Are you interested in starting something new but feel some fear or trepidation? Or perhaps you’re procrastinating? Or maybe you’ve already started, but you’re having some doubts. Here are some guidelines to succeed when starting something new. First, let’s start with why it’s important to start new endeavors.
If you want a fulfilling life, it’s essential to keep growing. If we’re not growing, we’re withering. At any given moment, we’re either expanding or contracting. And doesn’t it feel better to be growing? Isn’t that why we’re here? So, how can we make sure we’re growing? Starting something new is a great way. Especially if it requires us to move out of our comfort zone because this leads to new neural connections in our brain, which are crucial to brain health.
What can derail you? Many people fail when they start something new. Often they give up before they’ve had time to get traction. Or worse yet, they might not even try. Self-doubt often leads to this lack of success.
Self-Doubt is the first obstacle. A part of you might doubt whether you can do it. There may be a part of you that wants to protect you from making a mistake or looking bad. This part tries to convince you not to embark on something new.
This little voice many of us often hear is called our saboteur or inner critic. It usually gets very active when we’re about to move out of our comfort zone (when we’re about to grow).
Self-doubt typically begins in childhood. Our fears are often first imprinted before the age of seven. Let’s say you were on the playground and showed some kids something you learned. Perhaps they made fun of you. This could have resulted in uncomfortable sensations in your body (maybe your gut was churning, or you felt heat in your cheeks,
or another sign of embarrassment). This gets wired in and reinforced anytime you feel ridiculed, diminished, or dismissed. Therefore, when you think about doing something new, even though rationally you know you want to do it, your body may experience one of these sensations. You may then find yourself pulling back. We often refer to this as self-sabotage.
Of course, we want to receive an inner warning to prevent us from doing something dangerous. But often, this inner critic or saboteur can prevent us from taking steps toward something we know is a good idea. So, if you hear this inner critic and know what you are about to do is something you want, this voice could indicate that you’re moving in the right direction, toward achieving your goals. Why? Because most personal growth lies outside of your comfort zone.
If you notice this little voice inside, trying to scare you about starting something new, you might ask, “What’s your positive intent?” Maybe it wants to protect you (from doing something less than perfect). Or perhaps it wants to keep you small because it thinks that’s safer.
Overcoming Self-Doubt and Achieving Your Life Goals
It’s a good idea to make friends with your inner critic.
Chances are, your inner critic has a reason for speaking loudly. If it tells you you’re lazy, it probably just wants you to be successful. If it yells at you for making a mistake, it probably just wants you to have high standards. If it tells you to stop being an idiot, it’s likely just scared you won’t get it right.
You can choose to thank this part of you for its positive intention. And give it a message of appreciation. That message might be, “Thanks for looking out for me, but I’m okay. I want to do this.” Or, “I’m going to ask you to warn me only if I’m about to do something dangerous.” What’s important is that you make friends with this voice inside. Acknowledge it and thank it. Then notice what changes.
Before you set your life goals, consider how you want to feel as you’re moving toward your goals. What emotions do you want to feel?
What emotions would make a difference if you were feeling them? Some people might choose to be strong or courageous. Or grounded or grateful. Others might opt to feel calm and centered. Or maybe it’s something else entirely. What’s great is that you get to choose. And your body knows how to generate these feelings because it’s done so before. So I invite you to consider how you want to feel while you’re moving forward. What emotions would you like to be the primary emotions in your life?
Take a moment to feel what success will feel like, as you’re achieving your life goals. Imagine how you’ll feel when you’ve reached your goal and you’re living life the way you want. Breathe deeply and feel that confidence throughout your entire body.
Recall times when you mastered something new. There were countless instances in the past when you weren’t sure of how to do something new. As a baby there were so many things you had to learn. And many of these things took multiple tries until you could excel at them. And that was just fine. You continued until you became competent. Keep in mind how many items you’ve mastered.
Think of a time when something you learned had been quite challenging. Perhaps you had even wondered if you could succeed. There may have been hesitation, concern, or even worry. And yet, now you might look back and realize that although it was a challenge… it wasn’t as difficult as you had imagined. Isn’t it true that many of the things you once thought were challenging… things that require intense concentration as you were learning them… became automatic? Keep this in mind with new endeavors.
Have a solution-based mindset of “I’ll deal with whatever comes up.” It’s important to remember that life is about dealing with issues that arise. Isn’t it true that you can likely deal with whatever emerges? And you can learn what you’ll need to know while moving forward toward your life goals.
Tap into your inner resources. You have so many resources…more than you know…and you never know how far they can go… until you move forward—one step at a time. Be strong. You’re wired for resilience and strength. Thousands of years of programming in your DNA allow you to access your inner resources.
Recall a time when you were very connected to your resources…a time when you felt resourceful and strong. And if you have difficulty recalling these feelings, remember that imagination is stronger than knowledge. So just imagine what that would have been like. And feel these feelings - of strength, confidence - or the emotions you want to feel. Cultivate these feelings every day as you move forward.
Connect to external resources. We’re more powerful when we accept help from others. Confident people ask for help. Asking for advice or help is a sign of strength. And it’s a compliment to the person whom you’re asking. The more you ask for assistance and make connections, the easier it becomes. Cultivate this strength. BE STRONG.
You may notice more and more possibilities… even those you may not have expected. And I don’t know if you’ll notice that some things have shifted… there are so many ways you can notice that you have changed.
Things to remember when starting something new:
- Get clear on why it’s important to start something new.
- Connect to times in the past when you successfully learned new things.
- Have a solution-based mindset: you’ll deal with whatever comes up.
- Acknowledge your inner critic and give it appreciation.
- Choose the primary emotions you want to feel as you’re launching something new.
- Tap into your inner resources.
- Use external resources.