Four Steps to Overcoming Self Doubt to Reach Your Goals


Several years ago, I wrote about going from a dreamer to a doer. As a free-spirited, creative Pisces, I’m naturally a dreamer. Dreaming comes easy. I dream up grand adventures, exotic foods and unique fashions. No problem. Do I get around to doing these things? Yes, but it’s not because of my plans. Most of my plans aren’t plans. I jump in and see where the current takes me. But when it comes to actually planning and then doing, where I have time to sit with my thoughts, that’s where I go from free-swimming mermaid to a belly up goldfish. 

I originally wrote about practical things like scheduling time for your goals and starting with small tasks. And while these things are important (I have my year planned out in lists and tasks, and more lists), I realize there’s a much bigger roadblock– the mind. Read: self doubt. Overcoming self doubt to reach your goals isn’t something that can be crossed off a list or sent through an Outlook invite.

I've been dreaming about Let's Really Live for several years. To read more about the name, go here. I made a list of all the things I needed to do. Buy domain. Check. Design site. Check. Set up email. Check. Establish purpose. Check. With everything checked off the “how to launch a blog” list, I was ready to go from dreamer to doer… cue belly up goldfish.

 I put on my favorite comfy poncho and sat down to write this very post. I was inspired by recent convos and had adrenaline from that day’s leg session. I opened my laptop and instead of words coming out, self doubt came in. I questioned if the amateur photos I took were good enough. I debated changing the order of the navigation. I doubted anyone would even read my words. I feared being vulnerable in a public space. Even though I work in online communities all day for my job, I suddenly felt like a fish out of water. Then, somewhere between a chance text and stress eating almonds, everything became clear. The words came and self doubt was gone. 

Here are my four steps to overcoming self doubt to reach your goals. 

Remember Why You Started  

I was wasting energy doubting my navigation when I didn’t even have a word typed. It’s hard to have a blog (loosely defined as a website with conversational words) that inspires others to live bolder when you have a site and no words. Take a breath and remember why you started. What was the reason for your goal? What is your bigger purpose? What made you realize it was time to be a doer? What are you searching for? Write down your why and continue to go back to it. If what you’re doubting doesn’t directly impact your why, then it’s time to move on. Hello words. You’re all I actually needed.

Focus on What Your Why Needs

When I was belly up and listing my doubts, I was asked “do you really think all that matters?” Oh friend, great point. Perfect navigation isn’t encouraging anyone to start their novel or travel abroad. A picture of someone crossing their first marathon finish line is going to be inspiring in any contrast. Figure out the essential elements your why needs to go from a goal to real life, and move forward. Maybe it will work and maybe it won’t, but you’ll never know unless you get the must-haves in place and take a leap. Sometimes we are meant to evolve or change course, and sometimes it works on the first try. We don't fail, we only learn. So let yourself learn. If you are being true to your why, then it will always be a victory.

Embrace Progress Over Perfection

 It’s easy to want the DIY project to be complete now. To become fluent in a new language overnight.  To get a dream job without applying. But life doesn’t work like this. You have to put in effort and embrace the process. Focus on each task, each day and each milestone. Celebrate small victories and know it shouldn’t (won’t) be perfect from day one (or ever) Is anything ever perfect? I had to accept that this blog wouldn’t look like the professionally designed sites – yet. One day it might. But for now, I’m just beginning. I need to enjoy my first reader, learn about aperture settings, and continue to improve. As I evolve, this blog will, and together this community will all learn something. 

Engage Your Support System

 I contemplated putting this first, but decided the order wasn’t essential to my why. (Bonus tip: practice what you preach). Often, I mention feeling inspired by friends and conversations. Having a support system is key to life, to really living and to reaching goals. Find a group of like-minded people who inspire you. Your support system should ask smart questions, challenge you, respect you and believe in you. When you can’t decide if you should sign up for those surf lessons, this is the person (or people) who will remind you of your why. They’ll remind you of your value and purpose, and never of your self doubt. They want you to really live and even though they might not always agree with you, they’ll always ask “do you really think that matters?” Life can be hard, but it’s better together.

What goal have you been putting off? What have you started and need to finish? What self doubts do you deal with? Comment below and together, Let’s Really Live.