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Last Updated on January 15, 2021

9 Killer Self-Confidence Tips For a Confidence Boost

9 Killer Self-Confidence Tips For a Confidence Boost

So much of our internal confidence and external facade is shown by our body language. The way you think of yourself portrays how others think of you. If you think of yourself as awkward, timid, or shy, you subconsciously feel you need to live up to those expectations.

Why not flip that on its head? If you think highly of yourself, you have no choice but to live up to those expectations. And this is where self-confidence tips prove to be useful.

Think of the difference between someone smiling with their hands on their hips versus someone with a straight face and their arms crossed. One comes off as supremely confident, calm, and relaxed while the other seems disinterested or frustrated, even. Your physical demeanor not only affects how you’re seen by others but also how you project your own internal feelings. There are subconscious inklings that give rise to how you come off to someone for the first time.

But how do you portray the confident, calm demeanor rather than the disinterested one? There are ways to not just act as though you are confident but to also earn that confidence and belief in yourself habitually.

“Confidence is contagious. So is lack of confidence.” —Vince Lombardi

According to Albert Bandura, a Canadian-American psychologist, confidence refers to the strength of belief.[1] To instill confidence, you need to have convictions in your own belief.

Rosabeth Moss Kanter, author of Confidence: How Winning Streaks and Losing Streaks Begin and End, writes,

“Confidence isn’t optimism or pessimism, and it’s not a character attribute. It’s the expectation of a positive outcome.”

You need to expect things to fall the way you want, and you instill that through consistent belief and positive self-talk. There are also tiny habit changes that can intrinsically give you the boost you need to walk a little more upright.

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I began to take notice of body language as I entered the corporate world. It may not seem important but when dealing with high-level executives, it is critical that you portray optimism and openness. You don’t want to come off as nervous or indecisive, no matter what decision you are making—that goes for buying a car, applying for a loan, or a job interview.

Your non-verbal cues say a lot about what you are thinking. A wide stance and open palms show honesty and openness. According to Lillian Glass, author of The Body Language Advantage: Maximize Your Personal and Professional Relationships with this Ultimate Photo Guide to Deciphering What Others Are Secretly Saying, in Any Situation,

“Putting your hands in your pockets is one of the worst things you can do if you want to appear confident.”

Putting your hands in your pockets indicates that you’re nervous and feel uncomfortable.[2]

How you choose to stand may actually be a gigantic indicator of how you are perceived. If you have your arms crossed while listening to a business pitch, it may indicate to the person pitching that you are disinterested or closed off.

On the other hand, leaning back in your chair may show that you are relaxed and confident, according to one Harvard psychologist.[3] Lean in toward the conversation by leaning back. It’s a perfect way to assert confidence and comfort level in an office setting.

Here are a few quick self-confidence tips that can help you not only project an air of confidence to others but also give your internal monologue an encouraging boost.

None of these are particularly revolutionary, nor will these actions take care of everything by themselves. Pick and choose the ingredients that work for you. Give a couple a try, if they work, stick with them. If they don’t, try others.

1. Stop Caring About What Other People Think

The most common self-confidence tip is to stop caring about what other people think. I know so many people who spend lifetimes thinking about how other people think of them. “Did I talk too much?” “Was I weird?” If you’re going to be weird, be confident about it. It’s only embarrassing if you’re embarrassed.

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You wouldn’t worry so much about what people really thought of you if you knew just how seldom they do. People don’t care about you as much as you think. They’re too busy thinking about what other people think about them. Now, isn’t that liberating?

2. Smile

The first thing you do when you wake up in the morning should be to smile. Dr. Eva Ritvo, a psychiatrist and the co-author of The Beauty Prescription: The Complete Formula for Looking and Feeling Beautiful, suggests smiling at yourself in the mirror because it not only helps triggers something called “mirror neurons,” but it can also help us calm down and re-center if we’re feeling anxious.[4]

When you see a stranger on the street or in the aisle at the grocery store, smile at them. It makes their day better, and it instantly boosts your mood. If you find a way to make people smile, they’ll remember you for that over anything else.

3. Be Aware of What Your Body Is Saying

Another self-confidence tip is to be aware of your posture and body language. Research says that posing in certain positions is beneficial for boosting your mood. The “Wonderwoman” stance with legs spread and hands and hips tends to show the biggest post. Before a big talk, do this pose in the bathroom or behind the curtain and it will give you a sense that you can conquer anything. Overall, having a good posture helps improve confidence. Keep your shoulders back and down and your chin held high.

