We often put in question our abilites and apptitudes to achieve certain goals. Just as important as motivation, self confidence builds you as a person and helps you achieving goals.
You may be really good at motivating yourself, but if you have no confidence over what you are capable of, you'll definitely end up way below your limits.
In this post, 10 Tips to help you gain self confidence and go back on track.
What’s Self Confidence
Self confidence is:
1. Realistic belief or expectations of achieving success
2. Attitude about your skills and abilities
While the first definition gives an insight into the psychological aspects, the second one is more about actions and reality of slef-confidence.
The degree of your self confidence will determine to what extent you are able to achieve your goals. Let's use an analogy to explain this:
Imagine you are in a car, and you need some fuel to start the engine. You go to the gas station and fill up the tank. Back in the car, you have now 3h on the road to get back home, but you forgot the GPS. But you are not done yet. You have sense of orientation, memory, and you are able to get home without the use of GPS. After three hours you are safe home and ready to go and get some rest after the long day.
What's the fuel? Motivation.
What are the apptitudes and tools that enable you to get home even without a GPS? Self confidence.
Even against the highest adversities, self confidence is what enables us to reach goals and put our apptitudes into play.
Sources of self confidence
Where does self confidence come from?
There are many sources of self confidence (source). This largely depends on who you are, your lifestyle and environment.
The main sources of self confidence are:
- Personal experiences: memory and past experiences determine your willingness to do/not do certain things.
- The experience of others: if he can do it, why wouldn't you able to do it as well?
- Social comparison: competition and comparative results to believe in your apptitudes.
- Social persuasion: the art of convincing others and boost self-confidence on the others
- Emotional arousal: how you manage your emotions
Your self confidence is not fully formed by yourself and your environment and experiences are the main factors affecting self confidence.
Types of Self Confidence
There are different types of self confidence, each with its own source and driving force.
“Experience-based” self confidence
This is based on your past experience. The well-known "if I've done it once, I can do it twice" plays an important role here.
Our past experiences are telling you what you are capable of.
If yesterday you were able to wake up at 5am and get to work, why wouldn't you do it today?
“Unwarranted” Self confidence
Sometimes self confidence is overpowered. And that can be dangerous if you don't know how to manage.
People of this kind tend to believe they are the best at what they do and there's noone better than them.
“Blind” Self confidence
When you are commited to a goal to a very high extent, you go blind towards it.
Motivation is so high that you assume you have the required apptitudes and knowledge to achieve what you are aiming for.
If not have them at the start, apptitudes will built by themselves as they are needed.
“Social-commited” Self confidence
Social environment can affect your self-confidence, both boosting or flattening it.
As it says in "The motivational hacker", social commitment is essential to build self confidence and motivation.
Science Behind Self Confidence
Self confidence is the actions that shape your personality.And these actions have somehow an effect of your brain.
When the value areas are activated, your body produces more hormones to feel more confident, happy, and feel a higher reward and pleasure.
Self Confidence and Sports
How does self confidence affect our physical performance?
As they cite in Exercise and Sport Science Reviews, 1988, Vol. 16, 423-457:
Self confidence (SC) is one of the most cited factors thought to affect athletic performance. SC is said to play a critical role in athletes' success; in contrast, lack of SC seems to be closely associated with athletic failure.
Self confidence may make the difference between failure and success. Higher self confidence increases willpower, decision to take action and a more active behaviour to achieve success (study).
Boosting self confidence enhances sports performance and improve your marks. And to show this, here there are some evidence:
- In a meta-analysis studying 45 studies, they found a strong correlation between self confidence and sports performance (meta-analysis)
- A psychological skills training 3 d/week improved self confidence and sports performance on volleyball players (study)
- Psychological aspects and self confidence were related with improved performance in Dutch gymnasts (study)
- It facilitated performance on 14 interviewed world-class athletes (study)
10 Simple Ways to Gain Self Confidence
Do you need more self confidence?
Try these small and easy ways to boost your self-confidence. I have tried most of them, and it has definitely improved over time.
- Positive affirmations and self-talking
- Look at previous achievements
- Laugh at yourself
- Write down your goals and requirements
- Train your discipline and willpower
- Go from small to big changes
- Accept who you are
- Make an internal analysis
- Try and failure
- Strengthen your weaknesses
Positive self-talking may help you achieve a task to a higher degree.
