25 Actions to Boost Your Self-Confidence and Self-Esteem
Updated: Aug 26, 2020
One of the things that held me back from pursuing my dreams for so many years was a fear of failure. I lacked the self-confidence and self-esteem that I needed to overcome my fear.
It’s something we all face, to some degree. Although, I think it impacts us all differently.
I spent years trying to learn how to overcome my fear of failure and not getting far because I didn't understand the role that self-confidence and self-esteem played. Negative self-evaluations, unrealistic expectations, negative core beliefs, and unhealthy rules and assumptions governed my mindset. They created a wall that limited my view and my potential.
With increased self-aware I was able to witness how uncomfortable I was with myself. In the quite of my mind hidden behind my ambitions was the desire to be like this person, or have what that person had. I struggled to connect to my authentic aspirations and desires. I think because I was not raised to be self-confirming or to believe in myself. My thoughts, ideas and decisions were heavily influenced by what someone else thought of me, or how others defined me.
Instead of pursuing my passions and cultivating may own interest. I let societal norms determine my next steps. Comparing myself to others was a sure sign of low self-esteem. I soon discovered that the more I stay in self-reflection and learned how to acceptance myself the more I was able to develop a more genuine relationship with myself and others; and to seek experiences that fulfill me.
I was able to get a peek at the negative programing that undergirded my self expression and how it effected my way of responding and reacting to life. I set out on a mission to discontinue speaking and thinking of myself in a negative way. It was disturbing how often I had to stop myself.
I would interrupt negative thoughts and emotions and turn them into positive ones. I would interrupt limiting beliefs to affirm new affirmative possibilities that existed for my life. I started calling what I wanted to create. I would only allow myself to see 'negative situations' as opportunities. I work diligently to reprogram myself to create a healthier relationship to self and a higher overall quality of life. It had an immediate effect.
I began to get in touch with apart of myself that I knew existed but that I aways neglected -- my true self. I was able to depend less on people, places, things and circumstances to define me and to focus on my life without comparing it to others. I stopped worring about rejection, failure or not fitting in, and over time I grew to love and trust my self more.
by practicing the parts above, we start to feel our true worth. Self-worth is a lifelong process.By creating a record of our thoughts and emotions, free from judgment, we can develop a deeper understanding and acceptance of who we are and what we want our values and attitudes to be.
As I diligently work on creating new habits that supported my self-confidence and self-esteem, I eventually was able to overcome many fears, pursue my dreams and live my best life. I still have some fears, undoubtedly. But now I know that I can beat them, that I can break through that wall of fear and come out on the other side.
Taking control of your self-confidence
I strongly believe that you can do things to increase your self-confidence. Low self-confidence is not apart of your genetic make up, its natured into your life through circumstance that in many cases you had not control over; therefore it can be transformed. You can become someone who believes in yourself and who believes that you're worthy of respect. You just have to recondition yourself by taking concrete actions that improve your competence and self-image.
Below, I outline 25 things that will help you to do that. None of them are revolutionary, none of them will do it all by themselves. And you don’t need to do all of them, as if this were a recipe … pick and choose those what appeals to you.
Here they are, in no particular order:
1. Groom yourself. This seems like such an obvious one, but it’s amazing how much of a difference getting your hair and nails done can stir up feelings of self-confidence and improve your self-image. There have been days when It turned my mood around completely with this one little thing. The secret to this method is to not let it be the means to the end. Use it only to jumpstart your confidence, the real work is don't on the inside.
2. Dress nicely. A corollary of the first item above … if you dress nicely, you’ll feel good about yourself. You’ll feel successful and presentable and ready to tackle the world. Now, dressing nicely means something different for everyone … it doesn’t necessarily mean wearing a $500 outfit, but could mean casual clothes that are nice looking and presentable.
3. Photoshop your self-image. We have a fixed mental picture of ourselves that greatly influences how confident we are in ourselves. But this picture isn’t immutable. You can change it.
Figure out why you see yourself the way you do, and instead of trying to change it, just sit with it. Look at how it impacts your way of being and the many ways it shows up in your life. Use your mental imaging skills to envision yourself in away that makes you feel more empowered and proud. Holding a power image in mind will cause you to make different choices and change your habits.
4. Think positive. One of the things I learned about 14 years ago, was how to replace negative thoughts into positive ones. With this tiny little skill, I was able to turn my fortune, my finances and my family around within a year! It sounds so trite but my goodness this works. Seriously. Try it if you haven’t.
5. Kill negative thoughts. Goes hand-in-hand with the last point, but it’s so important that I'm making it a separate point. You have to learn to be aware of your negative self-talk. It interferes with your performance level and your results. It cost is to high, to run your life on a negative mindset. Imagine that your negative thoughts are bugs. When you put an image to your negative thoughts it makes it easier to separate the negative programing from yourself. You don't have to latch on to or identify with every thought that you have. See them as a bug and literally squash it mentally. Make sure you replace it with a positive one.
Know yourself and you will win all battles. – Sun Tzu
6. Get to know yourself. When going into battle, the wisest general learns she has to know her enemy very, very well. You can’t defeat the enemy without knowing her. And when you’re trying to overcome a negative self-image and replace it with self-confidence, your enemy is yourself. Get to know yourself well. Start listening to your thoughts. Start writing a journal about yourself, and about the thoughts you have about yourself, and analyzing why you have such negative thoughts. And then think about the good things about yourself, the things you do well, the things you like. Start thinking about your limitations, and whether they’re real limitations or just ones you’ve acquire through circumstances and lack of awareness. Look deep within yourself, and you’ll eventually come out with even greater self-confidence.
