How to Increase Your Confidence
What is confidence and why is it important to women and their goal setting efforts? Confidence is the act of believing in yourself and knowing or trusting that you can accomplish whatever goals you set for yourself. Your confidence can increase or decrease depending on situations and various contexts that you find yourself in.
How to increase your confidence isn’t always an easy problem to solve. However, it is always a worthwhile pursuit to set a goal to increase your confidence, because it will compound your success with the rest of your goals. When you believe in yourself you are more likely to do whatever it takes to approach your goals with confidence. However, confidence takes work as well. Here are some of the best tips on how to increase your confidence – tips based on actual research!
1. Write down all your accomplishments in each area of your life – career, relationships, money, health and so on. Taking time to recognize your accomplishments will provide validation that you are an effective, productive, intelligent person capable of producing the results that you set out to achieve.
2. Celebrate any accomplishment that has personal meaning to you. For instance, let’s say that you’ve just bought your dream home. While you might be tired from all the time invested into the project and a bit short on money, it’s worth celebrating to reward yourself for your efforts. What if I don’t need rewards? Many people think celebrating is silly. By celebrating your success, you are owning your accomplishments and taking time to recognize and integrate those successes into your life. You are also giving yourself that pat on the back, and when you celebrate by doing something that is fun or enjoyable, you are providing a source of positive reinforcement for you brain, programming it to want to achieve even more.
3. Keep a warm and fuzzy file. This means keeping a list of all the great complements that other people have given to you. This could be accolades from coworkers or bosses, or it could simply validating comments that others have said to you and comments that simply make you feel good about who you are. When we like who we are (high self-esteem), this positive stance about ourselves is also likely to increase our confidence in ourselves and the goals that we set out to execute. Read this list when you are questioning your abilities, and I promise that almost every time it will bring you up a few notches in terms of your self-confidence.
4. Create a list of all your strengths and skills. The point in doing this is to make sure that you are maximizing your use of these strengths, and ensuring that you use these strengths as much as possible in your career and personal life. The more you rely on your strengths (activities or pursuits that you’re passionate about and good at) in your goal setting pursuits, career and personal life, the better the results you will experience, and the more quickly you will become successful. Also, people who tap into their strengths receive more positive feedback from others and promotions at work, which leads to increased confidence. When women pursue goals that are aligned with their strengths, they are more confident about what they are doing, they achieve better results and they enjoy the process. This means they are also more likely to invest more time into their goal setting pursuits. Increased confidence in one’s goal, along with hard work and great skills leads to excellent goal setting results!
5. Get in the habit of helping others. Once you know your passions and skills, why not utilize them to help others who don’t have that strength? What are your personal giveaways that you can get in the habit of offering others? Each time you lend a helping hand you increase your confidence because you are strengthening your skills even more. Also, the more people you help, the more positive feedback you receive on your performance and this in turn will boost your confidence. Another great benefit of helping others is that you will experience “helper’s high”, which means your brain will release endorphins that will make you feel good. When you’re feeling good about yourself and your life, you are that much more likely to work on your goals.
6. Conduct a Personal Performance Review regularly. Every quarter of the year, I suggest reviewing each area of your life for success and learning lessons with respect to your performance on your goals. This increases confidence in two ways. First, you can see your growth, and this boosts our confidence. Second, you can learn from your mistakes, and you can see all the efforts that you have put forth, which also increases confidence knowing that we are doing whatever it takes to turn our goals into a reality. You can read more about the personal performance review here.
7. Determine which of your personal qualities you and others like the most. What are the most important or valuable qualities about you? For instance, how do others describe you in a positive way? Do they think of you as witty, friendly or funny? By becoming aware of your key personal qualities you can’t help but feel good about yourself and confident at the same time. Try creating a list of your top 5 positive qualities. Post this list somewhere that you can read it every day.
