Combating Limiting Beliefs

Recognize When a Limiting Belief is Occurring

Nail-biting is widely known as a behavior in which many participate unconsciously. This is especially challenging if you are attempting to stop biting your nails. While you aspire to stop this habit, you often find yourself biting your nails without consciously choosing to do so. Perhaps you’re watching a movie or reading a book when you suddenly catch yourself biting your nails. Suddenly, you whip your hand away from your mouth while silently cursing yourself. The first step is not to stop biting your nails – the first step is to recognize when it’s about to happen. This way, you can consciously choose what to do next.

Similarly, if you want to make progress combating limiting beliefs, you first have to build your skill in consciously recognizing when a limiting belief is occurring.

The Best Option Model

To combat a limiting belief, you need to follow these five steps of the best option model:

  1. Pause. Demonstrate your skill to consciously recognize that a limiting belief is being created.
  2. Ask yourself questions. Use the following questions to assess your limiting belief:
    • How true is the limiting belief I am telling myself?
    • Is my limiting belief being generated by my ego or by my inner critic?
    • If I weren’t pausing and asking myself questions, in what behavior would I participate?
    • Does this behavior help me?
  3. Create options. Think about and identify additional options on how to behave.
  4. Choose the best option. Of the options I have identified, which option (including my limiting belief option) is in my best interest?
  5. Create a new outcome. Take action based on the best option you have selected.


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Ed Evarts is the founder and president of Excellius Leadership Development, an organization focused on coaching mid- to senior- level leaders and their teams in business environments. With over twenty-five years of innovative leadership and management experience, Ed possesses the ability to build awareness, create action, and deliver results. Known for his business acumen, his ability to resolve complex human relations issues, and his enthusiastic, accessible and responsive style, Ed partners with managers, leaders and business teams to explore clarity and communication, and traverse conflict and change.