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10 Exercises People Have Been Doing Wrong

10 Exercises People Have Been Doing Wrong

Getting in shape requires a lot of willpower and dedication, so I applaud anyone with the determination and work ethic to stick to their training. I also have great respect for anyone who is trying to make a positive change in their life and is taking the first steps towards achieving their fitness goals. If you hit the gym regularly, get enough rest, and get the right nutrition, you’ll get results. That being said, there’s a smart way to go about things and a potentially dangerous way to go about things. I see too many people jumping into workouts blindly, too shy or arrogant to ask someone for help and a bit of advice. This is why a lot of people out there have been doing some of the most common and popular exercises wrong for years without realizing it, or at least until an inevitable injury prevents them from training.

I should also note that everyone doing serious training should look into healthy diet choices and the basic supplements that will help you stay focused and give you enough fuel to get the most out of your workout. The best pre workout ingredients are the relatively cheap basic stuff that has been proven to work, and combined with a diverse diet, good form, stretching and a decent amount of sleep, will ensure that you stay healthy and avoid injuries. So, if you want to learn good form and make the best strength and muscle gains you can while remaining injury free, then read on.

1. Squats

Squats are the king of all exercises. When done properly, they will tax multiple muscle groups (including the core), will put huge amounts of muscle on your legs, and will help improve your posture.

How people get it wrong

Bad squat form

    The most common problems people have with squats are:

    • Going only a quarter or half the way down
    • Knees caving in
    • Going up on the toes
    • Back rounding

    This bad form not only robs you of the strength and muscle gains that you could have been getting, but also puts you at great risk of injury.

    What you can do to fix it

    The three biggest things holding most people back on squats are:

    • Not knowing the proper set up and squatting form
    • Lack of hip, hamstring and ankle mobility
    • Lack of thoracic extension mobility and upper back strength
    • Weak abs and spinal erectors

    You can fix the squat by practicing proper form, doing several sets of extra core work – weighted sit-ups, leg raises, cable crunches, planks, Russian twists, and hyperextensions are some good choices – and making sure to stretch your hamstrings, quads, hips, glutes, and ankles for a few minutes about 2-3 times a day. Doing face pulls and the cobra stretch can help with thoracic extension so you can keep a neutral spine while squatting.

    Proper squat form

    Good squat form

      The proper way to squat is to adopt a slightly wider-than-shoulder-width stance, with the toes pointed out at or close to 45°, your chest up, and your shoulders back. To understand how to achieve the best leverage, imagine a line between the middle of your feet with a coin right in the middle of it. Touch your palms together right in front of your stomach, and, while keeping your arms straight, bend at the knees and hips until your fingers touch the imaginary coin. Your knees will naturally be pushed outward and your back kept straight – this is what a squat should look like, with weights or without. You should keep your weight on your heels and push through with your hips as you get up.

      When setting up for a barbell back squat – I suggest a high bar position and going slightly below parallel for beginners – make sure that your back is straight, your shoulders pulled back to the point where your shoulder blades are touching or nearly touching, and crouch under the bar, seating it firmly on the trapezius and back delts. You should not rest it on the neck, but try to have the bar resting on muscle, which provides some cushion and a nice little “shelf.” If you are wearing a lifting belt, make sure it’s on tight. Grab the bar firmly with your hands, keeping your elbows down and close to your body. Take a deep breath that fills up you stomach, hold it, and tighten your core as hard as you can. Then, squat down until the crease of your hips is in line with your knees. As you breathe in, push out your stomach, front, and sides hard against the belt so that your core is tense and solid. As soon as you reach this position, start pushing with your legs and then push the hips forward as you rise. Avoid looking at the mirror, and focus on the feeling of the movement – you can have a friend film you from the side and the front as you squat so you can see what you are doing wrong and what you need to work on.

      2. Lunges

      Lunges are a great way to build up your quads and glutes. They help you improve balance and are a great addition to any training routine.

      How people get it wrong

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      Bad lunge form

        You’ll see many people making these common mistakes:

        • Shifting the weight to the ball of the forward foot
        • Bending the torso forward
        • Front knee caving in

        Bad form on the lunges will likely cause injury in the long run, and you just end up looking silly, so it is important to fix your form.

