How To Stop Self-Doubt In Its Tracks

Learn how to stop self-doubt with these four tips.

Have you ever been in a situation where you’ve set yourself a goal that doesn’t happen? 

You stop. You start. You set goals. You abandon them again and again. Why is it so hard to reach your goal?

The answer?  It’s all to do with self-doubt. 

Whenever you start questioning yourself or even your ability to get things done, you start putting the brakes on progress. After all, if you’re only going to fail, why even try?

The key to learning how to stop self-doubt in its tracks is to get out of your own way immediately.

Read on to find out how with four great tips.

 1.  Stop Self-Doubt By Reminding Yourself No One is Looking

At times it can feel as if you are under the microscope.  You think everybody is watching your every move.  And because you worry about how others perceive you, you allow self-doubt to hold you back.

Your fear is due to a belief that everyone is watching to see you fail.

I hate to break it to you, but although something may be hugely important to you, it will not be important to others.

People are generally so caught up in their own lives, and the issues they are working through that few people pay attention to anyone else.   

To put it bluntly, we are all far too self-centred.

This quote from Ann Landers, the agony aunt, sums it all up beautifully.

 ‘At age 20, we worry about what others think of us. At age 40, we don’t care what they think of us. At age 60, we discover they haven’t been thinking of us at all’.

Such a shame that, for most people, this discovery doesn’t happen until later in life!

3 women laughing together is a way for how to stop self-doubt

Talking with those you trust can help put any thoughts of self-doubt into perspective

2.  Have a Conversation (outside of your head!)

We all have an internal dialogue going on.  At times it feels like a lot is going on in your head.  You know, that little voice whispering in your ear constantly telling you you’re not good enough.  If you want to learn how to stop self-doubt, well, it’s time to put it to bed.

For more information on how to stop negative self-talk, this article which gives 5 quick tips is useful.

All of us are prone to negative self-talk, and it’s very destructive.  The problem is the doubts sound so believable.  You’ve probably been saying the same thing to yourself for years.

If you listen to those negative messages, they can derail you completely.  But these negative messages are based on old beliefs, probably picked up during your formative years.

The best way to handle this is to talk to a friend or someone you trust.  Bring your concerns into the open.  When spoken out loud, doubts can be less frightening.

Explore the nature of the doubt, find out what is at the root of it.  When you talk to someone else, you discover clarity about the doubt and where it comes from.  Talking to someone else offers you a different perspective.

learn how to stop self-doubt by changing your mood

Get out of the negative mood self-doubt puts you in by listening to uplifting music

3.  Take a More Optimistic Approach To Stop Self-Doubt

Self-doubt is a negative state. When you find yourself doing more tearing down than building up internally, it’s time to change the mood.

You can learn how to stop self-doubt by focusing on doing things to build a more positive mood and mindset. Self-doubt can’t touch you when you are optimistic.

You can build positivity by adopting one of the following techniques:

  • Change the scenery and take a walk
  • Listen to some uplifting music
  • Clear your mind by practising mindfulness or meditate

The idea is to clear your head from the negative self-talk and replace it with a can-do approach.

I often wind myself up with self-doubt, and the best approach for me is to have a playlist of my favourite songs.  Believe me; you can’t feel negative after listening to Happy by Pharrell Williams.  It works for me every time!

But a study in 2012 (reported in the Journal Of Positive Psychology) discovered that listening to positive music as a mood enhancer worked best when intentionally trying to be happier rather than not making any attempt to change their mood.  So, if you put your music on, embrace it with an open mind and the intention to lift your mood.

4.  Stop Making Comparisons

Comparison is the thief of joy, and you’re never going to be happy when you start looking at what other people have done.

Comparison is a nasty source of self-doubt, especially in this era of social media.  But remember, everyone shares the best of what they have or are going through.  You are only ever going to see the success and glory, not the dreadful mistakes.

Rather than compare yourself to other people, why not take a different approach? Instead, compare your situation today to where you were last month or last year.

Look at how far you’ve come.  You’ll likely discover that you’ve come a long way!

One of the best ways to do this is to record your achievements.  You could use a journal or keep a list as a word document on your PC.  Creating a list is an excellent technique on how to stop self-doubt.  Refer to it often and focus on this instead.  Your journal, or list, will provide you with a good old dose of reality and solid examples of things you’ve achieved.

For more guidance on how to stop comparing yourself to others, you might find this article useful.

Final Thoughts On How To Stop Self-Doubt

In the end, the quickest way to put an end to self-doubt is to only pay attention to it long enough to derail it entirely with a new thought.

There is no room in your life for self-doubt. Once you learn how to stop self-doubt, the sky is the limit, and you’re ready to experience success like you never have before.

Next steps when read good things happen when you ask for what you want

Next Steps

Here are some quick action points you can put into practice to help manage your self-doubt, or hopefully, how to stop self-doubt completely.

  • The next time you are having self-doubt thoughts, write them down.  A journal will work well for this.  Once you have been doing this for a while, you may start to see a pattern.  Perhaps similar words or phrases you repeat to yourself.  Please make a list of these words or phrases and then try to figure out where they’ve come from.  Is it a phrase you often heard from a particular person?  If so, ask yourself if their words are important to you now and whether they are still valid.
  • Make a list of friends or colleagues who are supportive of you.  Promise yourself you will contact someone from the list to talk it through the next time you doubt yourself.
  • Create a music list for upbeat tunes that leave you in a positive mindset.  Add them to your iPod so you can play them when you need them.
  • Take a break from social media.  If you find the people you follow make you feel bad about yourself, then unsubscribe.
  • Start a journal – a particular favourite of mine.  Writing out your self-doubts can be therapeutic.  Write at the top of a page the doubt you have and then challenge it.  Write down all the ways you disagree with it.  Another technique I’ve found helpful is to ask myself why five times.  Why do I think this – note the answer.  Then ask why of that answer and so on.  Using this technique will help you get to the root cause of your doubt.

About the author Alison

A qualified UK based coach with 30 years of experience in personal development.

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