Last Updated on January 15, 2021

10 Proven Ways to Build Confidence and Believe in Yourself

10 Proven Ways to Build Confidence and Believe in Yourself

Some people seem to be born with a rather plentiful portion of confidence. They appear to bounce along with a robustness that breeds envy and pop back up after they get knocked down. The good news is that you too can build confidence. It doesn’t matter if you lack it; it is still yours to experience now as you continue to work on growing it over time.

Learning how to build confidence is part of the process of evolving into ourselves. Here is how you can build your confidence.

1. Connect With Yourself

Confidence and connection go together since we are most confident when we are real. We aren’t trying to be someone else, please others, or living a life dictated by “should.”

We build and emit confidence when we are true to ourselves. To be true, get clear on your purpose and your values. Trying to embody the purpose and values of others will leave you feeling cheap and fake.

Ask yourself, what are the things that you know you really need and want.

Ask yourself what you want your legacy to be and what you want to be remembered for—by people you know and people you interact with only briefly.

Authenticity is also incredibly appealing to others. When you begin receiving positive feedback from others who appreciate the authentic you, a positive cycle will begin where your confidence improves how others perceive you and others’ perception increases your confidence.

2. Open up

Open up to the world and get curious about what’s happening around you. When we get curious, we become lifelong learners, which helps to quiet our inner critic.

With the learner present, we are not operating out of anxiety, fear, or worry. We are less likely to shut down our ideas, dreams, or plans.

Building confidence depends on openness. When we believe that options exist, and that gifts are to be found in challenges, we finds way to thrive.


We feel relaxed knowing we are living in the land of possibility. There is hope—a promise of what is to come. We are energized by what can be as we build confidence through growth and knowledge.

3. Notice How You Show up

Building confidence requires being yourself without apology.

Full permission to be you is about stepping into your greatness. It’s about being responsible for your impact, but not holding back. It’s saying to yourself that you matter and adding in self-care as part of your daily life.

Knowing that you matter builds confidence. The question then becomes how can you lean into that truth.

The best way to remember that you matter and ignite your sparks is to develop a daily grounding practice.

When we invite awe, wonder, and gratitude into our lives, we tap into that special knowing that lives inside us. Our sage selves become connected to the rest of us, and the rest of us becomes connected to something larger.

Another way to know we matter is to surround ourselves with people who truly care about us.

These people are a constant source of support and help you feel like the best version of yourself.

Do your best to cultivate these kinds of healthy relationships with friends and family members They are key to building your confidence.

4. Forget About Your Screw-ups

We all make mistakes, and the key when you want to build confidence is to learn from them instead of letting them make you question your self-worth.


Repair anything that needs fixing, apologize for anything that asks for a sincere “I’m sorry,” be part of the solution, and then let the screw-ups go.

Going over your mistakes is a great way to see where you get stuck, but going over them again and again doesn’t help you or anyone else. That kind of self-flagellation only harms your spirit.

The repeated critical review of yourself only makes for a less-than-ideal version of you. To build confidence you want to be your own kind, thoughtful teacher.

Adopt the personality of a wise old sage, who sees you as a beautiful, messy human. That sage would speak gently to you, not over-stating the lesson, and lead you to new insights with a sweet affirmation that you are whole and wonderful and capable.

The cool thing is this sage lives in you. Sit with it when your screw-up and see what it has to say that will help you build confidence.

Check out this article to find some ways you can learn from your mistakes in life.

5. Immerse Yourself in Creativity

When we create, we bypass the stuff that is going around in our heads that has us questioning ourselves—the thoughts that make us self-conscious, stall, and paralyze.

You might think you aren’t creative, but the more realistic truth is that you haven’t tapped into your creativity in a long time, so it feels lost[1]. It doesn’t matter if you are not an artist. We are creative with our thoughts, how we tell a story or a joke, arrange flowers in a vase, solve a problem, or help a friend.

To build confidence we want to be in our bodies as well as our minds, to be alive in spirit, not only analyzing up in that noggin of ours. Confidence asks us to be all in, and creativity helps get us there.

6. Dance Through Your Days

By approaching your days with the attitude that there are gems to be found, you are confirming that you are not managing your circumstances but leading yourself through your days, and that your life is important.


Think about when are preparing to take action. Are you reacting or creating? Is there a chance to bring in humor? What are you saying yes to?

Approaching things with the understanding that you have choices and can set yourself up for success even if the choices are limited lets you feel confident.