        How you should do it

        The main issues with the lunge are keeping your balance and maintaining a straight back. You can start by stretching your hip flexors, hamstrings, quads and glutes regularly, as well as practicing good form using aids, e.g. a chair you can hold onto.

        Proper lunge form

        Good lunge form

          Step out with one foot and bend straight down, keeping your back straight. The angle between your shins and thighs should be 90° when in the lowest position. Then, rise straight up and repeat several times before switching legs. Alternatively, you can rise up and step out with the other foot, making several consecutive steps as you lunge.

          3. Pushups

          Pushups have several different variations – e.g., they can be wider, close grip, done on the fists, done with feet elevated, done explosively and clapping your hands in between repetitions, or done with one hand – but we will focus on the basic form with the hands placed slightly outside shoulder width and feet placed on the ground.

          How people get it wrong

          bad push up form

            The biggest and most common pushup mistakes include:

            • Flaring the elbows too far out, fully perpendicular to the body
            • Going only halfway down
            • Bending the hips up and down instead of moving the body
            • Bending the back and/or head so the forehead reaches the ground first

            Bad form on pushups can range from being simply comical, which ensures that you don’t get any real benefit from the exercise, to dangerous, particularly in the case of elbows flared out far to the side, which, over time, will damage the shoulder joint.

            How you should do it

            Good push up form

              It is quite simple, as long as you make an effort and leave your ego at the door. You plant your feet together, standing on the balls of your feet and placing your palms slightly wider than shoulder width. When you rise up from the ground, only your palms and the balls of your feet should be touching the floor. Your back should be completely straight, with only your arms moving your body up and down. Go down slowly with control and until your chest touches the floor, then push up until your arms lock out, and repeat the process. If you experience wrist pain, you can do some wrist stretches or perform pushups on the fists on a somewhat softer surface, such as a yoga mat or old blanket on the ground.

              4. Dips

              Dips are an excellent tricep-builder and can also engage the lower pectorals to a certain extent. They also work the core muscles, because they are tensed to keep the body stable. Mistakes can lead to serious injuries. In fact, some people even experience pain in the sternum or joints even with good form, in which case this exercise should be avoided.

              How people get it wrong

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              Bad dip form

                Most people tend to do this exercise wrong at the gym, and it’s mostly due to rushing it. People commonly make these mistakes:

                • Not going all the way down until there is a 90° elbow bend
                • Not going all the way up until the arms are fully extended
                • Flaring the elbows out
                • Going too fast

                The dip is far less technical than some of the other exercises on the list, but it is still important to concentrate on having good form throughout the movement.

                How you should do it

                Good dip form

                  The first thing you need to consider is whether you are strong enough to perform several repetitions on the dip station with good control. If not, then you should first build up your tricep strength using close grip bench press and tricep extensions, and then attempt one or two clean reps. Looking straight ahead will keep your head straight, but you have to consciously brace your core and straighten your back. Go all the way down until the elbow reaches a 90° bend and back up until your arms are fully extended. Take your time and remember to breathe.

                  5. Barbell bent over rows

                  Probably the best back developer out there, the bent over barbell row will hit your lats hard, but it also engages the biceps and the spinal erectors. However, poor form can put your spine at risk or shift the focus away from the lats, so you need to be careful.

                  How people get it wrong

                  Bad row form

                    Here are a few things you’ll want to avoid:

                    • Back rounding
                    • Standing too upright
                    • Curling your wrists inward
                    • Tilting your head back
                    • Excessively swinging from the hips, effectively turning it into a very ugly Romanian deadlift

                    You don’t want to be making mistakes in a bent over position under a heavy load, so it’s important to follow the basic rules of a good bent over row.

                    How you should do it

                    Good row form

                      While you should have a certain degree of mobility to perform the lift, you only need a bit of stretching and some mental cues to become comfortable with it. Standing in a shoulder-width stance, you pick up the barbell, either from a rack or off the floor, then you bend slightly at the knees while bending forward from the hips until your body is at an angle of about 45° to the ground. The bar should be just below the knees, your back and neck should be straight and your shoulder blades brought as close together as possible. Pull the bar into your lower chest, bringing your elbows to the ceiling, and control it on the way down so it doesn’t pull you out of position.

                      6. Pull-ups/Chin-ups

                      You’d think that it’s all in the name and that people won’t be able to get it wrong, but someone always seems to find a way to mess up a good exercise. While doing pull-ups, your palms are facing away from you, while your palms face towards you for chin ups, but the same rules apply in both cases.

