Have you ever noticed all the fantastic ideas you come up with? Maybe you have the perfect plot for a novel, a great idea for a business you want to start, or you decide on exactly what you need to say to your boss to get that promotion. You’re hyped up and ready to conquer the world!
Thinking up the ideas is the easy part; acting on them is another story.
But taking action is the only way your dreams will come true. Dreams, as the adage claims, are a dime a dozen, and many people don’t achieve theirs.
So why don’t we follow through with our greatest ideas? What keeps us from achieving our goals?
In most cases, it’s limiting beliefs. Those scary thoughts creep into our consciousness and convince us it’s safer to not do anything at all.
Here are a few of the limiting things we say to ourselves:
1. Am I even capable of achieving this goal?
At first, every idea seems possible. The excitement you feel is your true self being in alignment with your calling. And it feels great! Then comes self-doubt. A part of you doesn’t feel you’re capable. But why not? You can learn a new skill or hire someone to help you with the bits that you can’t do on your own.
When in doubt, think back to the excitement you felt when you first thought of your idea. Remember the reasons why you wanted to do it in the first place. Recapture the energy and excitement you felt when you first came up with your plan and use that to spur yourself into action.
2. Won’t it be really hard to achieve my goal?
The short answer is yes. Achieving a goal is likely to be hard at times. It may require learning a new skill, speaking to people that you fear, or passing up on other activities to devote the time and effort needed. The end goal sounds exciting, but your inner critic doubts you can work hard enough to get there.
But of course, you can! Try not to look at the entire project as a whole. That makes it feel completely overwhelming. Break it down into small achievable goals. What is one small thing you can do every day to move closer to your goal? One step at a time will eventually get you where you want to go.
3. What will other people think or say?
This is a big one. Most of us have spent years worrying about what other people think of us. We’re embarrassed or afraid to be seen. “What if everyone thinks I’m foolish?” or “What if everyone thinks I’m full of myself?”
The truth is most people spend a lot less time thinking about what you are doing than you fear. And the people who matter in your life will be supportive and helpful.
If you spend a lot of time worrying about what others will think of your goals, it’ time to take a closer look at your own limiting beliefs. Learn to reframe your negative self-talk into more positive uplifting thoughts. Once you overcome your self-limiting voice, you’ll be surprised by how little you care about what others think.
4. What if I fail?
You will. It’s as simple as that. There will be failures along the way. Every successful person has had many so-called failures as they work toward their goals. And there is nothing wrong with that! Failure is just a learning opportunity. You don’t have to be perfect, which is good because nobody is.
Take consistent action towards your goals and celebrate the successes—because you will also have plenty of those —while you learn from the parts that don’t work so well. Remember that small steps can have a big impact. And the only real failure is not trying at all.
5. Do I deserve success?
Is success ok for other people but not you? Is it fine for others to stand up and make a speech, run a business, lead a group, but not you? People who succeed know that they are every bit as worthy as anyone else. And you can bet that all those successful people you see and admire every day have had the same self-doubt that you have.
The trick is to silence that scared voice and focus on the part of you that knows you are deserving of all the things you dream about. Because there is a part of you that knows it. Otherwise, you wouldn’t have had your dream in the first place.
So next time you have a fantastic idea and feel reluctant to act on it, look at your fears and figure out what is stopping you. What negative thoughts are encouraging you to play small and not step out of your comfort zone?
While you’re at it, you can take comfort in knowing that you’re not alone. Everyone has these doubts. The good news is you can get past them. No one does it alone though. Every successful person has had help along the way, so find an accountability partner, a support group, or hire a coach.
With a little support and a willingness to let go of a lifetime of limiting beliefs, you can achieve anything!