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The Reasons Of Self-Doubt and Steps To Deal With It.

The Reasons Of Self-Doubt and Steps To Deal With It.

We have all been there.

At some points in our lives, we all question ourselves whether we are doing good enough, what consider as successful or are we capable for all the uncertainties that might come up as we grow older. We doubt about decisions and choices we made or simply feeling “I am just not good enough for that.”

That’s what we called- Self-doubt. Self-doubt occurs when we are lack of confidence or feeling incapable of doing things we need to do. People who doubt about themselves panic about things would go out of control or not going the way as they expected.

A Certain level of self-doubt is good because it indicates you understand what you need to improve in order to do a better job! (just remember that doesn’t mean what you are doing is not good!) However, persistent fear and self-doubt can hugely affect your life, in a bad way.

How Self-doubt Affects Your Life?

Let’s picture this.

Your boss has assigned you an important task because he thinks you are the most suitable person in the room. But instead of taking it as a recognition of your work performance, you started to panic. You panic about whether you are capable of doing a great job and failing to perform well will become a big joke at work. You spend time stressing over every single decision you made and picture how things might go wrong.

It’s not surprising that fear will then play a big role in your own little drama. It brings you to his best friend named procrastination. You delay your work and feeling demotivated. At the end of the story, you hand in your work at the very last minute and of course, it’s not hard to guess you will have the feeling of “I can actually do better than this”.

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Causes of Self Doubt

  • Past Experience/ Mistakes

Why is that?

I have no doubt that past experiences can have a huge impact on how we react, especially if you have had bad experiences before like a really broken relationship or being fired without a concrete justification. Past experience can shake and rattle our beliefs. however, you have to understand that your past cannot be altered but you need to stay stuck with it. Keep referencing to past experiences without learning from them is just a waste of your bright future!

What you need to understand?

You have to understand that your past cannot be altered but you need to stay stuck with it. Keep referencing to past experiences without learning from them is just a waste of your bright future!

  • Childhood upbringing

Why’s that?

Our upbringing plays a big role in shaping our habits and personalities. If you are raised by parents that constantly telling you that you are not good enough or natured by schools that judge students heavily on their grades, you might have already internalized the habit of questioning yourself since you were a child.

What you need to understand?

Tell yourself that you are a grown up now and this is YOUR LIFE.You are capable of making the best decision for yourself. You no longer need to seek approval from either your parents and teachers at school. Education and what you have learned so far in your life have shaped you into a better person than you were 10 years ago.

  • Comparing ourselves with others  

Why’s that?

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It’s not surprising for us to compare ourselves with others because we are living in a world of competition. We can easily compare our work performance with colleagues or simply in the overwhelming world of social media. It’s easy for us to envy others’ lives and thinking that we are not doing just as great as they are.

What you need to understand?

It comes down to the old and cliche saying- learn to appreciate yourself. This is very true because we are all different and we are all good at different things. That’s just not fair if you judge a goldfish by its inability to climb a tree (or simply living on the ground.)

Comparing yourself with others is sometimes a good practice because by looking at what you are lacking, you can find ways to improve yourself so you can become better at what you do.

  • New challenges to you

Why’s that?

This is a pretty normal case because we have no experience on how to react or what are the things that we need to do. The feeling of uncertainty and insecurity will make you feel uncomfortable.

What you need to understand?

Instead of thinking that you are not capable, take it as a chance to learn. I am sure we all didn’t have the knowledge on how to walk properly when we were young but I am sure you are all doing a great job now, isn’t it? Remind yourself that it’s ok to make mistakes because we all learn how to become better along the way.

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  • You have delivered a really great work before

Why’s that?

Take Eilizabeth Gilbert as an example. She is the author of the book “Eat, pray, Love” that sold more than 10 million copies around the world. However, In her book “Big magic-Creative Living Beyond Fear”, she revealed that this success had also once become her biggest nightmare because she wasn’t sure whether she can replicate her success.

This can happen to all of us. Previous success can become our biggest fear because we might think that’s the best we can deliver and we will never produce anything that’s equally better.

What you need to understand?

Instead of thinking about how to replicate the success, think about how to outperform your success because doing the same great thing twice doesn’t mean you are better than before. Learn from your success, knowing that even though you are good at something, there are ways that you can do better. Focus on amplifying instead of replicating, take it as a motivation to encourage yourself to do better, becoming greater at you are already good at! You should not be limited by your strength!

How to deal with self-doubt?

  • Ground yourself and say stop.
    Once you discovered there are negative voices running inside your head, try to stay in the present moment and focus on the positives are keys to set you free. Try to prepare something positive so you can go through whenever you feel negative or unsure about yourself.Ideas on what you can prepare:
    1. A list of counter arguments. Things like “I can do this.”, “It’s just another chance for me to learn.” ,”Wasting time on doubting myself cannot help with the situation” and “He/She is doing great but I am not bad too!”
    2. A jar that contains all your happy memories
    3. A file that contains all the photos that make you smile
    4. A list of quick energy-boosting activities you can do
    5. A box of healthy snacks that you can always go to
  • Take a break and get a boost of optimism
    Sometimes the longer we feel stuck in a situation or emotion, the harder it is for us to come out. Just take a moment to relax and shifting your focus to something totally different. By doing so, it can allow us to clear out mind and look at things from a new and fresh perspective.
  • Don’t be afraid to seek help
    While it is important to work on ourselves, it’s also a good idea to get support from your love ones, they can be your partner, family members, friends, mentors or even supervisors. Getting advice and reassurance from others can also improve our self-confidence and keep us motivated.

