At times we find ourselves facing in the mirror and looking at our own worst enemy. It holds us back from reaching our goals and questions our ability to succeed. It makes us fearful of new experiences and what’s to come. And finally it fills us with negative thoughts; poison’s our attitude and fuels procrastination.
If you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m talking about you. Sometimes we are our own worst enemy and we hold ourselves back from reaching our full potential. But that’s all about to change. Here are 5 tips on how you can overcome the obstacles you create for yourself and succeed at your goals.
1. You Question Your Abilities
Self-Doubt. We all experience self-doubt when we’re faced with a problem. Some common symptoms include lack of confidence, unwillingness to take action and negative thinking. The root of self-doubt comes from your fear of failing.
Think about this, if you did not fear the outcome of your challenge would you experience self-doubt in your ability to try? The results would be inconsequential and the measure of your success or failure wouldn’t matter.
I don’t think I can make this shot, but does it really matter if I miss?
I experienced self-doubt when starting this blog. Without formal writing skills, I feared no one would read what I had to say. Only after building my foundation to success, I finally found the courage to try. Understanding the consequences were minimal, helped me overcome my self-doubt.
Along the path to success are many failures. But along the path to apathy, there is just one failure, that of not trying.
Once you figure out that failure is part of your quest for success it will help you overcome self-doubt. Let your desire to succeed, overcome your fear of failing and self-doubt to start taking action now.
2. You Overthink Your Goals
I’ll tell you the same thing I tell my fiancé. It’s not a myth; there is such a thing as thinking too much! When you find yourself obsessing over something, constantly thinking about it and it’s the only topic of conversation you choose to participate in you may just be in the trap of overthinking…
Excessive thinking will lead you to paralysis. It will succumb your mind and lead you ineffective at completing your tasks. Learning to separate from what your overthinking can help clear your mind.
Ask someone you trust about what you’re thinking about and if it makes sense, or if you’re looking too far into it. Take into account what they have to say and take some time off from thinking about it. When given enough time, you’ll be able to see things in a different light and make proper decisions.
Psychologist Ellen Hendriksen describes rumination as “Thinking about something upsetting, but in a passive way, without actually taking action.” She describes 4 helpful tips to avoid rumination as follows:
1. Give up regret
2. Distract yourself
3. Shrink the time and space available to ruminate
4. Do something a little bit hard
For a more detailed explanation of each tip, check out Ellen’s post Toxic Habits: Overthinking
3. You Fear The Unknown
For the most part, people don’t like change. It means experiencing something new that has an unknown outcome. We enjoy feeling comfortable in a place that makes us feel safe. There is a reason why your favorite franchise restaurant looks familiar no matter what city, country or state you’re in and it’s not to save on costs.
Walking into a new restaurant may not bring on a lot of stress, but when it comes to starting a new job, being put in charge of a new assignment or moving to a new city will bring us out of our comfort zone.
There is a solution to fearing the unknown, but you might not like it…
Get out of your bubble of comfort and try something that scares you. Going into unfamiliar territory and feeling uncomfortable will help you build up a tolerance.
In an interview with INC. magazine, Paralympic medalist skier Bonnie St.John describes her experience with a nurse who pushed her past her comfort zone.
So next time you disagree with someone, speak out when you usually wouldn’t. Get on that roller coaster that scares the shit out of you with your nephew or niece. You can even start small by trying something different such as a new ice cream flavor.
After surviving the debate, roller coaster or even new ice cream, you will begin to build up your confidence to tackle the next unfamiliar challenge!
“If we’re growing, we’re always going to be out of our comfort zone” – John Maxwell
4. You Create Negative Thoughts
How you perceive events will influence your attitude and thoughts that have a huge impact on your mental health. Letting negative thoughts get the best of you will only lead you down a path of self-destruction. But there are ways you can change your perception to better deal with a negative situation.
Some of us are optimistic about everything, almost to a fault. We swim in positive thoughts and no matter what happens, we can find a silver lining from every situation. Finding positivity in misery come’s down to how you perceive the event.
“I may have lost my job, but now I’ll be able to find something I enjoy more and take some time for myself.” Not all of us are able to act this way and may even resent optimists for their positivity.
Psychology Today suggests challenging your negative thoughts and evaluating their accuracy. To help understand what you’re experiencing is normal, identify with the situation that is causing your negative thoughts. “I am currently experiencing sadness and anger from losing my job, which seems like the right emotions for this type of event.” Own your feelings and realize that they are a limited effect of a negative event or situation.
It’s important to find the solution that works best for you. Next time you’re faced with negative thinking, try one of these tactics and see how it affects your mood, thoughts and the people around you.
5. You Procrastinate
The P-word that helps us put things off, makes excuses and is the biggest hurdle in our way. I’m too tired, I’ll do it later and the stars aren’t aligned right are nothing but excuses to delay the task at hand. But what if it wasn’t? What if I told you procrastination was just a habit just like anything else.
You’ll find over time the enemy in the mirror will disappear and be replaced by a friend you’re glad to see. A person who is confident in her actions and gets things done without excuse. A person who doesn’t fear failure or negative feelings and thinks through his plans with a clear head. Twenty years from now you won’t be disappointed with the things you didn’t do because you went out and accomplished them.