I’ve been talking about mindsets a lot lately, and one invaluable part of creating a mindset that will lead you to success is building confidence. It’s very difficult to reach your goals if you feel you aren’t capable of it.
Timid actions and constant hesitation and doubt will hold you back. They’re also not fun to deal with and fight through every time you want to try something that you’re unsure about. Today I want to talk about five things that you can do to help yourself build confidence.
1. Take care of yourself
If you’re well rested, well fed, and you’ve exercised in the last day or two, your confidence is going to be way higher than if you’ve barely slept, barely left the bed, and eaten your weight in sugar (leftover Halloween candy anyone?).
Take care of your body. When I say this, I’m not necessarily saying that you should be losing weight or aiming for a certain physique. The confidence we’re aiming to build doesn’t stem from looking a certain way, and harshly criticizing your body because it doesn’t look that way is going to lower your confidence, not boost it.
Rather, take care of yourself so that you feel as good as you can feel. You’re going to feel much more confident if you have energy and can think clearly.
Exercise is an especially good confidence booster for a number of reasons. Many people find that lifting weights boosts their confidence because it makes them feel stronger and more powerful.
Exercise also releases endorphins, further boosting confidence and making you feel good. I know personally that going for a run not only picks me up from a bad mood, but it also makes me feel more confident and sure of myself.
Because I struggled with gym anxiety working out regularly also helps to keep my anxiety at bay. It gets me out into the world on a routine basis and has me facing one of my fears.
Even though gym anxiety rarely bothers me anymore, doing something that used to scare me shows me that I am strong and capable. It reminds me of my growth as a person and shows me that even if something scares me, I can push past it and find success and happiness on the other side of that struggle. All of this helps to build confidence.
This may sound like an odd suggestion, but hear me out.
Confidence is a mental thing. Yes, taking care of your body does help, as I just mentioned, but whether or not you feel comfortable and confident primarily depends on your mental state. Feeling unconfident means you’re in a state where your brain is telling you that you aren’t in control. You’re out of your comfort zone, and feel that you might be in too deep. You’re unsure of yourself.
All of those things are feelings. Meditation teaches us to be in tune with our feelings and to sit with them and respond appropriately. It also helps us learn to assess the accuracy of our thoughts and feelings, rather than succumbing to them as soon as they arise.
By making mindfulness and meditation a regular practice, you learn to assess how you’re feeling when you’re lacking confidence. Rather than worrying or giving up, you can consider why you feel that way and whether or not there’s a good reason for it.
Mindfulness makes “fake it til you make it” sound a bit less absurd. In reality, consciously deciding to act despite a lack of confidence is a pretty great way to build confidence, but it can sound like unhelpful advice on the surface.
When we employ mindfulness, “fake it til you make it” simply means acknowledging your fear and acting anyway, which typically isn’t a bad idea (assuming the thing you want to do isn’t, like, petting a grizzly bear or something).
The practice of meditation helps you build the habit of mindfulness so that you can use it to build confidence. If you’re new to meditation, I recommend reading this post to help you get started.
3. Challenge yourself
Making sure to regularly challenge yourself with something new and a little scary helps to build confidence in two ways: it expands your comfort zone, and it makes you more comfortable stepping out of your comfort zone.
Think about something that you feel confident doing. Maybe it’s styling your hair, cooking dinner, caring for your plants, or doing homework for a class that’s easy for you. Whatever it is, it’s inside your comfort zone, right?
Now think of something that you would feel slightly unconfident doing. Depending on your skill set, maybe it’s one of the things I listed in the previous paragraph. Imagine that you challenged yourself to do that thing twice a week for the next two months. That’s more than a dozen repetitions.
Two months from now, after all of that practice, chances are you’ll feel much more confident and comfortable doing that thing. Your comfort zone has grown. There’s one more thing that you feel confident doing. You’ve built confidence.
But—probably more importantly—by challenging yourself to do something outside of your comfort zone and coming out on the other side perfectly fine, you’ve proven to yourself that you can take risks, try something new, and survive it.
Making a habit out of challenging yourself makes each foray into the unknown a little less scary. Even if the new thing that you’re attempting is something completely foreign to you, regularly challenging yourself will make it easier.
Challenging yourself keeps fear at bay. The longer that you stay in your comfort zone, the harder it is to leave again. Regularly doing things that make you a little nervous builds confidence because you’ll prove to yourself that everything will be okay, even if it’s scary. Knowing that things will be okay helps you to feel confident.
Each time you succeed at something new, you’ll boost your confidence because there’s one more thing that you know you can handle.
4. Know that other people aren’t thinking about you nearly as much as you think they are
Often, our lack of confidence stems from our fear that other people may see us mess up, judge us for it, make fun of us, remember it forever, and it will taint every thought they have about us. (Too real? Sorry.)
But the thing is, people aren’t paying that much attention. Most of the time, no one is paying any attention.
People live in their own worlds. They’re too busy worrying about their own image to spend time noticing every little mistake that you may make. When was the last time you criticized someone for trying something new or stepping out of their comfort zone? Probably never.
Confidence doesn’t necessarily have to mean knowing that you won’t make any mistakes. It can also stem from the knowledge that you’ll be okay even if you do make mistakes.
Since a large part of why we don’t want to mess up is a fear of judgement by others, knowing that this is unlikely makes it easier to try something even if we might not be good at it.
Other people live in their own worlds, much like you live in yours.
5. Find your power outfit
You know those outfits that make you feel like you can conquer the world? Maybe it’s a sleek dress, anything with red lipstick, or just jeans and a well-cared-for t-shirt. Whatever it is, we each have outfits that boost our confidence.
(And if you don’t have a power outfit, I recommend popping back up to tip #1. You’ll likely feel better about your favorite outfit after you’ve done a workout.)
Why not use your power outfit to your advantage? There’s no reason that you can’t curate a wardrobe entirely based around power outfits.
I touched on this in my post about how to create a personal uniform, which will walk you through the process of curating your clothes to a wardrobe that suits you. As you narrow down your wardrobe, keep in mind that your main focus is confidence. Keep the pieces that make you feel good.
Even if this ends up being only a few items, that’s okay. This will give you a sense of what to look for moving forward. Building a wardrobe that has you looking and feeling good means you leave your home feeling confident every day.
When you don’t have to worry about your clothes, you have more energy to focus toward accomplishing your goals.