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Breaking the Negative Cycle of Self-Doubt

By: Emma Jones - Updated: 17 Nov 2012 | comments*Discuss
Cycle Self-doubt Negative Positive Goals

I can’t do it. I’ll make a fool of myself. I’m just no good. All these thoughts are holding you down in a negative cycle of self-doubt and you need to break through it in order to move on. If you struggled at school or it has been a long time since you did any study, then you will probably believe that you are unable to do it. This isn’t true and you need to learn to think differently about yourself and your capabilities.

Focus on the Positive

What are you good at? Don’t say nothing because everyone is good at something. Are you a caring friend? Can you change a tyre on a car? Do you always win at cards? They may seem like trivial traits but you need to change your mindset and start focusing on the positive.

Ask Friends and Family

One of the best ways of focusing on your positive traits is to ask your friends and family. They often see us very differently to how we see ourselves and aren’t stuck on the negative. Get them each to say three things that you are good at and you may be surprised by their answers.

What’s the Worst That Can Happen?

Part of self-doubt is believing that there is no point in getting started because you will only fail. But what’s the worst that can happen? Everybody gets scared but you need to be realistic about what might happen. If you struggle in class, will you get thrown out? No. If you don’t know the answer to a question, will everybody laugh? No.

Daily Affirmations

You need to be committed to banishing your self-doubt. One way to do this is daily affirmations. Choose three things that you want to be and tell yourself that you are in front of the mirror - for example, ‘ I am confident, clever and successful’ – and repeat it ten times. By saying the words out loud, you will start to believe them.

Small Achievable Goals

If you set yourself a massive goal you are only going to fail to meet it and fuel your belief that you can’t do it Instead, set small achievable goals. Whether it is to go to a college open day next week, make a cake at the weekend, or be able to help your children with their homework by the end of the year.

Celebrate Your Success

You should be proud of your achievements, however small they are, and celebrate your success. When you reach a goal, treat yourself so that you learn to feel good about yourself and recognise when you have done well.

Breaking the negative cycle of self-doubt isn’t easy but can be done by taking small steps. Firstly you need to change the way you look at yourself by focusing on what you are good at. Realise that fear is holding you back and that it will never be as bad as you think. Re-inforce your progress with daily affirmations and focus on small achievable goals that you can feel good about.

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