                      How people get it wrong

                      Bad pull up form

                        This is an exercise that most people don’t do right, and it’s usually because their ego gets in the way and they want to do more than they are capable of doing. This is why you see things like:

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                        • Swinging the body to create momentum
                        • Poor range of motion, i.e., not going low enough and not pulling yourself up high enough
                        • Not bracing the core and legs, which leads to the body flopping around

                        You’ll see even some more experienced lifters performing half reps, but unless you are very advanced and doing them as a finisher, you really should be paying attention to proper form.

                        How you should do it

                        It’s best to start off doing cable pull downs on the lat machine until you can develop the strength to move your own bodyweight. Another great way to start is to jump into a pull-up/chin-up, then hold for as long as you can, and then lower yourself as slowly and with as much control as possible. Repeating several of these negative reps each time you train will slowly strengthen you enough to perform real reps.

                        Proper pull-up and chin-up form

                        Good pull up form

                          You should start from a dead hang, with your arms fully extended. For pull-ups, you can go with a narrower shoulder-width grip that targets the mid-back, or with a wide grip the targets the lats. For chin-ups, start with a narrow grip with your palms facing towards you. The first thing you do is retract the shoulder blades, then pull the shoulders back. Then, begin pulling hard with the back muscles and biceps. You should be pulling the elbows down and back. For chin-ups, your chin needs to be over the bar, or at least in line with it, in the up position. For pull-ups, try to get as high as possible. Some people can get their chest to the bar even when using a narrow grip.

                          7. Overhead press

                          Nothing puts more meat on your shoulders than the overhead press, and when combined with face pulls and lateral raises can create those coveted cannonball shoulder muscles. It’s too bad a lot of people are either afraid of it or end up doing it improperly.

                          How people get it wrong

                          Bad overhead press form

                            What you’ll often see at the gym, if you even see someone performing these instead of dumbbell overhead press or the smith machine variety, are the following mistakes:

                            • Gripping the bar too wide
                            • Lack of proper thoracic extension
                            • Lack of core and glute tightness
                            • Bending too far back and turning it into an incline bench press, without the bench
                            • Not controlling the descent

                            The shoulders are incredibly susceptible to injury, as they are a very mobile ball and socket joint, so you really need to get the form down on this one if you want to avoid trouble in the future.

                            How you should do it

                            Good overhead press form

                              The key with this exercise is keeping the body tight and having a strong grip on the bar. You need to push your chest out and tighten the glutes to keep a neutral spine. You can (very slightly) push the hips forwards. Your grip should be about shoulder-width, your elbows pointed straight down to the ground (not backward), and your triceps resting on your lats. When first starting out, you won’t have the triceps or the lat size to achieve this, but you should brace yourself and try hard to keep the elbows in front of the chest and pointing straight down. When you press up, you get your head out of the way with a very slight motion, then your head moves back forward as your arms lock out at the top of the exercise. Bring the weight back to your chest, with another slight motion to get the head out of the way, and make sure the elbows are pointed straight down. Pause momentarily and then repeat the cycle.

                              8. Bicep curls, dumbbell and barbell

                              A favorite exercise among gym bros worldwide, bicep curls seem so simple that they can’t be messed up. Yet you’ll see some really appalling form out there.

                              How people get it wrong

                              bad curl form

                                The bicep is a small muscle that can’t handle too much weight, and it has a dual purpose of bringing the forearm straight up, as well as turning it so that the wrist faces upwards (supination), which leaves plenty of room for errors like these:

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                                • Swinging the weights up using the shoulders or even leaning back
                                • Not bringing the weight all the way down to where the elbow is locked out
                                • Curling the wrists upwards
                                • Letting the weights drop down very quickly (often to add momentum to the impending swing)
                                • Not turning the wrist in all the way during alternate dumbbell curls

                                Such lifting mistakes will keep your biceps looking small and potentially cause you some wrist pain.

