5 Negative Thoughts That Are Keeping You From Succeeding (And 5 Positive Ones To Think Instead)

The summer has coming to an end, and the sounds and smell of fall are around the corner.

As the trees shed their lifeless leaves, you too could look to the changing season to shed some of your limiting beliefs.

What are limiting beliefs, you ask?

Limiting beliefs are patterns of thinking that we’ve become attached to that keep us stuck.

It is the subtle recording in our heads that keep us from succeeding, from taking the next step in improving a part of our lives.


They are our default setting, our deeply ingrained thinking, or the sound of the drum to which we obediently march.

When it comes to improving ourselves, we need to revisit some of our beliefs that we’ve bought into that are holding us back.

Here are five limiting beliefs that you can address to break free from what has held you back.

Thoughts That Are Holding You Back

1. “I’m not smart enough.”

The truth is, everyone is smart enough, and you’re no exception. You may be holding yourself back from taking on a new venture or exploring a subject that you’re interested in because you feel that the challenge or issue is reserved for those with big brains.

Related: The Importance Of Optimism: How To Think Positive Thoughts

Albert Einstein was considered dumb by many of his early teachers, but he chose to not believe that. He went on to make one of the most groundbreaking discoveries in physics.

Let go of this limiting belief, and tell yourself: “I am absolutely smart enough.”

2. “I don’t have enough time.”

If you want to, you will always find a way to not have enough time. It’s only an excuse. The reality of the situation is that we all have enough time; it’s the amount of importance we place on the area of improvement that is lacking.

Related: 9 Ways To Manage Time And Get Sh!t Done

If you really wanted to shed five pounds, you’d wake up an hour earlier, or force yourself up after dinner. Again, are you lacking time, or lacking priorities?

Next time you feel you’re pressed for time, say: “I have enough time, and I will make time.”

3. “That wouldn’t work for me.”

Many feel apprehensive about new opportunities because they don’t feel qualified as a person.

You may think that because you are not experts in a certain field that you can’t possibly break into it.

You will always feel unqualified if you don’t start somewhere. The trick is getting yourself to start because you may never feel fully prepared, but fortune favors the bold and you’d be surprised at how adaptive you are. You just have to start!

If you’re feeling unsure about starting a new venture, repeat this: “Why wouldn’t it work for me?”

4. “I hate work.”

Could it be that the work you dread doing everyday is actually exciting and stimulating? It can certainly be the case, but you likely have fell into a habit of thinking that work is a tedious struggle that has to be done.

Related: 5 Tips For Getting Your Dream Job

But you can change the way we look at work. Work can be a process that we can come to enjoy. You can use the challenge to guide us to doing better work, providing more value, or earn a promotion.

Perhaps you can look at the skills or relationships you’ve acquired at work to create your own project that you’re passionate about.

Next time you’re in a slump at work, tell yourself: “Work is stimulating.”

5. “I don’t deserve it.”

This is a limiting belief that could be holding you back from succeeding in many areas of life. You may feel you don’t deserve a higher pay, or deserve the love you’re capable of receiving.

While this may be the hardest one to recognize because you’ve been telling yourself it for so long, it’s also one of the easiest to change once you are aware.

When you realize that it is your mind that has been convincing you that you don’t deserve something, you will get a sense of liberation. You are always deserving of more. Don’t limit yourself.

Next time you feel you don’t deserve something, convince yourself: “I deserve it all.”

The Takeaway

Now that you know what to look for, you can begin the process of change. Whether it’s starting that exercise routine because you realize you weren’t making the time, or looking at your work as an exciting challenge, you have the tools to transform your outlook and start succeeding. Understand that many of the answers have been right below your eyes; you simply did not allow your perspective to adjust. Now, you can.


10157329_10152138625183382_5774883862876622002_nDavid Giuliano is a recent college graduate and an online writer. He’s been featured on various platforms, where he writes about mental wellness and personal development. He enjoys snowboarding, mixing cocktails, and inspiring others to seek their full potential.

Photo by Igor Clark

Scroll to Top