What is Confidence and How Can I Be More Confident? 9 Scientific Strategies To Change Your Life…

Daily and weekly strategies that actually work

Goal Setting Makes Mojo Happy

By Coach Mojo

You’re here because you want to know what confidence is and learn how to be more confident.

And considering there are a bajillion articles out there on the subject, I’m guessing this isn’t your first rodeo — and that you’re still experiencing confidence issues, be it low self-esteem, social anxiety, negative thoughts, or a harsh inner critic.

Welcome to the promised land, my friend.

Let this be your “one-stop-shop” guide to living a more confident life, using proven tools that build your confidence muscles starting right here, right now. In this article, we’ll learn:

▸ What confidence really is (spoiler: most of us have it wrong)
▸ Why confidence matter so very much
▸ How to identify our “ideal zone” of confidence
▸ The three phases of confidence
▸ Key techniques to build our confidence
▸ Daily 5-10 minute challenges to practice these tools moving forward
▸ A one-week confidence boosting plan to try right away

Why should you trust me?

I’m writing this with years experience working with a team of some of the best high-performance coaches in the country. You might even call them “confidence coaches.” They’ve coached top performers — including Olympians, military leaders, and CEO’s (among many others) — in skills that help them perform their absolute best, even under tremendous amounts of pressure.

“Skills? Performance? Pressure? What’s any of this got to do with becoming more confident?”

All will become clear, I promise. It’s just that there’s a LOT of misinformation floating around. So before we get to the tools, first allow me to untangle a few confidence webs.

Confidence Can be Learned

white book on white table

Confidence isn’t something we’re born with or destined to die without. Studies show we can learn to be more confident by building specific mental skills, like training our muscles at the gym.

I’m not talking about a temporary confidence boost. No empty platitudes on self-esteem or cutesy motivational quotes that seem to be popular with the aunts on social media (no offense aunties)…

I am talking about actionable techniques that lead to true self-confidence for life. Period.

Confidence isn’t something we’re born with or destined to die without. Research shows we can learn to be more confident by building specific mental skills, like training our muscles at the gym.

So, what is confidence, really?

Confidence — real, earned, dirt-under-the-fingernails confidence — is the belief that we’ll perform our best when it matters most.

We strengthen that belief by training specific skills that make us better at… well… whatever it is we’re trying to achieve (more on this later)! These skills include:

  • Talking to ourselves with kindness
  • Breathing deeply and intentionally
  • Setting goals and achieving them
  • Controlling our focus and attention
  • Managing anxiety
  • Staying resilient through set-backs
  • Journaling to track progress and evaluate results
  • Resting and recovering fully
  • Connecting with the people around us
  • Loving ourselves, no matter what

Taken this way, confidence is NOT akin to self-esteem: our evaluation of our own worth.

Confidence lies more at the crosshairs of “self-efficacy” and our “locus of control”…

  • Self-efficacy: our belief in our ability to execute an action successfully
  • Locus of control: our sense that we have influence over an outcome (rather than outside factors like “luck”)

So it’s our belief that we can execute actions successfully, and that we have control over that success.

Later on, I’ll teach you some specific techniques you can practice to sharpen this confident mindset. And when we start to master them, we reach higher levels of optimism, motivation, and success. Which brings me to my next point…

Confidence Matters A LOT

Studies find a confident mindset is critical for success across nearly every facet of life, including — athleticsleadershipgroup workeducationspeaking… heck, even in caring for dental patients. Which is to say, when we improve our confidence, we improve our life.

It goes back to my previous point: CONFIDENCE CAN BE LEARNED.

By training those aforementioned skills, we learn to attack our goals strategically, try harder, persist longer, and bounce-back stronger.

We gain the courage to step outside our comfort zone, knowing yes, there will be fear; yes we’ll make mistakes; yes we could fail… spectacularly so, but in the words of Samuel Beckett

“Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”

It’s all part of the road to succeeding in the things that matter most to us.

And the more we succeed → the more confident we become → which drives more success → which drives more confidence.

