3 powerful ways to believe in yourself (and stop putting your success on hold)

There’s a small voice in your head that seems to pop up, especially when you plan to take action towards your goals.

This voice whispers to you— “These ideas won’t work for me”, “What if it isn’t good enough?”, “Can I really do this?”, “What if I fail?”, “I don’t believe in myself.”

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This voice can get so strong that it eventually takes control of your life. No matter what you try to do to fight this voice away, it just gets louder and more powerful.

And then, instead of achieving your goals, you’ve made little progress because this voice of self-doubt has crippled your belief in yourself.

If you don’t believe in yourself, how can you achieve the level of success you desire i.e. build that dream business, write that bestselling book, lose weight and so on? And what if instead of having self-doubt in your abilities, you would believe in yourself?

Let me share with you 3 simple strategies you can use today to believe in yourself and start making more progress in your life.

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How To Believe In Yourself

1. Practice Talking Positively To Yourself

“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself”

– George Bernard Shaw

From the first moment your head lifts off the pillow every morning, you are constantly bombarded by negative messages from society and media telling you that you’re not good enough.

This isn’t anything new.

If you really think about it, from the moment you were born, you had a positive ‘can do’ outlook on life. That is until people around you spoke negative words that stuck in your mind. Then you stopped believing in yourself.

One of the best ways to reverse this negativity is to practice daily positive self-talk. This isn’t some ‘law of attraction magical woo-woo’ strategy, the power of self-talk and perception is also backed by proven science. [1]

David Sarwer, psychologist and clinical director at the Center for Weight and Eating Disorders at the University of Pennsylvania uses self-talk strategies to help his new weight loss clients achieve their health goals.

Here’s how it works…

David Sarwer gets his clients to stand in front of the mirror and then encourages them to use more gentle, neutral language as they evaluate their bodies.

Instead of speaking negatively about their body, “My abdomen is disgusting and grotesque,” Sarwer prompts them to say instead that “My abdomen is round, my abdomen is big; it’s bigger than I’d like it to be.”
His goal is to remove the “negative and pejorative terms” from the patient’s self-talk.

Sarwer believes that the weight loss client must change their perception of their body to achieve and sustain their health goals. [2]

I personally used a similar strategy to get over my fear and self-doubt of writing my first book and public speaking. I struggled to meet my deadlines because of the self doubts that my work wouldn’t be good enough to be shared with the public.

To combat this as an experiment, I would stand in front of the mirror every morning and speak positive words about my abilities as a writer and a speaker.

As soon as my self-image changed, my actions followed swiftly.

Within 3 to 6 months I self published my first book, delivered a 20-minute speech in front of a hundred plus strong audience and launched some small business projects.

You can use this strategy as well.

Practice: Set a 2-5 minutes timer as soon as you wake up and before going to bed everyday. Stand in front of the mirror and simply begin to talk to yourself with positive words counteracting your self-doubts.

For example, instead of telling yourself that “my work isn’t good enough” simply switch it around and tell yourself that “my work is unique and good enough to be shared with the world.”

Rinse and repeat for 30 days.

Remember that you’re not lying to yourself here. You’re simply reminding yourself of the truth about your capabilities before your mind was heavily bombarded with negativity as a child.

2. Let Go Of Negative People in Your Life

“Don’t waste another minute dealing with a toxic, negative, energy-draining person. Some people are wired for negativity. They love being argumentative, combative and abusive. Run for your life as quickly as possible.”
— Les Brown

These are the people you may know who always have something negative to say about your goals and aspirations. Always hating without giving any positive criticism.

The less time you spend around these type of negative people, the less self-doubt you will struggle with and the more you will believe in yourself.

Research has shown that negativity is contagious, just like a cold or flu.

Psychologist Elaine Hatfield has found through studies that we have a tendency to mimic the body language, feel emotional displays and experiences of people we spend time with—especially, negative people. [3]

Yes it’s tough to let go of negative friends particularly those you’ve known them for years. But, how can you inspire your friend to become a better person if being around their negativity is holding you back from success?

By setting tight boundaries in the relationship and reducing the time spent with them, you stand a much better chance of achieving your goals and inspiring them to become a better person in the process.

3. Focus on the small steps with a long-term perspective.

“If you spend an extra hour each day of study in your chosen field you will be a national expert in that field in five years or less.”
— Earl Nightingale

It’s easy to fall into the trap of obsessing over a final outcome—to look like that person with the fit body, successful business or bestselling books—whilst completely ignoring the years of consistency they put into their craft to get to that point.

This type of outcome-oriented thinking is a recipe for paralysis from self-doubt and chronic procrastination.

Instead, shift your focus towards what you can do consistently today, tomorrow and the next, that will bring you one step closer to that goal.

By staying consistent and sticking to your goals, no matter how small, you can build the necessary self-confidence and skills to create the quality of work and life you desire.

Believe In Yourself

Ultimately, you’re the only person that can truly believe in yourself, nobody else can.

The next time you struggle with self-doubt holding you back from success, ask yourself this powerful question:

How would the person I’d like to be do the same thing I’m about to do?

Then simply be and act like the type of person you’d like to be regardless of the doubts running through your mind.

Practice daily self-talk, cut the negativity from your life and focus on the consistent small steps—then you’ll be well on your way to achieving your dreams.

This article first appeared on MayoOshin.com.

Mayo Oshin writes at MayoOshin.comwhere he shares well-researched ideas based on proven science, philosophy and the habits of highly successful people, for stress-free productivity. To get these strategies to stop procrastinating, get more things by doing less and reclaim up to 20 hours of wasted time each week, you can join his free weekly newsletter.



  1. In a 2013 study, scientists watched women with anorexia walk through doorways in a lab. They noticed that women turned their shoulders and squeezed sideways, even when they had plenty of room. In their minds, the women thought they were physically much larger than they actually were. They found that our internal representation of ourselves affects our deeper physical habits.
  2. From the NPR interview.
  3. When people are in a certain mood, whether elated or depressed, that mood is often communicated to others. When we are talking to someone who is depressed it may make us feel depressed, whereas if we talk to someone who is feeling self-confident and buoyant we are likely to feel good about ourselves. This phenomenon is specifically known as Emotional Contagion. You can read more on this here.
  4. Thanks to Ramit Sethi for inspiring some ideas here.