Skip to main content

How to Break the Habit of Self-Doubt and Build Real Confidence

Lesson 9 of 16

Self-Doubt Symptoms

Mel Robbins

How to Break the Habit of Self-Doubt and Build Real Confidence

Mel Robbins

most popular

Starting under


Get access to this class +2000 more taught by the world's top experts

  • 24/7 access via desktop, mobile, or TV
  • New classes added every month
  • Download lessons for offline viewing
  • Exclusive content for subscribers

Lesson Info

9. Self-Doubt Symptoms
Mel talks about the four self-doubt symptoms: Hesitating, Hiding, Hypercritical, Helplessness.

Lesson Info

Self-Doubt Symptoms

So the four traps of self doubt. This was really eye opening for me when I started to think about self doubt as action and I started to think about confidence as an action that you take and I got it out of the realm of I feel doubtful, I feel insecure, I feel confident because the feelings come and go but if we can marry these skills to actions that you take you win okay. So I'm gonna show you real quick more about the habits and then we're gonna do the four traps of self doubt and start coaching some folks. So one habit that people have is biting their nails. Let me show you how the science works in this, okay. Believe it or not most people that have a habit of biting their nails, what triggers them is that they feel bored or nervous. They feel bored or nervous so then they pull their nails up to their mouth and start chewing on 'em because the feelings are triggering the action and then they suddenly feel better, why? Well because if I'm chewing on my nails I'm no longer bored, if I'...

m chewing on my nails I'm distracting myself from whatever made me nervous. So they did all these studies, I forget the university, where they did one simple thing, and this is the golden rule of habits. You can't change the stuff that's gonna trigger you. There will be people who piss you off. There will be things that make you feel like a loser. You will feel insecure at times, that is normal. We gotta focus on what behavior you engage in. So they simply taught people in this study whenever you start biting tap your, (knocking on table) tap your knuckles instead. That's all you're gonna do. Within three days the majority of the people in the study were cured of the habit of biting their nails because we have tricked your brain. So your brain sees the trigger, your brain feels the relief, it doesn't know that in the center of the equation you inserted something else, pretty cool huh? So let's look at this same model, the golden rule of habits, for how self doubt is gonna get replaced and then we're gonna start identifying the traps. So oh wow I feel really nervous about something so woo my habit is to overthink and then I start to doubt myself, the next thing you know I'm hiding and I'm hesitating and I'm doing all these things and so instead of doing that we're gonna train you to take action. What're you gonna do? You're gonna go five, four, three, two, one. That's the behavior. You're gonna go five, four, three, two, one and then you're gonna do that thing you're scared to death to do. That's what you're gonna do. And what's gonna happen over the time is that we're actually gonna replace the habit of self doubt and feeling stuck and paralyzed with the habit of trying. You're gonna see yourself becoming the kind of person that takes action when normally you would freeze and doubt yourself. So you know what happens is you know these are actual people, these examples I'm showing you. You know facing some of my challenges such as making a business call or sending an email, I used to get a nervous sense of rejection even if I wasn't going to get rejected. Isn't it amazing that sending a text can sometimes be the most terrifying things or do you engage in that thing where you like rewrite emails to clients a hundred times? Yes, they're gonna say that. (humming and hawing) Now I'm bold, I don't overthink it, I just do it. I just do it. So important because what was happening is the nervousness used to the sense of rejection was triggering the overthinking or the rewriting of the emails or the doubting yourself. And that created this habit of doubting yourself. Five, four, three, two, one. Now we somebody that is confident. We somebody that feels different because they're seeing themselves be different. This is another really critical point that I want you to understand and I said it earlier but I just want to say it again right here. You can't think your way through this stuff. You have to act your way. You cannot think positive and build your business. You have to actually take action. You cannot change your pricing structure by thinking positive, you have to just do it and this is how using the science of habits and using a starting ritual that's super powerful that you actually catch yourself when you start to doubt and trigger bad action and interrupt that and replace it with the courage and the confidence to try and to keep moving forward. If you're the kind of, and let me give you some examples of this. So, the action piece is so important and I didn't make this up, I mean even back in Aristotle's day they had a saying, do good be good. That's because if you do good you see yourself doing good and then you start to feel good. Timothy Wilson at the University of Virginia has studied this, it's always about the action preceding the mindset, it's the fastest way to change your mindset 'cause think about my example, if I'm waking up every morning and I feel depressed and I feel overwhelmed and I feel like the world's worst mom and I feel like a loser and I feel hopeless and then I see myself hit the snooze alarm I am witnessing a person who actually has no power and confidence. If I in that same five second window instead feel insecure, feel self doubt, I feel uncomfortable, I feel like a loser, but I get my ass out of bed I am witnessing a person that has resolve, I'm witnessing a person that takes control and what happens once I keep seeing myself doing the small things. You know dieting, five second decisions, they're hard but it's a five second, exercise, five second decisions, it's hard. Changing your marriage, it's a five second decision, not to explode, not to be jealous, to act differently. I mean that's what transformed mine, it wasn't Chris changing, it was me. Right now I'm using the five second rule to change my tone. Especially at home, I've got this real edge, I don't know if you've noticed but-- (laughing) Now that we're doing a lot of video for my company and I see myself I'm like oh god. (groaning) I sound like that? You know and like, so I'm using the five second rule to catch when I'm speaking in a particular tone that's not consistent with my values and so this is again not only with the confidence competency loop, but from a common sense standpoint you can see why you get stuck because on one hand you're trying to think positive but on the other hand you see yourself just giving up on yourself and not doing the stuff you said and procrastinating and being weak and not asking for what you want. So I'm wondering, you're thinking all this stuff and in your heart you're like well that's bullshit 'cause I'm not doing any of it. That's where I was stuck. That's why these five second decisions matter so much. So let's talk about the four traps of self doubt. Hesitating, hiding, being hypercritical and helpless. And yes I spent hours trying to figure out four H's, it's true, because I wanted this to be perfect for you. So one thing that I love, I love this saying, if you have a problem that can be solved with action you don't have a problem. This is a really important one, if you have a problem that can be solved with action you do not have a problem. This goes back to our definition of self doubt, it's the decision not to try. Every single problem that you have whether you don't make the money that you want or your relationship isn't great, I guarantee you there is one or two actions that you know you should be doing that you are deciding not to do.