My 21-day plan on regaining self-confidence

I have this one great approach that has successfully helped me to build my confidence and become a person with gratitude.

I write things down, just as simple as it sounds.

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By writing down things that make me question myself and review weekly, I am able to identify what makes me scared and have developed ways to improve myself. And by writing down things that I am grateful for, I started to appreciate myself more and focus on what I have instead of what I am lacking. I even stopped comparing myself to others because by looking at what I wrote reminds me that I am happy with my own life.

A lot of people might think writing journal is a waste of time because we have to spend long hours keeping a record of what has happened but that’s not necessarily the case.

This is my 21-day plan on regaining self-confidence and you should give it a try too!

Week 1: Starting by “Write 3 things that you are grateful for.”
Review them at the end of the week and you will soon realize, the more you write, the more you will see there are actually a lot of things that can make you happy.

Week 2: On top of what you have been recording, “Write down times that you feel unsure about yourself and possible reasons behind.”
At the end of the week, you should be able to identify what are your biggest fear and moments that make you feel stressed.  During the review process, you can start to think of ways to solve your problems, it can be “focusing more on myself” or things you think you need to improve on.

I named mine “My awesome plan of attack.”

Week 3: Write down what you have done to overcome your uncomfortable feelings and how you feel.
No matter what you have done, write them down and recognize yourself! We all need motivation along the way and no matter how small the steps you have taken, it’s an achievement and they indicate that you are one step closer to what you want to achieve!
Doing so does not only motivates you, it helps you to keep track with your progress and becoming the person you want to become.

I think it’s common and normal to doubt ourselves, but you need to understand that staying stuck and panicking for too long won’t do you any good and it’s just a waste of time. Try to get out from the loop as soon as you can and spend time on improving yourself. Don’t give up! You can do it!

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Last Updated on August 20, 2018

How the Stages of Change Model Helps You Change Your Habits

How the Stages of Change Model Helps You Change Your Habits

Change is tough, there’s no doubt about it. Old habits are hard to shift, and adopting a new lifestyle can feel like an uphill battle!

In this article, you will learn about a simple yet powerful model:

Stages of change model, that explains the science behind personal transformation.

You’ll discover how and why some changes stick whereas others don’t last, and how long it takes to build new habits.

What is the Stages of Change Model?

Developed by researchers J.O. Prochaska and Carlo C. DiClemente over 30 years ago[1] and outlined in their book Changing For Good, the Stages of Change Model, also known as the Transtheoretical Model, was formed as a result of the authors’ research with smokers.

Prochaska and DiClemente were originally interested in the question of why some smokers were able to quit on their own, whereas others required professional help. Their key conclusion was that smokers (or anyone else with a bad habit) quits only when they are ready to do so.

Here’s an illustration done by cartoonist and illustrator Simon Kneebone about the different stages a smoker experiences when they try to quit smoking:

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    The Stages of Change Model looks at how these conscious decisions are made. It emphasizes that change isn’t easy. People can spend a long time stuck in a stage, and some may never reach their goals.[2]

    The model has been applied in the treatment of smoking, alcoholism, and drugs. It is also a useful way of thinking about any bad habit. Social workers, therapists, and psychologists draw on the model to understand their patients’ behaviors, and to explain the change process to the patients themselves.

    The key advantages to the model is that it is simple to understand, is backed by extensive research, and can be applied in many situations.

    The Stages of Change Model is a well-established psychological model that outlines six stages of personal change:

    1. Precontemplation
    2. Contemplation
    3. Determination
    4. Action
    5. Maintenance
    6. Termination

    How are these stages relevant to changing habits?

    To help you visualize the stages of change and how each progresses to the next one, please take a look at this wheel:[3]

      Let’s look at the six stages of change,[4] together with an example that will show you how the model works in practice:

      Stage 1: Precontemplation

      At this stage, an individual does not plan to make any positive changes in the next six months. This may because they are in denial about their problem, feel too overwhelmed to deal with it, or are too discouraged after multiple failed attempts to change.

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      For example, someone may be aware that they need to start exercising, but cannot find the motivation to do so. They might keep thinking about the last time they tried (and failed) to work out regularly. Only when they start to realize the advantages of making a change will they progress to the next stage.

      Stage 2: Contemplation

      At this stage, the individual starts to consider the advantages of changing. They start to acknowledge that altering their habits would probably benefit them, but they spend a lot of time thinking about the downside of doing so. This stage can last for a long time – possibly a year or more.