In other words, actions of confidence come before feelings of confidence. And once we reap the benefits of those actions, the chips start to fall, and we enter a big, beautiful self-actualizing cycle of confidence:

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn

Confidence is Unique to Each of Us

Have you ever witnessed a “confident person,” and thought to yourself, “Man, I could never be like that…”?

Now let me ask you this: Why the heck should you?!

You aren’t them! Besides, you have no idea what they or anyone else is really feeling on the inside.

So the first questions we need to ask ourselves are: Who am I? What do I want to be more confident in? And why?”

1) WHO AM I?

Whenever I pose this question, the discussion always gravitates toward gender. It makes sense considering our society is plagued by a “Confidence Gap” in our society, where women tend to experience low confidence more than men.

Some good news: The tools I’ll show you later are universal (meaning they’re equally effective for men and women). So right now, I’m less interested in your gender, and more interested in your temperament:

Are you an introvert or an extrovert? Assertive by nature, or a little more passive? An impulsive go-getter, or a tactical strategizer?

Confidence isn’t about becoming a new person — you are unique, and I’d prefer to keep it that way. The techniques I’ll show you, on the other hand, are universal. Which means you can totally have your cake and eat it too.

Now, take some time in answering the following question in your head:

Who am I, and who do I want to be?

If you’re struggling, try picturing an idol with the temperament you’d most like to embody in your truest, most confident self.

When you’re ready, let’s move on.

2) What do I want to be more confident in?

 

Do you want to be a more confident business leader? A more confident speaker? A more confident job interviewer?

The required physical skills might be different for each of these goals. Sometimes, confidence means laying down the law. Other times, confidence means listening with a careful ear.

The good news is… the techniques I’ll show you are universal (this bears repeating)!!! Have cake. Eat cake. And all that jazz.

Now, same drill as above. Try to answer this question in your head:

What do I want to be more confident in right now? What area — personal or professional — do I most want to grow in?

When you’re ready, let’s move on.

3) Why do I want to be more confident?

Do you want to set a good example for your children? Prove your capabilities to yourself? Knock a chip off your shoulder? Make a lot of money?

Building the necessary skills to live a more confident life takes work — knowing “why” you’re chasing that dream motivates the journey (and that’s a scientific fact). Like a meaningful photo in our wallets, our values give meaning to our mission, helping us pick ourselves up when we fall, and give the extra 10% when we need it.

You know the drill:

Why do you want to be more confident? Said another way, what is your deepest value that will motivate you through the highs and lows of your confidence journey?

When you’re ready, let’s move on…

Confidence is about “Balance”

When we have low confidence, we don’t act; we don’t push ourselves hard enough or take the risks necessary to grow.

But let’s take a moment to consider the opposite:

Ever go to a stand-up show with a friend, who confidently declares: “Psh, I could do that!”

Yeah… that friend.

But put a mic in their hand and send ‘em on stage, they’d probably go something like…

Scared Ll Cool J GIF by Lip Sync Battle - Find & Share on GIPHY

This is what’s known as the “Dunning-Kruger Effect.” Dibs on that band name.

What is The “Dunning-Kruger Effect”?

The “Dunning-Kruger effect” is a cognitive bias in which people wrongly overestimate their knowledge or ability in a specific area. It tends to occur because a lack of self-awareness prevents them from honestly assessing their own abilities.

Essentially, it’s a scientific term for “overconfidence.” Or, as 17-year-old Allison He described it in the New York Times, it’s how “incompetence begets confidence.” And the truth is, many of us experience it.

The concept was crystalized in a 1999 study by psychologists David Dunning and Justin Kruger, who tested participants on grammar, logic, and sense of humor.

What they discovered was that the worst performers — the bottom quartile — rated their abilities as far above average. The conclusion?

  • Those with limited knowledge tend to overestimate their skill-level in domains in which they have little to no expertise.

It’s not a matter of intelligence, either. People with high intelligence in one area tend to attribute that intelligence to other areas they lack knowledge in. Which is all to say, Dunning-Kruger can affect anyone!