8. Give yourself permission to feel like a million bucks! How on earth does this increase a person’s confidence? It’s very simple – when you allow yourself to partake in activities that you enjoy – you feel happy and positive, and this mindset will increase your confidence as you are pursuing your life goals. Don’t turn your goal setting efforts into a drudgerous chore. By taking time to enjoy the journey along the way, and to do things that make you feel good, you’ll keep yourself resilient during your goal setting efforts. For instance, for me – sometimes shopping can make me feel like a million bucks. Other times it’s allowing myself to splurge on a nice dinner with family and friends. Some days, it’s allowing myself to sit outside with a coffee to reflect on life. Think of this activity as something that will recharge your confidence batteries when you’re running on low.
9. Give yourself an image makeover. Studies have indicated that when women feel good about their personal appearance, they are more likely to have self-efficacy or self-confidence while pursuing their goals. It makes sense, because when we feel good about how we look and present ourselves to the world, we are more energized and motivated within. Try an experiment with it to see for yourself. Try going to work one day not feeling so good about your outfit or hair, and then try going to work another day making yourself look your absolute best. Notice a difference in your energy and confidence with respect to your productivity goals? If your image effects your self-confidence, be sure to read my article on how to overcome a negative self-image.
10. Take action, even if you don’t feel confident. Try the old ‘fake it until you make’ theory. Even if you’re not confident that you can do something, pretend that you are. Talk with confidence and act with confidence. See if this in turn increases your confidence. Also, each time that you take action with your goals, you become one step closer to achieving your goal. Taking baby steps will increase your confidence because you know that you are doing your best to move yourself forward. If motivation is an issue, be sure to read my blog on how to instantly motivate yourself.
11. Last but not least, be sure to constantly set goals. Set daily, weekly, monthly, yearly and long term goals. Create a checklist each evening for what you want to accomplish the next day. It works every time! When you know what you are striving toward, you have meaning and purpose which ultimately increases your confidence with each action step that you take toward those goals. Also, if you haven’t already, be sure to complete my goal setting and motivation program to get you started!
12. Be sure that you’re not doing things that subtract from making your goal setting a success. You can read about the dangers of goal setting here. Sometimes, we take our goal setting too far, and this can bring our self-confidence down and drain us of our goal setting excitement.
In sum, these are eleven ways that you can try to increase your confidence today. Experiment with them, and see what works for you. We’re also interested in your comments for what has worked for you personally.
How do you know if you have experienced and fallen prey to any of the dangers of goal setting? As an ambitious and busy woman, I have no doubt that you’ve fallen into a few of the following goal setting traps at one point or another. Here are some of the goal setting pitfalls to watch out for.
1. The Achievement Addiction
Have your goal setting efforts turned into an achievement addiction? Are you pursuing and working on your goals 24/7, without taking a break? The danger here is that you end up avoiding other important parts of your life including your health, relationships or leisure time. One danger of goal setting for women is when they cut themselves off from the people whom they are closet with. Women’s healthy relationships are a key element of their positive identity, and when they start isolating themselves from others for prolonged periods of times, they can feel depressed or irritable, or as though something is lacking in their lives.
2. Spiritual Starvation
Another danger of goal setting is that if you go overboard with achieving your goals, then you can experience a sense of spiritual void or starvation, or a sense of emptiness or loss of meaning and purpose in your life. This is interesting because isn’t goal setting supposed to be about increasing meaning and purpose in our lives? If you are filling every last minute and hour of your days or weeks with achieving your goals, and you’re feeling as though something is missing, then you should double check how much down time you’re giving to yourself.
3. Identity Confusion
One pitfall of goal setting gone too far is that women begin to base their identity on the results they are achieving through their goals. All women have goals that they are really serious about, and when something interferes or blocks the achievement of those goals, they are at risk for feeling down, ill, or unhappy. For example, a woman who’s goal is to have children, but cannot meet a partner or who cannot physically have children may suffer when her sole identity has been built on this picture of herself building a family. Likewise, the woman who invested her entire life only into her relationship with her partner and not her career can suffer when she experiences the transition of going through a divorce. The key is to have goals in various areas of our lives that we focus on – not just one area of our lives.
