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Identify And Eliminate Self-Limiting Beliefs And Words

Written by: Dorothy M. Neddermeyer, Ph.D., Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.


How do limiting beliefs and words become a nemesis? Hearing limiting beliefs and words start as early as one-year-old and progressively evolves and reshapes the perceptions we carry throughout life. Whether you’ve had painful experiences that caused you to fear similar encounters or are scared of what’s to come, limiting beliefs and words can prevent positive new beliefs from entering into your consciousness.

Knowing the cause of your limiting beliefs and words is the way to understand the thought process behind them and begin the process of changing from limiting beliefs and words to empowered beliefs and words. You can learn easy to use strategies that are highly effective to overcome using limiting beliefs and words.

Many Limiting Beliefs are common expressions that are spoken in many settings, conversations, languages and cultures.

  • I’m not good enough: “I’m not good enough to…fill in the blank.”

  • I’m too old or too young: “I’m too young to be…fill in the blank.”

  • I don’t have enough time: “I don’t have enough time to invest in myself or…fill in the blank.”

  • I’m not smart enough: “I’m not smart enough to…fill in the blank.”

  • I don’t have enough experience: “I don’t have enough experience to…fill in the blank.”

  • I’ll never be successful: “I’ll never be successful in my industry.”

  • I don’t have enough money: “I don’t have enough money to…fill in the blank.”

  • I’ll never be one of the best: “I’ll never be one of the best on the team.”

  • I’m not talented enough: “I’m not talented enough to get a promotion.”

  • I’ll never be a great leader: “I’ll never be a great leader with my lack of confidence or experience–fill in the blank.”

Limiting Words are common expressions since we became aware of the does and don’ts in the family, education, religion, community and society

Limiting Words

Empowering Words


Sometimes, Usually, Seldom

Never Usually

Sometimes, Seldom

If Only___.

Next time__. When__please__.

Why did/don’t/didn’t you__?

Next time___. If you prefer___.

I don’t know. All answers lie within.


You (I) should/shouldn’t

If you (I) __. When you(I)__. .Please__

I’m trying___. Try___. I’ll try___.

I will___. I intend to___. Yes,___. NO.

I can’t___.

I will___. I won’t___. My idea is___,

But,___ No excuses.

However, (explain) I will___.

Hope, Hopefully

I will___. I intend to___. I decided___.

I wish___

I will___. I intend to___. I decided___.

Why me? I will___.

It is what it is. I will handle it.

That’s impossible

What I perceive, I can conceive.

Life is difficult (whine)

Life is what I perceive. I will think different.

God’s will.

I have free-will. I am responsible. I will create.

God doesn’t answer my prayers

I create my reality. I will decide.

I’m too tired. (Excuse)

I need rest. I will decide after resting.

I’m worried. worrying. (Excuse)

I will get information, evaluate, and decide.

Too busy. (Excuse)

I will schedule it. No thank you. No, interest.

Not enough time (Excuse)

I will schedule it. No thank you.

Around-to-it (Excuse)

I will. No thank you.

I’m afraid to___. (Excuse)

I will___. I am unwilling to do it.

What if___. (Drama/Excuse)

Evaluate and decide.

I don’t have the time. (Excuse)

Evaluate and decide.

I’ll wait. (Excuse) Nothing happens.

Evaluate and decide.

It’s too hard. (Drama/Excuse).

Evaluate and decide.

Because of___ (Excuse)

Evaluate and decide.

That will never work (Excuse)

Evaluate and decide.

How to eliminate limiting beliefs or words

You can eliminate limiting beliefs and words with a step-by-step process.

Eliminate limiting beliefs.

Taking the first step to Eliminate Limiting Beliefs or Words might seem daunting. Remember what you think becomes a belief and beliefs become your life. Instead of thinking of it as daunting, think of it as your getout of jail card.

Getting out of jail card is easier to do than you allow yourself to think.

The first step and the most important step is to notice (be aware) when you use a limiting belief or word.

“Awareness in itself is healing.” ‒ Frederick Perls

The next step is to decide one limiting belief or one word you will change. Avoid taking more than one belief or word to eliminate. Take one belief or word and list at least 3-4 things/reasons that you oppose it.

Answer these questions:

  • “I can’t do this because…fill in the blank”

  • “I don’t think this would work because …fill in the blank.”

  • “For other people it might work, but in my case …fill in the blank “

  • “This hasn’t worked in the past and will not work now because …fill in the blank “

The final step is to choose only one limiting belief or word with supporting ones.

Write them in a column…for example: I can’t do it because…fill in the blank. Evaluate if your ‘reason’ is valid. And guaranteed it isn’t valid. How do I know, I know because human psyches are imbued to create versus limiting themselves. Remember how a child learned to walk. In the beginning you took one or two steps and either fell or sat down. However, after falling you got up and did it again and again until you walked steadily.

Some people refer to this process as affirmations of choosing a belief or word and restating it with an empowering belief or word. However, when you approach the process with a structured format your efforts supercede affirmations. An affirmation is an action or process of affirming something or being affirmed. For example, “I am happy.” Saying it a million times fails to address the reason you are unhappy. Using step two gives you the ‘awareness’ of what is blocking you from choosing to be happy. Happiness or unhappiness is a ‘decision’ not a law or rule. Abraham Lincoln stated, more than 150 years ago, “Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” It’s as true today as when he first said it.

The process of changing a limiting belief or word takes 30 to 40 days of concentrated effort. Listen to your thoughts, listen to the words you speak. When you hear yourself think or say a limiting belief or word that you chose to correct, STOP and rephrase your thought or statement. Even if you are speaking to someone and you say a limiting belief or word, self-correct. You can say, “I’ll say it another way.” Make your statement with an empowering belief or word. When you self-correct you will notice people pay more attention to your statements. The reason they pay more attention is because they notice you pay close attention to how you speak. Win/Win. Not only are you improving your life, you are demonstrating (without saying anything) how others can improve their life.

Repeat this pattern of choosing a Limiting Belief or Word to change to an Empowered Belief or Word.

Choosing a positive perspective to look at challenges will train your mind to look for the positive perspective in everyday situations rather than a negative perspective.

Lastly, avoid giving up when you use a limiting belief or word.

Remember: Everyone defaults to limiting beliefs and words, because we hear them with many people, TV, commercials, including leaders and entrepreneurs you admire.

The most important thing is to persevere through the limiting beliefs and words and not allow a momentary slip to hinder you. Among the many qualities of humans, avoiding giving up on yourself or others is a virtue.

Though you might be discouraged when you notice you used a Limiting Belief or Word, push limiting thoughts about yourself away by taking a moment to regroup. Sometimes all you need to do is to take a deep breath to set yourself back on track.


You are worth it because you are you.

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Read more from Dorothy!


Dorothy M. Neddermeyer, Ph.D., Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Dorothy M. Neddermeyer, Ph.D. is a successful influencer in the public and private sectors, as a consultant, coach, and keynote speaker. She has 30 plus years of global experience in leadership development, behavioral change, and enhancing human potential ‒ i.e. you can achieve more than you think. Dr. Dorothy is passionate about developing great leaders. She works with senior and emerging executives to amplify their leadership skills and drive viable/sustainable organizations with relevant, adaptable, centered, and authentic skills. Her areas of expertise are:

  • Leadership/Sales Development

  • Behavioral Change

  • Business Strategy

  • Communication Skills

  • Diversity Coaching

  • C-Suite, Senior, and High Potential


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