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, you can overcome self doubt and quiet the incessant, negative chatter in your mind. Here’s how:
3 Ways To Overcome Self Doubt
1. Take Charge Immediately
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” or “You really aren’t very good at this at all” or “What a terrible person you are.”
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 is 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
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
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.
James Killian, LPC is the Principal Therapist & Owner of Arcadian Counseling in New Haven, CT where they specialize in helping over-thinkers, high achievers, and perfectionists reduce stress, increase fulfillment and enhance performance so they can move From Surviving To Thriving.