Confidence is a fickle customer. It feels like it's with us one minute, gone the next. And for some, it's never around at all.
Here are 7 steps to help you improve your self-confidence and finally start taking steps towards living the life you want to live.
"I'm a failure - I can never stick to things"
"I don't think I can do this"
"I wonder what other people are thinking of me"
These are the kinds of things a lot of my clients say to me - and more importantly, themselves - when they start out on their journey with me as their coach.
(If I'm being honest, they're the kinds of things I said to myself once upon a time too).
And those are the ones who have plucked up the courage and confidence to tell me. Hell, those are the ones who have managed to take any action at all.
Because often, those insecurities and lack of self-esteem paralyse us and prevent us from even believing that we can make a change in the first place.
After all, if you're going to fail anyway, there's no point in starting, right?
What makes it even more gut-wrenching is that I've yet to work with a single person who wasn't already capable and strong in their own way. Sometimes people just need a little help with the application of that strength.
Feelings of insecurity and low self-esteem don't have to govern your life. They're just feelings - part of a mindset that can change.
You CAN become more confident.
You CAN start taking action.
You CAN move a little closer to living the life you want to live.
In fact, you can start today. Here's how.
1. Remember that it's ok to fail
Failure is cool. In fact, it's a huge part of learning to do anything. There's no need to be scared of it or allow it to stop you from trying anything at all.
One of the most awesome things about watching kids figure things out is seeing them mess things up over and over again, and keep trying. Whether it's walking, talking, writing or playing sports...
...we all pretty much suck originally.
So when you're learning something new (health and fitness-related or otherwise), remember that failure is just part of the process. Something that you can learn from and use to get better next time.
Go out and fail at something today, then try again. It gets better.
2. Speak your mind
How often do you find yourself agreeing to things that you don't actually want (or even need) to do? Or saying things are ok when they really aren't?
You don't need to jump in at the deep end right away. Start off small and work your way up.
Send the food back if it's not what you ordered.
Say "I'm sorry, I can't" when you're asked to work late or through your lunch and you have other things you need to do (like eat a decent meal or see your kids before they go to bed).
And if a friend invites you over or asks you for a favour, but you know it's going to add a tonne of stress and pressure to your already jam-packed day? it's ok to say no to that too.
You can do all of those things and still be an ok person, honest.
3. Dress to impress
Freshen up, freshen up.
Yes, I stole that one from the aftershave guy in the toilets of a Romford nightclub.
But there's no doubt about it - when we look, smell and/or dress the part, we feel awesome.
Whether it's some buying some new workout clothes, spraying your favourite fragrance or digging your favourite shirt/dress out of the cupboard and wearing it, do something today that makes you feel a little more confident.
And don't forget to tell yourself how damn good you look.
4. Set yourself a small goal - and then achieve it
Big goals are scary. They're overwhelming. Sometimes, they even seem impossible.
Breaking them down into smaller, easier more manageable steps takes away a lot of those feelings.
And the little fist bumps you give yourself when you achieve those small goals can give you the confidence you need to keep on moving forwards.
You have to start somewhere...so start with where you're at.
For example, if you want to start eating healthier meals, you could start by looking up healthy recipes figuring out the ingredients you might need and writing a shopping list. Then you might move on to "batch cooking" healthy meals whenever you have time.
After a while, you might plan all your meals for the week and keep a food diary so that you can track what you're eating - but you might never feel the need to get to that stage.
Remember, your first goal is to look up the recipes and write a shopping list for the next time you head to the supermarket.
Move at your own pace, towards your own goals. Just get started.
5. Stop thinking about what could go wrong
Rather than constantly picturing the worst case scenario, think of all the times you've managed to handle - and even beat - challenging situations.
Because when it comes to life, nobody gets this far without handling some difficult s#*t.
Chances are, you're far more capable than you give yourself credit for. So you need to stop telling yourself that you can't face challenges, because you can. After all, you're still here, right?
6. Talk to yourself the way you would talk to a friend
Imagine your friend came to you for advice about something they were struggling with, or were feeling negative about themselves.
Would you kick them in the nuts and tell them they weren't good enough?
No. Or at least I really hope not.
So why would you do it to yourself?
You deserve the same level of respect and encouragement you would give to your pal.
Next time you're struggling or feeling less-than, give yourself a pep talk. List all the skills you have that make you perfectly capable of handling things. Basically, remind yourself how awesome you are!
7. Celebrate every win
I can't remember where I first heard this quote, but it went something like...
"Life's too short to go a day without celebrating something."
I try to remind myself of it every single day,
We have a habit of ignoring small accomplishments. Even if we feel a little pride, we quickly remind ourselves that it's no big deal and we should be able to do that kind of thing anyway.
Next time you achieve something, big or small, celebrate it. This doesn't have to mean a full on party with hats and balloons (though it definitely can mean that if you like), but it should at the very least mean a small, self congratulatory high five.
Hey, even of you try something and fail, give yourself some credit for trying in the first place. Because it means you'll know more when it comes to trying again. And that's how progress happens.
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