20 proven ways to build your self-confidence

Whether it’s pushing yourself to try something new like public speaking, learning a foreign language, or just feeling more comfortable in your own skin, there are an untold number of benefits to self-confidence.

Here are 20 of our favourite strategies to instill some self-belief – starting today!

1 – Don’t compare yourself to other people

One of the biggest enemies of self confidence is comparing ourselves to others. When we do this, we tend to focus solely on their strengths and compare them with our own weaknesses. This not only an unhealthy thing to do but it is also a distorted reality. Advertising, media and in particular social websites like Facebook and Instagram encourage us to share an unnaturally positive and sanitized version of ourselves. For instance, a photo on Instagram of a couple eating a balcony breakfast, backdropped by a beautiful mountain view might fill you with envy and make you feel bad about your soggy Weetabix on your Monday morning, but you shouldn’t let it. In truth there’s likely much more going on behind that photo. The couple involved likely argued over packing their suitcases, which route to take on the Sat Nav and other niggles, just like everyone else. The only person you should be competing with is yourself – focus on your own progress.

2 – Stop self-sabotage

Self-defeating behaviors occur when our sub-conscious mind clashes with our conscious mind. Getting drunk the night before a big meeting, procrastinating, gambling money away, eating masses of junk food on a whim – these are all classic examples of this disconnect of wants and needs. A perpetual cycle of self-nihilation will take a hammer to your self-confidence. Not only because you will feel out of control but also because the type of habits that tend to be involved are the enemy of progress. The key to stopping these habits isn’t easy but it will be worth it. Make yourself accountable to others, process bad thoughts, identify triggers and causes and don’t be afraid to ask for help.

3 – Make your body a temple

One way that you can start to feel more confident is to take care of your physical health. This means not just visiting the doctor about that lingering injury or illness but also doing everything you can to prevent them. In practice this means eating well, getting enough sleep and yes, doing some exercise. If you’re someone that struggles with motivation, then try signing up to a group class and bring a friend or two along. We’re more likely to follow through with exercise when we are accountable to someone and having a group to encourage you on your off days may help you get into shape.

4 – Take pride in your appearance

How good do you feel when you put on a nicely fitted suit or dress? Waking up earlier than usual and spending a little extra time on your grooming routine as well as investing in some nice, smart clothes can have a profound impact on the way you feel.

5 – Do something you’ve been putting off

It’s hard to feel good about yourself when you’ve got a mountain of work to do. Clear the decks by reading our guide to the best apps to beat procrastination and conquer your to-do-lists.

6 – Find some daily inspiration

If you want to get ahead of the curve, then you need to be consuming as much knowledge as you can. Seek out helpful non-fiction books, listen to inspiring podcasts and watch YouTube channels like The School of Life and TED to get yourself energized and bursting with ideas.

7 – Maintain your desk

A simple but profound change to your day can come from keeping your desk clear. It’s well known that our environments can impact our state of mind, so if your desk is efficient and methodical then so are you!

8 – Appraise yourself

Confidence works in time with your memory. If you’re lacking the confidence to get something done, then you should look back at your previous achievements. What steps did you have to take to get there and how can you equip yourself to do it all over again?

9 – Ask for feedback

Self-doubt and cynicism can sometimes be born out of a fear of feedback. You might not ask your superiors, or your customers for feedback because you fear that they will say something negative. As much as criticism can be a blow to your ego, it can also lead the way to your success. Receiving negative feedback is an opportunity to demonstrate your willingness to learn and grow. If you can take criticisms on board and address them then you become a stronger and formidable person for it.

10 – Set your goals

If you want to succeed then you need to know what the finish line looks like, otherwise you’ll be constantly unhappy. Whether your goal is to make £100,000, pay off your mortgage or buy your dream car – you need to identify what it is that you are working towards.

11 – Plan your route

In order to cross that finish line, you need to identify the hurdles that you might face on the way. Look at your end goals and then work backwards to pin point actionable steps to get you there.

12 – Focus on body language

Confidence comes from a variety of different elements all falling into place – one of which is your body language. Did you know that certain body positions actually lower your cortisol levels (the hormone responsible for stress) and allow your body to produce more testosterone which makes you feel more in control? If you want to project confidence then among other things you need to adopt an assertive posture – take a look at Amy Cuddy’s 2012 TED talk for an example of this.

13 – Model yourself

Another fun way that you can project confidence is to play the part of someone who you feel has confidence. Whether it’s Marlon Brando or Catwoman, roleplaying in real life scenarios can help you draw on a well of confidence you never knew you had. Of course, you should take care not to take the role too seriously!

14 – Try hypnotherapy

The subconscious mind controls the way that we feel about ourselves, and those unconscious thoughts can dictate our self-worth, self-perception and ultimately our self-confidence. Unfortunately, our inner voice is also often our fiercest critic. Hypnotherapy attempts to reprogram the unconscious mind with healthy, positive thoughts to overpower thoughts which are deemed unhelpful.

15 – Resistance as a signal

struggle. When you feel this resistance, you should learn to recognize it as a good thing and cherish it as a chance for personal growth. So, next time you’re at a social gathering and you get that feeling in your stomach as you approach a crowd of new people that tells you to turn back around, you’ll know to ignore it and introduce yourself.

16 – Offer to help

Volunteering your knowledge and sharing your privilege with others is a great way to boost your spirit. Often, we focus too much on what we don’t know that we forget how much we do. The act of sharing knowledge and seeing a positive reaction to it can really boost your morale, while helping others. This could be achieved through mentoring someone, volunteering for a charity or even just providing training to a colleague or employee at work.

17 – Becoming a powerful introvert

Many introverts grow up thinking that there is something wrong with them and feel undervalued. Introversion and shyness are two different things. Shyness is the fear of social interactions, where as an introversion usually means that you are at your best when in solitude. Introverts have a strong imagination, can be great observers and good listeners. They often possess profoundly analytical minds and are very self-aware, all of which are great traits for entrepreneurs.

18 – Allow yourself to relax

Sometimes we need to just let go a little. Holding the reigns too tightly can leave you tense and stressed out. Laugh, joke, smile and don’t be afraid to make a fool of yourself.

19 - Learn to say no

To keep your energy and your drive at peak volume, you need to choose social and work engagements wisely. Saying yes to too many engagements might mean that you can’t do as good a job or be as present in a room as you would like to be and not being at your best can be a drain on your confidence.

20 – Don’t give up!

Life is not straight forward. There will be ups and downs and moments when you feel like you’ve failed but remember that every knock down is inching you a step closer to success. All of your mistakes and failures are simply learning opportunities to help you fulfill your goals.

Do you have any hacks for boosting confidence? Let us know by connecting on social media at @TimeForYouGroup.