Tips For Overcoming SelfDoubt

Think back to the childhood tale of “The Little Engine That Could.” By chugging along and repeating his mantra of “I think I can,” he accomplished his goals. In the real world, overcoming self-doubt is more complicated than that, but the basic principle holds true.

At its core, self-doubt is fear of failure. We believe we are incapable of meeting a goal or worry about rejection. Self-doubt is normal, but if allowed to rule your actions it can prevent you from enjoying new experiences or living life to the fullest.

If self-doubt is holding you back, there are steps you can take to kick it to the curb.

Give Yourself Reality Checks

Part of overcoming self-doubt is realizing how it causes your mind to exaggerate the consequences of failures. Maybe you haven’t returned to school because you’re afraid of doing poorly in your classes. Instead of dwelling on failure, ask yourself what the worst possible outcomes might be. You may need to get a tutor, retake a class, or change your course of study. These outcomes aren’t the end of the world! You still make progress rather than being “stuck” in the same place.

Set Realistic Goals

Your goals should be challenging but attainable. Putting unrealistic demands on yourself invites failure and is detrimental when trying to overcome self-doubt. If you want to lose 50 pounds, don’t expect to do it in 2 months. Instead, strive to lose 2 pounds a week over a longer period of time.

Celebrate Success

We’re quick to chastise ourselves when we don’t succeed. It is equally important to reward ourselves for accomplishments. A key to overcoming self-doubt is to pat ourselves on the back when we deserve it. If your goal is weight loss, don’t wait until you’ve shed all your extra pounds to reward yourself. Buy a few new outfits along the way to show off your steadily improving figure!

Spend Time With Positive People

When trying to overcome self-doubt, avoid pessimistic or critical people. Negativity is draining. Surround yourself with encouraging and supportive friends and family instead.

Be Kind To Yourself

Many of us battle that inner voice that says harsh things like “I’m so fat,” or “I’m too stupid.” We are our own worst critics. When you judge yourself harshly, ask yourself if you would pass the same judgment on a loved one or even a stranger. Be as kind to yourself as you are to others.

Forgive Yourself

No one is perfect, and expecting to never experience setbacks will make overcoming self-doubt very difficult. Acknowledge mistakes along the way to your goals, and learn from them. Then forgive yourself and let them go. A poor grade on a quiz doesn’t mean your academic career is over. It does mean you need to evaluate what you can do differently.

By approaching your goals with the above tips in mind, you can turn the self-doubt that keeps you from living life to the fullest into a motivating force that pushes you to prove that “you can do it!”


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