7. Act positive. More than just thinking positive, you have to put positivity into action. Affirmative action is the key to developing self-confidence. It’s one thing to learn to think positive, but when you start acting on it, you change yourself, one action at a time. You are what you do, so if you change what you do, you change what you are. Act in a positive way, take action instead of telling yourself you can’t, be positive and tell yourself you can and watch how the universe will open up to you. Talk to people in a positive way, put energy into your actions. You’ll soon start to notice a difference.
8. Be kind and generous. Being kind to others, and generous with yourself and your time and what you have, is a tremendous way to improve your self-image. You act in accordance with the Golden Rule, and you start to feel good about yourself, and to think that you're a good person. It does wonders for your self-confidence, believe me.
One important key to success is self-confidence. A key to self-confidence is preparation. – Arthur Ashe
9. Get prepared. It’s hard to be confident in yourself if you don’t think you’ll do well at something. Beat that feeling by preparing yourself as much as possible. Think about taking an exam: if you haven’t studied, you won’t have much confidence in your abilities to do well on the exam. But if you studied your butt off, you’re prepared, and you’ll be much more confident. Now think of life as your exam, and prepare yourself.
10. Know your principles and live them. What are the principles upon which your life is built? If you don’t know, you'll have trouble, because your life will feel directionless. Think about your principles … you might have them but perhaps you haven’t given them much thought. Now think about whether you actually live these principles, or if you just believe in them but don’t act on them.
11. Speak slowly. Such a simple thing, but it can have a big difference in how others perceive you. A person in authority, with authority, speaks slowly. It shows confidence. A person who feels that he isn’t worth listening to will speak quickly, because he doesn’t want to keep others waiting on something not worthy of listening to. Even if you don’t feel the confidence of someone who speaks slowly, try doing it a few times. It will make you feel more confident. Of course, don’t take it to an extreme, but just don’t sound rushed either.
12. Stand tall. I have horrible posture, so it will sound hypocritical for me to give this advice, but I know it works because I try it often. When I remind myself to stand tall and straight, I feel better about myself. I imagine that a rope is pulling the top of my head toward the sky, and the rest of my body straightens accordingly.
13. Increase competence. How do you feel more competent? By becoming more competent. And how do you do that? By studying and practicing. Just do small bits at a time. If you want to be a more competent writer, for example, don’t try to tackle the entire profession of writing all at once. Just begin to write more, Journal, blog, write short stories, do some freelance writing. The more you write, the better you’ll be. Set aside 30 minutes a day to write (for example), and the practice will increase your competence.
14. Set a small goal and achieve it. People often make the mistake of shooting for the moon, and then when they fail, they get discouraged. Instead, shoot for something much more achievable. Set a goal you know you can achieve, and then achieve it. You’ll feel good about that. Now set another small goal and achieve that. The more you achieve small goals, the better you’ll be at it, and the better you’ll feel. Soon you’ll be setting bigger, but achievable goals, and achieve those too.
15. Change a small habit. Not a big one, like quitting smoking. Just a small one, like writing things down. Or waking up 10 minutes earlier. Or drinking a glass of water when you wake up. Something small that you know you can do. Do it for a month. When you’ve accomplished it, you’ll feel like a million bucks.
16. Focus on solutions. If you are a complainer, or focus on problems, change your focus now. Focusing on solutions instead of problems is one of the best things you can do for your confidence and your career. “I’m fat and lazy!” So how can you solve that? “But I can’t motivate myself!” So how can you solve that? “But I have no energy!” So what’s the solution? Focus on the solution. The first step in the solution is to not speak what you don't want to create.
17. Smile. I feel instantly better when I smile, and it helps me to be kinder to others as well. A little tiny thing that can have a chain reaction. Not a bad investment of your time and energy.
18. Volunteer. Find the time to volunteer for a good cause, to spread some cheer, to make the lives of others better? It’ll be some of the best time you’ve ever spent, and an amazing side benefit is that you’ll feel better about yourself, instantly.
19. Be grateful. I’m a firm believer in GRATITUDE. Be grateful for what you have in life, for what others have given you, is a very humbling activity … it can also be a very positive and rewarding activity that will improve your self-image.
20. Exercise. Exercise is essential when you are making changes in your life. Not only is it conditioning the body it conditions the mind and emotions. The mind to have stamina and mental toughness and the emotions to have an outlet and release of pint up tension. On a physical level It improves hormone functioning, blood pressure, mental alertness. If you just walk a few times a week you’ll see benefits and you'll feel so much better about yourself.
21. Empower yourself with knowledge. Empowering yourself, in general, is one of the best strategies for building self-confidence. You can do that in many ways, but one of the surest ways to empower yourself is through knowledge. This is along the same vein as building competence and getting prepared … by becoming more knowledgeable, you’ll be more confident … and you become more knowledgeable by studying. The Internet is a great tool, of course, but so are the people around you, people who have done what you want to do.
22. Do something you’ve been procrastinating on. What’s on your to-do list that’s been sitting there? Do it first thing in the morning, and get it out of the way. You’ll feel great about yourself.
23. Get active. Doing something is almost always better than not doing anything. Of course, doing something could lead to mistakes … but mistakes are a part of life. It’s how we learn. Without mistakes, we’d never get better. So don’t worry about those. Just do something. Get off your butt and get active — physically, or active by taking steps to accomplish something.
24. Work on small things. Trying to take on a huge project or task can be overwhelming and daunting and intimidating for anyone, even the best of us. Instead, learn to break off small chunks and work in bursts. Small little achievements make you feel good, and they add up to big achievements. Learn to work like this all the time, and soon you’ll be a self-confident maniac.
25. Clear your desk. This might seem like a small, simple thing (then again, for some of you it might not be so small). But it has always worked wonders for me. If my desk starts to get messy, and the world around me is in chaos, clearing off my desk is my way of getting a little piece of my life under control. It is the calm in the center of the storm around me.