How to Unlock Your Mental Limits

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

  • Donald Sack says:

    Great stuff as usual!!! My daughter, who lives in London, introduced me to the Practice, is very active in SGI-UK loves your blog too!
    This blog is right up my ally! I am already on the same page in most areas and working at them even more.
    I made a commitment to climb Mt. Rainier next August with RMI Expeditions; the first step toward my dream of going to the Himalaya. At a very young 63.
    I once read that someone had done a study of world class athletes in many different sports. One of the results that jumped out at me was the notion that many successful athletes are able to envision their successes prior to actually achieving them.
    Don Sack

    • Margaret Blaine says:

      So glad it resonated. Congratulations on taking on your challenging goal of climbing Mt Rainier. Looking forward to hearing how it goes.

  • Cat S says:

    YES !!!

    Your suggested tactics for unlocking mental limits work well. A nice combination of chanting and attitude adjustment can connect you to your universe and bring amazing results in record time. Nothing is too hard. Nothing is impossible.

    I am working on a few new goals. At first glance they look unlikely to work out. That alone is enough to make me jump in head first and fight to win!!!! This practice has taught me never to give up and never to lose.

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