This type of overconfidence has the opposite effect of underconfidence —

We’re unlikely to properly assess risk before jumping into the deep end. We’re also unlikely to break down big tasks into smaller component parts, and put in the real effort to build our capabilities.

And then there’s a third pesky variable…

Imposter Syndrome (dun dun dun)

This is what happens when we’re fully capable of achieving our goals — maybe we’re even high achievers already — but something in our minds continues to tell us “we aren’t good enough.”

It’s like we’re a superhero: strong, fast, and gifted. But every time we look in the mirror, we see a scared, small, vulnerable reflection — not the talented, unique force we actually are.

If you’ve ever experienced imposter, know that you’re in good company: Research shows that 70% of us will feel this way at some point (though like other confidence issues, it disproportionately affects women, especially women of color).

Stacked odds, lack of role models, and negative self-talk all team up to impress this feeling of inadequacy. But the truth is, Imposter Syndrome can strike anyone at any time, regardless of gender, age, or confidence level.

The good news: Just like with other confidence issues, the tools I’ll teach you can help flatten the curve, and lead to a sustainable path of self-improvement, achievement, and the confidence that goes with it.

Like all things in life, balance is key:

We find our “zone of ideal confidence” by building the skills that grow confidence, while humbly acknowledging that the more we know, the more we don’t know — and accepting that like all good things in life, building confidence takes time. And we deserve to love ourselves the whole way through.

Building Confidence Isn’t Linear

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn

Confidence is like swimming in the ocean. Sometimes, self doubt pushes our head below water. Other times, we ride high on a wave of confidence, surfing into the sunset. Right up until… CRASH. We plummet again.

No matter how much we work on our confidence, we’ll always experience both: the highs and the lows… and somewhere in between. Our goal isn’t to eliminate the modulation, it’s to minimize the treading, generate our own waves, and learn to surf them for longer.

This is why improve true confidence requires a mastery of various tools for different purposes:

Goal Setting and Planning tools to create waves.
Energy and Focus tools to help us catch them.
Motivation and Optimism tools to ride them longer.
Resiliency tools to resurface when we crash.
Connect tools to guide us, and save us when we’re drowning… like an instructor!
Rest, Recovery, and Reflection tools to help us prepare for our next session.

See how that works? Cool. Then I think it’s about time we dive into the tools!

Proven Tools to Build Confidence Across 3 Phases

Remember how earlier I explained that confidence is conditional, based on who we are and our unique performance goals? That’s true.

But I ALSO said the tools are universal. Meaning an angsty teen studying for their ACT and a valedictorian preparing for a job interview with a fortune 500 company can use the same tools to build their confidence for their respective goals, and apply them in different ways.

It’s all about training our skills across three different phases of any performance, all of which come together to boost our confidence in a big way.

Phase #1: Preparation
Phase #2: Execution
Phase #3: Recovery and reflection

In a moment, I’ll break down some of the tools and techniques that fall under each phase.

NOTE: Don’t worry about incorporating all of these practices into your daily routine right away. Just pick a couple to try for a few days or a week, maybe one from each phase, and see how it goes. If a particular tool helps, keep using it! If not, try something else.

Alright, let’s get into it!

Phase 1: Preparation

Timing: This is the part of the confidence journey that occurs anywhere from months before a performance, to the minutes leading up to it.

Goals of Phase 1:
▸ To set measurable and achievable goals for ourselves — both short and long term
▸ To surround ourselves with people who will encourage us
▸ To stay optimistic and motivated in our pursuit
▸ To prepare our emotional energy in the minutes or hours before the event, so we feel appropriately “hyped” or “calm” going into it

Three Tools to help:

Set "STEP" Goals

Did you know research finds only 8 percent of people actually hit their New Year’s goals? That’s because of our collective pitfall of setting HUGE goals with no clear plan of attack, or strategy to hold ourselves accountable.

Now, there are tons of goal-setting frameworks out there, from SMART goals, to DUMB goals, to CLEAR goals. Well, we’ve distilled decades of research into a goal-setting framework that rises above the rest. We call it:

The “STEP” model of goal setting.

