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5 Ways to Stop Self Doubt in its Tracks

5 Ways to Stop Self Doubt in its Tracks

Self-doubt is a killer.  Pure and simple, but when faced with one of the most deadliest of dream killers,  once you learn of its intent, understand its nature and where it thrives, you can stop self-doubt dead in its tracks before it can kill again.

Personally, I suffer from self-doubt very often, but then again, so do most people.  It seems the more creative you are, the more it appears!  For example, even as I begin to write this post I wonder; will it be read? Will it be interesting enough? Will I even like it?  However, the difference between my self-doubt and self-doubt of others is I have begun to understand that it will crop up from time to time and to accept it. The clue is however, in how you deal with it.

Learning to understand that self-doubt will always be hiding behind a door somewhere, ready to pounce (usually at the most inconvenient of times), is half the battle.  As long as you can remember the reasons why it does that, to remind you that what you are trying to do actually matters, you’ll learn to harness it and use it to propel yourself into action!

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With this in mind, here are 5 ways to stop self doubt in its tracks.

Whatever you are thinking, doesn’t mean it’s true!

Self-doubt will tell you, in its sweet little voice, things like, ‘you know you’re not good enough, so why even try?’ or ‘what are you doing, they are going to laugh at you’ with each thought, grinding away at your confidence, until you make a choice, to either believe it and do nothing or listen and decide to do it anyway!

It’s all about whether you believe your self-doubting thoughts or not.  Obviously, the easiest option is to give in and quit.  The better option would be is to hear it, understand that it’s there as a test and keep moving forward.  If you see it as a gift, rather than something bad, you’ll go far.

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Get some fresh air!

When you’re plagued with those self-doubting thoughts, rather than try to battle on, head out somewhere and tune out for a bit. This works for me! I normally grab the dog and go out for a walk.  I’ll breathe slowly, take in my surroundings and remember what’s important right now, which is to be present and relaxed.

Getting out and about in nature brings you back to a quieter state of mind and opens up your thinking for a few minutes.  It’s when you look around and actually notice the trees, the sky, the birds or whatever you might be surrounded by, you can provides your mind with the necessary space to unwind and get back to the present moment.

Turn to others for support

This is so important and can be anyone as long as it’s someone who understands you and knows where you are coming from, like a close friend, or a mastermind group, or even your therapist.  If you can reach out to someone from time to time, just to get you back up and on your feet again, is great, just as long as you don’t rely on them to do this all the time.  Remember, you are responsible for your own life and choices.

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I work from home with only my dog for company, if I’m not careful, I can sometimes not speak to a single soul for days, this is when self-doubt can run amok!  Luckily, I am involved in a mastermind group with 3 other entrepreneurs, whom I hook up with weekly to go through issues and problems, but to also share successes and achievements.  This is my sanctuary and without it, I’d probably be carted off somewhere by men in white coats! It’s so important and good for the soul to connect with those who support and encourage, so try to do it as often as you can.

Focus on the ‘why’ rather than’how’

When I have doubts, it’s normally centered on my business and whether I think I can ‘make it’ or not.  I have days where the self-doubt creeps in and out, whilst other days I have none whatsoever!

When I have one of ‘those days’ I reflect on why I am doing what I am doing, where I want to be and the core reason for getting up at 6:00 a.m. every morning to write.  This is my purpose in life and the reason why I am here.

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However, if I focus on the ‘how,’ I’ll get bogged down with thoughts of ‘how will I be able to get this done?’ and ‘how long will I have to wait until I can really make this pay off?’  When you remember that the ‘why’’ gives you a sense of purpose, the ‘how’ will just fade away as you’ll have utter faith that they’ll take care of themselves.

Take action and create!

Self-doubt can come up for many different reasons, it’ll normally appear just at the time you are about to make a decision or about to start something new.  For me, it’s when I am doing something out of my comfort zone like writing or creating.

When this happens it is important to do it anyway, to take action in-spite of the self-doubt. It’s the work and the action that’s the vital part in this story. As long as you continue to create and move forward, it’ll give you the ammunition, not to stop the self-doubt, but to stop the self-doubt from stopping you!

Now you have the necessary tools, when self-doubt rear its ugly head for you.  Are you going to let it stop you from taking action or are you going to push on through?

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Paula Lawes

Paula loves people and connecting. She writes about communication and relationships tips on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on July 8, 2020

How to Prevent Decision Fatigue From Clouding Your Judgement

How to Prevent Decision Fatigue From Clouding Your Judgement

What is decision fatigue? Let me explain this with an example:

When determining a court ruling, there are many factors that contribute to their final verdict. You probably assume that the judge’s decision is influenced solely by the nature of the crime committed or the particular laws that were broken. While this is completely valid, there is an even greater influential factor that dictates the judge’s decision: the time of day.

