Any time you participate in a long-term sport or activity, you’re bound to experience highs and lows in your training. For some, those low moments include negative thoughts filled with self-doubt. You start to question if you even know what you’re doing anymore or if you should even continue.
Here are some suggestions on overcoming the self-doubt that shows up in BJJ:
Look back on similar moments.
If you’ve experienced similar periods of self-doubt in the past, look back on your training and think about how you got past it.
Talk through the thoughts and doubts.
If your thoughts just keep spinning in your head and don’t seem to be going anywhere, it might be helpful to talk through your doubts. Share the inner dialogue with someone you trust and who’s probably experienced something similar, like one of your instructors or a training partner.
Be careful about comparison.
In BJJ, the only person you should be comparing yourself against is yourself. No matter how others are progressing, don’t let their journey overshadow yours.
Focus on skills.
When we get too far ahead of ourselves and focus on outcomes over processes, doubt tends to creep in. Shift your attention from the future to the present and the skills that you’re learning. Rather than trying to make an outcome happen before you’ve done the work, narrow your focus to the skills you’re learning and what you can do today to improve.
Celebrate the wins.
Celebrating accomplishments can be uncomfortable. But even acknowledging small improvements can be the signal your brain needs to shut down the doubt and boost your self-confidence.
Be willing to experience failures.
A willingness to experience failure can also help overcome self-doubt. In BJJ, it’s not a question of if you will make a mistake, but when it will happen. Remind yourself that failing is part of the learning process and not something to avoid.