If you could do anything, what would you do? Today, tomorrow, a week from now…what would you choose to do?
We all have dreams. Every one of us. So why do so few of our dreams ever reach reality?
Of course, let’s be clear when talking about our dreams. If you dream of winning the lottery, that’s something that is out of your control. You can buy lottery tickets and hope, and maybe pray, but ultimately winning is out of your control.
If you dream of owning a home, or renovating your home, or traveling to a new destination, those are all dreams that you can strategize and plan for in order to be successful. You could add a fulfilling job to this list. Let’s talk about these kinds of dreams—the ones you can manage, strategize, plan, execute and make happen.
Now let’s go back to the question: why are so few of our dreams realized?
The real problem comes when we get in our own way, or when we become crippled with fear of failure and thoughts of we can never be enough. This is the world of self-doubt and emotional eaters live here. It’s a tough place to escape. Why? Because there is always ice cream, chips, cookies, pretzels, and cake to stuff our feelings so far down that we can’t see a way out.
We get stuck and tell ourselves this is the way we are; that we’ll never reach our goals because we’re not pretty enough, skinny enough, smart enough, rich enough. Sound familiar?
Let’s change the narrative. It’s time to take back your life. Self-doubt and emotional eating don’t have to rule your life and sabotage your dreams.
Embark on the life of your dreams with these five intentional steps:
Take a Trip Down Memory Lane
Ready to revisit history? Chances are you’ve had self-doubts before. Have any of those worst-case scenarios ever happened? If so, were the consequences as bad as you’d thought they would be? Now think about the times that things went according to your plans. Remind yourself that you are capable—that you are enough—and that you can dream and create successful outcomes.
Keep a Journal
A journal is the story of your life: your up and downs, your hopes and dreams, and your experiences and your achievements. It creates a record of everything you’ve gone through and you can use it to your advantage. Write about challenging situations and how you overcame them. Include details of how you sought help and from whom, questions you asked, plans you made, and what worked and what didn’t work. Include all details, even if they seem small or insignificant.
Remember to go back and read your journal sometimes for a reminder of what you’ve already gone through. Lift yourself up by taking moments to experience the joy of your accomplishments. And those experiences that didn’t go as planned? Learn from them. Discover what you can do differently. Use your journal as a guidebook for how to handle new challenges that come your way.
Isn’t it nice to have something other than food to help you navigate life?
Remember it’s Not About You
If self-doubt is fueled by a hurtful remark from someone else, or by how someone treats you, take a step back from the emotional backlash. Before you get all fired up and turn to food for comfort, ask yourself if this is actually more about the other person than you. You don’t know what kind of day they’re having or what they’re going through. Listen to what’s being said. If you believe there is truth to the words or actions, take some time to purposefully respond with dignity and grace. Or perhaps speak with someone else to get their take on the situation, and then offer a response. Work through the exchange so you understand the situation. You don’t want to doubt yourself because someone else put words, thoughts, or ideas in your head.
Do you doubt yourself because you feel like you’re on the wrong track and then think the only solution is to “throw in the towel” and walk away from your dreams? It’s at that moment that you want to take a step back and re-evaluate the situation. Can you hear your GPS saying “recalculating” over and over? You don’t throw it away, do you? No. You listen to the revised directions, to the adjustments to the plan, and then proceed.
There’s nothing wrong with making revisions to the plan. Dreams don’t just happen from the initial blueprint. Sometimes you need to tweak things a little, especially if information or situations change. Rather than get hung up when this happens and tell yourself you were bad or stupid or wrong, look for ways to modify the plan. You’ll be back on track in no time.
Self-doubt and success don’t get along very well. This is why it’s really important to get in the habit of celebrating when things go well. It doesn’t matter if the progress is slow or small; make a point to enjoy each and every milestone. Just as lifting weights makes you stronger and eventually you can lift heavier dumbbells, each success celebration will empower your heart and mind to believe in you and eliminate the self-doubt that wants to stop you from making your dreams a reality.
What Will You Do Next?
The five ways to keep self-doubt from sabotaging your dreams I’ve outlined here have worked for me, and others I’ve coached over the years. Do they feel possible for you? Why or why not? Perhaps reading this has given you other ideas for ways to banish self-doubt. It’s always important to remember that we are all different and what works for one person may not work for someone else. Maybe it’s a little of what I shared coupled with your own personal style.
Here’s something else to remember: you are capable and more than enough. Believe in yourself and take the actions that will strengthen your resolve and eliminate self-doubt.