Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we often might win, by fearing to attempt.” –William Shakespeare
What if I spend all this money, time and energy, and I still fail? Yes, we all have those thoughts. And contrary to what most people think, having fear and self-doubt is not a problem.It’s what you do when fear and self-doubt set in that makes all the difference in the world.
12 tips and habits that will help you to decrease that destructive inner voice of self-doubt
- Say stop.
First, when your inner doubts bubble up, be quick. Don’t let them spin out of control or grow from a whisper to a stream of discouraging sentences. Instead, talk back to that doubtful part of yourself.
In your mind, say or shout something like: No, no, no, we are not going down that road again.By doing so you can disrupt the thought pattern and stop that inner self-doubter from taking over.
- Look to the past and awash yourself in the memories.
Be real with yourself and ask yourself:
How many times when I doubted myself or feared something would happen did that negative thing come into reality after I still took actions? The answer will probably be – that not very often at all.
Self-doubts are most often just in your head that your mind may use to keep you from making changes and to keep you within the comfort zone.
If you look to the past and see how well things have gone many times despite those self-doubts, then it became easier to let go of them or to ignore them and to focus on the more likely positive outcome and to take actions.
- Talk to someone about it.
When you keep your thoughts inside they can become distorted, exaggerated and not very much in line with reality or reasonable expectations.
This is very much true when it comes to self-doubting thoughts. So, let them out into the light. Talk to someone close to you about your self-doubts.
Just letting them out and saying them out loud can often help you to hear how exaggerated these thoughts have become. And by talking about those doubts with someone that is supportive you can get a change in perspective.
- Don’t get stuck in the comparison trap.
If you compare yourself to other people all too often, to the successes that they share on social media then self-doubt can quickly creep up.
A better way to go about things is to compare yourself to yourself. To see how far you have come. To see what you’ve overcome. And to see how you’ve kept going, succeeded and grown as a human being.
- Start keeping a journal.
Keeping a journal can be a helpful habit for many reasons. When it comes to self-doubt it can help you to:
- Keep a realistic record of your life.This will help you to remember the positive things, the successes you have had and how you have overcome obstacles if you are prone to remembering things with a negative slant.
- Gain clarity more easily.It is often easier to alleviate fears and doubts and to gain clarity if you have an issue laid out on paper or in a computer document rather than if you try to go through it all in your mind. By making lists of pros and cons, going through your thoughts and emotions and similar events from the past and by writing down different perspectives on the issue it becomes easier to find solutions and to see your challenge in a clearer and more level-headed way.
- Remember: people don’t care that much about what you do or say.
When you worry about what others may think or say if you do something then the self-doubt can quickly become stronger and you can get stuck in inaction and in fear.
When that happens remind yourself that the truth is that people don’t really care that much about what you do or do not do.
- What someone said or did might not be about you (or about what you think it is).
You don’t know everything that’s going on in another person’s life. And the world doesn’t revolve around you. So be careful so you don’t misinterpret and build blame and doubt within without any reason.
- Get a boost of optimism.
Let someone else’s enthusiasm, motivation, and constructive optimism flow over to you. Spend 20 minutes with an inspiring book.
- See a setback as temporary.
When you have a setback then you may start to see things through a negative perspective.
This way of looking at things can trap you in thinking that there’s no point in continuing to take actions.
- Remember: You are not a failure just because you failed. Setbacks happen to everyone who takes chances. It is simply a part of living life at its fullest. Sometimes things go well and sometimes they don’t. So, don’t make a failure into this huge thing and don’t let it into your identity.
- Ask yourself: what is one thing I can learn from this setback? Use the mistake or failure to your advantage and to move forward once again in the smarter way.
- Sharpen your skills.
If you, for instance, often get self-doubt before a presentation in school or at work then sharpen your presentation skills.
Read about it and practice at home in front of a mirror or in front of a friend. Then you’ll feel more confident, competent and relaxed in such situations.
- Don’t beat yourself up about it.
A common way to handle self-doubt is to get angry at yourself and your lack of motion. Try to beat yourself up as a way, to get yourself to move forward.
That does not help that much.
So, get up and ask yourself: What is one very small step I can take to move forward in this situation? Then take that very small step and start to step by step move towards wherever you want to go.
- Celebrate that small step and win.
When you’ve taken one small step forward and you’re done with it then you have a win. It may be a small one but it’s still a win. So, celebrate it.
This will renew and recharge your motivation and make taking actions to feel more exciting and fun. And that will push self-doubts aside so that you can keep moving ahead and get smaller but bigger wins.