Posted on Aug 23rd, 2006

Q. So many times in my life, I seem to hold myself back from what I want to do. I make great plans and have great intentions, but then end up holding myself back in some way. Do you have any suggestions for changing this?

A. When you were a kid, did you ever do something wrong and get put on restrictions? You know, no TV, stay in your room, can’t play with friends, for what seemed like an eternity?

What would it be like if we were still on the same restrictions from when we were kids?

It would seem kind of silly, would it not?

And yet we tend to keep ourselves "on restriction" in so many areas of our lives.

These restrictions tend to fall into certain categories. See if any of these fit for you.

1) I can’t:

Ask for what I want.

Be successful.

Get the right job.

Stand up for myself.

2) I shouldn’t:

Go for what I want.

Act selfish.

Say no.

Think for myself.

3) I’m only:

Good at one thing.

A young person.

An old person.

4) I don’t have:

The right genes.

The right connections.

5) I have:

Too much against me.

A bad attitude.

6) They said:

I couldn’t do it.

I wouldn’t make it.

7) I’m too:

Young, old, fat, thin.

If you recognized yourself in any of these restrictions, don’t despair. Look at it this way. When we were kids, parents could put us on restrictions and take us off. But now we are adults. We can take ourselves off restrictions.

How? There are three steps.

1. Question the restriction. Here are some questions to ask:

Does this make sense?

Does this fit in my life?

Does it help me meet my goals?

Does it help me to feel and act the way I want?

If you can’t get a yes to any of these questions, it’s time to discard the restriction as no longer useful in your life.

2. Make fun of the restriction.

Have you ever gently teased yourself about something in your life? I don’t mean in a negative or mean sense. You need to be able to laugh at your own self-imposed limitations.

3. Replace it with an ability.

Here’s a general rule about changing restrictions: Never remove a restriction without replacing it with a belief that strengthens you.

Take, for example, one of the statements above: "I can’t ask for what I want." After you have questioned and laughed at the restriction, simply replace it with "I can ask for anything I want, I just need to learn how."

See the difference?

Visit SecretsofGreatRelationships.com for tips and tools for creating and growing a great relationship. You can also subscribe to our f*r*e*e 10 day e-program on how to enrich your relationship today, from relationship coach and expert Jeff Herring.

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