                                How you should do it

                                Good curl form

                                  When doing barbell curls, you want to get a comfortable grip that isn’t too wide or too narrow. Brace your core and glutes, and focus on using only the biceps. With both barbell and dumbbell curls, you can either keep your wrists straight or have them a bit loose and let them trail behind, taking the forearms out of the movement to a great extent and minimizing strain on the wrist joint. For alternating dumbbell curls, you should start with the arms at your sides, palms facing your legs. This is partly because you want to add the twisting motion that allows you to engage the biceps better, but also because of mere convenience, as the dumbbells would hit the side of your legs otherwise. Turn your wrist upwards as soon as you clear the leg, squeezing hard at the top of the motion, before slowly lowering the weights back down until the arm is fully extended.

                                  9. Sit-ups

                                  Another seemingly simple exercise that can actually cause pain and injury if not done correctly.

                                  How people get it wrong

                                  Young beautiful woman during fitness time and exercising

                                    These mistakes aren’t too damaging for the most part, although repeating them frequently can lead to injury. Of course, you’ll get more out of your training if you avoid them:

                                    • Pushing the head forward too much
                                    • Pulling the chin into the chest
                                    • Putting the hands behind the neck and pulling on it
                                    • Rounding the lower back
                                    • Not breathing throughout the movement
                                    • Going too fast and virtually just rocking back and forth

                                    How you should do it

                                    Good sit up form

                                      Unlike the crunch, which is essentially just caving your chest in and bringing the shoulders slightly off the floor, the sit-up, as the name suggests, requires your entire back to leave the floor. It’s important to keep your knees up with your feet planted firmly on the ground as you lie on the floor. It’s best to have your fingers pointing towards your temples if you like to flare the elbows out, or you can cross your arms on your chest. You start the movement like a crunch, but then lift your body up from the hips until you are at about 60°-70° from the ground, keeping the lower back fairly straight. Then, lower yourself back down slowly.

                                      10. Hanging leg raises

                                      This is a great exercise that targets the lower abdominals incredibly well, but still hits most of the abs. It is quite a bit more challenging than the sit-up.

                                      How people get it wrong

                                      Hanging leg raises half rep

                                        You don’t see too many people doing these because they are very challenging, but when you do see them performed, there are a few flaws that become immediately apparent:

                                        • Excessive swinging of the legs
                                        • Letting the legs flop down with no control
                                        • Lifting up the knees/legs only half way

                                        Bad form like this will give you a bit of a cardio workout, but it will not strengthen your abs.

                                        How you should do it

                                        hanging leg raises good form

                                          It’s important to note that beginners should start with leg raises from a lying position — perhaps on a bench or yoga mat – and should work on their grip and back strength so that they will be able to hold on to the bar long enough to perform the exercise. You should focus on keeping your legs straight, lifting them up as high as you can, and then using a shoulder blade retraction and your hip flexors to get either the knees as close to the chest as possible or the toes as close to the bar as possible. Make sure to lower the legs all the way back down relatively slowly and under control, and wait a second before the next rep so that you avoid using momentum.

                                          There are tons of great exercises out there, but if you don’t know what you are doing and can’t get someone to show you the proper technique, you can end up hurting yourself. At the very least, you’ll hinder your performance and progress in the gym. Remember these tips to help you get a better understanding of these ten popular exercises so that you can improve your training and avoid any injuries!

                                          More by this author

                                          Ivan Dimitrijevic

                                          Ivan is the CEO and founder of a digital marketing company. He has years of experiences in team management, entrepreneurship and productivity.

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                                          Last Updated on October 14, 2020

                                          How to Be Confident: 51 Proven Ways to Build Self-Confidence

                                          How to Be Confident: 51 Proven Ways to Build Self-Confidence

                                          When you learn how to be confident, you can use it in your everyday life to tackle all of your goals and challenges. However, not many people realize that learning how to gain self-confidence is like building a muscle—it grows in response to the level of performance required of it.

                                          Here I will give you 51 proven ways to overcome a lack of self-confidence and achieve more.

                                          1. Learn Something New

                                          Sign up for that evening class and enjoy it. Alternatively, read a book (or take an online course) on a topic you’ve always wanted to learn more about.

                                          Learning new things stretches your abilities, keeps your mind active, and most definitely improves your confidence in your ability to do new things.

                                          2. Ask Your Partner or a Friend What You Can Do For Them

                                          This can be something as easy as helping them with a chore they don’t like or have little time for. Through helping them, you’ll find that you feel better about yourself.

                                          3. Hit the Gym

                                          The physiological effects of going to the gym will leave you feeling great.