4. Pay Attention to Your Hands

Other than our face, our hands are one of the most expressive parts of our body. Actors pay special attention to their hands in scenes because they know that certain hand gestures can express emotion without a word being spoken.

5. Alter Your Look

Getting a new haircut may provide a temporary boost in your self-esteem, but it can also give you that pep in your step for a first date, a speech, or just going over a friend’s place. You could also have your clothes tailored, even if it’s as simple as hemming that pair of jeans to your ankle. Wear glasses if they give you a style boost or if you already wear glasses all the time, try taking them off and wearing contacts for a change.

Changing your look can get you noticed in new ways and may even give you a boost in confidence you never would have experienced otherwise. I didn’t start wearing glasses until I was 23. But as soon as I put them on, I felt smarter, more sophisticated, and more confident in what I had to say. Participants in a study at Columbia Business School who wore a white lab coat, pretending they were doctors, exhibited more focused attention.[5] In other words, how you dress is often how you behave.

6. Change Your Physiology

Motivational speaker Tony Robbins says that the way to change your state of mind is to move your body.

“Emotion is created by motion.”

Changing your physiology is an often overlooked self-confidence tip. Observe your body’s feelings when you are happy or sad. There’s a difference, right? Try taking deep breaths before diving into a project. Experiment with changing your physiology with hot or cold contrast in the shower to elevate your immune response and jack up your energy.

In between chores, do some jumping jacks, push-ups, or mountain climbers to get your body moving. Do a spin class or walk a couple of miles. Break a sweat. Being able to say you conquered your inner comfort demons will automatically give you a feeling of triumph.

7. Use Positive Self-Talk and Visualization

Before bed or first thing in the morning, close your eyes and relax your body completely. Stay connected to positive thoughts and feel the sensations of those things happening in your mind’s eye. See yourself accepting an award on stage or crossing the finish line of a race.

In a study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Ethan Kross and Ozlem Ayduk found that encouraging people to think about an intense experience consistently helped them control their thoughts and ruminate less.[6] Speak to yourself with self-compassion and encouragement. The most important relationship you have in life is with yourself, so make it a good one!

8. Focus on Other People as Opposed to Yourself

The more interested you are in others, the more interesting they find you. To be interesting, be interested. Make eye contact and really make an effort to listen to what the other person is saying.

People generally want to share stories and talk about themselves. Play into that by asking questions and showing interest. It will make the other party aware of how genuine you are.

Another practice I enjoy is saying “I love you, I love you, I love you” in your head to everyone you pass on the street. It sounds weird but it instantly makes you happier. The habit of focusing on what you love in others as opposed to what you dislike in yourself will always leave you satisfied no matter the situation.

9. Do Uncomfortable Things

According to Charlie Houpert, the author of Charisma On Command: Inspire, Impress, and Energize Everyone You Meet and the founder of a 2.7 million subscriber YouTube channel of the same name, confidence stems from being comfortable in situations that would make most people uncomfortable.

This self-confidence tip may not make sense at first, but it does work! By stretching yourself beyond your comfort zone each day, you will quickly have a larger tolerance for uncomfortable situations and can be at ease rather than panicking.

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This is a common approach for dating. By slowly building up the confidence of approaching someone each day—just saying “hi” to someone on day one, then asking a stranger their name on the second day—it eventually becomes a completely normal thing and something that is no longer uncomfortable.

It’s by stretching this zone that we help ourselves grow to grow. As author Tim Ferriss says,

“What we fear doing most is usually what we most need to do.”

Final Thoughts

Building confidence is a process. It ebbs and flows and takes work to build, develop, and maintain. There are days when you just don’t have it in you, and we all experience that. But what are the small changes you can make to push through those areas of doubt? These self-confidence tips are good starting points.

Through consistent habits of positive self-talk and visualization, coupled with experimental methods like body positioning, new clothes, or just putting on a smile, you can begin to alter your self-perception along with the way others perceive you. But to be truly confident, you need to think and feel confident every day.

As the great Muhammad Ali said,

“What you are thinking about, you are becoming.”

Become that confident person!

More Self-Confidence Tips

Featured photo credit: Hannah Busing via unsplash.com

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Reference

More by this author

Kyle J. Brennan

Digital marketing expert, book reviewer, triathlete, & experimenter of all things.

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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).

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 unsplash.com

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