Having confidence in your goal is important. It's tough to stick to something we don't believe we can do, after all. We've talked in other articles about how easy it is to get frustrated, and about controlling negative thoughts in our effort to build up good and healthy habits. We've also talked about rewards and incentives, but we haven't really spoken about the best means of confidence boosting and building a habit of strong thinking itself.
Just like all of our other behaviors, confidence also is a habit. It's a way of thinking that, if we cultivate it properly, will become automatic. People with more confidence try more things, take more risks and have more experiences overall than those of us without it. So let's look at a few ways we can cultivate that kind of confidence for ourselves.
Confidence Booster 1 - Knowing Your Abilities
Honesty is the most important part of having a proper confidence habit. There are things we definitely can do, and things we definitely cannot. We can believe all we want that eating while standing up "doesn't count," but the calories still go in! Similarly, just because we're afraid that we can't do something doesn't necessarily mean it's true. We might be convinced that we'll drown the moment we go into a pool, but stepping into the water will prove we're wrong.
To that end, sit down with yourself and go over your goals and steps you've broken your diet plan down into. Look at each one, and come up with two different things that might get in your way of achieving them. Then immediately write down one way you know you can circumvent each potential problem. If it's a friend who insists on super whippy frothy coffee desserts, consider asking them if you can meet at a different venue while you're working on your weight loss.
Do this every single day. Pick out a specific goal, one obstacle and a resolution to that obstacle every morning when you get started. This will get your mind in the habit of thinking about your abilities and what you can do with them, rather than the problems and confidence-crushing hindrances that slow you down. Make sure you do it at the same time every morning to strengthen the habit-building potential of it.
Confidence Booster 2 - Review Your Successes
Nothing in the world boosts confidence like success. Verbal affirmations of your self worth are a good step, but they're infinitely more powerful when you have something to reflect on when you make them. Equally, successes become more meaningful when rewarded with congratulations, yet often we are the ones least inclined to congratulate ourselves. Stop withholding well-deserved praise from yourself and start acknowledging what you've done right.
Whenever you take a positive step toward your goal, whether that's refusing the large portion for the small one or successfully exercising the "wait 20 minutes" option during a snack craving, compliment yourself for it. Whether aloud or in the privacy of your thoughts, praise yourself for a job well done.
At the end of the day, review all the successes you made. You've probably already gone over the mistakes, so those don't need retreading. Instead, focus on each little victory and take pride in it, knowing that it helped you one step along your way.
Confidence Booster 3 - Set Goals and Hit Them Again
Repetition and routine are the best methods of solidifying a good, powerful habit that will help when losing weight. We've discussed setting goals, and complimenting yourself for achieving them, so now let's talk about repeating them. After all, what's more impressive -- hitting the bull's eye, or hitting it 10 times?
To that end, take some time when you wake up to remember the successes from yesterday. After pausing to compliment yourself again for them, affirm that you're going to take the same step today. You did it once, after all; it's entirely within your grasp to do it again. If you think you can, go a step further and affirm an expansion to the goal as well.
This pattern will help you build a habit of consistently seeing your accomplishments as something that you can do and have done, and make you want to do them again. Then, as you get comfortable hitting the mark, you'll naturally want to expand it, hitting a higher goal, until it becomes the one you meet every day.
Confidence Booster 4 - Review the Plan
An interesting study recently showed that people who focus only on their end goal don't tend to succeed as much as those who focus on the goal and the steps in between. Yes, we all want to get to a place where we feel better, and fit into a nicer set of clothes, but if we choose to focus only on the little swimsuit, we're going to inevitably look at ourselves and think, "How will I ever..."
Remember that you have a plan. You're not trying to make a leap; you've got many small steps in between that you're going to take. You don't have to lose fifty pounds today; you just have to replace your usual afternoon candy bar with a healthy sandwich, or a pack of low-salt nuts. You can take that step -- that's easy! By reviewing the plan, and focusing both on the intermediate steps AND the goal, you make the goal seem that much more approachable, and you will find your confidence soaring.