                                          Countless studies have shown that regular workouts at the gym can boost not only your sense of well-being, but can increase your self-esteem, too[1].

                                          4. Go to a Networking Event

                                          Rather than being nervous about your own stuff, focus on how to help others. Instead of going along with the aim of trying to sell yourself to others, why not change your approach and simply go along to see how you can help the people you meet?

                                          By doing this, you’ll come across as calm, confident, and someone that people will want to turn to again and again.

                                          5. Get Clear on the Things That Matter to You

                                          If these things are not in your life, you’ll need to bring them in.

                                          For example, if your daily work routine is currently as dull as dishwater—but you’d like it to be fun—then do something about it. Turn data entry into personal speed contests, paper filing into “screen-free” time, and interactions with your colleagues into enjoyable conversations.

                                          6. Remove Negativity From Your Life

                                          Write a list of the things you’re tolerating and putting up with in your life, then write down how you can remove, minimize, or diminish each one.

                                          I personally like to do this with pen and paper as it feels just a little more real and definite than on screen. It’s also a good idea to put the priority items at the top of your list, so you can begin resolving these first.

                                          7. Celebrate Your Big and Small Wins

                                          Look at the big or small goals you’ve completed, and give yourself credit for your part in it.

                                          Recognizing your achievements is not egotistical, it’s healthy.

                                          8. Converse With New People

                                          Go and have a conversation with someone you don’t know. By doing this, you may be pleasantly surprised by what—or who—you’ll discover.

                                          You can also extend this trait by breaking outside of your normal social situations at your workplace. This will do wonders when learning how to be confident.

                                          9. Do Something You Would Normally Say No to

                                          Next time you talk yourself out of doing something (a party invite, a challenging project, etc.), go and do it anyway. This is a great way to boost personal development.

                                          10. Do One Thing Each Day That Makes You Smile

                                          This could be something as simple as sending a thank you email to a colleague that has been helpful to you, or leaving a surprise present for your partner that they’ll discover when they wake up.

                                          Life shouldn’t be drudgery, and we all need to make the effort to keep it light, loving, and fun.

                                          11. Give Yourself Good Advice

                                          Look for the patterns of thought that take you to a place where you start second-guessing or overthinking.

                                          Now imagine that your best friend went through exactly the same thought process and ended up holding themselves back—what would you want to say to them?

                                          This is known as Soloman’s Paradox—we’re often quite good at solving others’ problems but not our own. Challenge this and take your own good advice next time[2].

                                          12. Ask Someone on a Date

                                          If you’re single and have met someone that you’re definitely attracted to—go ahead and ask them out.

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                                          Even if they turn you down, it will help you learn how to be confident through the fact that you were decisive and made an effort. What’s the best thing that could happen? They might just say yes!

                                          13. Write Down 20 Things That Make You Feel Good

                                          Think of this as a gratitude list. Typical things you might include are: your partner, your kids, your parents, your pets, etc.

                                          I recommend writing this list at least once a month. And most importantly—make sure you’re giving the 20 things plenty of room in your life.

                                          14. Stop Playing Different Roles

                                          Stop playing different roles and squeezing yourself into boxes based on what you think people expect of you.

                                          Be your authentic self, the one who knows what to do and loves what they do. It’s easy to find this part of yourself as it’s inherent in your hobbies and your close friendships.

                                          If you can bring this authenticity into your work life, you’ll be surprised at how positively others will react to you.

                                          15. Cultivate a Positive Mindset

                                          Learn to catch yourself every time you tell yourself that you can’t have, won’t get, or aren’t good enough to get what you want[3].

                                          Talk yourself up when learning how to be confident.

                                            Instead, tell yourself that you can have, will get, and are good enough to get what you want. Mindset is everything. Make sure yours is positive and dynamic.

                                            16. Take Yourself off Auto-Pilot

                                            Make deliberate decisions on what really matters to you.

                                            For instance, if you normally work 9 to 5 but find yourself spending hours getting to and from work, why not negotiate with your boss to mix your hours up a bit?

                                            You might also suggest a day or two working from home. Sell this to your boss by reminding them that the time and stress lost to commuting can be neatly transferred to productive work hours.

                                            17. Listen Carefully to What You Tell Yourself

                                            Next time you come up against a risk or a challenge, listen to what you tell yourself, and look for a way to improve your inner dialogue.

