Reading self-improvement posts and books can be a good investment in yourself. But, unless and until you make a real effort to apply the strategies you read about to your life, little is likely to ever change. There is a huge difference between knowing how to do a push-up and doing 100 push-ups each day. Knowing what it takes to become self-confident will not get the job done. Application is critical!
Here is an 8-step Plan to take control of your self-confidence:
1. Embrace change. Change is uncomfortable, and there is a good reason for that. Scientists believe that humans are slow to change because whatever we are 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 could be a matter of life or death.
- Realize that the discomfort you feel when you try something new is simply your old instincts rising to the surface. Being uncomfortable usually is not a good reason not to try something. You can still move forward in spite of your discomfort.
- Be happy that you are feeling a bit uncomfortable. It means you are doing something that might actually change your life. Continuing with your comfortable behaviors will not make anything different happen in your life.
2. List the areas where your self-confidence is most lacking. I am a big fan of writing things out so we can see them clearly. Figure out where you are feeling a lack of confidence. It may be that your ability to learn a new skill or a setting that requires public speaking. It may 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, maybe you are worried that you will say something embarrassing or that your voice is not pleasant to listen to. If you are uncomfortable in social settings, maybe you believe that you are not interesting enough.
4. Find the fault with your beliefs. If, for instance, you are 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. This, however, does not give you an excuse not to deal with your weight if you think it unhealthy. But it alters you mindset about the connection between your weight and your romantic life. It presses you to investigate things.
- Engage in self-exploration by asking yourself a few probing questions.
- How did you develop this belief?
- Do you really know that it is true?
- Have you tested it?
5. Seek out a mentor. This does not 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 are experiencing some challenges. Ask for help from someone who is apparently comfortable in an area where you lack confidence, such as in dating situations or public speaking.
- It is much easier to be confident when you are an expert.
- Learn everything you can and you will 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. Not in a creepy way. Then progress to smiling and saying hello on the next trip. The next step could be to stop them and ask for directions.
- Being confident with one step makes the next step all the more possible.
7. Track your progress. It is important to see the progress you are making. Without progress, you will stick with the 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 way 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 can be very difficult to try new things or to grow as a person.
Create an action plan that addresses your self-confidence levels, and strive to achieve the level of confidence you desire and feel you deserve.