4. Goal Setting Failure
When we repeatedly try to achieve a goal or various goals, and we fail to reach those goals we are at risk for experiencing “failure”. This in turn can lead to a drastic drop in our self-confidence, or even our self-esteem (how much we like ourselves). Be aware of this goal setting pitfall. Have you noticed a difference in how you feel about yourself just because you haven’t achieved a goal that was important to you? If so, perhaps you should check how realistic your goal is. Are you expecting your goal to be achieved in too short of a time line? Do you have the right team of people in place? Are you basing your identity, pride, happiness and life satisfaction on the achievement of this goal? If so, you’re making a mistake, because there is always a chance that we might not achieve some of our goals. Remember, goals are meant to enhance our lives and our happiness, not detract from it.
5. Goal Setting Idolatry
Another drawback to goal setting is that sometimes we pursue a goal for the sake of the goal itself (idolatry), when in actuality that goal might not be important to us or congruent with our life values. For instance, sometimes a person sets a goal of making a certain amount of money, and you see them pursuing all these random business ideas that are not even aligned with who they are. I fell prey to this goal setting trap before. I wanted to make a lot of money and I had chosen real estate as the primary channel to pursue this goal. While there is nothing wrong with this, it eventually began to feel meaningless, and as if I was chasing an end result. While there was nothing wrong with my goal to make a lot of money, the means by which I was pursuing this goal wasn’t the most ideal. Another example of this would be a person who sets a goal to run 5k every day. If you ask them why they’re doing that, they might respond by telling you that their goal is to lose 10 pounds. But what if they get a knee injury? You might see them continue to run each day because they are so committed to losing those 10 pounds. However, if they were smart they would change their approach to achieving their weight loss goal. They are getting the ‘means’ of achieving their goal confused with the result that they are after. Stay attached to your outcome and the result that you are seeking, but be flexible in the means, approach or the ‘how’ behind your goal. Don’t just pursue a goal for its own sake. Ask yourself, “Why am I pursuing this goal?” “Is this goal still meaningful?” “Is there a better way to achieve this goal”?
6. The Goal Setting Marathon Lifestyle
After too marathoning on our goals for too long without taking a break, we are prone to goal setting burnout and stress. All big goals are likely to give us some stress, or even a lot of stress for short periods of time but if your experience of stress becomes prolonged over too many weeks, months or years, then your physical and psychological health is going to be in trouble. When was the last time you de-stressed and took a break from all your goals? I know I’m guilty of not taking breaks myself, and sometimes I pay the price. If you don’t keep your goal setting efforts in check then you will eventually feel as though you are exploiting your mind, energy and time. So, avoid the goal setting marathon way of living. It’s not healthy!
7. Overly Ambitious Approach
Are you setting too many goals and trying to achieve them all at once? While I’m all for capturing your many dreams and goals on paper, I’m not a big fan of trying to achieve them all at once. Some women go bonkers with trying to do, be and achieve everything all at once. What kind of lifestyle is that, and how are you supposed to enjoy yourself? Watch out for this goal setting trap.
These are some of the dangers of goal setting. Be aware of these goal setting pitfalls and traps so that you can take preventative measures to ensure that goal setting enhances your quality of life as opposed to decreasing it. For more resources and theory of goal setting click here.
How do we overcome a negative self-image? Every woman seems to have her own limiting beliefs regarding her self-image. Here are seven ways to overcome your limiting beliefs with respect to your image.
How to Overcome a Negative Self-Image – Body Shape Myth
1. Don’t believe that you need to be perfect, thin, at your ideal weight or have a certain type of body shape in order to have a great self-image. In order to overcome a negative self image you must realize that all shapes and sizes of women can look beautiful. I have worked with clients of all shapes and sizes, and I have noticed that some of the best looking and well put together women don’t have ideal body shapes or weight. Why is this? Simply put, they have worked on their own self-image and have invested the time into how to make themselves look their personal best.
