Many people, who fail to achieve their objectives, do not fail because of a lack of knowledge or ability. After all, if you are lacking in knowledge or skill, you can simply make it a goal to acquire the necessary knowledge or skill before you pursue the bigger objective. From my coaching experience, I find that a lack of self belief is just as common a problem. Even when you have the ability to achieve an objective, a lack of self belief will reduce your chances of success. With proper planning and execution, almost any objective is achievable for you. However, if you do not have a full understanding of the goal and, the challenges that lie ahead, you are more likely to experience a lack of self belief. In order to gain the necessary understanding, and increase your self belief in, there are a number of question which you can ask yourself.

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Understanding why? The first step in self belief

When you have set your goal, it is important that you understand exactly why you want to achieve it. Many people are motivated by the wants and needs of others or, societal norms. These are not good reasons to set a goal. Effective goals should come from within and help you to create the life that you truly desire. The following questions will help you to understand the why:

1. What would achieving this goal do for you?

The purpose of a goal is to help you to improve your life by bringing you one step closer to creating the life that you desire. With this being the case, you need to understand the importance of each goal by defining how it will improve your life.

There is great truth in the old saying ‘Where there is a will, there is a way’. A great deal of self belief comes from having a strong enough desire. If someone you loved really needed your help, you would find a way to help, even if you were the other side of the world. It would be that important. You might not be able to make every goal that important but by understanding the difference that a goal will make, you can raise the sense of importance attached to it, thus increasing your self belief and will to make it happen.

2. How does this fit with your purpose?

Do you understand what you are trying to achieve with your life? What kind of a difference you wish to make? That is your purpose. Everybody has a purpose and when setting goals, the majority of your goals should serve your purpose. Those goals that do not; should not hamper your purpose. Where there is a conflict between your goals and your purpose, you will experience some inner turmoil and your chances of living your purpose, or achieving your goal, will suffer.

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3. Who would you be?

Some of our goals are aimed at allowing us to become the person we want to be. When you have a clear set of values, these define the person you want to be. For example, if kindness is your most important value, you will need to assess each goal to determine whether it is the actions of a kind person. At the very least, it should not be the actions of an unkind person. Where there is conflict between your goals and values, you will struggle to achieve your goals and, even if you do, your confidence and self belief will suffer.

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Understanding the obstacles

No matter what you are trying to achieve, there will be obstacles to stand in your way. If you want to be successful, you need to overcome these obstacles or, find a way around them.

4. What’s the baggage?

Each and every goal will have some baggage i.e. consequences which you may not have realised. As an example, a friend of mine travelled to Australia on a one year working holiday.  She had heard that it was great fun, which it is, and did not spend a lot of time making preparations. Soon after she arrived, she became homesick. She didn’t know many people and felt lonely and isolated. She even considered coming home after just a couple of months. Thankfully, she bumped into a fellow Irish girl, one day, who, realising that she was struggling; invited her to a social gathering and introduced to her to a number of new people. Soon, her social life was in full swing and she was having the time of her life. While things worked out well for her in the end, had she realised the potential for homesickness, she may have prepared a little better before leaving for Australia by researching  the best places to meet like minded people; saving herself a lot of stress.

Regardless of the goal that you choose, there will be consequences that come with it. Rather than go blindly into the pursuit of the goal; take the time to draw up a list of pros (you should have this from point 1) and cons that come with achieving the goals. The cons do not have to put you off of chasing the goal. You can take the time to develop a plan for dealing with them.

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5. Why have you not achieved this already?

It may seem like a strange question for building self belief because you are asking yourself to think of negatives but I find that this question can be a little gem. Firstly, when I ask this of clients, they often come out with a list of excuses. These excuses are generally easily dealt with and they do need to be dealt with. Once the simple excuses are out of the way, we see the real benefit. They tend to list knowledge and skills, which are necessary to achieve the goal that they did not previously possess. It is then a simple matter of reframing what they said, pointing out that they now possess all of this knowledge and skills. This really boosts self belief.

The same can occur with attitudes e.g. you might say ‘I was too immature previously’. What you are also saying is, ‘I am mature enough now’.

6. What might stand in the way?

No matter what goal you pursue, there is the potential for problems along the way. Many people avoid thinking of potential problems because they think it is negative. But, it is only negative if you have no intention of tackling the problems.  Pretending that there are no potential problems is not positive; it’s delusional. Whether you are thinking of them or not, these potential problems exist. Rather than being negative, identifying and creating a plan for dealing with, a potential problem, is a great way to boost your self-belief. You develop the confidence to know that whatever life throws at you, you will be able to deal with it.

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Self belief is critical to achieving your goals. As Henry Ford said, ‘Whether you think that you can or you think you can’t – you’re right’. Self belief is that powerful. If you really want to achieve something, you will find a way to make it happen. Unfortunately, many people wait for their self belief to increase before they take action. That is not how it works though. When you set a goal, you can make the effort to build your self belief about achieving that goal. Then, you can take action towards achieving that goal. As you progress closer to the achievement of the goal, your self belief will increase further. So, when you set a goal, don’t sit around waiting for a sense of self belief to kick in; start developing your own self belief. The 6 questions, above, will give you a head start.


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