The first steps towards doing the thing you think you cannot do

Each of us has things in our life that we want to do but we have convinced ourselves we cannot do. Maybe it’s due to fear of trying something new or fear of failing. Possibly it’s because you think you wouldn’t be any good at it so it’s not worth the effort. Or maybe because it’s doing something that challenges the perception of who you are or who people think you are.

Maybe you want to take a trip, sing karaoke, take an improv class, write a book, learn a new language, make a new friend, go out to dinner on your own, change your eating habits, or come to terms with your past.

You are capable of doing so many things if you allow yourself to see the possibility that you can do them.

The first step in doing the thing you think you cannot do is to believe you can do it.

Reframe your thinking

Start by reframing how you talk about things you think you can’t do. Even if you don’t fully believe it, let yourself think it’s something you are capable of doing. It doesn’t mean it’s something you are going to do right now, just that it is something you would be able to do.

Current ThinkingNew Thinking
I could never go on a trip by myselfI am capable of going on a trip by myself
I will never be able to heal from my pastI am capable of healing from my past
I could never sing in front of other peopleI am capable of singing in front of other people

You don’t need to come up with details about the specific steps to take or the timing . Don’t focus on how to do it, but just the fact that you can. Start with a subtle shift in your thinking. Just believing that you have the ability to do something can go a long way, it can open up ways of thinking that had been previously closed to you. What had once been an insurmountable barrier can turn into a challenge that you just need to figure out.

Give yourself reminders

To help with your mindset shift, find smalls ways to remind yourself what you want to do and that you are capable of doing it.

Maybe write yourself a note, It can be as simple as a sticky note reminding you that you can do that thing you want to do. Put it on your wall, your computer, your mirror, any place or places where you will routinely see it.

You can also use it as a mantra that you write at the top of your planner or notes each morning. The act of writing it and then seeing it throughout the day can be a powerful reminder that you can in fact do things you think you cannot do.

You can also find or create a visual reminder. It can be a more subtle approach to have a small object that you can carry around with you and see throughout the day wherever you go. It won’t mean anything to others, but you will know what it represents.

If one way doesn’t work for you, try something different until it feels like and works for your and your lifestyle.

What you want to doReminder
Travel on your ownSmall toy car or picture of a place you want to go
Heal from past traumasA bandage to signify healing or a penny to signify change
Sing in front of othersA picture of a microphone or lyrics from a favorite song

Identify what is holding you back

You may not even know the reasons that are holding you back, but working to identify those can help you move forward. It means looking inward and being vulnerable and honest with yourself. It means confronting truths that could be painful and perhaps even unexpected. When the obstacles in front of you become clear, then you can work to find ways to overcome them.

At first you may not know what is holding you back. Some questions to ask yourself to get deeper into the why.

What specifically am I afraid of?

What do I think will happen if I do this?

What emotions come up when I think about doing this?

Be patient with yourself

Starting the process to be able to do things you think you can’t do is slow. Changing your mindset and beliefs about yourself are not easy or simple. The journey from convincing yourself that you can do the things you think you cannot do to actually doing them will take time. Reframing your beliefs about yourself and what you are capable of takes persistence and continuous reminders.

Remind yourself that this is a journey and each day you think to yourself “I can do this” Is a step towards being able to do it.

Final thoughts

To move towards being able to do the thing you think you cannot do, start by changing your thinking.

It is easy for us to overthink and psyche ourselves out of doing things we really want to do.

Think of it not as “the thing I cannot do” but instead “the thing I haven’t done yet”. Open up the possibility in your head that this is something you can do. You don’t need to have all the mental and physical tools and resources to actually do it right now, all that matters is that you believe you can.

Once you have it in your head that you can do it, you have started your journey towards actually doing it

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