Here's Your Reminder That You Can Do *Big* Things
January 28, 2019
As the first month of 2019 starts to come to a close, you might notice that feeling creeping in—the one where you start to doubt if you can accomplish those big goals you excitedly tweeted, journaled, or slapped on a Post-it on January 1.
If you’re feeling that way, you’re not alone. We have a tendency to talk ourselves out of something before even getting started. And in those moments, we need self-belief to get us through.
Our worlds are shaped by self-belief, or, more specifically, our self-efficacy, which is a person’s belief in his or her ability to succeed in a particular situation.
Tiffany N. Brown, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist, tells Shine it’s different from self-esteem and self-worth. “Self-efficacy is more than ‘how you feel about yourself,’” she says. “It focuses on this central piece of ourselves that either believes in our capabilities or does not.”
And what we believe we are capable of is what we will actively pursue. “Self-efficacy impacts, and sometimes determines, what challenges a person chooses to face, what achievements are pursued, and what successes we go after,” Brown explains. “It is important because it is intricately connected to motivation, confidence, resilience, and the pursuit of desires and achievements.”
On the flip side: If we believe we cannot do something, those thoughts can actually become our reality. We can mentally hold ourselves back.
Sometimes, these negative feelings of self-belief are so deeply rooted they may seem difficult to overcome, but it isn’t impossible. Saying to yourself “I believe I can do great things” one morning is not going to reverse years of doubt—instead, you can incorporate a few simple techniques consistently that will spark change.
1. Celebrate Big and Small Accomplishments
None of your accomplishments are insignificant.
“When a goal or a desire is achieved, it is important to acknowledge it and not simply move on to the next task,” Brown says. “By celebrating small accomplishments, you are creating memories. So, when you face challenges, you can recall those memories and accomplishments and use them to motivate you and increase self-efficacy.”
The next time you’re feeling incapable, try thinking back to a time in the past year when you overcame an obstacle that felt impossible at the time. It’ll remind you of your strength in the face of a new challenge.
2. Monitor the Way You Talk to Yourself
Self-talk plays a tremendous role in the way in which you experience self-efficacy and pursue your goals. If you say you can’t, you’ll believe you can’t, and from there—you won’t.
Practice being kind and compassionate to yourself on a daily basis by silencing that inner critic.
This can be done by reciting positive affirmations each morning, or in moments of adversity consistently reminding yourself, "I'm capable.” If you need a self-talk sidekick: the Shine app is full of 200+ pep talks to help you through the day's highs and lows.
3. Cut Down on Comparison
This can be easier said than done, as these days we’ve pretty much developed a comparison culture thanks to social media.
With a bird’s eye view into the lives of others, it’s hard not to compare ourselves. However, we must try our best to silence that green-eyed monster. You can do this by limiting your social media usage or perhaps creating distance from those accounts that drain as opposed to uplift you.
Instead, try following folks who educate and inspire you, which is much more likely to fuel your motivation.
4. Talk About Your Self-Doubt
To help lower the amount of comparison between yourself and others, it’s important to be vocal with those around you.
“It is easy to create stories in our minds about other's successes. However, once you talk to them, the reality of their perceived success and accomplishments is evident,” Brown says. “If more people were open and talked about feeling like an imposter, there would be more recognition about how it is a normal, developmental task that most people face.”
Even the most “put together” or #goals individual has experienced moments of self-doubt. By actively engaging with those around you, you can gain insight into how they were able to overcome it.
Remember: Up to this point in your life, you’ve been able to overcome obstacles and situations that at the moment felt impossible. You’ve proven you’re capable—so why not aim higher?
Change is possible, and it starts with believing you can do it.