Think of STEP goals like the destination in our internal GPS providing us clear, turn-by-turn directions to our future. They have the following attributes that make them so effective. They’re:

S — Specific ⟶ Including a number and time
T — Tappable ⟶ We can use our environment, including family and friends, to help us
E — Energizing ⟶ Linked to our most meaningful values
P — Practical ⟶ In our control with 70% completion target

Let’s solidify this with a quick case study:

Meet Maria. Maria has a goal to “get fit.” A fairly common goal, but not necessarily a “well-designed” goal. Let’s illustrate how she can transform this into a STEP goal:

Specific → Get 30 minutes of activity at least 4 times per week
Tappable → Maria will “tap” into her surroundings by keeping a workout calendar on her fridge
Energizing → Getting fit is important to Maria to set a good example for her kids
Practical → Can she complete her specific workout 70% of the time? Absolutely!

See how much more specific, achievable, and meaningful that is than “I want to get fit?”

Maria came up with simple, numerical targets. She made a quick change to her environment to “tap” her mind about her goal. She attached a deep, personal reason to achieve it. And she made sure it was doable a high percentage of the time.

In short, Maria made her first very first STEP goal: “Getting 30 minutes of activity at least four times a week, to set a good example for her kids.”

Try setting one for yourself — whether it’s something you’re trying to achieve 10 years from now, a week from now, or by the end of the day! And the more often we achieve our goals, the more confident we become.

Connect with your “Village”

Our “Village” — or our network of friends and family — can do a lot for us. Research finds our “village” can help hold us accountable, enhance our well-being, and provide a massive boost in resilience. Here’s what Olympic Sprinter Georganne Moline has to say on it:

Play Video

Georganne’s feelings are fully validated by science! American Psychological Association writes:

“Connecting with empathetic and understanding people can remind you that you’re not alone in the midst of difficulties. Focus on finding trustworthy and compassionate individuals who validate your feelings, which will support the skill of resilience.”

I mean, just consider a time you felt down on your luck, frustrated, or ready to give up. What could a good conversation with a good person have done for you?

‣ Provided guidance?
‣ Accountability?
‣ Perspective?
‣ Encouragement?
‣ Validation?
‣ Distraction?

Each of these necessities has its time and place.

So here’s one practice you can try — in the morning, plan your day by asking yourself four questions:

1. What do I need help with today?
For example…
👉 I’m not feeling motivated at all today.

2. Who will I reach out for help today, and how will I do it?
👉 I’ll text my best friend after I shower.

3. What can this person offer me?
👉 She knows me well enough to know when I need to take it easy, or a kick in the rear.

4. What can I offer this person?
👉 I can tell them how much I appreciate them.

That’s an example of using our “village” to stoke our motivation; one of many things it can do for us! And the more motivated and connected we feel in our lives, the more confident we become.

Visualize Success

When Arnold Schwarzenegger was just a small fry — okay, maybe a large “small fry” — new to the body building scene, he swore by the power of visualization to meet his goals.

“I had this fixed idea of growing a body like Reg Park’s [another famous bodybuilder],” he’s said. “The model was there in my mind; I only had to grow enough to fill it.”

We in the science community call this “success-based visualization,” where we imagine in our mind’s eye what success will not only look like, but what it will feel like.

Detailed visualization has numerous proven benefits, including:

▸ Enhanced motivation and optimism
▸ A boost in self-efficacy
▸ Reduced anxiety
▸ Increased likelihood of hitting our goals

Why does it work? Let’s turn to the science!

The brain can’t distinguish between vivid imagination and reality. So vividly visualizing ourselves experiencing success allows our brain to live it — which leads to increased positive affect, confidence, and motivation.

It’s why Arnold didn’t just think to himself, “I’d like to be a champion bodybuilder someday.”

He visualized a specific body — his idol’s body — and envisioned his own body growing to that size. He allowed himself to “feel” that feeling of physical strength, mass, and the success that comes with it. Then he set a training schedule to help himself get there.

So here’s one practice you can try — in the morning, plan your day by asking yourself three things:

1. What’s one thing I have coming up that I really want to feel confident for?
For example…
👉 I have an important soccer match tonight.

