How to Believe in Yourself?

how to believe in yourself

“I’m not good enough.

“The competition is too strong.

“I don’t have the experience.”

Everyone has experienced these thoughts at some point. For some, it’s an everyday experience. I’ve also been there countless times throughout my professional sports career. But, I didn’t let those thoughts stop me from winning. I used them as fuel

As a professional athlete, you have unlimited potential on and off the field. A coach or otherwise mentor in your field saw something in you and believed you could succeed. 

When it comes to self-doubt, it can be hard to retrain your brain and regain the confidence you may have had at the beginning of your career in sports. I’m here to remind you of your potential—for now and for your future.

Let’s explore how to overcome doubt, boost your self-confidence, and set goals for how to thrive in your next chapter. I’ll share strategies from my book, Riding for Freedom, and encourage you to determine your own.

Expose Your Inner Critic

Here’s an exercise I’d like for you to try: over the span of a few days, or during your next competitive environment, take time to reflect and write down all the situations where self-doubt creeps in. Be specific. For each situation, identify the limiting belief that’s blocking you from reaching your true potential.

Do you feel unworthy when given praise or new opportunities? Do you find yourself too often making comparisons between your skills and those of others? List every instance, no matter how small. Sit down for at least 10 minutes and run through these examples.

After you’ve written your list, write down counter-evidence. Reference past successes and wins in your area of skill that prove you are capable and deserving. Show how often those limiting beliefs were categorically false about you. You know yourself better than any inner critic. Now let the evidence speak for itself. Those doubts hold no substance when compared to what you have already achieved.

This isn’t about what others overcame, it’s about what you have already overcome. You’ve dispelled these limiting beliefs before, and you will again. Your track record proves you have everything it takes. The only one doubting that is the unreliable narrator in your mind. 

It’s time to silence that voice once and for all.

Moving from “I Can’t” to “Challenge Accepted”

When I was writing this blog and thinking of my top ways on how to overcome limiting beliefs, there is one framework that came to mind immediately. It’s a powerful framework that I use to fight limiting beliefs and something that I used throughout my career (an overview of which is available in my book). What is it? 

It’s called cognitive reframing. 

Think of cognitive reframing as mental jiu-jitsu. Imagine yourself facing a challenging task. Your mind says to you, “This is too difficult, you’ll mess up.” Suddenly, a sense of dread washes over you, paralyzing your motivation. This is the grip of a limiting belief.

how to boost self confidence

Now, picture a different scenario. You encounter the same challenge, but this time, you respond with a mental jiu-jitsu throw. Instead of giving in to doubt, you flip the script on it: “This is an opportunity to stretch myself, learn new skills, and prove my potential.” 

“This is too difficult, you’ll mess up.” → “This is an opportunity to stretch myself, learn new skills, and prove my potential.” 

That is what cognitive reframing is. It’s about consciously identifying negative thoughts, and then actively challenging and replacing them with more empowering perspectives

The beauty of cognitive reframing is that it’s evidence-backed. By reframing negativity, you shift your focus from limitations to growth. To put it simply, it builds a sense of control and confidence. Imagine an athlete constantly thinking they don’t deserve to win—or that they don’t have what it takes. I was a professional athlete for decades: trust me, it happens a lot more than you might think. 

But by reframing that negativity into something like “This race is a chance to test my limits and improve my technique,” that same athlete can transform self-doubt into motivation and unleash their actual potential. It’s something I’ve done countless times during my career, and something that I contribute my success as a world champion to. 

Tips for Cognitive Reframing

But cognitive reframing goes beyond simply flipping negative thoughts. It’s also about actively rewiring your brain for self-belief. Research from Carnegie Mellon University highlights the power of daily affirmations

Repeating positive statements like “I am capable and worthy” acts as a powerful mantra, and gradually rewires neural pathways associated with self-doubt, replacing them with real-world confidence. Imagine repeating “I am a confident public speaker” before a presentation. Over time, this mantra can help silence the inner critic and boost your self-assurance. 

Bonus tip from Eurico: One of the best ways to do affirmations? Include emotion in your affirmation. Visualize how the end result will feel. Don’t just say the words – feel them. Feel what it’s like to be a winner, to be confident, to be proud. It works for any type of personal challenge you might be trying to overcome. 

Stepping Outside of Your Comfort Zone

Comfort might feel nice. It might feel cozy, and warm, and soft. But that’s the problem. Comfort is anti-growth. Research from Cornell University confirms this, detailing how getting outside of your comfort zone directly leads to improved growth, motivation, and confidence. 

If you want to get over your limiting beliefs, you need to be able to push outside of your comfort zone. Period. 

Limiting beliefs tell you, “Stay here, it’s safer.” But true growth lies beyond. You already know that, deep down. Here’s a quick and simple method to actually get out of the comfort zone and unlock your true potential:

Set SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound) goals that specifically challenge your limiting beliefs.

believe in yourself

Let’s use a common fear as an example: public speaking. 

  • Limiting belief: “I’m not good enough, everyone will judge me.”
  • SMART Goal: Deliver a 5-minute presentation on a topic I’m passionate about at a local Toastmasters club within the next 3 months.
  • Actionable Steps:
  • Join a Toastmasters club – Immerse yourself in a supportive environment.
  • Choose a topic you love – Passion fuels confidence.
  • Practice regularly – Rehearse in front of a mirror, record yourself, or ask a friend for feedback.
  • Celebrate small wins – Did you finish writing your speech? Did you overcome stage fright? Celebrate!

You cannot grow without goals. SMART makes it easy. Start small, like saying “yes” to one new thing a week – a networking event, a public speaking opportunity, or learning a new skill. 

Building Your Custom Action Plan

The things you want to accomplish don’t just happen. I didn’t just happen to become a world racing champion. It takes years and years of practice!

You have to set goals and believe you are capable of achieving them. 

Here’s your action plan: 

  1. Identify the culprits: Spend 10 minutes journaling situations where self-doubt creeps in. Write down the negative thoughts associated with each situation.
  2. Become a thought ninja: When a limiting belief pops up, don’t let it control you. Practice mental jiu-jitsu – flip it into a positive, growth-oriented statement that is deeply personal to you.
  3. Craft your mantras: Write down up to five positive affirmations about yourself and repeat them daily. Start small, during your commute, or before bed.
  4. Be SMART and track your progress: Reflect on situations where you reframed negativity and note the positive outcomes. Set SMART goals and don’t forget to celebrate your victories, no matter how small.

If you’d like am even more personalized approach, please feel free to contact me here, and we’ll strengthen your goals together.