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July 3, 2020 • read
5 simple steps to boost your confidence
Projecting confidence is a key component of success. Many of us, however, need some help in the self esteem department. But even those who seem to have been born naturally self-assured don’t feel that way all the time. Fortunately confidence doesn’t have to be innate — it can be learned. We’re sharing five simple steps to help you boost your confidence.
1. Do something active
We’ve long known that there’s an important connection between our physical selves and our mental wellbeing. The truth is that being active isn’t just good for your heart, it’s also good for your self-esteem — and not just in terms of body image. Physical activity makes us feel better about ourselves regardless of whether it results in weight loss or not. So before giving your next presentation, take yourself through a quick yoga flow or a five-minute workout. Failing that, do some jumping jacks to help get your endorphins going. They’ll help you find a sense of calm and self-assurance.
2. Build small goals into your daily life
Feeling useful and productive are important components of self-worth. Which is why setting daily goals and making sure you achieve them is one of the best things you can do to boost your overall confidence. Part of the reason we derive so much pleasure from crossing things off of our to-do lists is that it helps to give us a sense of both purpose and accomplishment — two of the most important factors in creating confidence. Setting physical activity targets is a great way to set daily goals (and complete point 1), but you can use a variety of targets. Everything from drinking eight glasses of water a day to clearing your inbox before noon.
3. Stop comparing yourself to others
You’ve heard it before, but the saying “comparison is the thief of joy” is true. If you had five million dollars in your bank account right now, you’d probably be pretty happy. Unless, of course, all your friends had 20 million dollars in theirs. Try to think about what your personal achievements and goals are and stop looking at them in relation to what others are doing or have — or seem to be doing or have.
Looking down on others who haven’t accomplished what you have isn’t a good strategy either, however. Yes, comparing yourself to others can sometimes help to recalibrate unrealistic expectations — none of your cousins can conjugate Latin either — but that shouldn’t be your personal gauge for success. You don’t want to feel like you’re an academic just because you can spell more words than your seven-year-old nephew, for example. Focus on what you’re grateful for in your own life and try to resist the urge to compare it to those around you. Find confidence in knowing that you’re working to measure up to your own standards.
4. Be prepared
Unless you’re an improv actor, you have the chance to prepare for a number of eventualities in your own life. It’s a lot easier to feel confident giving a presentation or doing an interview if you’ve done the research and know the material backwards and forwards. While it won’t always be possible to prepare for every occurrence, planning and keeping abreast of new developments will help you to feel confident that whatever the future brings you’ll be able to rise to the challenge. Study after study has shown that preparedness boosts confidence. Chances are your own life experiences bear that out too — from your high-school biology tests to the last performance review you had with your boss.
5. Be kind to yourself
At some point or another we all make mistakes — probably many, many mistakes. And while they can be upsetting in the moment, most mistakes are valuable learning tools. So instead of beating yourself up the next time you find yourself doing something you wish you hadn’t, show yourself some compassion. Maybe this moment is an opportunity for a lesson that will lead you to something great in your life. Or maybe it’s just the moment that makes you remember forever to check your laces before getting on the ice. Learning to live with your mistakes isn’t lowering your expectations, it’s allowing yourself to be human. Nobody’s perfect and no one is expecting you to be.
Whatever it is that has you feeling less than self-assured, know that it probably isn’t permanent. In spite of how they may seem from afar, confident people aren’t perfect. Whether they know it or not, their confidence comes from thinking about themselves and the world in a very specific way. So follow our five simple steps and watch your confidence levels soar.