                                            If you normally find that your inner dialogue is negative, then break out of this by asking yourself questions such as:

                                            • What would make this easier?
                                            • Is there a different way of doing this?
                                            • Could research help?

                                            18. Laugh at Yourself

                                            Scared of looking silly? It’s no biggie, so don’t let it stop you.

                                            Whenever we try something new, there’s a fair chance that we’ll make fools of ourselves. But you’d be a bigger fool to let that stop you. Instead, laugh at your baby steps and watch your confidence soar as you begin to master your chosen activity.

                                            19. Listen to Your Doubts

                                            Sometimes your doubts are there to let you know what you need to prepare for, so you can use them to your benefit as you move forwards. Other times, they are just doubts.

                                            The trick is to quickly determine if your doubts have validity. If they do, use them to shape your decisions.

                                            To illustrate this, imagine that you’ve had an enticing job offer, but you doubt whether you’re capable of doing the job. Spend a little time analyzing your doubts to see whether they reflect reality, or whether they are just negative thoughts that are trying to hold you back.

                                            20. Recall a Time When You Did a Great Job

                                            Think of a time when it felt like a whole bank of switches in your head flicked to the on position, and you were firing on all cylinders. What were you doing, and what’s the reason it felt so great? Can you emulate that passion and drive that you had?

                                            21. Tear up Your Rule Book

                                            You may not know it, but you’ve almost certainly got a whole bunch of outdated rules that determine what you do and don’t do. These rules limit your thinking and your behavior.

                                            It’s time to change them. Tear up this subconscious rule book and toss it in the fire. Once you’ve done this, you’ll immediately notice how free you feel to make challenging and exciting decisions.

                                            22. Ask Yourself What You Have Gained When You Lose

                                            Do you get annoyed with yourself because you didn’t make the most of something or stepped back from an opportunity?

                                            Firstly, don’t beat yourself up because that’s just going to make you feel worse. Instead, be brutally honest and ask yourself what you gained from the situation and what you lost out on.

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                                            Based on this win/lose balance, what’s a different choice you can make next time?

                                            23. Don’t Let People Put You Down

                                            If there’s someone in your life who puts you down or makes you feel small, you owe it to yourself to let them know that you expect something different from now on. 

                                            Trust me, once you’ve told them, they’ll change, and you will, too. Inevitably, you’ll boost both your confidence and happiness by taking control of your life in this way.

                                            Learn how to get out of toxic relationships in this article.

                                            24. Reveal a Little Bit of the Real You

                                            Relationships can be difficult. They can also lose their zest and become stale. If this happens in your relationship, then it’s time to add some magic to the mix.

                                            Try revealing something interesting about yourself or your past that your partner doesn’t currently know when learning how to be confident. Perhaps you never mentioned to them that you used to play in a rock band—and you still have the recordings to prove it!

                                            By adding new things to your relationship, you’ll deepen the bond and keep the spark alive.

                                            25. Be Your Own Hero

                                            Recognize that you’re more than a match for any situation you might find yourself in—no matter how tough the going gets.

                                            We all love movies like Die Hard where ordinary people are driven to super-ordinary feats. But here’s the rub: you can be your own action hero.

                                            Whatever the situation, meet it head on and overcome it. Keep in mind the classic phrase: “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.”

                                            26. Don’t Give in to the Instant Pay-off

                                            If I was to offer you $100 now for a day’s work tomorrow or $110 for the same work, but I won’t pay you for a week, which would you choose? Well, I can’t read your mind, but I do know that studies using a similar question to this have found that most people choose the instant, smaller payment over the latter, bigger payment. It seems that we’re hardwired for instant gratification.

                                            However, if you want to be a success in life, always look at the bigger picture. In the example above, if you could have only waited seven more days, you would have been $10 richer!

                                            27. Instead of Yelling “I Deserve Better,” Say “I Can Be Better”

                                            Too often I hear people complaining about their personal circumstances but refusing to do anything about it. Don’t be like them.

                                            If things aren’t going your way, find solutions and implement them. Your boldness and decisiveness will boost your confidence and help you rapidly climb the ladder of success.

                                            28. Admit You’re Wrong

                                            It may not be easy, but you should always be prepared to hold your hands up and change your mind if things are going south. Not every idea you have will be a winning one. The trick is to know when things are clearly not working out.