Ask yourself what you need to be successful, and make a list. It can have things like support, quiet time, a break, music, a deadline, a conversation.

Customize the list, and don’t assume that one list will serve all days or all hurdles.

You move from feeling like a victim to being the captain of your ship when you decide to dance through your days and not push through them. Building confidence counts on this perspective.

To help with perspective shifts take a bird’s eye view of what you feel you have no control over. Soak in that view and ask that bird what it sees.

You will see new ways of handling things. With wings out and the vantage point from 5,000 feet up, your confidence will soar because of the space, wisdom, and compassion you placed between yourself and your circumstance.

7. Embrace Failure

When we shy away from failure, we are attempting to prevent it. We go into protective mode.

The energy, thoughts, and actions that ensue from seeking to protect ourselves from failure undermines our confidence. We become wobbly and vigilant. Vigilance involves tightness—a contraction. In order to build confidence, we need to expand.

The only way we can do that is to take risks. We are designed for growth, so the more we move into finding, living, and creating from ourselves, the more we build our confidence.


Without risk, we stagnate. We repeat the status quo over and over again, not evolving.

Risk is a great teacher and forger. It’s a co-creator in forming our identity, as well as realizing our dreams. As a result, risk can build confidence.

The more we take risks, we develop resilience to when the risk doesn’t pan out. In trying to avoid failure we stay small[2].

Smallness is not what is going to get us where we want to go, nor is it going to build confidence.

8. Never Speak Against Yourself

You should always do your best to offer constructive feedback to yourself regarding your actions, but there is no need for judgment or harshness. Confidence is built with love; not false praise, but honest kindness that affirms and boosts.

Don’t be shy about celebrating your victories no matter how tiny. Confidence is built by letting your body and mind soak in what is going well—what you did that was awesome, what is special about you, etc.

9. Choose a Goal

When you choose goals that you want to work towards, you instill a sense of motivation that will push you toward the things you want to achieve. As you achieve big and small goals, you build confidence in your abilities to get to where you want to go.

Start with short-term goals and then create long-term goals. When you see a brighter future for yourself through what you are accomplishing, your confidence will soar.

10. Enjoy the Process!

Don’t take yourself too seriously. If you laugh and play while building your confidence, you will not only be more confident, but you will increase your joy.

Final Thoughts

Did you notice that these steps spell out confidence? If you’re feeling creative and motivated, try making your own acronym list with things you believe will help you build confidence in your daily life.

Each day, cultivate positive self-talk and be your own cheerleader as you work on becoming the best version of yourself. Everyone has to start somewhere, so choose one of the tips above and begin your own confidence journey.

More Tips on Building Confidence

Featured photo credit: Michael Kucharski via


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Adele Dujardin

Adele is an author, speaker, and coach who empowers others to lead from their creative wise selves, and have fun doing it.

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Last Updated on January 21, 2021

10 Willpower Hacks to Help Achieve Your Goals

10 Willpower Hacks to Help Achieve Your Goals

“Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.” – Mahatma Gandhi

“Willpower is essential to the accomplishment of anything worthwhile.” – Brian Tracy

“Just do it.” – Nike

The most important and satisfying things in life usually aren’t the easiest ones.

The good news: In today’s hyper-connected world, we have access to all the information we could want to help us achieve our future goals. We know what foods will make us healthier (would kale or quinoa be as popular without the internet and Dr. Oz? I think not). We can also estimate for ourselves the benefits of starting retirement savings early – and the implications for the lifestyles of our future selves (that boat at 65 means fewer vacations in your 20’s).


We almost always know what we should do thanks to endless knowledge at our fingertips. But actually doing it is an entirely different kind of challenge. Most of us can relate to that feeling of inertia at the start of a big project, or the struggle to consistently make good, long-term choices for our health, or saving for the future. This mental tug-of-war we experience has evolutionary roots. While knowing this might bring comfort, it doesn’t help solve the problem at hand:

How can we flex our willpower to become better, faster, smarter, and stronger?

The bad news: you can’t Google your way out of this one.

Or can you? A fascinating body of research (much of which you can turn up online through popular press and academic articles) sheds light on how to hack your willpower for better, easier results in all areas of your life. The Willpower Instinct, a great book by Stanford prof Kelly McGonigal, provides a deep dive into these and more topics for anyone keenly interested.

Here’s the short version: we can make the most of our willpower through two types of hacks. First, there are ways to turbo boost your willpower. Second, there are ways to hack the system so you make the best use of whatever (sometimes infinitely modest) willpower you have.


