Those annoying thoughts that say you aren’t enough or times when you are feeling like a failure sneak in at the worst possible times. We know what we want to do and become but once these feelings of self-doubt enter the picture it’s easy to loose all hope and give up before we even start.
Thankfully there are a few simple but powerful ways that I’ve learned to squash self-doubt. These are my go to tricks to get rid of those pesky feelings and they can do the same for you.
Plus, these techniques don’t cost a thing and require no special tools.
Recognize that self-doubt is a habit
For me, self-doubt tends to rear its ugly head right before I go to bed at night or right when I’m about to do something outside of my comfort zone. But self-doubt is a habit and I can anticipate it and stop it before it even starts with a few simple techniques.
1) MEASURE YOUR EFFORTS INSTEAD OF YOUR PROGRESS
Self-doubt is largely due to a negative perspective. As I mentioned, one of the most common times it’d show up for me would be at the end of the day.
As I’d wind down and slip under the covers, my mind would automatically start going over the list of things that I didn’t get done that day (like I said, habit). Even if I knew at the beginning of the day they’d most likely not be accomplished I’d start beating myself up for not doing enough to see any obvious progress.
Here’s where the trick of measuring your efforts instead of your progress comes in. The moment I’d catch myself going down that path of thinking, I’d stop myself and consciously choose to start thinking of all the effort I put in that day instead.
You’ll be surprised how that simple shift in thinking suddenly turns those feelings of doubt into feelings of confidence and pride.
Summary: if you have a hard time seeing any progress in your efforts, focus on how much effort you put in whether they warranted any results at all.
2) CELEBRATE AND EMBRACE YOUR FAILURES
The next way to squash self-doubt is to stop looking at failures as a bad thing and decide from this moment on that you will celebrate and embrace your failures.
We are all really sucky when we first start things. We know this, and yet how many of us have that habit of beating ourselves up if we aren’t perfect right from the get go? If you are failing or making mistakes it means that you doing something right. It means you’re putting yourself in a place where you can grow.
Your failures and mistakes are proof that you are already doing the hardest part and putting in the effort to grow and go outside of your comfort zone. That deserves celebrating!
Summary: Celebrate anytime you make a mistake or aren’t good at something because it’s proof that you are giving yourself an opportunity to grow. Then try again and aim to be a little less than the last time.
3) CHANGE YOUR PHYSICAL STATE
This last trick is about using your body to change your physical state to cue your mind and the chemicals in your brain to feel proud, powerful, or grateful instead of full of doubt.
Have you ever noticed the kind of posture you go into when self-doubt starts to sneak in for you? Some people may shrink down and hang their head down. I tend to start pacing or tapping my fingers anxiously.
As soon as I start I know it’s only a matter of time before I’m going to want to just run away from whatever I’m attempting. It’s also when productive procrastination sets in.
That’s the cue to take a deep breath and count down “5, 4, 3, 2, 1” as Mel Robbins teaches in The 5 Second Rule and stand up tall, push your chest out, and hold your head up high. (There’s a great TED Talk about power poses by Amy Cuddy here if you’d like to learn more about why this works.)
Another option is to think of a time when you have felt proud or grateful. How did you feel? Next focus on magnifying those feelings and feeling how you felt in those moments.
As you allow those feeling of power and pride and gratitude to sneak in you’ll be ready to conquer whatever lies ahead.