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Have you ever set health goals that you just can’t seem to reach? Never feel like you’re making meaningful progress?

If so, you aren’t alone. The inability to both set realistic health goals and reach them is one of the most common concerns I hear from my clients at their first therapy visit. And as I get to know them, it’s clear why this is a recurring theme in their lives.

Many of us develop the bad habit of holding on to self-limiting beliefs, as Gay Hendricks does an excellent job of highlighting in The Big Leap: Conquer Your Hidden Fear and Take Life to the Next Level. These subconscious mindsets have the potential to limit all areas of our lives and are even more dangerous when we don’t realize we are holding onto them. And you may not realize how often your own hidden beliefs are dictating your life.

Let’s take a closer look at how you’re limiting yourself with your health goals. It starts with an examination of your current thoughts and beliefs. Your thoughts become your beliefs and your beliefs dictate your habits. So identifying problem habits and changing them is the first step toward meeting your health goals.

1. You believe deep down you can’t ever feel better than you do today, causing you to sabotage your progress on a regular basis.

You say you want to do better. To eat better. Sleep better. Be less stressed. Move more.

But you have a default level of health that your body identifies as “normal.” And without you realizing it, your mind is playing games with you to try to keep you here.

You adopt a new habit, but you haven’t realized it as your new normal yet. And before you know it you find yourself reverting back to your old behaviors.

2. You don’t believe it’s possible to grow and improve with age, keeping you stuck in place.

We see the anti-aging message everywhere. This is a tough belief to shed because it’s so ingrained in modern society. The misguided belief that aging is a negative experience, full of decline.

But whether we want to acknowledge or not, we’re all aging. You can’t “anti-age” so stop trying.

To change your mindset here I would recommend finding positive voices in the space of aging to read on a regular basis. Some of my favorites are authors Ashton Applewhite and David Harry Stuart of Ageist.

3. You don’t think you really deserve good health, so you don’t give it an honest effort.

This belief tends to flow into multiple areas of our lives. This also explains the curse of lottery winners. They didn’t believe they could live a life of financial stability and sabotaged their chances of making it better by reverting back to familiar habits. We hold on to this belief that we don’t deserve better. And so we keep slipping back into old habits.

So how do you change this?

In order to change your physical self and meet or even surpass your biggest health goals, you have to change your belief system first. Which is easier said than done. Start by identifying your own self-sabotaging beliefs.

Then write your goals out daily. Visualize what you want your life to be. Then write new affirmations about the self you want to be. Read writing from the people you would want to emulate. Write often, do a brain dump every morning. Our deepest thoughts have a way of making themselves known in this stream of conscious writing.

Lather. Rinse. Repeat. Keep repeating this process as often as you can. Identifying and releasing self-limiting beliefs is a life-long process. What self-limiting beliefs have you identified in yourself?