When was the last time you said something nice to yourself? Do you have trouble accepting compliments from others? Do you find it difficult to keep a positive attitude throughout the day? If so, don’t worry, you are not alone! We all struggle with our confidence from time to time. In fact, the human brain tends to have a negativity bias. Some days from the moment we wake up to the moment we fall asleep, we are inundated with negative thoughts. These nagging thoughts don’t feel good and are constantly critiquing how we look, how we poured our coffee incorrectly, or how everything we seem to try and do is sub-par. A little negative self-talk all day can compound into a recipe for chronic low self-esteem. As a life coach, I have a several helpful tips to combat daily negativity and build self-esteem and confidence.
1. Start a morning routine.
Even if it is only 15 minutes, having this time to yourself can set the tone for the day. This is especially effective for my “I’m not a morning person” friends. If you want to get the blood flowing, you can do a few minutes of simple stretching or a full-on workout, whatever feels best.
If you want to start the day more reflectively, brew your favorite coffee or tea and dedicate a few minutes to journaling or meditating while you enjoy your beverage. Bonus, studies show morning is the best time of day to add a new habit, so if you’re looking to try one out, add it to your morning routine! Doing something positive for yourself is a great boost to the self-confidence reservoir.
2. End the day with gratitude.
Journaling might not be for everyone, but I recommend making a simple list of things you are grateful for, no matter how small. Ending your day with this list helps fight the temptation to spin out on the negatives of the day.
I always recommend an “attitude of gratitude” when someone asks how to build confidence. This is a great time to celebrate daily achievements no matter how small.
Our mindset can shape our realities, so might as well make it a positive and grateful one!
3. Build some boundaries.
Women sometimes struggle with “no,” but saying it can be one of the most genuine forms of self-love! Guard your time and energy with polite, but firm, nos. If this task seems like a challenge, start small. You can decide to protect your morning routine and then build from there.
Once you decide the morning routine is your boundary, you are under no circumstances allowed to compromise, skip, or share the 15 minutes you have allotted to yourself every morning. I promise the world will not collapse if you take time for yourself; in fact, I promise the world will be a better place if you do!
4. Keep a few affirmations on hand.
Positive affirmations sometimes catch a lot of flak (looking at you, Stewart Smalley from SNL!), but they work. They are especially effective when used to challenge negative or inaccurate thinking, which most self-talk is.
Whenever you think or say a negative thing, counter it by saying a positive affirmation. “I look terrible today” should be immediately followed by “I am calm and balanced” or similar. You’ll notice your mindset shift, and once the avalanche of negativity stops falling, you will start being able to see the positives.
Don’t worry that you might not use positive affirmations correctly; there is no right or wrong way. Start saying something nice about yourself, repeat it throughout the day, and watch your mood and confidence get a much-needed boost!
5. Stay in your lane (aka: stop comparing yourself to others).
This is your journey, and it is unique to you! Other people have a different road, different goals, different morals, different biology, different hang-ups, challenges, etc. When you compare their benchmarks to yours, you might find yourself suddenly dissatisfied with your progress.
There are a million factors as to why they are where they are, and you need to focus on your own path.
Stick to your goals, make daily progress even if it is just one thing, and celebrate every win, no matter how small.
6. Identify your tribe.
When you surround yourself with positive people who share similar goals, you are setting yourself up for success. Let’s imagine a big goal for example: you want to train and run a whole marathon.
Do you think you will have a better outcome hanging out with the people from the local running club or your friends who want to stay up all night playing video games and drinking beer? Neither group is good nor bad, but one fits better with your goals.
Aligning the people you spend time with to your goals with help get you there faster.
7. Know your “zones”.
Psychologist and author Gay Hendricks wrote about “Zones of Genius” in his book The Big Leap: Conquer Your Hidden Fear and Take Life to the Next Level. Every person has unique gifts and talents, and most self-help books encourage you to identify your competencies and develop them.
Hendricks takes this a step further and recommends you differentiate between your zone of excellence, things you’re great at, and your zone of genius, which are the gifts and talents that set you apart from anyone around you.
He warns that some people get stuck in the zone of excellence because it’s easy and there is a decent payoff. But the real rewards in life come from operating in your zone of genius.
“Liberating and expressing your natural genius is your ultimate path to success and life satisfaction. Your Zone of Genius is the set of activities you are uniquely suited to do.”
-Gay Hendricks, The Big Leap: Conquer Your Hidden Fear and Take Life to the Next Level
8. Stay accountable to your goals.
Family and friends are great part of your support network, but sometimes are not the best when you start to change “too much”. Change can be scary for people around you, and they might even end up advising you to stop chasing your dreams out of fear.
A life coach is the perfect accountability partner. I help my clients identify their goals, create a plan to get to those goals, then check in with them every step of the way to make sure they stay on track.
Having a third party who can see the big picture when you might get stuck in the overwhelming details or when things get hard is extremely valuable in achieving your goals in record time. I can also help you sort through doubts and negative thoughts as you pursue your big goals.
These recommendations are just the tip of the iceberg on how coaching can help build your confidence and improve your life. As with all things, practice makes perfect. You might not be able to do each of these exercises perfectly, but some time spent on yourself with these every day will have great return on your energy and mindset. I love helping my clients go after big dreams, and then watch them come up with even bigger goals once they start finish their first list. I’ve helped many different people reach new possibilities, and you can read more about their stories here: https://movingforwardcoaching.com/real-results/