You’re caught up in a cycle. You know the one. You’ve been talking down to yourself for a while. Every word in your mind points out your flaws and mistakes to where you think you’re going to go crazy from listening to it if you haven’t already.
Self-doubt and negative thoughts can be just this insidious. It gets in your head, courtesy of previous experiences, and negative input from people who don’t always mean well. Once there, it plays the same song on repeat, growing somehow worse with every retelling until you quit trying. Your dreams stall out, and you find yourself doing very little at all.
Finally, you need to take your life back and put an end to the self-doubt once and for all.
Easier said than done? Not necessarily. Try these things:
1. Find the Calm
First of all, you can’t combat anything when you’re overly emotional and overwhelmed mentally. Find a quiet place and sit down to take a few deep breaths. If you can, meditate or try a mindfulness exercise until you can reach a peaceful place internally.
2. Take Note of What You’re Thinking
Don’t avoid the negative thought. Listen to it. What is it saying? Whose voice does it sound like?
3. Dig into the Roots
Now ask yourself what the thought represents. Where did this come from? Is this from an expectation you put on yourself at some point, or does it come from someone else entirely?
4. Drop the Unreasonable Expectation
Are you trying too hard to be perfect in some regard? Is there a more reasonable expectation you can put on yourself in the place of this thought?
5. Turn It Around
What is the positive counterpoint to this thought? For example, if you’re worried about landing that large contract or new sale, remind yourself of a time when you booked that new client you wanted, or think about a time when you landed that new opportunity and how good it felt afterward.
6. Create a Habit
If this self-doubt is one which comes around often, what is the new thought you want to replace it with? How can you make this new thought a habit? Consider this: the more you react in a new way to an old stimulus, the quicker a new habit is formed, and the old reaction disappears.
7. Just Stop
In the end, the only way to get rid of a negative thought is to consciously put a halt to it. Once you’ve gone through these steps, tell yourself to stop when the idea comes up again, and keep telling it to stop until it goes away completely. Remember we control the outcome of our actions. Be intentional.
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