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6 Steps to Overcome Doubt and Achieve Your Goals

When adversity strikes, so can self-doubt. Learn 6 strategies to overcome doubt and keep working toward your goals.

Adversity is inevitable. Things like job loss or a demanding course load can happen to anyone and can often lead to self-doubt. But in the face of setbacks and roadblocks, there are strategies and resources you can use to overcome your waning confidence and meet challenges head on. When self-doubt strikes, use these six strategies to keep your chin up, and keep your academic and professional goals on track.

1. Get in a growth mindset
Your abilities are flexible, and can be developed and strengthened over time. Having a growth mindset means choosing to see challenges as opportunities, not threats. Get excited about stretching outside of your comfort zone – that’s where the life-changing growth often occurs. Remember, the only failure is not trying; everything else is a learning opportunity. 

2. Monitor your progress
Keep a record of both large and small achievements. When you hit a rough patch and feel discouraged, look at this list to be reminded of how far you’ve already come. This record can help you gain perspective about the tough stuff and feel encouraged to keep going. Share your progress with people close to you, so they can help you celebrate your progress and cheer you on to the finish line.

3. Embrace change
Change is an unavoidable part of life. When you learn to ride it out rather than resist it, you’re better able to reap the benefits. For example, getting laid off at work or failing a class can feel like the end of the world. But it may lead to a better situation. So even though the transition from one career to another or academic struggles can be challenging, a change that initially seemed negative may turn out to not be as bad as you thought, both professionally and personally.

4. Seek encouragement and guidance
Nothing keeps you going like the support of people who want you to succeed. Your cheering section can include colleagues, classmates, faculty, friends and family. It doesn’t need to be huge – even knowing that you have one or two people rooting for you can sustain you when you hit a rough patch. Students at Strayer are paired with student services coaches who guide them and cheer them on.

5. Remember that it’s never too late
Think you’re too old to set goals and achieve them? No way. As long as you’re healthy and motivated, it’s never too late to go back to school, learn new skills or pursue a new profession. Recalling her academic journey, Anasha Lanford, a Strayer alumna, says, “I must say it was quite a ride. I am thankful for the opportunity to accomplish my twenty-year dream of obtaining both a BBA and MBA, and with Strayer. This experience has allowed me to set an example for my son and for me to demonstrate the fortitude I didn’t know I possessed." 

6. Check in with yourself
From time to time, ask yourself: Am I approaching my goals with confidence and staying in a growth mindset or am I letting difficulties get me down? Am I being proactive? Could I take more positive action? Take stock of what you’re doing well and what you need to work on. These check-ins can help you gain insight and perspective, modify your methods when necessary and keep moving confidently in the direction of your dreams.


Challenges are part of life. Don’t let self-doubt make these challenges harder than they need to be. Revisit these six steps whenever you need a reminder that you’ve got what it takes to persevere. 


Do you want to change careers? Earning a degree can help. Explore Strayer University’s online degree programs.

Category: Motivation & Inspiration

Published Date: NOVEMBER 30, 2023