“I don’t have any limitations on what I think I could do or be.” – Oprah Winfrey
If there’s one thing that puts a damper on achieving goals, it’s the tendency to place arbitrary limits on ourselves. This is like attempting to go out on the roof while locking the access door before climbing out. No wonder it’s so difficult to finish the task. Call it subconscious sabotage or inattention to detail or something else, but the result isn’t what was intended.
How do you get rid of self-imposed limitations and give yourself the freedom to pursue your heartfelt dreams and goals you’ve deemed worthwhile? Like anything else, it requires determination and adopting some healthy habits. Here are some suggestions to get you going.
Strike the word “no” from your vocabulary.
If you think about something you want to do or achieve and the thought creeps into your mind that you can’t, that this isn’t a possibility for you, immediately nix that negative commentary. This is your lack of self-esteem talking, the part of you that doubts your worth and doesn’t want you to get hurt by trying anything new. The only way to see what you’re made of and broaden your current horizons, not to mention your skill set, is to say “yes” in place of “no.”
Become a sponge, soaking up experiences.
Perhaps the best way to remove limitations is to eagerly embrace all life experiences. You want to live life fully and to be an active participant, not merely a bystander. By being present — not checking email, texting, surfing the Internet — you can absorb the experiences. This does take some practice. For many, it may require letting go of preconceived notions about what should take priority. Being in the moment is a lot more difficult than engaging in mindless busywork. Yet the rewards are incomparable.
Recognize that the horizon never ends.
When you look at the horizon, no matter how many steps you take trying to reach it, the horizon always remains ahead. This is a metaphor that means there are no limits to where you can go or what you can do. The concept may seem strange, but it works when put in context. A goal ardently held will inspire and motivate action. Despite difficulties and obstacles, such earnest diligence spurs action. Achieving the goal or dream makes the result that much sweeter and life so much richer.
Be inspired by others.
Take a cue from people you admire and mirror their behaviors in accomplishing goals. The more difficult the goal, the more you can potentially learn from how they achieved it. This doesn’t mean you copy their actions verbatim, but that you look beneath the actions to see what it is that drives them. You have those abilities as well. You just need to discover and use them.
For example, suppose your best friend is always the first one to figure out a solution to a problem. He or she isn’t any more creative than you are, but what is it about them that promotes problem-solving? Could it be that they don’t self-censor, that they consider every idea with equal merit? Perhaps the process of thinking of ideas itself generates more potential solutions. There’s something to be learned from adopting successful people’s behaviors.
Strive for balance.
If you’re overworked and overstressed, it’s going to prove difficult to remove limitations. In fact, you may have already accepted them as your lot in life. Could the answer be as simple as striking a few tasks from your everyday to-do list and creating some balance between work and play? When life is more in balance, it’s easier to see that those so-called limitations don’t really have a hold on you anymore.
Believe you can.
The most important habit to cultivate, however, is hope. Believe that you can and you will pursue goals and dreams without any limitations. You’ll also be more likely to succeed when you strip limits from whatever path you take.