There are things that we all tell ourselves that affect the actions we take. When we believe these things, we either move forward or stay in complacency. Self-limiting beliefs exist in the form of doubt, fear, complacency or the negative voices of others in our life. These negative beliefs have kept many people from living the kind of life they want to live — especially related to health.
At 19, I was as fit as could be. I ran and I had a healthy diet. That year, I started working a job — that paid well — but I eventually hated. The job was delivering bread to grocery stories, which meant working odd hours. I got up at midnight every night and often at meals at fast food chains or gas stations, because they were the only stores open when I was working.
I stayed in this job for 12 years. I ate unhealthy food and consumed 88 ounces of Mountain Dew a day that whole time. At the end of it, I tipped the scales at 370 pounds.
After crying for two days, I was determined to change my life. I knew the most important element of my journey was getting control of my health. When I started my weight-loss journey, these five self-limiting beliefs tried to hold me back from my goals:
1. "It’s too hard."
When I thought about the weight I wanted to lose, 170 pounds, it seemed impossible to accomplish. Instead of focusing on the big number or goal, concentrate on waking up and taking it one day at a time. By breaking this down into what you need to do each day, it will become a habit that’s part of your lifestyle. That’s how you create lasting change in your life.
2. "I have more time."
When my father died, I realized how short life really is. I wish I could promise you more time in life, but that’s not realistic. We have to live each day as if it were the last because it very well could be. I would rather die knowing I tried, then live knowing I’m settling for less than I want or deserve.
3. "I’ll start tomorrow."
For a long time, I would wake up and tell myself I would start running or eat better tomorrow. The problem was “tomorrow” didn’t come for 12 years. It’s easier to put something off than face it head on. Instead of telling yourself you’ll start tomorrow, get up and start today. Don’t let the “tomorrow” lie keep you from changing.
4. "I’m OK with how I look and feel."
I was lying to myself when I said this. None of my clothes fit and I had to shop at a plus-size store. I woke up every day and felt terrible. I had sleep apnea when I slept. I was NOT fine. Dig deeper. Be honest with how you feel — it’s the first step in healing and making changes.
5. "I’m successful in other areas of my life."
I was able to do well financially, so I fell back on the belief that I had success in other areas of my life. I let this convince me that others would look past my weight. In reality, my weight did affect my business and my relationship. Your health affects every area of your life.
Over a three-year period, I lost 170 pounds. I’ve kept it off for 16 months now. Once I gained control of my health, I was able to tackle the other major areas of my life that I wanted to change. I quit a job I hated to write full-time. My books have sold over 100,000 copies.
I didn’t win the lottery. I didn’t receive a huge inheritance. There was no “secret” strategy. It took hard work and conquering my self-limiting beliefs. It took focus and getting back up when I fell. I was a bread guy from Wisconsin who changed his life. I’m confident you can do this, too. It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it.