Your body tends to give up in consequence of too much unnecessary effort. And you need to tell your body to stop thinking about giving up to start thinking about finishing the task.
In this study, positive self-talking had postive effect not only in self-confidence, but also enhancing motivation and performance (study)
Look back at your previous achievements
You need to keep your 'achievements library' open. It's the best way to remain yourself what you are capable of. And self-confidence is about that.
Relate the skills you have gained in the past to the challenge you are confronting now. Remind yourself your capabilities and boost your self confidence.
Laugh at yourself
Everyone makes mistakes, including you and me (yes, you also make mistakes).
You can respond to mistakes in two ways:
- Exagerating the situation and giving up.
- Laughing, accepting what you did wrong and try it again.
You would rather be in group 2), right? Not only helps you achieving goals faster, but it increases your self confidence
Laughing at yourself trains your willpower and discipline.
Write down your goals
As the Stoics (practicants of Stoicism) believe, writing down goals and actions is a good strategy to keep up with your 'day a day' and grow over time.
Writing down your goals and requirements to achieve it helps you knowing what you need in order to reach that goal.
Take a notebook and set 5-10min everyday (at the same time if possible) to write the following:
- Your goal(s) for the day or medium/long term
- 1-3 requirements in order to achieve it (them)
- 1-3 actions that you'll carry out to improve your skills on each requirement(s)
- What skills you gained over the past day and how that could help you achieving your goal(s)
This tip is cheap and effective
Train your discipline and willpower
Self confidence is about mastering different aspects of your life. If you know you are good at something, you'll be recognized for that.
Master things through discipline and willpower. Do it everyday, wihout failing and you'll see results sooner or later.
It doesn't matter the mistakes you do at the beginning. It's about learning and acquiring apptitudes over time.
James Clear says approx. 50 days are needed to build a habit.
If you fail over that period of time, it's more likely that you'll end up giving up, and you'll lose self confidence.
Start with small changes
Self confidence is about mastering your consciousness, and that can't be done overnight.
Don't pretend to be fully confident of yourself from day to day. That takes time, and the process is what will build and empower your self-confidence.
Start with small changes ,and slowly increase the extent of commitment and discipline.
Accept who you are
Self confidence is about knowing yourself and your capabilities. If you are faking who you are to satisfy the others, you will never get to know yourself.
Show yourself to the world as you are. Everyone is different, with their strengths and weaknessess.
Don't be afraid of talking about your interests, your adventures and your thougts. Accept yourself as you are.
Make an internal analysis
To have self confidence, you must know your deepest you.
Analyze yourself objectively. Stop for a minute, slow down, take a deep breath and answer these questions:
- Were have I been the last months?
- Do I like my life?
- What are three things I'd never get rid of in my life
- What are three things I could throw away from my life right know
- Where am I aiming in life?
- Is my current situation getting me close to that?
This quick 'check-out' will help you analyze your current situation and the path towards your goals.
If you know where you are, who you are and where you are aiming, you will gain self confidence
Trial and Failure
Trial and failure is the 'go to' strategy to gain self confidence.
Sometimes you don't know the best strategy, and you have to go all empirical to get there.
There are many variables you can manipulate to affect your self confidence. Yor outfit, people around you, mental preparation,... and there's an optimal combination of these to maximize your self confidence.
How can you get there? Try something, does it work?
Yes, keep it.
No, change and move on to the next strategy.
Strengthen your weaknesses
When you are building self confidence you want to be an 'all-in-one' person. Be useful and able to handle all types of situations. Let's use an analogy to explain it:
"We have three cars, a sports car, an electric city car and a 4x4 small truck. If we go to the city, the sports car won't be able to run at full speed. If we go to the trails, neither the electric nor the sports car will be good at handling the paths and bumps. But the 4x4 small truck will be able to adapt to both scenarios"
The goal is to be the small truck, but you may have been born being a sports car...
Time to work on your weaknesses. Focus on what you are missing to be who you want to be, and stick it at the top of your priority list.
Self confidence is the 'art of knowing yourself and your capabilities'.
In this post we have gone through some of the easiest and most efficient ways to gain self confidence.
This quote represents well the importance of self confidence in our lifes:
You determine your succes. You determine your failure. How confident you are will establish the barriers beteween these two.