Is Self-Doubt Stopping You from Achieving Your Goals?

09/30/2019 Personal Growth Personal Growth Career and Success Psychology

Goals are not meant to be easy. Anything worth having is going to be worth the work you put in to get there, but that doesn’t mean you should give up when self-doubt shows up. Here are some ways you can explore what is getting in the way of you having the things you want in your life.

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You have your heart set on something you really want in your life and the motivation juices are flowing. You’re feeling inspired, you’ve gathered your resources and you have a solid plan for going after it.

And then something happens that derails you from taking that first step, or from bringing the plan to completion after you’ve had solid momentum going. You begin to doubt yourself and go down the path of reasons and excuses as to why you’re not able to pull it off. And, when January 1st rolls back around or your goal deadline passes with nothing to show for it, your thoughts will likely circle back to “What is it that keeps getting in the way of me achieving my goals?”

The Importance of Goal Setting

Goals are an important part of living an empowered, meaningful life. Personal growth is more than a popular field that’s currently trending across the globe. It’s actually a modern term for growth, which is something that’s happening for every single one of us—whether you’re actively participating in the process or not. Change is inevitable. You’ve learned that by now. You can either passively allow life to unfold (and evolve in your own way, at your own pace), or you can actively pursue personal growth because you’re driven by some unseen, unknown force to strive for excellence–whatever that looks like for you. This is where goal setting comes in.

Successful people know that setting meaningful, life-long goals that are linked up with who you want to become and the direction you want to head in are more likely to get you to where you want to go. Meaningful goals should get you feeling the energy of “what if?” You should be questioning:

  • What if I could actually write an international bestseller?
  • What if I actually landed the job of my dreams?
  • What if I could have true love?
  • What if I could get into that college?

Your goals should get you thinking about what your life could look like, sound like, and feel like if you could be, do, or have “x.” If the goals you’re setting don’t stir a little bit of “Yikes!” within you, they probably aren’t going to give you that feeling of accomplishment and excitement when you achieve them—if you achieve them. The bigger the goal, the higher the stakes and the more sacrifice you’re going to have to make in order to achieve it. These are precisely the long-term goals worth setting. And, this is inevitably where self-doubt and fear of failure begins to creep in.

How to Overcome Self-Doubt

Self-doubt is any thought or belief you have that leaves you lacking confidence in your abilities, skill set, personality, character, or self-worth. You most likely have experienced it in some context or another so it’s nothing to be ashamed of. The question is are you allowing it to stop you from achieving your goals?

Self-doubt perpetuates the emotion of fear, which stops you dead in your tracks from taking further action. Overcoming self-doubt and the fear that you’re not good enough, smart enough, or talented enough is something that can be achieved through working with the right coach who has the right techniques to get to the deeper issue of what’s creating the self-doubt. And, sometimes you overcome self-doubt by taking action even in the face of the thing you are doubting.

Here are five steps you can take to learn what is getting in the way of you having the things you want in your life.

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1. Make a List of All the Times Your Goals Were Derailed

Start by making a list of the times in your life when you set a goal and got derailed somewhere along the way because of self-defeating beliefs or negative emotions. Doing this will paint a clear picture of how long this has been an issue for you, which can also provide useful feedback around what may have created your self-doubt.

2. Take Inventory of Your Emotional Baggage

Next, ask yourself what emotions you felt during each of those instances where you quit just before you finished something, where you lost momentum and gave up somewhere along the path, or when you weren’t able to take the first step to begin with. This will bring clarity to any emotional baggage you may be carrying that’s perpetuating the self-doubt.

3. Explore Your Limiting Beliefs About Yourself

Become aware of any thoughts you remember having at the moment when you thwarted your own efforts or shelved your hopes and dreams. Any negative thoughts that stand out will point you directly to limiting beliefs you hold to be true about yourself, other people, or past experiences so you can begin to overcome them. You may even see them as pictures in your mind. Make note of what you see in your mind’s eye when doing this step.

4. Become Aware of Your Patterns—and Interrupt Them

You’ll likely be able to draw a parallel with the relationship between those events in the past and how you’re self-sabotaging yourself still today. This will bring to light the patterns that continue to play out in your experience whenever you attempt to set meaningful goals in your life. Having an awareness of your patterns is what enables you to create a pattern interrupt so you can get right back on track.

5. Reframe Your Situation

Once you have addressed the core issues that were hindering your success, you now need to take action, and sometimes that means putting one foot in front of the other even when you’re not feeling totally confident. A solid reframe of the situation can prove to be highly valuable and lead to renewed motivation that will get you motoring down the path again. The time is now to take action!

At the end of the day, there’s nothing easy about achieving goals–especially if you’re setting meaningful goals that are connected up to who you are and your purpose in life. Goals are not meant to be easy. They aren’t things you check off your to-do list like putting gas in the car or paying the bills. They are huge milestones meant to push you out of your comfort zone so that you grow and evolve into the person you’re destined to be. Plan on being challenged spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and even physically when going after something you truly want in your life. Plan on sacrificing time, money, sleep, social events, and your excuses. Anything worth having is going to be worth the work you put in to get there.

So, instead of feeling defeated at the first sign of struggle, shift your perception, focus on your strengths, and get excited for the journey you’ve chosen to embark on. Like any other adventure, research what resources will be needed for the journey and pack your metaphorical bags accordingly. Plan for ups and downs. Be prepared for having moments when you’re faced with your deepest insecurities and your greatest fears. Spend time setting up support structures to help you navigate the difficult terrain and enlist your best friends to cheer you on every day.

When you face your fears and doubts, a whole new world of possibilities opens up to you. It’s been said that 80 percent of success is showing up and the rest is continuing to do one thing every day that moves you closer to achieving your goal. Trust your path and allow your inner Self to guide you toward your purpose. Your goals are the stepping stones to inch you closer to stepping into your greatest self so that you feel confident to be successful.


Take your happiness into your own hands and become the person you’ve always dreamed of being with The Quest: Spiritual Solutions for Creating a Life You Love, our online course led by Deepak Chopra and Martha Beck. Learn More.

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About the Author
Tris Thorp

Tris Thorp

Vedic Educator and Lifestyle & Leadership Coach
Tris Thorp is one of today’s leading experts in the field of emotional healing. Having spent the last decade traveling the world, being trained by and sharing the stage with Dr. Deepak Chopra in the field of consciousness and mindfulness-based practices, Tris has a real gift for integrating the ancient spiritual teachings with modern-day mindfulness to help people all over the world let go of their past and create an empowered new future. You can learn all about her approach to emotional healing in her latest book, Healing Your Heart: Rewrite Your Story with Awareness and Intention , available now. Tris is Board...Read more