2. What will success feel like? (Be specific)
👉 It’ll feel effortless, as I’m locked in on my job as a midfielder. I’ll have complete awareness on defense, and be aggressive on offense.

3. What will I do to celebrate my success after?
👉 I’ll have a milkshake with my mom!

See how that works? By visualizing your upcoming successful performance in detail, you give yourself a proven performance edge! So you can go into each performance feeling more prepared and confident.

Develop a “Pre-Performance Routine”

Ever watch a basketball game, and notice a player spin the ball in their hands and take a deep breath before shooting a freethrow? It’s an easily overlooked routine, but a crucial one to be sure (and the reason Steph Curry will hustle you at pool).

In science terms, we call this a “Pre-Performance Routine” (PPR), defined as “a series of task relevant thoughts and actions that a person engages in systematically prior to the performance of a specific skill.” (Moran, 1996)

A good PPR can help pump us up before a performance or event, or cool us down if we’re feeling overly anxious.

Pre-performance routines typically include:

▸ A energy regulation technique (like listening to “pump up” or “cool down” music)
▸ A self-talk phrase (like, “you got this”)
▸ And a physical motion to prime the body (like taking a deep breath or doing jumping jacks)

When used in combination, either immediately before an event or in the minutes leading up to it, PPR’s are a powerful force for managing and maintaining high-performance.

Here’s one practice you can try to help build a PPR — in the morning, plan your day by asking yourself three things:

1. What’s one thing I have coming up that I really want to feel confident for?
For example…
👉 I have a job interview coming up at 2 pm.

2. How do I usually feel, physically and emotionally, going into these sorts of situations?
👉 I usually feel really nervous. My heart pounds and I start to sweat.

3. What’s a song I can listen to in the 10 minutes before this even to help regulate my energy, and why?
👉 I’ll listen to 90’s R&B because it makes me feel happy, but also calms me down.

4. What’s a self-talk phrase I can say to motivate myself, and show myself some self-love?
👉 I am capable. I am ready. I am loved.

5. What’s a physical motion I can do to prime my energy?
👉 I can close my eyes, and breathe deeply — in through my nose, and out through my mouth.

Just like that, I’ve developed a three-step PPR I can use to manage my energy and feel confident going into my job interview. And you can follow these same steps to feel confident for your own performances!

Okay, now that you have some tools to help you prepare your confidence for a performance or event, let’s explore some tools you can use when zero hour arrives.

Phase 2: Performance

Timing: You’re on stage, in the room, on the court, behind the podium, or opening your mouth to ask out that special someone you’ve been crushing on for months — this is the part of the confidence journey known as “go time.”

Goals of Phase 2:
▸ To maintain our focus
▸ To coach ourselves with motivational self-talk
▸ To keep our energy levels where we need them
▸ To practice good situational awareness

Three Tools to help:

View Your Focus as an everlasting “Spotlight”

Ever hear someone say they “lost their focus”? They didn’t. Because the truth is, focus can’t be lost.

Think of your focus like an everlasting spotlight — always shining on something. Right now, your spotlight is on these words as you read this text. Lift your eyes, and your spotlight will follow. Close your eyes, and your spotlight will shine on your thoughts.

This concept is powerful for two reasons:

1. If we never “lose” our focus, that means it’s always in our control
2. If it’s in our control, we have the ability to direct and redirect it as we please

Through conscious awareness and practice with various techniques (stay tuned) we earn the ability to focus better, and quickly redirect it when it gets tugged away by distractions.

So here’s one practice you can try — throughout the day, simply bring awareness to your attention, and try to see it as a spotlight. Especially during important parts of your day, notice where your spotlight goes, and consciously try to “shine” it on the most important thing at any given moment.

Then at night, reflect on the experience. Think about the parts of your day where you felt most in control of your spotlight, and the times you didn’t. When you got distracted, where did your spotlight go? Did it wander to YouTube videos? Or a nagging thought? Or a rumbling stomach?

These are important first steps in reconfiguring how you see your focus, and maintaining focal control. The more we practice, the more confident we can feel in our abilities.