In 2012, a research team from Columbia University[1] examined 1,112 court rulings set in place by a Parole Board Judge over a 10 month period. The judge would have to determine whether the individuals in question would be released from prison on parole, or a change in the parole terms.

While the facts of the case often take precedence in decision making, the judges mental state had an alarming influence on their verdict.

As the day goes on, the chance of a favorable ruling drops:

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    Image source: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

    Does the time of day, or the judges level of hunger really contribute that greatly to their decision making? Yes, it does.

    The research went on to show that at the start of the day the likelihood of the judging giving out a favorable ruling was somewhere around 65%.

    But as the morning dragged on, the judge became fatigued and drained from making decision after decision. As more time went on, the odds of receiving a favorable ruling decreased steadily until it was whittled down to zero.

    However, right after their lunch break, the judge would return to the courtroom feeling refreshed and recharged. Energized by their second wind, their leniency skyrockets back up to a whopping 65%. And again, as the day drags on to its finish, the favorable rulings slowly diminish along with the judge’s spirits.

    This is no coincidence. According to the carefully recorded research, this was true for all 1,112 cases. The severity of the crime didn’t matter. Whether it was rape, murder, theft, or embezzlement, the criminal was more likely to get a favorable ruling either early in the morning, or after the judges lunch break.

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    Are You Suffering from Decision Fatigue Too?

    We all suffer from decision fatigue without even realizing it.

    Perhaps you aren’t a judge with the fate of an individual’s life at your disposal, but the daily decisions you make for yourself could hinder you if you’re not in the right head-space.

    Regardless of how energetic you feel (as I imagine it is somehow caffeine induced anyway), you will still experience decision fatigue. Just like every other muscle, your brain gets tired after periods of overuse, pumping out one decision after the next. It needs a chance to rest in order to function at a productive rate.

    The Detrimental Consequences of Decision Fatigue

    When you are in a position such as a Judge, you can’t afford to let your mental state dictate your decision making; but it still does. According to George Lowenstein, an American educator and economy expert, decision fatigue is to blame for poor decision making among members of high office. The disastrous level of failure among these individuals to control their impulses could be directly related to their day to day stresses at work and their private life.

    When you’re just too tired to think, you stop caring. And once you get careless, that’s when you need to worry. Decision fatigue can contribute to a number of issues such as impulse shopping (guilty), poor decision making at work, and poor decision making with after work relationships. You know what I’m talking about. Don’t dip your pen in the company ink.

    How to Make Decision Effectively

    Either alter the time of decision making to when your mind is the most fresh, or limit the number of decisions to be made. Try utilizing the following hacks for more effective decision making.

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    1. Make Your Most Important Decisions within the First 3 Hours

    You want to make decisions at your peak performance, so either first thing in the morning, or right after a break.

    Research has actually shown that you are the most productive for the first 3 hours[2] of your day. Utilize this time! Don’t waste it on trivial decisions such as what to wear, or mindlessly scrolling through social media.

    Instead, use this time to tweak your game plan. What do you want to accomplish? What can you improve? What steps do you need to take to reach these goals?

    2. Form Habits to Reduce Decision Making

    You don’t have to choose all the time.

    Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but it doesn’t have to be an extravagant spread every morning. Make a habit out of eating a similar or quick breakfast, and cut that step of your morning out of the way. Can’t decide what to wear? Pick the first thing that catches your eye. We both know that after 20 minutes of changing outfits you’ll just go with the first thing anyway.

    Powerful individuals such as Steve Jobs, Barack Obama, and Mark Zuckerberg don’t waste their precious time deciding what to wear. In fact, they have been known to limiting their outfits down to two options in order to reduce their daily decision making.

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    3. Take Frequent Breaks for a Clearer Mind

    You are at your peak of productivity after a break, so to reap the benefits, you need to take lots of breaks! I know, what a sacrifice. If judges make better decisions in the morning and after their lunch break, then so will you.

    The reason for this is because the belly is now full, and the hunger is gone. Roy Baumeister, Florida State University social psychologist[3] had found that low-glucose levels take a negative toll on decision making. By taking a break to replenish your glucose levels, you will be able to focus better and improve your decision making abilities.

    Even if you aren’t hungry, little breaks are still necessary to let your mind refresh, and come back being able to think more clearly.

    Structure your break times. Decide beforehand when you will take breaks, and eat energy sustaining snacks so that your energy level doesn’t drop too low. The time you “lose” during your breaks will be made up in the end, as your productivity will increase after each break.

    So instead of slogging through your day, letting your mind deteriorate and fall victim to the daily abuses of decision making, take a break, eat a snack. Let your mind refresh and reset, and jump-start your productivity throughout the day.

    More Tips About Decision Making

    Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

    Reference

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