Sometime during the course of your life you have most likely not felt confident in yourself for a variety of different reasons. Maybe you didn’t feel smart enough to get that next promotion, attractive enough to ask the hot girl down the street out on a date or good enough to be liked by your peers. I have felt this way many times, and it has hampered my performance at work, dating, and has at times been a big barrier to my productivity. I learned that most of this is a chosen mind-set, and that setting unrealistic expectations for myself will only further decrease my confidence when I fail to meet those expectations.
I want to say that I understand some people feel that self-confidence and self-esteem are two separate things. I will be using them interchangeably in this article, even though there is a subtle – but no less important – difference between them. The difference is that self-esteem is believing that others should believe in you and respect you, while self-confidence is believing in – and respecting – yourself. The two things amount to the same thing at the end of the day though. That’s why the actions I’ll be sharing with you today can increase both your self-confidence and your self-esteem.
Take Control of Self-Confidence
If you have a lack of self-confidence, then you have to ask yourself if you can do anything about it. You have to ask yourself if you are truly in control of your self-confidence. It might not seem like it when you suffer from low self-confidence, but I believe everyone can increase their self-confidence, even you. Having high self-confidence isn’t genetic. Nor do you need to rely on other people to improve your self-confidence. Even if you believe that you aren’t competent, attractive, or smart, these are all things that can be changed.
It’s entirely possible for you to become someone who deserves respect, and someone who can clearly envision their goals; no matter what the people around you say or how much they try to bring you down.The way to achieve this is taking control of not just your life, but also your self-confidence. Take concrete actions to improve competence and your self-image. You’ll soon feel that your self-confidence is rising, without anyone else helping you. The following guidelines are all actions you can take to improve your self-confidence, self-image, self-esteem, and competence. They aren’t revolutionary by any means, and they aren’t powerful enough by themselves. This list is far from comprehensive either. I’m just listening the things that have worked best for me, and that I enjoy doing. There’s no need to do all of them either. This isn’t some kind of recipe for success. It’s more of a buffet. Choose the ones that are the most appealing for you. Start out by doing a few and seeing how they work. Then slowly add to the list of how many things you’re doing, regardless of whether your current choices are working or not.
Hopefully by doing some of the things below will help in giving you a good confidence boost.
1. Be Active
Doing something is infinitely better than doing nothing. You could make mistakes while doing something, but these mistakes are just part of life. We learn through making mistakes, and would never improve if we didn’t make them. There’s no need to worry about mistakes. Get up and get active; whether you get physically active or just take action to achieve something.
2. Do That Thing You Keep Procrastinating On
Is there something on your to-do list that’s been there forever? Well, get it done. Get it out of the way and you’ll feel pretty good about yourself. I know I always feel much better after getting a few things knocked off my list, especially when they have been there for a very long time. If you are have trouble getting started see our 5 minute productivity guide to help you get started.
3. Think Positive
Something I learned when I decided to start running two years ago, was how negative thoughts could be replaced with positive ones. I learned that I was able to actually change the way I thought, and that changing my thoughts created positive change. It’s a small skill, but I used it to stay focused and motivated. I trained for a whole year to run a marathon. It’s one of those things that sounds trite but genuinely works. Just try it for yourself.
4. Get Rid of Negative Thoughts
Getting rid of negative thoughts is something that goes alongside thinking positive thoughts, but they do need to be kept as separate tasks. It’s important to have awareness of the way you talk and think about yourself and what you do. I call it self-talk. Sometimes I would find myself thinking that running was too difficult, and I should just quit. I became able to recognise the negative self-talk, and was able to pick up a little trick to change everything. What I did was imagine that negative thoughts were bugs. I would keep an eye out for these bugs, and then (mentally) squash them when they showed up. Kill your negative thoughts and replace them with positive ones; remind yourself that you can complete your goals.