Ask yourself “What’s Important Now?”

Have you ever felt your focus wander during a performance — where you became so flustered, you forgot all the little details you’d practiced a million times?

When our focus drifts, most of us tell ourselves to “snap out of it.” But those orders are empty. They don’t really prompt us to “do” anything.

Let’s return to the same scenario… You’re giving that speech, and your focus is slipping. Only this time, you ask yourself: “What’s Important Now?” Then answer decisively and specifically: “Take a sip of water.”

Congrats! You’ve instantly conjured a plan to calm your mind, and bought yourself some time. So after your water break, you’ll be back on track!

This is a technique called “What’s Important Now?” or “WIN” for short. It’s one of several techniques to quickly redirect our focus when it wanders toward distractions — either around us or in our own heads.

So here’s one practice you can try — in the morning, plan your day by asking yourself three things:

1. What’s one thing I have today that I want to feel confident for?
For example…
👉 I’m talking to my Mother In Law about my new job.

2. What question will I ask if I start to feel my focus slipping? (Hint: “WIN”)
👉 “What’s Important Now?”

3. What’s one important thing that can help me stay focused throughout this event — one possible answer to “What’s Important Now?”
👉 “Ask a question.” Because if there’s one thing I know, it’s that my MIL loves talking about herself. And that’ll give both of us something new to focus on.

So now, I can go into that conversation feeling confident that even if my focus wanders, I have a technique and a plan to redirect my focus and stay present.

Develop a Motivational “Self-Talk” phrase

We can practice and practice and practice. But when zero hour arrives, the pressure of the moment can feel like it tips the ground sideways.

Ask yourself this: Where is this pressure coming from? Your family? Your friends? Well… maybe a little. But are they really going to abandon you if this “thing” — however important it may be — doesn’t go well? Of course not!

When we stop to think about it, most of the pressure we feel in the heat of a moment is self-imposed. We’re the ones treating it like a life-or-death scenario. We’re the ones raising the stakes. But it’s all in our minds!

The fact is, no matter what happens in a given moment — whether we lose or win the game, nail or bomb a pitch, get a “yes” or a “no” after asking someone out on a date — our lives will go on. Our families will continue to love us. And, most importantly, we should continue to love ourselves.

That’s where a motivational “self-talk” phrase becomes so important. By repeating the phrase just before and throughout a performance, we give ourselves the coaching we need to to both lower the stakes, and the motivation to do our absolute best.

Let’s hear from Olympian Georganne Moline on it:

Play Video

So here’s one practice you can try — in the morning, plan your day by asking yourself three things:

1. What’s one motivational self-talk phrase I can create for myself?
For example…
👉 I am loved. I am worthy. I am capable.

2. What’s one big challenge I anticipate facing today?
👉 I’m presenting at a meeting today in front of my entire team and boss.

3. Can I commit to saying this simple self-talk phrase during the meeting if I feel my anxiety growing?
👉 Absolutely!

Now you have a plan to motivate yourself through one big challenge you know you’ll face today!

You also have three tools to help you execute confidently, even when the pressure mounts. Now, let’s explore some tools to help us with the third and final phase for living confidently…

Phase 3: Rest and Recovery

Timing: After you’ve finished your performance or event — from the seconds after, to the days and weeks beyond.

Goals of Phase 3:
▸ To maintain a healthy perspective
▸ To learn and grow from our experience
▸ To stay resilient
▸ Give yourself ample recovery
▸ Get good quality sleep

Three Tools to help:

Use “Balanced Critique” Journaling to Regularly Improve

There’s a reason Artificial Intelligence will eventually take over the world: With the right programming, they’ll learn to analyze data to continuously grow stronger and smarter until not even Will Smith can save us.

Now imagine if you could apply that same theory to yourself — if you could learn from your good and bad experiences alike to improve your behaviors over time. Well, that’s precisely what the “Balanced Critique” reflection tool was designed to do!

