Did you know that nobody else can increase your self confidence? That only you can do it? When someone compliments you, or shows appreciation for you, that only ever maintains your current level of self confidence. It doesn’t increase it.
So if building confidence is a “solo” job, how can you increase it? What does it take?
I’ve found there’s two things that build your confidence. They are keeping promises to yourself and doing things right outside of your comfort zone.
1. Keep Promises to Yourself
Do you remember that night you said you were going to wake up early the next morning and then didn’t? Or that Monday you were going to start fresh on fueling your body well with greens and protein and then got too busy? Or that time you were going to workout and then got too tired?
When you make a promise to yourself and you don’t keep it, you erode trust with yourself. Think about it this way, if you told a friend you’d be over at 6 PM and you never show, he or she will start to doubt your integrity. That person will wonder if you are going to commit to something and not keep it again. Their trust in your word will begin to come into question. That’s what you’re doing to yourself. If a friend would start to distrust your word if you don’t show up, imagine how your inner self feels. It thought you were committed to doing something and you let it down.
Don’t let yourself down. You deserve better than that.
So how do you overcome it?
Show up. Make a plan. Keep the promise. Keep it when nobody’s watching. Keep it when it’s uncomfortable. Keep it when you don’t want to. When it’s too early, or you’re too tired, or you’re too busy. Keep the promise. Ask a friend or family member to hold you accountable. It’s harder to quit when someone’s expecting you to finish. Keep the promise. Show up. Finish the thing.
2. Move into Discomfort on Purpose
Math and science were never my strong subjects in high school. They required extra brain power that I just wasn’t ready to give. My high school self called them hard. My Dad called them necessary. In reality, they were just new and uncomfortable.
Learning new things can feel hard. It can make you squirm. It’s uncomfortable. The lessons are new. The brain actually has to create new pathways in order to connect and retain the new information. This changing of the brain is called neuroplasticity. Your brain literally changes when you learn new ideas and concepts. Which is why it feels hard. Because it is. You’re putting your brain to work.
Have you ever gone on a hike and after a while the trail started to become unclear? The path was not as wide or as clean. And there were branches and roots and trees covering the path. Then you realize you’re no longer on a marked trial but blazing your own way? It’s the same idea. These previously marked trails in your brain are clear. You’ve traveled them many times and they’re ingrained. But these new connections are just being blazed. You have to repeat the process or follow the trail a few times in order for it to become solidified and clear.
In order to increase your confidence you have to blaze new trails. Say yes to things that both excite and scare you. Over the last few years this has taken root in a variety of ways for me. It’s looked like taking a weekend trip alone, then a two week trip alone, then moving to a new state alone. It looks like training for a half marathon when I hadn’t run more than 2-3 miles regularly in years. It looked like joining a cycling studio and going to new places on my own like church or parks or restaurants in a new city. It looks like doing the things that are just outside of the comfort zone for me. For you these types things may be totally different. That’s totally okay. You do you.
By putting yourself in situations that are just outside of comfortable, you will show yourself you can do hard things. And keeping the promises to yourself and completing the hard things will increase your confidence.
Try these two ideas. I dare you. And then let me know how you feel afterword.