What beliefs are holding you back?
I had done just a couple kilos less than the weight on the bar at least a dozen times in my lifetime. Yet, here I stood over the bar with thoughts of how I might miss it, not just might miss it, but picturing how I could miss it in a dozen different ways.
In and of itself that is a problem for a weightlifter or general gym-goer, for me though it was something I had tried so hard to avoid.
“I am too old to lift heavy weights,” or “I’ve never made this weight in my life” kept circling in my head, I tried to fight it off but couldn’t.
What was happening?
In college, my roommate, Aaron Nance, had the best dog ever, her name was Mia and she was a 150 lbs. English Mastiff. Mia mistakenly thought she was a lap dog, but beyond that was the most harmless creature I’ve ever been around.
Her demeanor decidedly changed when in the presence of the bunnies that liked to hop through the backyard. Although she never got one, she’d shoot out the backdoor, into the yard, and on more than one occasion, across the entire neighborhood. To combat that, Aaron installed an invisible fence that placed a perimeter around the house, across which Mia would receive a small shock were she to venture past that invisible barrier.
At first, Mia got a couple shocks, but then she realized there was a warning, which would tell her of the coming shock as she got close to the barrier. Eventually, she wouldn’t venture close to the barrier even if a bunny were just past the edge.
At some point, Aaron removed the collar and the fence itself but Mia still wouldn’t venture that far.
She BELIEVED the fence was still there. Her barrier had become entirely internal.
For me, the fence was still there internally as well. Despite knowing that barrier was gone and I could make the lift, there was a belief inside me that told me I couldn’t, or wouldn’t, be successful.
These sorts of beliefs that hold you back are “Limiting Beliefs” and they are often half truths, built on bad information, or downright false.
Any belief, both positive and negative, are built on references. You can picture the belief as the tabletop and the references as the legs. References SUPPORT your beliefs.
References can be one of three types.
Personal: meaning they happened to you
Second-hand: meaning they happened to someone you know
Imagined: exactly as they sound.
Certainly, using imagined references as the supporting reference to your belief can lead to little that is positive. I think we can all agree with that. We also all have a kooky friend who swears up and down something that happened to them (the one that got abducted by a UFO 🙂 ), and it’s not always a good idea to use that as a reference to support your belief.
The big problem is when you create a belief on personal reference that is old, out of date, or from bad information. Mia, the dog, was working on old, out-of-date information to create a limiting belief that existed inside of her.
I, in that moment, while lifting, was working from bad information. Yes, I had never made that weight before and, yes, I’m older than I was the day before. Each of those had a kernel of truth in them, that’s why limiting beliefs can be SO powerful.
We all have limiting beliefs, “I’m too old for that promotion,” or “I’m too tired to workout today,” the list could go on. The key to eliminating these is to first recognize your limiting belief, record it, then upgrade it.
The opposite of a limiting belief is a liberating truth, according to author Michael Hyatt. In his book, The Best Year Ever, he encourages you to reframe the problem as you see it.
Turn your limiting belief into a liberating truth.
Instead of saying “I’m too old for that promotion,” you could say, “I’ve got the most experience of any candidate.” Instead of saying “I’m too tired to workout today,” you could realize that you have agency over your energy levels and say, “I have more than enough energy to do the things that are important to me.”
For me, the limiting belief of “I’m too old to make this weight” or “I’ve never made this weight before” needed upgrading. I reframed these beliefs into the following:
“I’ve got plenty of experience in weightlifting that will help me execute this lift to perfection.”
“I have had the best training block of my life leading up to this weight and my body is prepared to accomplish it.”
Now, Mia, the dog, didn’t have the good fortune of realizing the invisible fence was gone, but you do. You can identify, record, and reframe your beliefs into new and empowering liberating truths.
P.S. Do you have a limiting belief about your performance, fitness, or workout routine? We would love to help you turn that belief into a liberating, empowering truth.