Rather than evaluating our behaviors as “good” or “bad, we analyze ourselves as objective data points by using two simple observations:

▸ One specific thing we did and want to KEEP DOING
▸ One specific thing we want to DO DIFFERENTLY

Then, we take action by doing both of those things next time around. So we create a condition where we avoid self-judgement, and focus on pure, consistent growth that compounds over time.

So here’s one practice you can try — at night, reflect on your day by asking yourself three questions:

1. What’s a behavior I’ve been trying to improve?
For example…
👉 Staying more focused while working from home.

2. What’s one specific thing I did today, and want to keep doing?
👉 I switched rooms from my office to my living room midway through the day, and that really helped, so I’ll keep doing that.

3. What’s one specific thing I want to do differently?
👉 I found myself getting antsy, so tomorrow, I’ll take a 30 minute break after lunch to go for a walk or run.

See how that works? Now, I have an actionable plan to improve my focus for working from home tomorrow. And at the end of tomorrow, I can do the same thing again!

It’s for this reason, you can use balanced critique for literally years, to continuously improve your desired behavior(s), and live more confidently.

Develop a “Growth Mindset” to stay resilient

Are you your own worst critic? Sometimes we all are.

Unfortunately, our “demon voice” can prevent us from seeing adversity for what it really is: a golden opportunity for growth. In fact, research finds highly resilient people are often the ones who’ve experienced the most set-backs!

We grow when we mine our adversity for lessons learned and opportunities to change for the better. It’s not always easy, but once it becomes a habit, we start to see adversity accompanied by a blinking red sign that reads “OPPORTUNITY FOR GROWTH!!!” And our mental strength blossoms.

So here’s one practice you can try — at night, reflect on your day by asking yourself three things:

1. What’s one obstacle I faced today?
For example…
👉 I’m trying to get fit, and I ate a whole bag of chips, skyrocketing my calorie count for the day, and I’m feeling guilty.

2. What’s one thing I can take from this experience to help me grow?
👉 If I can eat a healthier snack instead, I’ll feel better about myself.

3. What’s a step I can take to lock in this takeaway, or remember the lesson for next time?
👉 I can put apples in a visible place, and put chips on a high shelf to reinforce the habit.

See how that works? We take control over adversity with a plan to mitigate in the future. And that makes us more resilient people, and more confident people.

Develop a Bedtime Routine to get Good Sleep

From sports psychology, we understand recovery is critical for our focus, to emotional regulation, and effective decision-making. In fact, sleep has been identified as the number one performance enhancer.

Which means those all-nighters aren’t actually doing us any favors.

Unfortunately, we are paradoxical beings. Under times of stress — when we need sleep more than ever — our bodies seem to reject it. Our minds play “thought roulette,” and we struggle to fall asleep, or wake up early.

Bedtime routines to the rescue!

Research finds we need at least 30 minutes of unwinding before we get into bed. Your room should be dark, cool, but not too cool, and please — take a break from the screens (SAY IT LOUDER FOR THE PEOPLE IN THE BACK!). You can also engage in some relaxation activities, like reading or guided meditation.

So here’s one simple practice you can try — in the morning, plan your day by asking yourself two questions:

1. What time am I targeting for my bedtime tonight?
For example…
👉 10:30 pm

2. How will I unwind for 30 minutes prior?
👉 I’ll read for a half hour before bed.

It’s not complicated. But creating an actual plan improves our follow through, and in the case of sleep, those extra ZZZ’s help us feel more energized and confident for whatever the day may bring.

Remember, living confidently doesn’t mean doing all of these, all the time. Try one or two, give it a week, and see how you feel. If your confidence improves, great! Keep rolling with that technique. If not, try something else! If you’re not sure where to start, let me help.

A “Week-One Plan” to Become More Confident

With all these tools, you might be wondering where to start. My recommendation is to string two powerful tools together, sprinkling a few other tools along with it:

1) Create a “STEP” Goal for the week
2) Pick tools to try every day to support your journey
3) Track your progress using Balanced Critique!

Here’s what that can look like…

 

Day 1:

Morning Plan: Set a STEP goal for the week. Whatever it is you’re trying to achieve, whether that’s improving a behavior (like eating healthier), or reaching a goal (trying to nail an upcoming presentation or exam).

