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4 Steps to Getting Unstuck

My 40’s were a very lonely time. Nothing in my life, parenthood, marriage, work or friendships, was going the way I wanted them to and I had no idea how to fix it.  

I had so much noise in my head that I couldn’t hear myself think. I just wasn’t smart enough or kind enough or a good enough mother or ….just enough.  I was spinning in my head with no idea what to do.   And underneath all of it were the beliefs that this was as good as it was going to get because I was broken, I didn’t really deserve more than that or I wasn’t capable of it.   

happy and sad woman
Your 4 Steps to Getting Unstuck

What are your limiting beliefs? 

We all have them. These are the thoughts that go through your mind, both consciously or subconsciously, and tell you what you can’t do, what you should do, who you should be or what you should want.  When you have these beliefs swirling around in your head, you’re constantly beating yourself up, overwhelmed and in a chronic state of stress and struggle. You may even believe that the inner turmoil and emotions are just who you are.   

Limiting beliefs are sneaky. We often don’t realize they’re there because they feel like absolute truth.   

You’re not good at math.  

You’re unlucky in love.  

Things never work out for you.  

These beliefs originate, most often in childhood, as the result of your experiences and then are reinforced by other experiences that you have in your life. These events may be obviously traumatic events like abuse or neglect. It might be a divorce or the loss of a parent or other significant family member. Just as often limiting beliefs come from situations that are less obviously traumatic but ongoing and chronic.  You got good grades in school but your family expected A’s across the board. You felt like what you did was never enough. Perhaps you come from a loud emotional family and you’re more quiet and reserved. You may have felt like an outsider who never truly belonged.  


Limiting beliefs can also come from our culture or religion. We receive messages based on our gender, sexuality and skin color to name a few. Even if you consciously know that a cultural message is wrong, it’s often still lodged deep down in your subconscious brain, and it will influence the decisions that you make in your life and how you show up in the world. 

Your conscious brain takes up about 10% of your thought process and decision making.  Your subconscious mind is responsible for the remaining 90%. It’s the filter through which all of your thoughts, words and actions are run. It holds your beliefs and values, many of which were developed in your family of origin. Your subconscious mind develops between the ages of birth to 8.  So much of what is absorbed happens before you have the language or reasoning ability to filter the information.  

Limiting beliefs live in your subconscious mind. When they run unchecked your subconscious becomes the silent tyrant.The silent tyrant runs your nervous system and your life.  It’s your subconscious mind that keeps you stuck AND when you learn to empower it, you will be able to create massive change in your life.  

There is a phenomenon called negative belief bias. Your brain selectively remembers events that reinforce your negative beliefs. So, if you believe that you’re not good with money, any negative experience, no matter how small, will be stored as evidence to support that belief. In addition to highlighting all of the supporting evidence, your brain will delete or disregard any evidence that runs contrary to your belief. The more evidence your brain compiles, the more deeply held the belief becomes. Your conscious mind starts to treat it as a fact and act as if it can’t be changed.  

So much of what is absorbed happens before you have the language or reasoning ability to filter the information.

Your brain’s primary goal is to keep you safe and what it knows is always safer than what it doesn’t know.  So, your body and your mind resist change, even when it’s positive.   Your subconscious will activate a physical stress response to make you feel like you’re in danger so that you back away from the change.  You might have thoughts like, “This is a dumb idea or, this isn’t going to work or why did I think I could do this?”  A knot might form in your stomach or you might feel sick. Or, maybe you start working towards your goal and are making headway when all of the sudden you lose interest or can’t get yourself to finish the things you need to do to move forward. You can try to overpower your subconscious with willpower but deep seated beliefs trump willpower almost every time.

The good news is that you have the power to reprogram your subconscious mind.  When you let go of the limiting beliefs and are open to facing the challenges, including failure and success then you can find out what you are truly capable of and grow in the process. This is you key to finally getting unstuck.

woman smiling
The good news is that you have the power to reprogram your subconscious mind. 

Uncover Your Limiting Beliefs

The first step in the process is starting to uncover your limiting beliefs. We can’t change what we don’t know. You probably have some awareness of them, but chances are what you know about is simply the tip of the iceberg. Each belief has been built over time so there will be layers to uncover. Just starting the process and uncovering one or two layers can create massive change in your life.

The ideal time to do this is first thing in the morning before looking at your phone.  If that isn’t feasible, try to find a time where you won’t be interrupted. This exercise will help you start to bring your beliefs to the surface.   

