach and a LPC and for the past year I have been dealing with depression. With my depression came emotional eating. So I have been beating myself up because as a counselor AND a health coach I should be able to overcome these obstacles with ease right? Wrong. All 5 of those beliefs have been holding me back but not any more. I have too many ladies to help :-). Thank you for this!!

    Oh, and definitely consider coaching :). We are blessed to be a blessing and you are needed!

    • Courtney

      Thank you so much, Inspyre! And watch out now, I will take you up on your offer to coach you! :-) The one thing I always remind myself when I slip up is that people resonate more with how we overcome challenges than they do when we do something perfect right out the gate. So believe in your heart that you will beat your depression and emotional eating and know that your story of triumph will make your coaching and business that much more effective. When I’m going through hard times, I literally tell myself, “That’s okay. One day I’ll be sharing this very story on stage.” It’s all in your outlook. 😉

  • Latrisha Talley

    I’m guilty of limiting beliefs #1, 4 & 5 (although I rarely admit to #5…oops, I just did! LOL). This is a reminder to myself to get out of my own way. I have to stop making excuses and just do it! Wishing you continued success on your journey. Thanks for sharing.

    • Courtney

      Lol @ rarely admitting #5! We all get scared and then get scared to admit we are scared! *sigh* the journey can be so crazy sometimes! Thank you so much for the well wished and I am rooting for you too, Latrisha!

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