I’m going to be straight-up honest with you. I didn’t write this post about how to build confidence because I’m one of those people who stride through life with confidence. I wrote this post because I’m the opposite. Nothing I do is good enough. I don’t particularly like myself most of the time.
But I want to change that. And one thing I’ve learned in life. To do something, you start by researching what more successful people have done. With that in mind, I’ve gathered the best tips I could find on how to build self-confidence. I’ve found that everyone- from the new jobseeker to the most successful CEO’s- deal with moments of uncertainty and lacking confidence. That feeling can be there for a moment, a day, or years. But you can learn how to develop self-confidence.
Let’s try these tips out together and see how to be confident
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1. Visualize your ideal self
It’s undeniable that if you’re suffering from low self-esteem, you have a more negative view of yourself than actually exists. We have poor perception of ourselves. Reverse this. Imagine the self you want to be- confident, successful, fill-in-the-blank. Make decisions based on your new self.
For example, you’re envisioning a healthy version of you. What is this healthy person doing? Adopt the habits and act as if you are that person.
2. Question your inner critic
We discussed envisioning your ideal self. That can sometimes be hard with the inner critic that most of us possess. This inner critic is often overly critical. Personally, I tried cognitive behavioral therapy for some of the issues that I dealt with being bipolar. I found it very helpful.
But you practice the basic technique at home. Start noticing the negative comments you make to yourself. Analyze them. Build up evidence showing their false. And then try to embrace the new, positive view. UW Medicine has some great tips in this article “These At-home Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Tips Can Help Ease Your Anxieties”
There is also a blog post- Overcoming Self-Limiting Beliefs– that includes a free printable you can work through. It can help you identify those self-limiting beliefs and replace them with a positive inner soundtrack.
3. Rule your emotions, don't let them rule you
Emotions are natural. And how we’re feeling often dictates our actions. But you can control your emotions. You have the key to being happier, more grateful, more energetic. Our actions feed back into our emotions. If you’re feeling depressed, it’s easy to just sink into it.
But break out- play some happy, energetic music. Force yourself to walk to 10 little minutes. Start a gratitude journal. Or start a page where you list your strengths and accomplishments. DO SOMETHING!
4. Step outside of your comfort zone
Do one thing that scares or challenges you every day. Or at least every week. Explore new places. Try new hobbies. Meet new people. Read new books. Every time you succeed at breaking out of your comfort zone, you’ll gain confidence.
Stress in a new environment is the only way to grow. And unless you’re growing as a person- achieving new things- you’re going to be stuck in a rut of lacking self-confidence.
5. Start with small goals, work up to big ones
While big goals are vitally important to achieving fabulous success, it’s best to start with small steps. Make each of those small steps a personal goal. As you achieve these small wins, the confidence will build to start achieving the giant ones! If you download my 2019 Free Printable Planner, there is an entire section on setting big goals and breaking them down into achievable steps.
6. Define your why
Why do you want to be more confident? So you feel more comfortable around strangers? So your work life is improved? So you like yourself more? Facing these questions head on and coming up with your “why” will inspire you in the future.
7. Practice makes perfect
Tony Schwartz, the president and CEO of The Energy Project and the author of Be Excellent at Anything: The Four Keys to Transforming the Way We Work says that deliberate practice will almost always trump natural aptitude. If you’re trying to learn a new skill- public speaking, writing, etc.- practice! No hits a home run on their first try. Try this with confidence. Act confident long enough and it will start a positive feedback loop.
I’ve never tried affirmations. But some very successful people swear by them. Since I don’t have personal experience, I’ve decided to look to the experts. Scott Adams in “How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big” gives multiple examples of how affirmations have worked for him. Psychology Today has a great article (5 Steps to Make Affirmations Work for You) on making affirmations work.
There is also a school of thought that says affirmations don’t work. But they have the solution. Instead of positive statements- which might set off disbelief in yourself- ask yourself positive questions. You can read more about it in this article: Why Positive Affirmations Don’t Work.
I would love to hear from you! Have you tried affirmations- either positive statements or positive questions?
9. Imagine the best outcome
Related to affirmations is imagining the best outcome. Don’t go into a situation expecting to fail. Imagine the best outcome and prepare for it. Set yourself up for success.
This is a hard one for me. When I do a product launch- such as for my product Life Organized (<<<click there to check it out!)- the negative thoughts creep in. I think no one will buy it. I’ll fail completely. But the feedback was VERY positive on the binder. I’m getting ready to launch another product this winter and I’ve changed my mindset. I’m thinking big and positive.
10. Take care of yourself
Cultivate good eating, exercise, sleep and self-care habits. If you’re constantly depressed over being overweight and out-of-shape, it’s hard to build confidence. Make this one of your goals. Start small with something like just tracking your food everyday. Even if you don’t restrict yourself, tracking is proven to help with weight loss according to Science Daily. If you’re a woman and make-up makes you more confident, then take the time to apply it before leaving the house.
11. Dress for success
Related to taking care of yourself is dressing with confidence. If you’re wearing a killer outfit, you appear more confident. And will feel more confident.
I’m overweight and it’s very important to buy clothes that look decent. Just because I’m temporarily overweight is no reason to default to sweat pants and giant shirts. Looking slovenly doesn’t motivate you to do better.
Wrapping it up
I was so excited to write this article on how to build confidence! I’m excited to try some of these tips myself and see if they work.
Could you do me a quick favor? Comment below telling me which tip you liked the most. Or was the most surprising. Also feel free to share if a tip doesn’t seem to work for you. I’d love to include your feedback.