When we run up against a mental limit we think we are going to do something, and then we don’t do it. We resist moving forward, and abandon our goal or project.
My Experience With Mental Limits
I came up against my mental boundaries in the gym, where at seventy one I challenged myself to become fit. I thought this would be a straight forward process. I would just do what my trainer told me. What I hadn’t expected was that he would challenge me in ways that I would resist, that I would have to retrain myself mentally in order to move forward.
One day my trainer added a lot of additional weight to an exercise for the abdominals.
“I can’t lift this,” I said. He exploded, “Don’t you ever say can’t to me! You just made the decision to stop.” After that, I modified how I talked to him and to myself. When I felt something was impossible, I created a mental opening to doing the exercise. I said, “I’ll try.” Or, “I’ll do my best.” With that small change in thinking I set aside my self-imposed limitations and did the exercise.
I discovered that I had beliefs about what an older body could or could not do. One day I asked my trainer, “What are the limits for someone my age?” “There aren’t any,” he responded. Rather than create limits for myself, I had to shift my thinking to encourage myself, “I’ll see how far I can take it, one step at a time.”
Five years later at 76 I have not found my limits yet. I’m still making progress with balance, agility, strength and coordination. Every day when I go into the gym, I am faced with something I don’t think I can do. Every time, I have to take myself mentally in hand to create that mental opening. Then, I discover I can do it.
Ways to Create A Mental Opening
How can we can create mental openings, to allow us to move forward with a challenging project or goal? Try the following:
- Don’t continue to look at the obstacle. Imagine what you want to achieve as already accomplished.
- Remind yourself. I have my connection with the universe on my side. Then with your goal in mind, chant for the next step to take.
- Don’t look at the whole goal. Instead, just chant about taking the first step.
- Be curious. Challenge yourself, Let’s see how far I can go one small step at a time.
- Scared about doing something? Chant for courage. Then think to yourself, I’ll do this one small thing, then I can relax.
- Feeling overwhelmed? Remind yourself, I can do anything for 15 minutes. Set a timer and get to work.
When you think in these ways you can take a challenge that feels enormous and break it down into bite sized attainable pieces. Your resistance and desire to back off and abandon your challenge will disappear and you will be able to move forward