woman with self doubt
Personal Development

Break the Cycle of Self Doubt With These Tips

It is like clockwork every time you try to do something, doubt shows up.  It is always on time and refuses to leave.

If you’re fighting that constant voice that keeps reminding you how things may go wrong, and how you could not have figured it out correctly, then you’re dealing with self-doubt.

Doubt is an emotion that prevents you from realizing your true potential.  It keeps you trapped in situations that you are desperate to get out of but not able to because of self-doubt. 
That little voice in your head that keeps telling you that it can never be done, that you can’t do it.  Just another confirmation of what everyone else told you all your life “you will never amount to anything.”

When we lack confidence or believe we are incapable of achieving what we need to achieve, we experience self-doubt. People who have self-doubt suffer anxiety about things they can’t control or worry about things not going as planned.

Our doubts are traitors and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt ― William Shakespeare.

Your mind keeps going over all the negative things you have heard before.

All the failures you keep telling yourself you have had.  All the mistakes you have made.  All the time you have wasted. These are just a few of the many things that plague your mind. You may feel unhappy and nervous as a result of negative thoughts. They detract from the enjoyment of life and might have a negative impact on your physical well-being. That is why it is essential to understand how to cope with them.

Read also: Negative Thoughts – Tools For Eliminating Negative Thinking

You become overwhelmed.

There isn’t any space in your head for any other thoughts because doubt has taken over, and you are powerless or so doubt thought.  “I seek strength, not to be greater than other, but to fight my greatest enemy, the doubts within myself” ― P.C. Cast

All the great plans you once had for your life are slowly fading.  Dreams are being eroded, and you are spinning out of control.

Doubt will always come knocking at your minds’ door.

That is his job, but you have the power to decide whether or not you are going to let it ruin your future and life.

You have been inviting it into your life for years, now is the time to refuse doubt entrance.  Do not allow doubt to take residence in your mind. You have the power to control your mind and to control your life and destiny. “Erase self-doubt by working to build your strengths instead of focusing on your weaknesses,” ― Rodolfo Costa

It’s tough to stay motivated when we can’t perceive our own strong points. We may feel we will never attain our objectives, that we lack skill, and that we are unworthy of our position or relationship. Small setbacks start to feel like confirmation of our inadequacy.

Use your common sense to determine if self-doubt is a harmful habit in your life. When in doubt, assume it’s a little unhealthy, make an effort to fix it, and see what unfolds.

Replace all the negative thoughts

It is easier said than done.  It doesn’t happen overnight.  It takes discipline and you have to replace the negative with positive. Start telling yourself how much you want to achieve your goals. Go back to the time when you were motivated, excited, and eager to reach for the stars.

It’s alright to make errors since we’re all human. When we have doubts about our ability, it’s usually because we don’t want to risk making a mistake. Mistakes, on the other hand, are how we learn and evolve. We may reduce self-doubt and fear of failure by practicing self-kindness, regardless of the outcome.

Replace Negative thoughts with Positive thoughts

Replace the can’t do with can do.  Everything you told yourself you cannot do, start telling yourself you can.  You haven’t gotten to the place yet, when doubt is gone but feed yourself positive thoughts.  It is like eating.  If you keep eating fries and burgers you will be packing on the pounds but once you’ve decided to replace those with healthy foods, not only will your taste for the junk food subside but you will look and feel better.

“Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will,” ― Suzy Kassem

Take a few moments to relax and focus on something completely unrelated. It can help us cleanse our minds and see things from a new and different viewpoint by doing so. Make a list of things you’re grateful for if you need a boost of positivity. Your thoughts will automatically change in a more positive direction as a result of this.

Practice self-encouragement

You must conquer your lack of self-esteem in order to overcome self-doubt. Accepting oneself is the first step. Accepting that we are flawed and have imperfections is necessary for developing confidence and self-esteem. It’s quite acceptable to be flawed and have shortcomings; everyone has them. There’s no need to make a big deal out of it.

Encourage yourself and do it out loud.  Say it until you believe it.  It might sound a bit silly but once you get into the habit of hearing yourself speak positive words it will start taking root.  You will still doubt yourself at times; it will not just go away, but it will start to subside more and more.

It’s beneficial to seek out the opinions and counsel of others. However, if you have a practice of constantly asking others what they think before making crucial decisions, you may be eroding your confidence in yourself.

Read self-help books

There are lots of information available on how to increase self-belief.  There are several other persons who, like you have gone through the same thing and now are writing about it including myself.  I also still suffer from self doubt but as soon as it tries to enter I shut it out with positive affirmations.

I believe that understanding one’s self is necessary in order to be really happy and pleased with oneself. Understanding one’s self entails more than simply knowing what one likes or dislikes on the surface – it entails understanding what one enjoys eating, doing, listening to, and watching. It’s about discovering who you are at your core as a human.

