3 Simple Ways to Overcome Self-Doubt

Written by on September 26, 2017

I have to admit it.

When it comes to judging myself, sometimes, I tend to be pretty harsh. If things that I am working on don’t turn out the way I had anticipated them, I get overwhelmed by self-doubt.

To tell you the whole truth, I also tend to have a very “catastrophic” mentality. What do I mean by that? Well, I am quick to assume that lack of expected results means that I am a failure. It’s horrible! This mentality also leads me to have noticeable mood swings!

My hunch is that you may have also felt this way before, perhaps when you are struggling to achieve a goal. Whether it is losing weight, paying off debt, or learning a new skill, it is easy to want to give up when we get overwhelmed because things don’t go exactly the way we had planned.

We want all or nothing, perfect and not imperfect, or we are tempted to quit. But I am here to tell you that giving up is not the answer to dealing with self-doubt. It is just the easy way out.

However, there are three easy things we can do to get better results to overcome our frustrations.

1. Set Realistic Expectations

One reason we tend to doubt ourselves is that from the get-go we set arbitrary expectations, not realistic expectations. We set goals based on our own ideas and not on facts.

For instance, last week I designed a plan to spend twice as much time writing content for my blog. I created a color-coded workflow, assigned daily tasks, woke up very early and drank a whole lot of coffee to stay the course.

Besides, I wrote what I felt were solid articles, created prettier graphics, and promoted them in every major social media platform while staying on schedule. I expected that by checking every box I would see immediate results. But to my surprise, the opposite happened.

My post tanked. How could this be possible? I followed every single step I knew to create compelling blog posts. I bombarded Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook with status updates to promote them, and what do I get in return? The post that I had high expectations for, got a meager four clicks in the first 24 hours! F-O-U-R clicks! I was devastated!

2. Quit the Comparison Game

The arbitrary expectations that I had set led me to play the comparison game. I looked at other people’s progress and compared it to my own. I was pretty unfair to myself! Also, I made a permanent conclusion based on how one single post had performed and thought, “I must not be good enough, I am sure that other bloggers would have gotten better views”.

By focusing on my shortcomings and comparing myself to others, I neglected to see the bigger picture, the true picture. My blog statistics were actually better than the previous week’s numbers. Although that particular post had not performed according to my arbitrary expectations within the first 24 hours, as a whole, the readership had increased!

Playing the comparison game led me to self-doubt, but that game is over!

3. Get New Information

Getting new information is another easy way to help us overcome self-doubt. If you are losing confidence in yourself, try to do things differently. It is amazing how we can sometimes hold on to our old ways of doing things, and somehow expect to get different results. Some people say that’s the definition of insanity, to keep doing the same things and expect a different result!

If you are doubting yourself, chances are you don’t have enough information to get your desired results. Instead of starting that new popular diet, first try to read a couple of books on healthy living and exercise.

New information will reset your mind and increase your chances of success. It will also prevent you from setting “arbitrary” expectations, and instead, establish a more realistic route to get to your final destination.

In Conclusion

It doesn’t matter how big or small the goal is that you are trying to achieve, letting self-doubt overcome you will only paralyze your efforts. Instead, take a step back and implement these three simple steps:

  • Set realistic expectations
  • Quit comparing yourself to others, and
  • Get new information to change your mindset

What is it that you are wanting to get done? Is it pay off debt, change careers, or save to pay cash for your next vacation? You will never know if you are capable of doing it unless you try it!

Related Podcast Episode: 

Take 24: Do you have a catastrophic mindset?


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