Ways To Stop Second-Guessing Yourself

by Raven Ishak

Having doubts about every decision you make can be mentally exhausting. Even being afraid of making the wrong choice is understandable, being indecisive all the time can be chipping away at your confidence. If this sounds like you (raises hand), there are ways to stop second-guessing yourself so you can make important decisions on the fly. I know from experience that it can be hard not to overanalyze every decision you make (or don't make). But after some time, your energy can deplete because you're stressing over everything. We all have experienced this, so why do some of us keep doing it? Well, it seems there's a reason behind it.

"People who are prone to second-guess themselves may not be very confident in what they're doing. When I was a corporate recruiter, it wasn't uncommon for candidates to second-guess themselves during various parts of the job interviews," says career expert for Monster Vicki Salemi in an interview with Bustle over email. But don't let this deter you. By trusting yourself and becoming more self-aware, you can make valid decisions without having to second-guess your thoughts or constantly ask others for their opinions. If you feel like you're the type of person who's always backtracking because you're not completely confident sticking to your guns when it comes to making important choice, here are nine ways you overcome your thoughts and stop second-guessing yourself.

1. See Yourself as a Leader

If you don't envision yourself as a boss, and you're always insecure about your choices, you may never trust yourself. "Don’t just follow the crowd and conform. It’s OK to be different and take a different path. Think of female power figures you admire and try to cultivate the qualities you would like to get better at," says career coach Hallie Crawford in an interview with Bustle over email.

2. Make A List

Sometimes it's best to get out of your head and just write down your thoughts. When you see your choices on paper, it might be easier for you to make a decision. "Make a list of three qualities you want to cultivate. Talk to a supportive friend to brainstorm action steps to develop those qualities," says Crawford.

3. Become Confident With Your Choices

"Talking about yourself doesn’t always mean you are conceited. Make sure your superiors are aware of your talents and achievements. This also applies in wage negotiations, many women are willing to accept less when it comes to salary, don’t be afraid to ask for what you want," says Crawford.

But how do you prove to yourself and your bosses that you make awesome decisions? "Keep a running list of accomplishments throughout the year in a document on your computer. Use those in performance reviews but also when you are in meetings to reference for example, how a new project can be handled based on how you managed a previously successful one. It’s all in how you say it, professionally but confidently," continues Crawford.

4. Develop From Your Mistakes

The only way you're going to learn how to be more confident when you're making decisions is by learning from your mistakes and allowing them to help you grow. I mean, come on, Beyoncé wasn't built in a day, y'all. "Learning to stop second-guessing yourself can be accomplished, but you need to develop the skills over time. It's just like if you make a mistake playing a baseball game, for example, you need to get your head back in the game to stay focused on the next pitch. You have no choice! The same applies for when you start second-guessing your abilities during a job interview or high-pressure situation at work," says Salemi.

5. Be Easy On Yourself

Be your own cheerleader by remembering all the accomplishments you've made and the positive outcomes that have happened from making those choices. "Don’t dwell on your mistakes. Focus on the good you have accomplished in a workday. At the end of each day, make a list of the top three things you accomplished. Leave them on your computer keyboard so you see them 1st thing the next morning," says Crawford.

6. Practice With Small Decisions

If you're still second-guessing yourself on big, important decisions, it might be a good idea to start with the non-threatening choices first. "Start by practicing on small decisions, like when your group of friends should go to dinner on Friday night. The more you learn to make decisions on your own and realize when you make a bad one, the faster you'll improve at moving on in those situations," says Salemi.

7. Learn To Trust Yourself

"Let others know how you expect to be treated and treat others in the same way." says Crawford. "Identify one area where you don’t stand up for yourself or you second-guess yourself. Develop a script you can use, for example, to effectively but courteously say no to someone, or to remind yourself that you should trust yourself." While you can ask every single one of your friends for advice, it's likely you're just hoping someone will agree with you. Listen to your gut and the answers will probably come to you.

8. Focus On The Present

It's most likely not going to solve anything if you're going to beat yourself up over past mistakes. Stop reverting back because of your fear and make decisions by focusing on the present. "If you feel like you flubbed an answer during your job interview, try not to get caught up in thinking about what you could have said and stay focused on the present. You have no choice but to keep moving forward so you can ace the next questions that's asked," says Salemi.

9. Become Familiar With The Unknown

It can be hard to make tough choices when you don't know what the outcome of those decisions will be. But rather than trying to fear the unknown, it's better to embrace it. According to The Muse, confidence coach Steve Errey said, "Second-guessing is what you do when you don’t know what’s going to happen. You spin narratives about this and that, conjure scenarios where things go great and things go south, and try to reason your way through all the fiction."

When you start realizing who you are as an individual, making choices in your everyday life can become much easier because you've learn what your goals and values are. Become more familiar with yourself and the confidence will blossom when you're making decisions.

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