LISTEN TO YOUR THOUGHTS
It’s important to understand how your thinking patterns affect your confidence, so that you can manage negative thoughts and not let them hold you back. Take some time to reflect on how you have been speaking to yourself. Has your inner voice been constructive, helpful and supportive, or have you been beating yourself up? Would you speak to a friend in the same way that you have been speaking to yourself? Try to get your inner voice under control. When you hear yourself thinking a negative thought or telling yourself you’re not slim/fit/good enough, tell that inner voice to shut up. Or you can simply recognize the fact that your inner voice is there, and that it’s being critical, and just accept it as a thought. Thoughts are just thoughts, they aren’t necessarily reality.
OTHER PEOPLE’S OPINIONS
Even those who have a responsibility for our welfare or are closest to us can negatively influence our subconscious. Maybe you’ve never believed you can cook thanks to particularly quelling criticism from your teacher when you were young. Perhaps your sibling used to make hurtful comments about your appearance. Supercharging your confidence means identifying when your negative self-perception comes from someone else’s subjective opinion and is not a true measure of your worth and ability.
BE POSITIVE AND CONSISTENT
A positive mindset and consistent action will usually get you where you want to be, but if you don’t truly believe in your own abilities then you’ll lack motivation to commit 100 per cent to your ambitions. The first sign of any setback and you’ll be tempted to quit. You must believe in yourself even if others don’t. Remember their motivations may not be genuine if they are critical. They may not want you to succeed because they are envious or scared of losing you. Don’t get bogged down by negativity.
Meditation is a great way to calm the mind when you start overthinking or worrying about things. Find a quiet place and focus on your breathing: concentrating on this one thing will push other, disruptive thoughts out of your head. Deep breathing also allows more oxygen to enter your lungs, which is good for our immune systems as a good oxygen supply protects the body’s cells.
CHOOSE YOUR COMPANY CAREFULLY
The people around you should encourage and support you. If you tell someone you are going to change career or take up a new hobby, they should be supportive and offer their encouragement and not scoff at your ambitions. You should feel energized in their company. Make the right choices with the company you keep and you’ll be around people who inspire and motivate you.
TRACK YOUR PROGRESS
If you are trying to complete a certain task or goal such as losing weight, make a note of what you did well and how you are progressing. It will keep you motivated. Writing down what you did will help you to understand what is working and what isn’t, so that you can make changes or adjustments as you go along. It will also keep you motivated, as seeing your tasks written down will make you realize just how much you’ve accomplished and how far you’ve come.
TAKE CONSISTENT ACTION
This may sound simple, but you can build your confidence simply by taking action and getting things done. The more tasks you accomplish, the more confident you will feel. It’s like putting money into a savings account. Work on your “confidence account” by banking (accomplishing) tasks. Confidence comes from taking action. Don’t put things off. Every time you say you’re going to do something, and you put it off, your confidence can be negatively affected.
CRAFT A MORNING ROUTINE
A morning routine will give you structure and purpose. It will also give you a sense of “owning the day”, rather than the day owning you. It’s all too easy to wake up and find yourself at the mercy of emails or internet distractions, losing productive hours in the process. You can develop a morning routine that will help you get more things done by picking four things you think will help you focus. Many high achievers swear by exercising first thing – it boosts blood and oxygen flow to the brain, which will help with concentration, and it will help you start the day on a positive mental note too. Get up and drink a glass of water, then start the day with a 10- to 20-minute burst of exercise – a brisk walk or jog – write a quick to-do list of essential tasks, and get stuck into your list, crossing items off as you do them.
GET BETTER AT KEY TASKS
The more competent you are at certain tasks, the more confident you will be. Improve your skills and become more proficient at a given task or role. This will boost your confidence. Make time to perfect your skills or practise a new skill. For instance, maybe you feel your computer skills could be improved. There’s a wealth of free online tutorials on every aspect of using a computer. Set aside 15 minutes every day to learn how to get better at using a computer or certain software that would make your life easier by allowing you to accomplish more or work more efficiently.
WRITE DOWN GOALS
The act of putting pen to paper, or finger to keyboard, will help to reaffirm your goals. Write your goals down and keep them where you can easily see them, such as on your phone, on the fridge, in a diary or notebook you refer to regularly. This creates a strong form of motivation as it will be a constant reminder of your goals. It’s also important to make sure your goals are ones that genuinely motivate you – they should be your goals and no one else’s. Your goals should be about doing things you want to do because they mean something to you on a personal level. In other words, you’re not doing things to gain approval or external validation or reward from others.
SPEAK SLOWLY AND CLEARLY
Don’t mumble quietly or let your words tumble out. Speak clearly and concisely and people will be more inclined to listen. You’re more likely to be interrupted if you speak quietly or people can’t hear you clearly. Being interrupted is not good for self-esteem – there’s nothing worse than feeling that you’re not being heard.
Don’t blame others for things you did or didn’t do. If you meant to go for a run but you didn’t because your friend invited you to go shopping, it was your choice. No one has the ability to force you to do something. People may try to cajole you to eat the cake or “have one more drink” but if you don’t want to do it then don’t let them change your mind. If they truly respect you, they will respect your wishes. And if they don’t, they may be trying to sabotage your efforts. Do you really want to give them control over your actions?