7 Powerful Strategies to Shut Out Self-Doubt, Move On From Your Mistakes, & Pursue Your Goals
by Tiffany Walking Eagle | 6-minute read
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Stop negative thoughts in their tracks.
Negative self-talk and vicious thoughts do nothing but make you feel worse, and they often hinder progress. Get in the habit of halting in the middle of negative thoughts and replacing them with positive affirmations. If you start to think "I always do this; I'm such a failure" replace it with "I am a capable person with tons of potential."
I know this might sound like a cheesy exercise, but those hostile thoughts you have about yourself do more damage than you realize. Your mindset is one of your biggest assets for progression, so ditch the nasty self-talk and focus on the positive things you bring to the table.
Be compassionate with yourself.
Don't treat yourself worse than you'd treat someone else! Cut yourself some slack once in a while. Learn to forgive yourself when you mess up rather than dwelling on it for days, weeks, or months. (Or right before you go to bed. Anyone else's mind tend to flood with all your life's mistakes right as you're trying to fall asleep?)
You can't change the past, but your present reaction to your past problems can affect your future. Forgiving yourself frees you up to move on and work toward accomplishing the things you want in life.
Those negative things you say to yourself half the time aren't even true! I don't know about you, but when I start beating myself up emotionally, I morph into this overly dramatic, exaggerating nag that comes up with some truly awful accusations. Can you relate? How much time and energy do we waste by beating ourselves up so?!
Assessing your thoughts about yourself, realizing what's actually true and what's not, analyzing your daily habits -- these are all ways you can practice self-awareness.
It's far too easy to get locked into this pattern of feeling frustrated and confused about why you're not succeeding while failing to assess how every small thought and action affects your progress. Don't get trapped in that box forever! If you're really honest with yourself about why you haven't reached your goals, it's probably not a mystery.
Self-awareness is a tool that can help demystify what's holding you back and keep you from getting bogged down in self-doubt.
Stop being afraid of success.
I think of the song by Sia called "The Greatest" that says this:
"I'm free to be the greatest, I'm alive
I'm free to be the greatest here tonight, the greatest..."
To be completely honest with you, I've misheard these lyrics for months. (I literally just looked them up to be sure they're correct and my world feels only slightly shattered now. Cool.) I've been hearing "I'm afraid to be the greatest at my life." Ha, oops! I thought it was important to point that out because they've been impacting me completely differently. Either way, they apply to this topic.
We often fear the greatness we are potentially capable of. Maybe there's something you want to do that calls out to you on the daily. Maybe you yearn to do it so badly that your soul aches. Perhaps you've come across a business opportunity that could provide your family with extra income or completely change your life. Whatever your thing is, there's a plethora of things that could be holding you back, but one of them is likely that damned four-letter F-word: fear.
Not just fear that you'll fail, but fear that you'll succeed. The thought of finding success and being great at the thing that calls to you is often utterly terrifying. If you're afraid of the pressure that could accompany your success, here's what should frighten you more: the thought of never trying.
Free yourself to be the greatest.
Don't rob the world of your potential greatness. Do the thing.
Stop comparing your success to that of others.
There's nothing wrong with gaining inspiration from people more successful than you, but don't get caught in the trap of comparing your life with theirs. Just because Jack So-and-So is 27 and has an extremely successful startup business doesn't mean you're a failure for being 35 and still slaving away at a corporate job.
Sure, you can see their current levels of success, that lavish life their living, the rewarding careers they've cultivated. What you don't see is the late nights they spent studying, the weekends they spent working while their friends relaxed, or the many times they failed and had to scrape themselves up off the ground and keep going, even when they felt like giving up.
Your story is your story. Don't force anyone else's timeline on your dreams; everyone's journey looks different.
We all need a little inspiration now and then. Talk to a friend or family member whose story inspires you, or read a book about someone's journey toward success. Even just watching YouTube videos of people who've achieved their dreams can be incredibly uplifting when you're feeling torn down by self-doubt.
Two people whose words always leave me feeling motivated and fired up are Mel Robbins, author of The Five Second Rule, and Gary Vaynerchuk (or Gary Vee), a no-BS digital marketing mogul. Search their videos on YouTube or follow their Instagram accounts for daily inspo. (By the way, I'm in no way affiliated with them. They're just two people who really inspire me, so maybe they can do the same for you.)
Remember your successes.
When self-doubt starts taking over like quicksand, take the time to recall the things you've done well. Maybe it's an awesome paper you wrote in college or a project at work that impressed your boss and colleagues. Maybe you've helped encourage a friend or family member when they had hit rock bottom.
There are things in your life you've done that you should be proud of, so no matter how big or small they are, recall them to help remind yourself that you are a capable, talented individual.
Self-doubt can be paralyzing, but don't let it keep you from moving forward. Whether you have a story of success or you're struggling, feel free to leave me a comment. I'd love to hear your story or help you in any way I can!