Building self confidence is just as important as about every aspect of your life. If you lack self confidence, there is a good chance you are limiting your potential for success. You can build your self confidence, no matter how much or how little self confidence you have at this time. Change won’t happen instantly, but with practice and perseverance, you will increase your self confidence slowly but surely.
Here are some steps toward building self confidence:
Make a list of your strengths. Everyone is good at something. Your strength may be the ability to remain calm under pressure. You may be a good public speaker or have exceptional organizational skills. You may be blessed with common sense. Building self confidence means knowing what strengths you have as you get started, so that you know exactly what you’re building on.
Make a list of goals you want to achieve. Most people who lack self confidence are preoccupied with characteristics that they lack, such as being at ease socially or being able to remain at ease in a job interview. Maybe you are recently divorced and very uncomfortable at the thought of starting to date again. Whatever you’re specifically working toward, you need to have a clear vision of where you’re trying to go and what you’re trying to attain.
Break down your goals into small, achievable steps. If you have a very broad goal such as being at ease socially, it is such a large goal that there is no chance of instant success. A goal like this should be broken down into smaller steps so that you can see a little bit of progress. Approaching one person at the next social event you attend is a manageable goal that you can reach so you can see evidence of progress. Don’t be too harsh on yourself for your early efforts. Give yourself a pat on the back for attaining the goal of attending the event, and for approaching one person, even if you stuttered, stumbled and spilled your drink. You showed up, and you made some effort! Likewise, if your goal is to begin dating again, accepting one date and praising yourself for making the effort is an achievable goal.
Keep track of your progress. Since your goals have been broken down into smaller pieces, it’s easy to lose sight of the big picture. Keep a journal or some kind of log to record your efforts. You’ll be surprised how far you’ve come in a month or two. You may even reach a point you find it hard to believe it was you that made the initial entry.
Accept your failures. You will learn from your mistakes, if you let yourself. If you beat yourself up for every setback or every mistake, you won’t progress. Accept that mistakes and failure are part of life, and part of the learning and growing process. Things that don’t go perfectly the first time around are just that – things. You are not a failure because of one failed event. In fact, there are no successful people that don’t have some experience with failure.
Control negative thinking. If you keep telling yourself you can’t do something, guess what? You won’t be able to do it. Controlling your thoughts is one of the first achievable goals you can attain. Replace each self-critical thought with an encouraging thought. This will take practice, but with a goal of building self confidence, this is something that you will need to work on each and every day.
Affirmations. Practice stating positive affirmations daily. Affirmations are statements in the present tense acknowledging success, and they are a way of replacing negative thoughts with positive thoughts. Here are some examples.
• I am a strong and successful person
• I have the power to change my life
• I deserve all the good things and people that are coming to me
Act as if you are already confident and successful. You’ll be surprised how much pretending you are confident will convince other people that you are. Act as if you are confident, and often you will begin to feel confident. Dress for success, walk with a sure step and look people in the eye. Watch confident people and imitate their body language. Fake it ‘til you make it!
Smile. A smile is a way to reach out to other people with confidence and self-assurance. It’s a way of brightening someone else’s day and taking the focus off your own discomfort. In your effort to cheer up someone else, your own uneasiness very often disappears.
Surround yourself with supportive people. Many people who lack self confidence ended up that way because they grew up in an environment filled with criticism and negativity. As an adult, you have a right to choose who you surround yourself with. You deserve to be treated with respect and encouragement. If people around you continue to bring you down, look for people who notice what you’re doing right and encourage your efforts.
Learn to praise yourself. You deserve a pat on the back for progress. You also deserve a pat on the back when you try hard and fail. If you don’t have a support system outside yourself, learn how to be your own support system. Find a way to reward yourself for each baby step you take toward a particular goal. It could be a night out with friends, buying something new that you want or a quiet night to yourself. The point is by rewarding yourself for your efforts, you will continue on a path of self-improvement.
Take a risk. One sure-fire way of building self-confidence is by challenging yourself to take a risk to do something that you’d rather not do. As William Jennings Bryan said, “The way to develop self-confidence is to do the thing you fear.”
Building self confidence will take commitment, perseverance and effort. Stay focused on where you’re going and remember that as your faith in yourself grows, everything about your life will improve. Your potential for success is within your control. Persistence is the key. And remember, building self confidence takes time. Be patient.
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