Contrary to popular belief, it is absolutely possible for anyone to build confidence in a short amount of time.
The reason for this is because confidence is not some abstract concept but something that can be learned.
I firmly believe everyone has confidence in at least one thing even if it’s just their ability to make a decent cup of tea. And believe me, I say that as somebody who makes the worst tea ever.
Even better, when you actively seek to build confidence, you’ll also be developing your resilience.
This allows you to grow stronger in pretty much every area of your life but particularly your ‘bouncebackability’.
And who couldn’t use a little more of that? Not least because then we could lobby to get such a cool word in the dictionary.
So I guess the real question is, how do you take your confidence from one area of your life and apply it to another? How do you build confidence?
Here are 9 super simple ways to build confidence that you start working on today.
1.Start an ‘I’ve done’ list every morning
We all know and love that most famed of organization tools; the ‘To-Do’ list.
It’s also pretty universally accepted that no matter how hard you try, the to-do list is an ever-growing beast with no respect for how many hours there are in a day.
The problem is when you get to end of the day and you’ve added more things than you’ve crossed off. It makes you feel unproductive and inadequate and at worst, can knock your confidence in your ability to get things done.
Enter the ‘I’ve done’ list.
More often than not, we don’t complete the things on our list because we’re too busy doing other things instead. So every time you accomplish or complete a task throughout the day, add it to your ‘I’ve done’ list.
It may be a different set of activities than you set out to tackle but it provides an accurate reflection of just what you’ve achieved that day.
2. Stand Tall
Posture matters and how you stand affects how you feel.
You can test this pretty easily; stare down at your feet and force yourself as happy as you can. Now look up at the ceiling and feel as unhappy as you can. Notice the difference?
When you’re out and about, stand tall and don’t slouch. Or when you’re in and slothing (is that a word? If not, let’s add that to the dictionary too!), sit tall and don’t slouch.
When you walk, make sure the palms of your hands face in to the sides of your body, don’t hold them in front of you (this also puts your shoulder blades where they’re meant to be).
If you’re up for the challenge, channel your inner Wonder Woman and power pose. Or read this article by James Clear who explains it all quite brilliantly.
3. Remember to Breathe
Fear is the nemesis of confidence. It causes our bodies to fill with tension and clouds our thinking.
In any situation requiring confidence, it’s important to remain as clear-thinking as possible. The answer is to breathe.
This allows oxygen to travel to the brain and let you think clearly. Confidence requires oxygen. Put a different way, breathing literally feeds confidence.
So next time you could do with a little extra boost, take a great big deep breath. You will feel better immediately and more confident to face the situation before you.*
Smiling equals feeling more confident. Feeling more confident equals acting more confident.
Just like laughter, if you fake a smile for long enough, it becomes natural.
When we feel good, we feel more confident, and we then act more confident. So when you need a shot of confidence, even if you don’t feel like it, a big toothy smile is what’s required.
It will not only make you feel better but will help to increase your confidence levels.
5. Ditch the media
Here is a challenge for you; go on a media fast for a week. Or ‘digital detox‘, if you prefer.
That means no newspapers, no radio, no social media, no magazines, any of it. There’s so much negativity in the media that we become desensitized to it. We honestly don’t realize how damaging it is to our emotions.
It’s that constant drip-feed of negativity that all too often results in our confidence levels being undermined.
I know this challenge is a tough one so see how long you last. If you manage a week, notice how you feel at the end of it. In particular, how are your confidence levels?
If this all sounds too much, then you don’t have to do it alone. Sites like Time to Log Off offer some ideas around how to tackle this. And yes, I am aware of the irony in recommending an online resource to help with digital detoxing!
6. Color Your World
So many of us live in a world of muted, watered-down color. And that’s assuming there is color at all – it’s easy to exist in a world solely of gray buildings and beige foods.
Color directly affects our mood and impacts how we feel and behave. If you question this, then just search for ‘psychology of color and marketing’ and see what comes up.
