Self-doubt can be brutal, obnoxious, and debilitating. If you don’t learn to keep it in check, it will hold you back from pursuing your dreams and living the life you want and deserve. If you don’t learn to overcome self-doubt, it can also make it hard to complete basic day-to-day tasks and make simple decisions, like which car seat to buy or which restaurant to visit.
The good news is, that you can overcome self-doubt and quiet the incessant, negative chatter in your mind. Here’s how:
1. Take Charge Immediately
If you want to overcome self-doubt you have to first learn to identify it when it shows up. Then you can respond accordingly. When the voice of inner doubt starts to kick in, many people let it spin out of control and take over before they even realize it. However, once this happens, it can be even more difficult to regain control. It’s important that you take action immediately and notice the negative self-talk as soon as it begins. Your mind likes to play regular soundtracks so it will likely be the usual bullshit like, “You’re not going to be able to pull this off” “You really aren’t very good at this at all” or “What a terrible person you are.” Fun, huh?
First, respond back with something to the effect of, “Nope, we’re not doing this” or “Thanks, but no thanks.” Should the negative talk start-up in a few seconds, respond in kind with the same thing: “No thank you.” Consistency and persistence are key. If you want to overcome self-doubt, you have to create a new habit of addressing it. Not trying to ignore it. Clearly, that doesn’t work or you wouldn’t be reading this. Doing this interrupts your thought patterns — which are basically “thought habits” — and eventually these new thought patterns you respond with will become new, more helpful “thought habits.”
2. Make Adjustments When Necessary
Remember that you can always make adjustments on the fly and adapt to whatever obstacles pop up and get in the way. So don’t get hung up at the starting line. Perfectionists and over-thinkers are sometimes so afraid of making mistakes that they take no action toward their goals. But reaching a goal should be thought of as going on a road trip. You have a map and a basic route planned out. But along the journey, you may decide you want to hop off the highway and take the scenic route instead. Or maybe you decide to backtrack and stop at a café along the way.
Sure, all of these changes to your initial plan may add a little time to your trip, but you’ll still get to your destination. And you’ll get there with more photos and memories. Trying to plan every single move to get to your goal is exhausting and even impractical. Just take the first step, then another, and another….and remember, you can always change your mind and adjust along the way.
3. Get a Fresh Perspective
Sometimes all you need to overcome self-doubt is to get a fresh perspective from an objective and supportive point of view. Self-doubt can easily become distorted and exaggerated when you keep all of your thoughts to yourself. But when you speak to someone and let those thoughts out into the open, you have the chance to hear how exaggerated and ridiculous they are. Also, talking about your doubts with someone who can be objective and supportive is a great way to gain a fresh perspective and mindset.
Life is too short to spend it grappling with self-doubt. If you’re struggling to overcome self-doubt, find an awesome therapist or life coach you like and trust to help you get a fresh perspective and take charge of your life.