Focus on your successes

No matter how small you might think they are, focused on your achievements.  You might have only been able to do ten minutes of exercise this morning because you were running late but guess what, you did those ten minutes.  You might have only read one chapter of the study material, but you did do it.  It is a start.  Stop beating yourself up on all your shortcomings and focus more on what you have going for you and what you have achieved.

Read also: Excuses, Obstacles, and the Myth of the Overnight Success

People frequently lose up on their dreams because they feel they are incapable of achieving them. They continue to live in dread and settle into their life, believing that their objective is impossible and hence choose not to pursue it. The most successful people, on the other hand, encourage a development attitude. They consider their abilities to be fluid rather than rigid. When they are confronted with a setback, they work even harder.

Document achievements

One way of reducing the self-doubt is to document your achievements no matter how insignificant you might think they are.  Make a note of positive things that you have done and how far you have come.  Once you start realizing that the negative emotions that have been keeping you back are all simple emotions that can be replaced with positive once you will be amazed at how far you have come.

Select Friends that are positive

Associate yourself with persons who are positive and progressive.  People who are encouraging and who will encourage positive behaviors.  Getting over doubt will take time but once you start replacing the negative with positive, soon the positive thoughts will be the dominant ones.

Overall, those who are happy work more to build a better future for themselves than those who are unhappy. Spending time with positive people, in this situation, is an investment in your own success. Quality friendships can even help you to be more resilient, increasing your chances of success!

Read also: 8 Types of Negative People & How They Can Affect Your Health

If having positive friends makes you happier, and as a result, you make more friends, you’ll be able to spread your happiness to new people and keep the positivity going. So, with optimism, pay it forward and watch how it may enhance your life and the lives of people around you!

Reward yourself

No matter how simple it might be, treat yourself when you have made progress.  This is something you haven’t been able to do. Start doing that today. You can’t just keep working and working. You will feel empty within if all you have in life is work and no recreation. Your soul will eventually desire plays, and you will destroy your hard effort.

Write down your best three successes, no matter how large or little, at the end of each day. And, once you’ve completed a major assignment, give yourself a pat on the back. A tiny incentive, such as a coffee break, a walk around the block, or a mini-vacation, may be quite motivating.

Read also: 11 Common Characteristics That All Successful Business Owners Have


Taking some time to focus on positive thinking and thoughts will also help you to slow the mind down and give you a sense of relief.  Meditating is similar to resetting your mind.  It causes you to focus on positive things and refocus the mind. “The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt,” ― Sylvia Plath

You may not be able to eliminate the causes of stress, but you can reduce the negative impact it has on your health. Meditation, a practice in which you direct your attention inward to produce a state of deep relaxation, is one of the easiest and most accessible stress-relieving therapies.

Little did doubt know that you made the decision not to allow him in anymore?  There is a sign on your minds’ door “Doubt doesn’t live here anymore.”  He will be showing up alright, but you are now better prepared to take him on.

Watch Television

When you are having very negative thoughts, it is not a good thing to watch shows and other programs that reinforce the negative emotions.  Select programs that encourage a fun, lighthearted and very happy feelings.  Choose shows that make you happy and ones that stimulate the hormones in the body that triggers positive and happy feelings.

Don’t Quit

You will probably never have the chance and privilege to be spared from failure even once in your life. For this major reason, you must understand that it is a part of life. It is the moments when failure sows doubt in your mind that you find it difficult to gather all that confidence previously accumulated in the process. In fact, any setback comes at the right time to motivate you to double your efforts. Any setback reinforces your resolve to try again to achieve your goal.

No matter how impossible it may seem at the moment all isn’t lost.  You have lots of potential far beyond your imagination. “If you hear a voice within you say you cannot paint, and then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced,” ― Vincent van Gogh

Never think that doubt will be totally gone from your mind, but you will be able to better identify it when it shows up and cast it aside.  It will always be knocking, but you can choose whether you want to let him in or not.  It is up to you.  Do you want to live doubting yourself, focusing on all the mistakes and failures you have made or do you want to look at those in the rear view mirror and laugh at how far you have come.  How much those failures and mistakes have made you stronger and wiser today.

Use your negative emotions as a motivational tool to get where you want to go.  You have it in you to fight the doubt and win.

If you have struggled with self-doubt and have learned how to manage it, please share your story so we can use it, to motivate and help others to do likewise.


Sadie is a freelance writer documenting the adventures of downsizing from the family home in the suburbs to a mountain cottage in the woods. She share the downsizing details, scoutings of the mountain locations, and her never-ending search for the perfect T-shaped clothesline.

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