                                            You can either attempt to get them back on track or kill them off completely (sometimes that’s the best way).

                                            29. Trust Your Instincts

                                            We all have our gut feelings and intuitions, but many people choose to ignore them and rely only on facts, facts, and more facts! While this may work for many scenarios, there will be other times when you’ll need to rely on your instincts.

                                            30. Imagine Your Confident Future Self

                                            Imagine you’re visited by a successful, confident, attractive, and vibrant version of you from the future, a version of you who’s everything you hope to be. What do they want to tell you?

                                            They might praise your efforts, but they may also criticize your lack of planning and weak goals.

                                            Luckily, if you listen closely to what they tell you, you’ll be able to rapidly shift gears in your life and become the you of the future!

                                            31. Ask for Help

                                            This is a common issue. We take on way too many responsibilities and end up either burning ourselves out or just doing a bad job!

                                            The secret is to put the vast majority of your energy and efforts into what you do well. Give the stuff you don’t do well to others who have a gift for it. Sometimes the most confident and effective thing to do is ask for help.

                                            32. Be Around People Who Make You Feel Like You

                                            Do this by spending more time with the people who support and encourage you and less time with those who undermine you.

                                            At work, don’t be ruined by negative, petty people. Instead, make sure you surround yourself with colleagues who make you laugh and feel good about yourself.

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                                            33. Participate in the World Around You

                                            Ask yourself this question: “What can I participate in that’s important to me?”

                                            Typically, this could be your church, a sports club, or even just a weekly get together with your best friend.

                                            34. Develop Skills to Work on Things That Matter to You

                                            What can you practice that would radically improve your chances of winning?

                                            If you want to climb the corporate ladder, for example, then develop the skills needed to do this. These might include: effective project management skills, powerful presentation abilities, and superb goal setting skills.

                                            Of course, don’t forget that emulating those who have already achieved your goal is one of the quickest and most reliable ways for you to achieve your aims, too.

                                            35. Act Until You Make It

                                            The body is a mirror for the mind, so shifting your body language into a confident state can have surprising results.

                                            This is all about acting. If you want to come across as tough, act tough. If you want to come across as successful, act successful. And if you want to come across as confident, act confident.

                                            Try doing these things, and you’ll be amazed by the results.

                                            36. Push Through When You Want to Give up

                                            Don’t get disheartened or demotivated when you get to 90% with something you’re working on. Push through, and you’ll see that the last 10% is where the magic happens.

                                            37. Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

                                            Keep comparing yourself to others? Stop it. If you want to learn how to be confident, don’t try to validate yourself through comparison—you’re just peachy as you are.

                                            Social media often makes this difficult. Try stepping away from your Facebook page for a few days and reconnect with the great things in your own life.

                                            You can get started with this guide.

                                            38. Speak up When You Can Make a Difference

                                            Speak up if there’s something you think could be improved or if you have an idea you think has legs.

                                            Have you noticed that quiet people at work rarely get the promotions? It’s not that they are incapable or lacking talent, but their abilities are usually overlooked as they don’t know how to engage with others or how to sell themselves.

                                            Step out of your comfort zone and be sure that you’re an active player. Speak up in meetings by suggesting ideas and offering constructive criticism.

                                            39. Stop Struggling and Start Accepting

                                            If there’s something you’ve been struggling to understand for a while, stop trying to understand it. Accept it just as it is, fully and wholly.

                                            Life offers endless mysteries. If you try to resolve them all you’ll drive yourself insane. Instead, let some mysteries remain, and keep your mind focused on your goals and dreams.

                                            40. It’s Okay to Be Shy

                                            There’s nothing wrong with being shy, and it doesn’t mean you’re not a confident person.

                                            If you suffer from shyness, you might think it’s a major weakness of yours. However, introverted people have the edge in many ways, such as: they’re first-rate listeners, they have excellent observational skills, and they’re easier to trust[4].

                                            41. Clean up Your Environment

                                            Your environment directly impacts your self-perception. So, if you’re surrounded by clutter, paperwork, and rubbish, put a morning aside to clean up your stuff and get organized.

                                            42. Write a List of Things You Would Love to Do

                                            Write yourself a list of the amazing things you’d love to do in your life, and make a start by simply looking into the first one or two things that leap out at you. This will help you get started as you learn how to be confident

                                            Even if you don’t currently have the means to live your dreams, you can, at the very least, make a start. The best way to do this is to write out the things you’d love to do. These may include cool stuff, such as travelling the world, learning a new language, or climbing a mountain.