5. Know Yourself
A general goes into battle knowing everything he can learn about his enemy. One must know their enemy to defeat them. The enemy becomes yourself when trying to overcome your negative self-image and replacing it with a positive one filled with self-confidence. Come to understand yourself. Listen to the way you think. Write a journal about yourself. Write down how you think about yourself, and analyse the reasons for all these negative thoughts. Start thinking about the good in you; think about what you’re good at and what you enjoy doing. Think about the limitations you have. Ask yourself if these limitations are real, or are simply limitations that you have placed on yourself. Dig down deep, know yourself, and create self-confidence.
6. Act Positive
It takes more than just thinking positive, one has to act positive too. Action is the necessary key to developing true self-confidence. Thinking positive is great and all, but it’s only by really acting on it that you can truly change yourself. Remember that you are what you do. If you can change what you do, then you can change what you are as well. Act positively. Stop telling yourself that you can’t take action, and just take it. Be positive and talk to people positively. Pour your energy into positive actions, and it won’t take long for you to see the difference.
7. Be Generous and Kind
This is pretty corny, so just move on if you think it’s a little too corny. Everyone else should know that showing kindness to others and generosity to yourself; with what you have and the time you have to share it; drastically improves your self-image. You’ll start feeling better about yourself. You’ll start believing that you really are a good person. It’ll be amazing for your self-confidence too. Trust me.
8. Stay Groomed
Staying groomed sounds obvious, but you’d be amazed at the difference a shower and a shave can have on your self-image and self-confidence. I always feel immediately better after I get cleaned up. .
9. Dress Nicely
Dressing nicely goes along with looking nice. When you look good you feel good. Being nicely dressed leaves you feeling presentable, successful, and like you can take on the world. What “dressing nicely” means can vary from person to person. I’m not suggesting you go out and spend $1000 bucks on a suit when all you need is some clean and presentable casual clothes. Find clothes that make you look good, and be comfortable in
10. Be Prepared
You can’t achieve self-confidence without first believing that you can do something well. This feeling of a lack of competence can be beaten by being prepared as much as you can. Consider what it was like when you took exams. If you didn’t study, then you wouldn’t be confident in passing the exam. If you did a lot of studying though, then you prepared yourself and had the confidence to pass the test. Consider your life to be one long test, and prepare yourself for it.
11. Understand – and Live – Your Principles
What principles form the foundation of your life? If you aren’t sure, then you’re going to run into trouble. Not having principles makes you feel like your life lacks direction. I personally try to my best to abide by the Golden Rule, even if I fail. I let it be my core principle and I try to follow it as I live. I have some other core principles, of course, but they are all related to the Golden Rule in some way. Think about your own principles. There’s a chance that you might have principles, but have just never thought about them much before. Think about if you are actually living your principles, or if you merely believe in them without acting on them.
12. Speak Slower
This is another simple thing that goes a long way. Talking slower changes the way people think about you. Have you ever noticed that people in authority speak slowly? It’s the people who feel that they aren’t worth listening to that speak quickly. They do this to avoid keeping people waiting and listening to something that isn’t worth their time. You should try speaking slowly a few times, even if you don’t have that self-confidence. Just doing it makes you more confident. Of course, you should avoid speaking too slowly. Just avoid sounding rushed and you’ll be set.
13. Walk Tall
I’ve got really bad posture, so it might be hypocritical of me to suggest that you stand tall, but I do know it works. I’ve tried it out myself. I find that I feel better when I remind myself to keep my back straight. I just imagine being pulled upwards by a rope reaching into the sky, and my body follows suit and straightens. Another benefit is that those who stand tall and confident are perceived as being more attractive, which is a good thing for anyone.
14. Become More Competent
The only way to feel more competent is to actually be more competent. The way to increase your competency is to study and practice. You only need to do things in small doses too. There’s no need to try and tackle the writing profession in one day if that’s what you want to do. All you have to do is write a little more. Write some short stories, run a blog, keep a journal, or do some freelance writing. You’ll find that the more you write, the better you become at it. Put aside half an hour to practice writing and watch as your competence improves.