The following 10 tips draw on both of these toolkits.

1. Slow the heck down.

Most regrettable decisions (the splurge at the mall, the procrastination on the project, the snacks in the break room) happen when one part of our brain effectively hijacks the other. We go into automatic pilot (and unfortunately the pilot in question has a penchant for shoes, Facebook and cookies!). Researchers suggest that we can override this system by charging up the other. That is, slow down and focus on the moment at hand. Think about your breathing. Bring yourself back to this moment in time, feel the compulsion but don’t act on it yet. Try telling yourself, “If this feeling is still just as uncomfortable in 10 minutes, I’ll act on it.” Take a little time to be mindful – then make your decision.

2. Dream of ‘done.’

Imagine yourself handing in the big project, soaking up the appreciation from your colleagues or boss. Or crossing the finish line for the half-marathon you’ve always wanted to run. The rush, the aliveness, the wind on your face, the medal …

That’s a lot more fun and motivating to think about than how much work it is to get out of bed for your long, Sunday morning run!

Re-orient your brain by summoning more motivating feelings than just “not running this morning is more enjoyable than running this morning.” If your goals are meaningful, this will help.


3. Make your toughest choices first.

Scientists have found that willpower is like a full bathtub that’s drained throughout the day. So, why not start your toughest challenges when you have a full reserve? Get that project started or fit that workout in before you even check your email or have breakfast. Bonus: the high you’ll get from crossing off your hardest ‘to-do’ will help you sail through the rest of your day.

4. Progress = commitment, not a license to backslide.

A lot of times people will ‘cheat’ right after taking positive steps towards their goals. (A common version of this trap is, “I worked out three days in a row, so I deserve this cookie.”) Most of us can relate to this thinking – but it’s totally irrational! We’ll often trick ourselves into setbacks because we think we deserve them, even if we don’t really want them and deep down we know they’ll work against us in the long-run.

How can you counteract this effect? Research finds that if you use your positive streak to recommit (“If I worked out three days this week, I must be really committed to my health and fitness goal!”) rather than an excuse for wiggle room, we don’t take the same cheat options. Cool, right?

5. Meditate.

Meditation is an expressway to better willpower. Bringing your attention to your breathing for 15 minutes, or even five, flexes your willpower muscles by applying discipline to your thinking. It does this by working two mental ‘muscle groups’: first, the set of muscles that notice when your attention is drifting, and second, the set of muscles that bring you back to your task at hand. Over time, even small amounts of meditation will help you build the discipline to easily do what was once hard – like pushing through a long stretch at work.

6. Set mini-goals.

Which seems more doable: committing to three 20 minute runs this week or a half-marathon? Mini-goals are brilliant because they’re easier to achieve and boost your commitment to continuing. When we size them up, we see them as achievable rather than daunting. Each time you succeed at one, it boosts your sense of efficacy and personal integrity: not only are you capable of doing what you set out to do, but you followed through on it. Nice.


The beauty of mini-goals is that over time, mini-goals – and the momentum you’ve built by doing them – can quickly turn into super-goals. So that half marathon might be more likely to happen, and sooner and more easily than you think!

7. Eat.

Low blood sugar decreases your ability to make tough decisions. If you’re running on empty physically, you’ll also be running on empty mentally. (Yes, this one’s somewhat ironic if your goal involves changing food patterns – but even so, letting your blood sugar drop too far will only sabotage you over time.)

8. Sleep.

Research shows people who don’t get enough sleep have a tough time exercising their willpower. Sleep is critical for a healthy brain – along with just about everything else. So to optimize your willpower muscle, make sure you’re catching your zzz’s.

9. Nix the self-sabotage.

Making yourself feel bad hurts, rather than helps, your willpower efforts. Researchers have found that compassion is a far better strategy than tough love – telling yourself “It’s OK, everyone has setbacks sometimes,” will help you bounce back more quickly than negative self-talk.

10. Take the first hard step.

As a new behavior becomes a habit, it is more natural. You have to use less and less willpower to ‘make it so.’ When you’re starting a new pattern that feels hard, remind yourself that the first steps are truly the hardest. It will probably never feel harder than it does in those first few choices. In the case of repeated behaviors, like exercise or saving money, it takes weeks for new habits to take hold. By that point, the habit will be so ingrained, you’d have to try hard not to do it.

Featured photo credit: Kym Ellis via

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