Whatever you choose to pursue, turn it into a “STEP” goal for the week. Remember, that’s…

‣ S — Specific ⟶ Including a number and time
‣ T — Tappable ⟶ We can use our environment, including family and friends, to help us
‣ E — Energizing ⟶ Linked to our most meaningful values
‣ P — Practical ⟶ In our control with 70% completion target

Write out your STEP goal for the week: _______________________________

Nightly Reflection: At the end of the day, use a “balanced critique” reflection to reflect on your day, and create an action plan to stay on track. Ask yourself:

‣ What’s one specific thing I did today, and want to keep doing?
‣ What’s one specific thing I want to do differently?
‣ How will I incorporate both of these things tomorrow?

Day 2:

Morning Plan: Set an intention for the day, calling back to your balanced critique from the day before. Something like, “today, I’m going to eat oatmeal for breakfast instead of sugary cereal.”

Nightly Reflection: Continue to use a “balanced critique” reflection to reflect on your day, and create an action plan to stay on track. Ask yourself:

‣ What’s one specific thing I did today, and want to keep doing?
‣ What’s one specific thing I want to do differently?
‣ How will I incorporate both of these things tomorrow?

Day 3:

Morning Plan: Think of a friend or family member — someone from your “Village” — whom you can use as an accountability buddy. Pick a time to call them, and tell them about the goal you’re pursuing.

Nightly Reflection: Continue to use a “balanced critique” reflection to reflect on your day, and create an action plan to stay on track. Ask yourself:

‣ What’s one specific thing I did today, and want to keep doing?
‣ What’s one specific thing I want to do differently?
‣ How will I incorporate both of these things tomorrow?

Day 4:

Morning Plan: Decide on an environmental “enabler” you can add to motivate you in your goal. For example, keeping healthy snacks in plain sight if your goal involves eating healthier.

Nightly Reflection: Continue using a “balanced critique” reflection to reflect on your day, and create an action plan to stay on track. Ask yourself:

‣ What’s one specific thing I did today, and want to keep doing?
‣ What’s one specific thing I want to do differently?
‣ How will I incorporate both of these things tomorrow?

Day 5:

Morning Plan: Decide on an environmental “blocker” you can remove to help motivate you in your goal. For example, picking blocks of time to shut your phone throughout the day if your goal involves staying more productive at work.

Nightly Reflection: Continue using a “balanced critique” reflection to reflect on your day, and create an action plan to stay on track. Ask yourself:

‣ What’s one specific thing I did today, and want to keep doing?
‣ What’s one specific thing I want to do differently?
‣ How will I incorporate both of these things tomorrow?

Day 6:

Morning Plan: Develop a motivational self-talk phrase to keep you optimistic in your pursuit.

Nightly Reflection: Continue using a “balanced critique” reflection to reflect on your day, and create an action plan to stay on track. Ask yourself:

‣ What’s one specific thing I did today, and want to keep doing?
‣ What’s one specific thing I want to do differently?
‣ How will I incorporate both of these things tomorrow?

Day 7:

Morning Plan: Decide on a break or reward you’ll give yourself at the end of the day to celebrate your pursuit, whether or not you ultimately hit your goal!

Nightly Reflection: Reflect on your week’s goal, and the things that helped or hurt you in your pursuit. Then, decide if you want to set another STEP goal (even if it’s the same one) for the following week. Finally, pick a time tomorrow to text your accountability buddy, and let them know how the week went!

Technically, you could repeat this week-long confidence plan for months or even years if it’s working for you!

Here’s the Takeaway

Confidence is something each and every one of us has the ability to develop. Yes, it takes practice. No, it won’t be a straight path forward.

BUT — when we dedicate ourselves to the cause, and work with the proven tools herein, we lead better, more confident, and more successful lives.

If you ask me, that’s a journey worth traveling.

Want more tools and techniques to gain confidence for your job-search or any of life’s many quests? Download Confidently on your mobile phone — and start empowering your everyday greatness, today.
Spread the love