Try an experiment to overcome a negative self-image. The next time you’re in a mall, or a public place, take note of women’s images, and notice what you find. You will quickly realize that many well put together women are not ideal stereotypes in terms of their height, shape, appearance and so forth. So, don’t believe in this myth that you need to have a certain type of figure in order to have a great self-image. A great self-image is built upon personal choices, actions and habits of how we put ourselves together each day. A great image is not built on genetics or body shape – that is a limiting belief in and of itself.
How to Overcome a Negative Self-Image – Age Myth
2. Realize that age has very little to do with having a positive self image. Don’t use this as an excuse. Once again, do an experiment and identify older women who have a positive self-image. What do they look like, how do they appear, and what do they say? It’s black and white thinking to believe that just because you are older you can’t have a great image. Remember, building a great image is a choice. As a more mature woman, you can still choose to create a wardrobe that is fashionable and that projects a positive image. If you believe you are too old to feel good about yourself, then that will become your reality.
How to Overcome a Negative Self-Image – Sexy is Good Myth
3. In order to overcome a negative self-image, it is important that you stop sexualizing yourself or seeing yourself as an object in which you are supposed to look a certain way. If you are wearing super tight clothes, showing too much cleavage up top or down below, then you’re probably drawing too much sexual attention to yourself, which can make you feel inferior and insecure as you are seeking approval and attention from the opposite sex. You’ll be less likely to be taken seriously in the business world. If what you’re wearing to work is something you’d wear out on a date, then don’t wear it. If you feel insecure about others looking at you or wondering if others might think your outfit is inappropriate, then don’t wear it.
How to Overcome a Negative Self-Image – Trendy Myth
4. It is a limiting belief to think that you need to be trendy in order to have a great self-image. There is a difference between being fashionable or stylish versus trendy. You can choose to put together a nice wardrobe and accessories based on your own unique preferences, colours and what looks good on your body. In order to overcome a negative self-image, you must follow your own rules, because you’ll be more self-confident. Also, ask yourself, what does trendy mean to you? This is all about choosing accessories that you like – not choosing something just because of a fad.
How to Overcome a Negative Self-Image – I Must Be Rich Myth
5. Money. A person does not need to have a lot of money in order to overcome a negative self-image. While some women will boast about the brand name clothes they buy, or the expensive hair salons that they go to, it is not mandatory to spend a lot of money on producing a great image. I have worked with clients in the past who have put together spectacular outfits largely from second hand stores. Identify just one or two very important pieces of clothing you need, and be sure it is high quality. Set your budget and stick to it. Be creative. Begin improving your self-image by analyzing your closet to see what nice outfits you already have. Take pictures of those outfits so that you remember all the great ‘looks’ that you have. Hang up the outfit on one hanger along with your matching jewellery sets and scarves as well. You might be surprised at what you already have in your closet without having to go out and spend more money.
How to Overcome a Negative Self-Image – Superficiality Myth
6. Many women have a limiting belief that paying attention to their image is too superficial. While image might not be a spiritual pursuit, investing time into your image has many benefits including increased self-confidence, self-esteem, and, according to many studies women (and men) are perceived as more valuable in the workplace when they have a great image. Whether or not it is superficial, your image can have a positive or negative impact on how others view you and treat you. Just remember, paying attention to your image is not superficial if you create a self-image that is unique to your own desires. Often times, people criticize looks they don’t agree with. So, ask yourself what image you would like to create for yourself? If you like it and it makes you self-confident, then it need not be thought of as a superficial pursuit.
There you have it – six reasons on how to overcome a negative self-image. Be sure to check out part of my goal setting program on how to identify and overcome limiting beliefs.