How to Be More Confident:
10 Ways to Boost Your Self-Esteem
Everyone has experienced a period of low self-esteem in their lives. Your self-esteem — how you feel about yourself and your capabilities — can have a major impact on your mental health. Low self-esteem can be linked to many negative outcomes including poor relationships, addiction, and mental conditions like depression and anxiety.
Do you suffer from poor confidence? If so, try the following approaches to boost your self-esteem.
1. Visualize What You Want
Visualization is a powerful tool. When you visualize yourself achieving your goals, you experience the feelings of excitement and contentment that accompany success. Once you stop this practice, your subconscious will sense the disconnect, then push you to take actions to make those achievements a reality.
According to Psychology Today, “Brain studies now reveal that thoughts produce the same mental instructions as actions … Mental practices can enhance motivation, increase confidence and self-efficacy, (and) prime your brain for success … .” In short, visualizing yourself as successful primes your body to take action to become successful, giving you improved self-esteem.
Consider what specific goals you want to achieve. Imagine how your life will change when you do so. Where will you live, and who will you live with? How will your home look? Your goal is to be enveloped by the details. Get as specific as you can, then focus on the sensations you’ll experience. What will you see, hear, smell, taste, and feel?
By committing to this practice every day, you will reap the proven benefits of visualization. You’ll have the confidence to strive for your goals because you will have already experienced that success on a psychological level.
2. Get Out of Your Comfort Zone
People develop routines based on paths of least resistance. We may avoid doing things we are unfamiliar with because we might fear failure or embarrassment. We may avoid going to unfamiliar places because we fear confusion or rejection.
This avoidance becomes habitual, leading some people to believe they must stay strictly within their comfort zones. Because many have never done otherwise, they may even believe they are incapable of doing so. In this way, failing to challenge yourself can result in self-esteem issues.
If you feel your lack of confidence is a product of a history of not challenging yourself, it may be time to get out of your comfort zone. If you have social anxiety, make an effort to gain new friends or take a course in public speaking. If you regularly drive to work, try taking the bus or riding a bike to get to the office. The next time you eat out, order something you’ve never tried before. Making a habit of regularly confronting your fears will earn you improved self-esteem, lifelong friends, and newfound skills.
3. Quiet Your Negative Inner Voice
Your inner voice is inextricably tied to your sense of personal identity. It cuts through the fog of buzzing stimuli and condenses your mindset into a single coherent stream of thought. Ordinarily, it’s wise to grow to trust this voice. After all, you have to trust your inner voice to be confident — right?
Sometimes, your inner voice can become hypercritical, clouding your judgment with negative thoughts. As a result, you might become socially withdrawn, learn to distrust others, lose focus on achieving major goals, and even turn to addiction. It can be impossible to feel confident with a negative inner voice sabotaging your every decision.
Take some time to analyze the source of your negative thoughts. What caused your critical inner voice to “speak up”? What is it pushing you to do? If your rational mind can dismiss the cause for this inward criticism, you can begin to ignore that voice.
4. Improve Your Image
Focusing on your personal appearance isn’t superficial; it’s actually a sign of good mental health. How you feel about your image has an impact on your confidence. A negative body image can lead to poor self-esteem and a lack of emotional stability.
A good way to improve your self-esteem is to improve your personal image. Sometimes this can be as simple as changing the way you dress or your body language. Other times, it may involve more drastic changes, such as adopting a diet and fitness regimen to lose weight. If there is something about your appearance affecting your ability to feel confident, do what you can to change it.
For example, if you have a receding hairline, it may make you feel unattractive or that you’re older than you truly are. As a result, you may become socially withdrawn, which can impact your life in many ways. However, by using hair growth products like Minoxidil and Wild Growth Hair Oil, you might be able to reverse this issue and regain your confidence.
5. Set and Accomplish Your Goals
Without defining the goals you want to achieve, life can feel rudderless. Boosting your self-esteem will be a serious challenge unless you make setting goals a regular habit in your life. Failing to take time to set goals and acknowledge your achievements may lead to a severe lack of confidence.
Setting and achieving goals both big and small can drastically improve your confidence. This is because we, as humans, are dissatisfied with stagnation. Organizational psychologist Dr. Benjamin Hardy states:
“ … (W)e are happiest when we are improving. Self-acceptance is important, but self-acceptance is also intended to be a vehicle for positive growth, not for staying stagnant and justifying mediocrity … Trying to force yourself to remain the same stunts hope and happiness.”