Class Description

Short on time? This class is available HERE as a Fast Class, exclusively for Creator Pass subscribers. 


  • Use Mel Robbins’ five-second rule to stop negative thoughts and change your life for the better.
  • De-escalate anxiety and agitation.
  • Create mental scripts that help you overcome typical situations that get you into trouble and prevent you from acting.
  • Overcome your mental blocks and change the way you think about things.


Are you plagued by the imposter syndrome—thinking that your accomplishments aren’t real and that you’re secretly a fraud and a failure? Do you have crippling anxiety and bad habits that are ruining your chances of achieving your goals? Does your low self-esteem and negative past experience influence your thought patterns? Do you fall into the trap of self-pity that keeps you from seeing positive outcomes? If so, you’re definitely not alone.

If you want to get over these persistent, sometimes agonizing problems so you can gain a new perspective and make real, positive changes in your life, this course can help you do it. Mel Robbins is one of the most sought-after motivational instructors in the world. She’s been trusted by global brands to design and deliver life-changing, interactive experiences that inspire change, challenge thinking, encourage self-love, and accelerate personal and professional growth.

This class will help you:

  • Understand the science behind how self-doubt effects you.
  • Learn and discover ways to overcome self-doubt and have fewer negative emotions.
  • Build your self-esteem and competency skills.
  • Shed your irrational fears, stop undervaluing yourself, and quiet the inner critic.
  • Get out of your comfort zone, quiet the negative voices, and stop practicing habits of hesitation.
  • Stop hiding, being hypercritical, and feeling helpless so you can move forward and discover the path to achieve your creative endeavors.

Mel will give you concrete, actionable advice and steps you can practice to help you stop living with the constant worry that plagues and cripples your daily life. By showing you how to overcome self-doubt and build self-confidence, Mel will help you build the confidence you need to realize your dreams, whether it’s starting your own business, losing those 15 pounds that are weighing you down, or finding true love from a partner. After this class, you’ll better understand your patterns, what to do to break unhealthy habits, act with courage, self-compassion, and overcome self-doubt so you can get what you want out of life.


  • People from all walks of life, even successful people, who want to overcome the self-doubt and the fear of failure that is holding them back and preventing them from accomplishing their dreams.
  • Those who want to gain more self-confidence so they can go after what they’re worth in their career.
  • People who want to develop stronger, deeper and more meaningful relationships and be their best self.


Michal Levi

Let me start by saying I bought a book of hers and could not get through it. I just tuned in live today out of curiosity.. with low expectations. BUT WOW. THIS WAS FANTASTIC! As someone who teaches professionally (and has won teaching awards), I have to say I was in AWE of what a great teacher she was. Also, while she is not a licensed therapist, which some have complained about, she is so gifted in this area. WOW she has a talent! Watching her with individuals from the audience was moving, informative and inspirational! UTTERLY AWESOME! Truly glad I took the time just in case there was any value to it. THERE WAS IN FACT A LOT OF VALUE! Thanks Mel! Hey, I may even try to pick up that book of yours again. BRAVO!

Go2 Norway

Wow! The science-behind-typical-human-behaviors that fuel self-doubt AND clear ways to understand how to acknowledge those, and move into confidence-through-action. Easy and interesting ways to remember the points! Marvelous presenter skills -- a real model, and inspiration. Actual coaching sessions within the class to make it real. Mel is totally herself, and vulnerabilities become her strength in real-time, which class participants also lived out in real-time as well. Very memorable. And, the explanation of anxiety as a high energy state matching excitement more than calm was significant, as well as the myths about confidence (such as confidence is not about a personality; rather, action). Well organized, made sense, and I will integrate multiple parts daily! THANKS, MEL!!!

Wild Flower Murals

I'm training to be a life coach and have been a public muralist for years. I've been researching creativity, self initiated empowerment and positive psychology from various angles for many years- in hopes to make it accessible to many. I initially came across Mel's book and was wholly impressed by how effective yet simple the 5-4-3-2-1 book was. I am so glad I took this course, it is the best of the best of the best!!!