Close your eyes and call to mind something that you’d like to do or know that you need to do but have been avoiding. It might be something like setting a boundary with someone or asking for a raise. It could be pursuing a dream that you have like starting a business, having a difficult conversation or getting your finances in order. Whatever it is, get a clear picture in your mind.  

Now tune into the sensations that are happening in your body. Do you feel calm and relaxed or anxious and stressed? What do you feel physically in your body? A knot in your stomach, butterflies, a tingling sensation, excitement, dread?  Where in your body do you feel it?  

What thoughts do you have about this idea? Let those thoughts flow.  

“This is amazing.”

“It’s too hard.”  

“I can’t do it.” 

“I can absolutely do this.”  

“I don’t have time.”

Pay attention to all of the ideas, both positive and negative.

Now take several minutes to write down the thoughts and sensations that came up for you. Write whatever comes into your mind. Don’t censor it. Let your thoughts flow and be open to anything that comes up, even if it feels uncomfortable.   


When you’re finished writing, sit with everything that came up.  Chances are there will be some surprises. An old memory may have resurfaced. You might have made a connection between a belief and a past experience that you hadn’t made before.  Let it all sink in. And don’t be surprised if it feels uncomfortable.  Even this small step will feel threatening to your mind and will most likely activate a stress response in your body.       

Calm Your Nervous System

The second step in the process is to begin to calm your nervous system.

Now take several minutes to write down the thoughts and sensations that came up for you. 

There are many ways that you can do this - breathing exercises, yoga, meditation, a walk outside, dancing in your kitchen. All of these will help finish the stress cycle and calm your body.  I recommend doing one or more of them on a regular basis.  

EFT, emotional freedom technique, also known as tapping, is another mindfulness modality that will calm your nervous system and clear your mind. I like it because it allows you to quickly access your subconscious mind and neutralize your emotions so that they’re a little less scary to deal with.  

In a full EFT sequence, we tap on 9 acupressure points on your face and torso. For right now, I’m going to walk you through a truncated version of the process that will help you start to relax your nervous system. 

Take 3 or 4 fingers from one hand, it doesn’t matter which, and gently tap on the pinky side of the other hand.  This is sometimes referred to as the karate chop point.  As you tap on the karate chop point, repeat this phrase, “ Even though all of these thoughts and feelings are uncomfortable, I choose to feel grounded and safe in my body.” 

Do that until you can feel your body relax and start to feel a little safer. The more often you repeat the process, the more quickly you will feel your body relax.   

Rewire your brain

As your body and your nervous system relax, your subconscious is more open to suggestion.  

This step is my adaptation of The Work by Byron Katie.  You can choose to keep tapping as you think through these steps.  

  • Choose one of the beliefs that feel big. Ask yourself if it’s really true.  Is it 100% true all the time?  Give yourself a moment to be with that answer.

  • Then ask yourself who you would be without this belief. Who would you be?  How would you show up differently in the world? Again, let yourself feel this and open yourself up to the possibility of that, even if it’s just acknowledging that you could be different. 

  • Imagine that this belief is a light white feather. See it in your hand. Imagine gently blowing on it and watching it drift away.  

  • What belief could you replace this old belief with that will help you move forward in your life? 

Check in with yourself and see how you feel.  Do you feel lighter?  Does the old belief feel less true?  Does the new belief feel, if not true, then possible? 

I like to think of this process as cracking open a window in a stuffy room. Ideally, you’d want to throw the windows open all at once, but even cracking one window open a little bit at a time can make a huge difference in clearing out the stale air.  

Finding Evidence

As I said earlier, your brain loves evidence. If you’ve identified a new belief that you want to grow, make a list of evidence to support that belief.  If your belief is that you are good with money, find anything you can to support that, however small. It could be that you make a good salary or that you were good at saving money when you were growing up. Maybe you got a scholarship for college or are great at finding deals or coupons.  

Let yourself feel this and open yourself up to the possibility of that, even if it’s just acknowledging that you could be different. 

Find anything you can that relates to you and the new belief and write it all down.  Add to it when something new comes up. When your brain starts to push back on the new belief, use the list to push back.  

Use these steps with one belief at a time to gradually let them go and start to reprogram your subconscious mind with beliefs that serve and empower you.  


Meet the expert:

Christine is a certified EFT practitioner and mindfulness coach.  She helps her clients clear the noise of limiting beliefs from their minds so that they can hear their own authentic voice.

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