15. Set – And Achieve – Small Goals
One of the most common mistakes people make in the journey of self-improvement is aiming too high. Then they get discouraged over failing. That’s why you need to aim for something that you can achieve. Set a small but achievable goal, and then go ahead and achieve it. This will leave you feeling great. Then you just need to continue setting small goals and achieving them. The more small goals you achieve, the better you’ll be at doing it. It leaves you feeling better too. Before you know it you’ll be achieving larger – but still achievable – goals.
16. Change Small Habits
There’s no need to change a major habit, such as quitting smoking. You just have to change small ones, like getting in the habit of jotting down your thoughts or waking up a little earlier. Or getting into the habit of having a glass of water after waking up. It should be something small you can do. Stick with it for a month. By the end of the month it’ll be second nature and you’ll feel fantastic for having done it.
17. Focus on Solutions
If you’re the kind of person who complains and focuses on problems, then it’s time you changed your focus. Start focusing on creating solutions rather than problems. It’s something that goes a long way towards improving your self-confidence. It even has an impact on your career and life as a whole. Don’t focus on the problem of being fat and lazy or that you can’t motivate yourself. Focus on finding a solution.
18. Smile More
This is another one of those trite things that really works. You’ll instantly feel better just by smiling. Smiling also makes it easier to be kind towards others. This is a small thing you can do that has a big chain reaction. It’s a great way to invest your time and your energy.
Volunteering is related to being kind and generous, but it’s more specific. There’s never been a better time to volunteer for a great cause and help make the lives of other people that little bit better. The time you spend volunteering will be some of the best time you ever spend, and it comes with amazing benefits; including instantly feeling better about yourself.
20. Be Grateful
I fully believe in the power of gratitude. I’m making it an item on my list because not only is it humbling to be grateful for the things you have in life and the things you have been given by others, but it’s also a positive, rewarding activity. Being grateful will help to improve your self-image which, as discussed earlier, will improve your overall self-confidence.
If I didn’t make exercise a part of this list it would be a disservice to you. Exercise is something I use the most to empower myself. I’ve been doing it for a few years now and I have to say that it really does make me feel more confident in myself. Just go out for a few walks each week and you’ll quickly notice the benefits.
22. Learn And Empower Yourself
One of the best ways to build self-confidence is through empowering yourself. There are a number of ways to do this, but gaining knowledge is one of the best. Gaining knowledge is in the same vein as getting prepared and building competence. Building knowledge increases your confidence, and the way to increase knowledge is through study and research. One of the best tools at your disposal is the internet, but don’t discount what the people around you can offer. Learn from those who have walked the same path you want to, and read through books and magazines. Take advantage of the educational institutions around you.
23. Work on the Small Things
It’s overwhelming to try and tackle a large project. It’s also intimidating and just starting feels daunting. Even the best people are put off of the idea of a large task. That’s why you need to break it down and work through it in small chunks. A small achievement leaves you feeling pretty good, and they all add up to create large achievements. If you can learn to always work in this way, you’ll be self-confident in no time.
24. Clean Your Desk
Cleaning your desk might sound small and simple (unless you have a really big desk!) but it’s something that’s always worked for me. If my desk starts to get messy, and the world around me becomes too chaotic, then cleaning my desk allows me to get a small measure of control over some aspect of my life. My clean desk becomes the calm at the center of the storm that is my life.
25. Change Your Self Image
How you feel about your self can be one of the biggest confidence killers on this list. How you perceive how others see you is very important. The majority of the time you are much harder on yourself than others are. To feel better about yourself, quit smoking, get a haircut, reduce alcohol consumption, etc… Doing these things will make you much more prideful and help increase your confidence.
I hope this guide helps you increase your confidence and enable you take back any lost self esteem. If you have any more suggestion or ideas on how to gain more confidence, please comment below.
Craig is the founder of LifeGuider, he is dedicated to improving not only himself but also others in being more physically fit and mentally capable of handling life’s challenges. He is not your regular life coach, no fancy clothes or fast cars, just a regular “Ole Joe” who has experienced the ups and downs of life like everyone else.
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