So it just makes sense to include it in a positive way. When it comes to feeling more confident, orange is your go-to color. Look to include it in the things you wear such as a scarf or a
What’s that? You don’t care for orange as a color? Hey, me either. At least, it’s not one of my favourites.
Don’t worry. If you don’t like the colour orange, then placing a bowl of oranges close by you will help result in a similar effect.
It may sound crazy but don’t knock it till you’ve tried it. Experiment with shades of colours until you find the ones that work for you.
7. Put a toe outside your comfort zone
Confidence is like a muscle – the more you use it, the stronger it becomes.
The more you embrace a variety of rich experiences, the faster you’ll build confidence. But you can only do this by going outside your comfort zone.
Where it can go wrong is by trying to change too much, too fast. If the outcome isn’t the one you wanted then you’re far less likely to try it again.
The trick is to dip your big toe in the puddle immediately outside your current comfort zone, rather than jumping in feet first and hoping for the best.
Just try a tiny thing you wouldn’t normally do and see how it feels. The, the next day, try another small thing. Build up gradually.
Can’t think of anything?
Try smiling at a stranger.
It’s something we can all do but many of us are too scared to try it. If they don’t smile back, you’ve lost nothing.
If they do, that’s two people’s days that have just been made awesome.
Remember – this is definitely one for the ‘I’ve done’ list.
8. Reward Yourself
Bribery isn’t just for children and animals, it works with adults too.
The promise of a future reward can help us to overcome our present discomfort. It may not build confidence immediately but make a deal with yourself that if you face “x” scary situation now, you’ll allow yourself “y” later.
This will result in a long-term boost to your confidence. If you’re someone who doesn’t respond to promises of nice things in the future then that works too.
Promise yourself that if you don’t go through with”x” scary situation, you’ll have to do something you really don’t want to.
For example, promising to donate money to a cause you fundamentally disagree with, such as a political party you’d never vote for. That’s a pretty strong motivation to keep your promise to yourself.
When you keep promises you’ve made with yourself, you build confidence because you demonstrate you’re able to keep your word. This is a strength and one well worth practising.
Especially if there are lots of rewards at the end of it!
9. End the day as you started it
You started the day with a list, so let’s end the day with a list.
Take a moment to review your ‘I’ve done’ list. Allow yourself to acknowledge what you’ve achieved.
Now, on a clean sheet of paper/sticky/tab, write a Gratitude List. It doesn’t need to be long, three things will do the job. More is great, less is fine, it really doesn’t matter.
The important thing is to give yourself an opportunity to reflect on what has happened during the day that you’re grateful for.
Some people get hung up on this and think they have to identify ‘big’ reasons. Not true. You can be grateful for the tiniest things – they are just as important too.
It also doesn’t matter if you’re regularly practising gratitude for the same things – it means you won’t take them for granted.
Acknowledging what is good and positive in your world contributes to a healthy appreciation of what you have.
When we notice the good things, this reinforces our perception of our selves and helps to keep our confidence levels healthy and in tact. And all in less than 5 minutes at bedtime!
The great thing about these tips is that the more you do them, the easier they become and the more confident you will feel.
The trick is to take action. Confidence rarely comes from big, infrequent events in our lives. It’s the small, seemingly inconsequential actions we take every day that build confidence and make us stronger.
Which of these 9 tips do you already do? What tip isn’t on the list but is the one thing you do when you need more confidence?
Share what works for you in the comments below and let’s build confidence together!
*A long time ago, I attended a training session given by the Suzy Lamplugh Trust. I’ve never forgotten that the one takeaway was, if you ever find yourself in a dangerous situation, breathe.
That micro-second action can be the difference between a positive and a negative outcome. Although the work the Trust do may seem out of place in this article, I remembered this advice as I was writing.
They do fantastic work, albeit I wish it wasn’t necessary. If my highlighting this organization helps even one person in some small way, then I’m happy to include it in an otherwise light-hearted article. I hope you agree.