Top 10 Self-Limiting Beliefs and How to Overcome Them

Improve your thoughts. Improve your Health.

Do you have self-limiting beliefs that are holding you back? In order to make genuine changes, you need to address your belief system. Your beliefs help dictate your behavior.  The reason many people fail in making behavior changes is because of their self-doubts or limiting beliefs. This seems to be especially true when making health-related changes. You don’t need to live this way. Overcoming your doubts is a critical piece in your health and wellness journey.

Top 10 Self-limiting beliefs
Why You're not losing weight
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Review these common self-limiting beliefs or doubts which keep people from making positive changes in their wellness. If any of these limiting beliefs ring true for you, read on to discover how to reframe these beliefs and how to move toward positive change:

What are some self-limiting beliefs people have about their health?

1. Belief: “I need everything to be perfect before I even start.” 

You know the routine; you believe it’s a requirement to buy brand new gym shoes, purchase the perfect workout clothes, join a gym or a class, find the perfect diet which works for you, and this list goes on and on. 

Reframe: Realize you don’t need all these items and a perfect plan before you start. You possess enough information already to make slight changes, which will give you profound results. You probably have a general idea about what food is healthy and what isn’t. And you need nothing fancy to exercise. Step outside today and go for a walk. The important thing is to get moving. Get started with what you know and attempt to improve your routine each week. Don’t wait for things to be perfect. Begin today with one positive action.

2. Belief: “It’s impossible for me to get fit. I’m way too out of shape.”

 Many overweight people believe this. Exercise is relative. For some people, exercising involves running several miles. For others, walking to the mailbox or down the block and back is exercise. 

Reframe: If exercising scares you, just stress your body a little more than usual and follow it with recovery. One effective way to address this issue is to take a baseline of your movement. Purchase a wearable device and check your statistics after a week. This is the one I use.   Write down your average for the week and increase your movement the following week by 5% Or 3%. Just move a little more than you did the previous week. Realize you don’t need to take 10,000 steps right out of the gate. Minor changes will produce results if done consistently. Each week increase your steps by another 5%.

3. “I don’t have time to cook and I don’t know what to make.” 

Maybe you are overwhelmed if you usually buy take-out food. You might not know what to buy to make meals at home. 

Reframe: You can cook plenty of healthy things that take almost zero attention. For instance, you could throw some beans in a slow cooker or pressure cooker while you’re busy with something else. You can add these to an already prepared salad and you’ve made an instant well-balanced meal. The total time spent doing anything is less than 30 minutes.

Another option is to use healthy meal planning services that deliver the ingredients straight to your house. One example is Blue Apron. If you want try Blue Apron for the first time, you can get it for $60 off your first three weeks ! The meals look amazing and they even offer a vegetarian option. Your only requirement is to cook the meals. If this service is too expensive, Emeals is an option. This is what I use. I select the meals I want to make and add the ingredients to my cart to pick up at the grocery store. The process is super easy. 

4. “I’m so overweight that I can’t possibly get down to the weight I want.” 

 It’s true that the heavier you are, the longer it will take. If you need to lose over 50 pounds, reaching your goal weight might seem unattainable. 

Reframe: You can improve each week by making slight changes. Losing one pound each week is doable for most people who need to lose a lot of weight. Just think….that’s 52 pounds in one year by sticking to small changes!  It’s important to just focus on this week and the minor changes you can make. If you focus two years out, it’s difficult to persevere.

self-limiting beliefs. Woman with thought bubbles.

5. “I won’t get started because I don’t know how to start.” 

Unhealthy habits may feel so ingrained that it’s difficult to decide what to change first.

Reframe: If you’re unhealthy, almost anything is good enough. Clean up your diet a bit by adding one more fruit or vegetable each day to your diet or eliminating one sugary drink each day. Move around a little more than you are used to. Try to go for a walk every day. Go slow and build upon your baseline. If you can only walk 5 minutes this week, don’t beat yourself up. Next week you will probably be able to walk 10 minutes.   Once you improve your habits, your body will react. When you have successfully changed one habit, you can add one more healthy habit into the mix. It’s unnecessary to overcomplicate things by trying to change everything all at once. 

6. “Changing my lifestyle is way too complicated.”

There are so many diets and exercise routines available. Because of this information overload, it’s easy to give up before you even start.

Reframe: Realize that changing your diet and fitness routine can be simple unless you’re trying to compete in the Boston marathon. Understand that you already possess the tools to change your life.

7. “Some people are just naturally thin. I’m not one of those people.” 

Maybe you’ve always been heavy and just accepted this as a predetermined condition.

Reframe: While some people may be predisposed to be heavier, it doesn’t mean that you must stay that way. Even if the pounds don’t come off quickly for everyone, the fact is that you can still improve your health. Realize you have the potential to become a healthier individual.

8. “I’m too old to make changes in my life. I’ve always been this way. Why start now?”

A lot of older people say this, and it simply isn’t true.

Reframe: If you want to feel better, you can make changes. There are inspiring older people who make health a priority. Some are even running marathons and doing amazing things with their body. While running a marathon might be an unrealistic goal,  you can watch your diet and increase movement in your life. 

9. “Being healthy is too expensive.” 

You might think you have to spend a fortune to get healthy. After all, gym memberships can be expensive and organic food costs a lot, right?

Reframe: It’s unnecessary to spend much more than you’re already spending to get healthy. you might even save money if you cook at home. You don’t need a gym membership and eating organic foods doesn’t have to cost a lot. In fact, many organic fruits and vegetables cost a fraction more than nonorganic produce.

10. “I’m scared to lose weight.”  

Some people are comfortable with the added pounds because they feel vulnerable when they try to make changes. If everyone knows they are trying to lose weight, they might worry about failure when they don’t achieve their goals. 

Reframe: It’s unnecessary to tell people (beyond the people in your household) that you are changing your lifestyle habits.  Isn’t it better to change your habits so you can be healthier? Not only will you get more energy, but other people will also notice after a while without you needing to make a big announcement. 

Goal. Plan. Work. Stick To. Success.
Self-limting beliefs.


These are some of the top 10 self-limiting beliefs that keep people from making lifestyle changes. Examine your own beliefs. What is stopping you from taking better care of yourself? Is your belief reasonable, or is it an excuse to maintain your current behavior? If you can change your thoughts, you can change your behavior and enjoy positive results.

Start eating a little better and exercising a bit more today, and sooner than you think, you’ll be on your way to achieving the healthy body you want.

It’s difficult to make changes or to take this journey alone. I’m here to help you and to challenge these self-limiting beliefs. Read more about what a functional medicine health coach does here. Schedule a free discovery session today. Also, download a free fillable pdf worksheet to find out what some of your self-limiting beliefs are and how to overcome them.

Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor, therapist, Registered Dietitian, or financial advisor. The information presented is purely for informational purposes.  Check with a doctor or other professional before making any nutritional, fitness, lifestyle, or financial changes. The author and blog disclaim liability for any damage, mishap, or injury that may occur from engaging in any suggestions or ideas from this site. For a full disclaimer, read this. 

Top 10 Self-Limiting Beliefs and How to Overcome Them
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