Reading self-improvement articles and books can be a good investment in yourself. However, unless you make a real effort to apply the strategies to your life, little is likely to change. There’s a big difference between knowing how to do a pushup and doing 100 pushups each day. Knowing what it takes to become self-confident won’t get the job done. Application is critical.
Follow this plan to take control of your self-confidence:
1. Embrace change. Change is uncomfortable, and there’s a good reason for this. Scientists believe that humans are slow to change because whatever we’re currently doing is perceived as successful. But, our ancient brains had a different idea of what constituted success. In the distant past, staying alive was challenging, and any new behavior might lead to death.
- Realize that the discomfort you feel when you try something new is simply old instinct rising to the surface. Being uncomfortable usually isn’t a good reason not to do something. You can still move forward in spite of your discomfort.
- Be happy that you’re uncomfortable. It means you’re doing something that might actually change your life. Continuing with your comfortable behaviors won’t make anything different.
2. List the areas where your self-confidence is most lacking. Figure out where you’re feeling a lack of confidence. It might be your ability to learn a new skill or a setting that requires public speaking. It might be in social situations.
- Once you target your weaker areas, you can start making the necessary adjustments.
3. Determine your beliefs surrounding the areas where you lack self-confidence. Sticking with the public speaking example, perhaps you’re worried that you’ll say something embarrassing or that your voice isn’t pleasant. If you’re uncomfortable in social settings, maybe you think that you’re not interesting enough.
4. Find the fault with those beliefs. If you’re uncomfortable in dating situations because of your weight, you could find examples of heavier people who have had a lot of success in romantic relationships.
- Engage in self-exploration by asking yourself some probing questions. How did you develop this belief? Do you really know that it’s true? Have you tested it?
5. Seek out a mentor. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to find a “guru” to hold your hand. But, there are plenty of people who have confidence in the area where you’re experiencing challenges. Ask for help from someone who’s comfortable in an area where you lack confidence, such as in dating situations or public speaking.
- It’s much easier to be confident when you’re an expert. Learn everything you can and you’ll feel better about yourself.
6. Start small, but get started. If you lack confidence in finding a potential romantic partner, try walking through the mall and making eye contact with those you find attractive. Then progress to smiling and saying hello. The next step could be to stop them and ask for directions. Being confident with one step makes the next one possible.
7. Track your progress. It’s important to see the progress you’re making. Without progress, you won’t stick with your plan. Measure your anxiety on a subjective 1 to 100 scale in different situations. Celebrate when you see progress!
8. Evolve your plan over time. Just as the same workout routine leads to stagnation, working on your self-confidence in the same fashion over a long period of time will lead to less than optimal results. Constantly evaluate and tweak your action plan.
If you lack confidence in yourself, it’s hard to try new things or grow as a person. Create an action plan that addresses your self-confidence levels, and strive to achieve the level of confidence you deserve.