      You can think of this as the procrastinating stage. For example, an individual begins to seriously consider the benefits of regular exercise, but feels resistant when they think about the time and effort involved. When the person starts putting together a concrete plan for change, they move to the next stage.

      The key to moving from this stage to the next is the transformation of an abstract idea to a belief (e.g. from “Exercise is a good, sensible thing to do” to “I personally value exercise and need to do it.)[5]

      Stage 3: Preparation

      At this point, the person starts to put a plan in place. This stage is brief, lasting a few weeks. For example, they may book a session with a personal trainer and enrol on a nutrition course.

      Someone who drinks to excess may make an appointment with a drug and alcohol counsellor; someone with a tendency to overwork themselves might start planning ways to devise a more realistic schedule.

      Stage 4: Action

      When they have decided on a plan, the individual must then put it into action. This stage typically lasts for several months. In our example, the person would begin attending the gym regularly and overhauling their diet.

      Stage 4 is the stage at which the person’s desire for change becomes noticeable to family and friends. However, in truth, the change process began a long time ago. If someone you know seems to have suddenly changed their habits, it’s probably not so sudden after all! They will have progressed through Stages 1-3 first – you probably just didn’t know about it.

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      Stage 5: Maintenance

      After a few months in the Action stage, the individual will start to think about how they can maintain their changes, and make lifestyle adjustments accordingly. For instance, someone who has adopted the habit of regular workouts and a better diet will be vigilant against old triggers (such as eating junk food during a stressful time at work) and make a conscious decision to protect their new habits.

      Unless someone actively engages with Stage 5, their new habits are liable to come unstuck. Someone who has stuck to their new habits for many months – perhaps a year or longer – may enter Stage 6.

      Maintenance can be challenging because it entails coming up with a new set of habits to lock change in place. For instance, someone who is maintaining their new gym-going habit may have to start improving their budgeting skills in order to continue to afford their gym membership.

      Stage 6: Termination

      Not many people reach this stage, which is characterized by a complete commitment to the new habit and a certainty that they will never go back to their old ways. For example, someone may find it hard to imagine giving up their gym routine, and feel ill at the thought of eating junk food on a regular basis.

      However, for the majority of people, it’s normal to stay in the Maintenance period indefinitely. This is because it takes a long time for a new habit to become so automatic and natural that it sticks forever, with little effort. To use another example, an ex-smoker will often find it hard to resist the temptation to have “just one” cigarette even a year or so after quitting. It can take years for them to truly reach the Termination stage, at which point they are no more likely to smoke than a lifelong non-smoker.

      How long does each stage take?

      You should be aware that some people remain in the same stage for months or even years at a time. Understanding this model will help you be more patient with yourself when making a change. If you try to force yourself to jump from Contemplation to Maintenance, you’ll just end up frustrated. On the other hand, if you take a moment to assess where you are in the change process, you can adapt your approach.

      So if you need to make changes quickly and you are finding it hard to progress to the next stage, it’s probably time to get some professional help or adopt a new approach to forming habits.

      The limitations of this model

      The model is best applied when you decide in advance precisely what you want to achieve, and know exactly how you will measure it (e.g. number of times per week you go to the gym, or number of cigarettes smoked per day). Although the model has proven useful for many people, it does have limitations.

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      Require the ability to set a realistic goal

      For a start, there are no surefire ways of assessing whereabouts in the process you are – you just have to be honest with yourself and use your own judgement. Second, it assumes that you are physically capable of making a change, whereas in fact you might either need to adjust your goals or seek professional help.

      If your goal isn’t realistic, it doesn’t matter whether you follow the stages – you still won’t get results. You need to decide for yourself whether your aims are reasonable.[6]

      Difficult to judge your progress

      The model also assumes that you are able to objectively measure your own successes and failures, which may not always be the case.[7] For instance, let’s suppose that you are trying to get into the habit of counting calories as part of your weight-loss efforts. However, even though you may think that you are recording your intake properly, you might be over or under-estimating.

      Research shows that most people think they are getting enough exercise and eating well, but in actual fact aren’t as healthy as they believe. The model doesn’t take this possibility into account, meaning that you could believe yourself to be in the Action stage yet aren’t seeing results. Therefore, if you are serious about making changes, it may be best to get some expert advice so that you can be sure the changes you are making really will make a positive difference.

      Conclusion

      The Stages Of Change Model can be a wonderful way to understand change in both yourself and others.

      While there’re some limitations in it, the Stages of Change Model helps to visualize how you go through changes so you know what to expect when you’re trying to change a habit or make some great changes in life.

      Start by identifying one of your bad habits. Where are you in the process? What could you do next to move forwards?

      Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

      Reference

      [1]Psych Central: Stages Of Change
      [2]Boston University School Of Public Health: The Transtheoretical Model (Stages Of Change)
      [3]Empowering Change: Stages of Change
      [4]Boston University School Of Public Health: The Transtheoretical Model (Stages Of Change)
      [5]Psychology Today: 5 Steps To Changing Any Behavior
      [6]The Transtheoretical Model: Limitations Of The Transtheoretical Model
      [7]Health Education Research: Transtheoretical Model & Stages Of Change: A Critique

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