                                            Once you’ve added the items to your list, don’t stop there. Begin researching and preparing ways to turn your dreams into realities.

                                            43. Make Your Self-Worth Independent From Others’ Validation

                                            Don’t make your happiness or self-worth dependent on being in a relationship or being validated by someone else.

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                                            While it’s difficult to admit it, we often find ourselves rating our self-esteem by the value other people put on us.

                                            For instance, you may have a super-positive boss who is always encouraging and supportive. They make you feel upbeat and confident at all times.

                                            However, imagine if they left and your new boss was the complete opposite. They constantly look for faults in your work and regularly criticize you. Would you still feel confident in those circumstances?

                                            If you’ve answered no, then you need to reappraise your self-worth, as it shouldn’t be dependent on the validation of others.

                                            44. Use Your Strengths

                                            We all have our weaknesses, but they only undermine your confidence if you let them.

                                            For instance, are you aware that Virgin’s founder Richard Branson suffers from dyslexia? He never let this hold him back or destroy his confidence. Today, he is one of the world’s most successful men, with a net worth of approximately $5 billion[5].

                                            45. Complete a To-Do List

                                            The longer you leave that big thing on your to-do list, the more it’ll drain you, and the bigger it’ll seem. Get it done and free yourself up.

                                            If you have a big goal, break it down into smaller tasks. For instance, instead of trying to write a whole chapter of your book in one go, how about just writing the opening paragraph?

                                            46. Treat Your Body Well

                                            When learning how to be confident, our body image does matter, because if you have a bad relationship with your body, you won’t feel confident in yourself.

                                            What’s one of the first things most of us do when we get up in the morning? We look in the mirror. If we don’t like what we see there, then our day starts off with negative self-talk. If, on the other hand, we look in the mirror and feel proud of our appearance, then we start the day off in an upbeat, positive way.

                                            If you’re unhappy with your body and looks, do something to improve them. Exercise, diet, and styling are common ways of improving your body image—and your confidence.

                                            47. Learn to Say No

                                            Don’t say yes to taking on a task simply because you don’t want to rock the boat. You can politely decline requests you can’t meet without needing to create excuses.

                                            While saying yes to everything that comes your way might feel like you’re being helpful and in demand, in the long run, you’ll burn yourself out.

                                            48. Learn From Confident People

                                            Look at the people you respect who seem confident. Don’t copy them, but identify what it is they do differently that conveys confidence and what you can learn from it.

                                            People-watching is not only fun, but it can be informative, too. Look closely at successful people you know, or those being interviewed on TV, and over time you’ll begin to notice common traits, beliefs, and behaviors that they exhibit.

                                            49. Follow Through on Your Plans

                                            Most people find it easy to write plans. The hard part, of course, is seeing them through. To stand out from the crowd, make sure that you know exactly how to complete your plans.

                                            If you need to, write down a step-by-step guide and begin following it. Not only will this drive you towards the completion of your plans—but experiencing the progress will also give you a continuous boost to your self-esteem.

                                            50. Shift Your Focus When You Doubt Yourself

                                            When you feel yourself focusing inwards and becoming paralyzed with doubt or fear, switch to focusing outwards at what you can engage and interact with.

                                            I remember one of my writing tutors telling me that when the words stop flowing, it’s time to take a break— preferably a walk in the park. It’s sound advice as it’s very easy to get caught up with our thoughts and emotions and be unable to make progress.

                                            51. Never Beat Yourself up for Failing

                                            Life is guaranteed to not always be a barrel of laughs. Instead, it’s much more like a roller coaster. There will be ups and downs, so ride them out.

                                            The art of living is to know how to handle whatever comes you way. The best way to achieve this is by developing an iron core that is unhindered by the topsy-turvy outside world.

                                            Final Thoughts

                                            Here I’ve given you 51 different ways to start building self-confidence Take action on the ways that you’re drawn to.

                                            It’s not enough to read about them. For them to work, you must adopt them into your daily life. Do this, and you’ll start to feel your confidence soar.

                                            More on How to Be Confident

                                            Featured photo credit: Matheus Ferrero via unsplash.com

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