What Do You Tell Yourself You Can’t Do? Are You Right?

Is there something that you know you should be doing?

  • Publishing a book
  • Applying for grad school
  • Dropping a few extra pounds

You know, that something that you feel strongly about doing, but for some reason, you don’t believe that you can.

Are You Right?

If you search and direct your focus on quotes on the matter, you’ll soon find that your inspiration will fade due to some harsh ones.


  • “If you think you can, you can. If you think you can’t, you can’t.
  • “If you believe you can’t do a thing, you certainly can’t do it. If you believe you can do it, usually you can.”

Whoa! That’s not very motivational after all. I mean, it can somehow give one a little push to start thinking they can do that something they should be doing, but it could also stop one from even attempting to do the thing.

So instead of relying on quotes to find out if you can or cannot do, learn better ways to find out and convince yourself of being able to do something. And in the process, gain a stronger belief in yourself.

How-To Do

Start with analyzing and affirming your abilities. 

You can do this by creating an argument as to why the thing should be done. And not just any argument; develop a strong argument. That way you’ll be able to put in a greater effort to convince yourself of doing the thing you do not believe your able to do. Document the argument. Don’t just leave it floating in your mind. Your negative thoughts and unbelief will bully it into thinking it’s not even true.

Grab a pen and paper. Make a list of all the pros for doing this. Make another list of all the benefits you stand to gain by doing this. Then, read the lists aloud. Tell yourself why this task is important to get done. Repeat as often as needed.

Continue by assessing your skills.

Don’t argue yourself out of doing something by stating all the ways you are unfit to carry out the task. If you feel such negativity creeping in, strike before it weighs you down. How? Figure out all the ways you are the person to do the thing. 

Again, make a list. Cite your abilities. Think of all your strengths, that you can identify, to boost your confidence for actually going through with it. Having trouble? It’s okay to seek input from others. They might see greater things you possess that you don’t.


If one of your reasons you don’t believe you can do something stems out from your tendency to overestimate what it takes to do it, get more educated about the task. 

Conduct research. Find out more information. Increasing your knowledge, to fight those assumptions, boosts your confidence about doing it.

Great! Now you have your lists and further knowledge of the tasks. You’re done, right?

Actually no. Unless that was the boost you needed. If so, yay for you. But if you’re still lacking motivation here are some ways you can generate some.

Visualize Success.

This will help train your brain for real performance. It’s quite simple. What do you want to achieve? Picture yourself at the finish line. Alright!

But, what if you easily become overwhelmed by a huge task and about how long it will take you to finish?

Commit to working short amounts of time.

i.e. tell yourself you will work for, let’s say, 90 minutes on a certain task. Then have a break.

Doing so, gives you the chance to rest and rejuvenate before starting a new increment of work. And it’s refreshing and helps curb out stress before it happens.

Speaking of, stress among other mental barriers can also prove to be what’s hindering you from doing the thing. 

Break Mental Barriers.

This can be achieved by first, identifying your values and beliefs. If you lack an understanding of your personal values, that can lead to various detours. Values are what help to navigate through different circumstances. They help you lead a life that is personally fulfilling. If you struggle knowing your values, once again, make a list.

Okay, I have my values in check. Now what?

Set Goals that align with your Personal Values. 

Develop goals that will support and allow you to live out your values. Now, do one thing that lets you move toward these goals daily. Remember to keep your goals specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely.

And last, but not least:

Eliminate Excuses!

Excuses happen to be the most common mental barrier to get things done. They are what we tell ourselves on a daily basis. Think about it. When asked why you haven’t reached a particular goal, isn’t your response usually one related to how it’s because all the variables are not perfectly in place? Those are simply excuses. Excuses that must be eliminated.

Wipe them out by getting serious with yourself. Don’t allow excuses to be your way of “protecting” yourself from the change is to come by getting things done.

Having set the goals is one way to help alleviate your excuse symptoms.

If not having: time, money, or resources is your go-to excuse closely examine your life to determine what you can afford to cut out. Remove any insignificant activity or cost to prioritize a significant one.

Stop waiting for all the variables to fall magically into place. That won’t ever happen. That’s why you’re still here in the first place; unable to get it done. Get smart about it. Counteract. And most importantly, purposefully change your life so that it supports reaching your goals.

Prove yourself wrong. Tell yourself you can do it. And then, do it. signature