Setting goals is an excellent way to avoid stagnation. Start with small daily and weekly goals. This can include minor tasks such as doing household chores or exercising for a certain amount of time. The key is to be realistic with your expectations, then hold yourself to those standards. Accomplishing these goals will give you a sense of momentum and confidence.
This momentum can be parlayed into larger life goals. These are goals that may take years to accomplish, such as graduating college, getting married to your partner, or landing a major promotion.
There are many reasons people may not get the amount of exercise they need to be healthy. Busy schedules, an excessive reliance on cars to get around, and sedentary hobbies can make it difficult to get in enough exercise. The stagnation associated with a sedentary lifestyle can seriously harm your self-esteem, as can a poor physique.
Physical inactivity can lead to poor physical and mental health, and it can drastically reduce your lifespan. In fact, a lack of exercise is as deadly as smoking, leading to over 5 million deaths per year. It can lead to complications like high blood pressure, high blood sugar, and high cholesterol — all of which can lead to major chronic conditions. However, regular exercise can lead to a healthier, happier, and more confident you by reducing each of these.
Your exercise regimen should be designed to help you get at least 150 minutes of exercise a week, which equals 30 minutes of exercise five days each week. If it’s difficult to find time in the day to meet this minimum, explore your options. If your workplace is within a reasonable distance, you can try walking or jogging to work each day. Invest in desk exercise equipment to burn some calories while working.
These are just a few ideas to get you started on living a more active lifestyle. Experiment with these, and be sure to continue to develop your regimen. Continuing to challenge yourself will lead to improved physical and mental benefits.
7. Determine Your Values
Do you ever engage in behavior that makes you question your integrity or worth? Using addictive substances, committing infidelity, wasting money, not spending enough time with your children — each of these can deflate your sense of self-worth. However, if you can identify that these behaviors are “wrong,” you’re already on the right path.
Many people who have high levels of self-esteem are confident because they ensure their actions are consistent with their values. If you can identify destructive behaviors that are wrong, then you can modify your behavior to ensure you act in a way that adheres to your values.
Identify your core values. These can include values like honesty, commitment to family, or punctuality. When you establish your values, you can create a set of rules to abide by that will allow you to go about your day with confidence. Consistently following these values will help you embody what you hold dearest.
8. Help Others
When you lack confidence, it’s easy to become socially withdrawn and close yourself off to new opportunities. Remaining focused on your personal needs can cause you to lose sight of what you can do for people in need.
Ironically, volunteering to help others can be the key to finding personal fulfillment. According to Western Connecticut University, “Volunteering can provide a healthy boost to your self-confidence, self-esteem, and life satisfaction. You are doing good for others and the community, which provides a natural sense of accomplishment.”
There are many volunteer opportunities to help others. If you aren’t sure where to begin, find volunteer opportunities that match your interests. For example, if you’re interested in sports, you might find an opportunity to help in adaptive recreation programs — classes designed to help people with disabilities participate in sports. If you have a passion for cooking, you may find your abilities will be appreciated at homeless shelters.
9. Practice Self-Care
Self-care ensures your physical, mental, and social health remains in top shape. It requires a certain commitment of time, but failure to do so can lead to negative results, including a loss of confidence. If you don’t take time to practice self-care, you may suffer from self-esteem issues, among many other problems.
Examples of self-care habits include:
- Eating a healthy diet;
- Practicing good sleep hygiene, including going to bed at a reasonable time each night and getting 7-9 hours of sleep;
- Regularly meditating to clear your mind;
- Taking occasional time off from work;
- Scheduling regular “me” time to spend on your interests.
A major part of self-care has been discussed above: taking care of your personal image. If you have self-image problems due to thinning hair, you can explore methods to get thicker hair or try switching to a hairstyle for thin hair. This can improve your self-esteem immeasurably.
10. Learn to Say No
Saying “yes” to everything — and often being unable to follow through — leaves you in a self-confidence trap. You want to appease your friends and family by agreeing to their plans, but not being able to follow through leaves you feeling inadequate.
Saying “no” is a key skill confident and happy people practice. By defining boundaries, you can reclaim your time. Defining boundaries doesn’t push others away; it enables you to spend better quality time with others when you are able to do so. It empowers you to feel confident that, when you do say “yes,” you will be able to commit to it fully. An honest “yes” is worth immeasurably more than a dozen dishonest ones.
The key to learning to say “no” is to not obsess over what others think. You can be considerate of the needs of others without overcommitting and depriving yourself of the time and energy needed to pursue your life choices happily and with confidence.