Today we’re covering 5 confidence-building activities that will boost your self-confidence levels and help you achieve success on your terms.
Because success won’t come unless you’re willing to work hard, get uncomfortable and keep going (no matter what). And if you want to be happy with your successes (and make life more fun), then you’ll want to achieve success on your terms.
All of that means being confident. . . in your abilities and your decisions.
Before we get started, be sure to download the Own Your Awesome Guidebook – a free guide for how to deal with impostor syndrome, get out of your own way and achieve more (while doing less).
Let’s get started. . .
Table of Contents
What Is Self-Confidence (and Why Does It Matter)?
What Self-Confidence Really Is
Self-confidence isn’t simply about how you appear or act. Nor is it about positive thinking. Instead, it’s about how you feel about yourself and your abilities.
Confident people believe that they can be successful based on their abilities, skills and strengths. And you can be confident about some things and lack confidence in other areas of your life.
For example, I’m confident in my ability to coach people to break through their fears and doubts so that they can create the career/business they want without burning out. And I’m also confident in my ability to speak in front of a mid-sized crowd.
But I’m not confident about my ability to deal with plumbing issues in my house (that would be my husband’s job) or even fully confident about speaking on a large stage (because I’ve yet to speak in front of that large of a crowd).
Common Confidence Characteristics
Self-confident people are usually:
- unafraid to be wrong,
- have faith that they can deliver on their promises, and
- ask for help when needed.
They’re not easily thrown off by setbacks but instead see them as challenges to learn from.
Having a healthy dose of self-confidence helps build self-esteem (the two are often confused with one another, even though they are different).
Self-Confidence vs. Self-Esteem
Self-esteem is how you assess your own worth – it’s your filter for whether you believe that you’re worthy of love and respect. And it’s the foundation for how you view yourself and interact with people. Lack of self-worth often results in a lack of self-respect.
The good news is that, although different, there’s an interrelationship between self-confidence and self-esteem. And most confidence-building activities don’t just boost your self-confidence, but also work to build your self-esteem.
Please note that self-confident people (with high self-esteem) still have doubts and fears. They’re not completely fearless. The difference is that they don’t allow fears or doubts to stop them from setting big goals and going after their big dreams.
Their confidence is what enables them to act courageously.
Struggle with an inner critical voice that questions your every decision (and makes you feel like an impostor)? Be sure to download the Own Your Awesome Guidebook, your free guide for how to deal with impostor syndrome so that you can regain your confidence, tame your inner critic and start enjoying your successes.
Get your copy here:
Where Does Confidence Come From?
Self-confidence is an inside job. What that means is that you create it yourself – by taking courageous action (even if just a small first step) and utilizing proven confidence-building activities and exercises.
You learn from your actions and boost your self-confidence as you gain more knowledge and achieve success. But it’s important to note that you must work on your mindset too.
Your mentality is what ultimately helps you to take action – even (especially) when things seem uncertain and you have doubts. And the mindset you’ll want is one of resilience and growth.
To learn more about what a growth mindset is and the interrelationship between your mindset, success and self-confidence, read my article on Why Mindset Is Everything: The Key to Success and Happiness.
Self-Empowerment Through 5 Simple Confidence-Building Activities
Here are 5 confidence-building activities that won’t just boost your self-confidence, but will also help to improve your self-esteem (making them wonderful self development and self-empowerment tools):
Activity #1: Act With Intention
Most people don’t live as intentionally as they believe (or would like). Instead, they’re reactive to the people and world around them.
This is you if you often feel like you’re:
- Juggling a million balls in the air (worrying about which one’s going to drop),
- Jumping from one emergency to another (and not getting to the things you wanted), and/or
- Struggling to ‘do it all’ (and feeling like your priorities are always the last things that you get to).
Acting with intention means setting boundaries to enforce your priorities and then staying focused on those priorities so that you can get the things that are most important to you done (instead of always pushing them to the bottom of a long list of unimportant to-do’s).
How does this relate to self-confidence? When you’re struggling like this, you end up stressed out and overwhelmed. And it’s easy to start questioning why, thinking that there’s got to be more to life – which eats at your confidence.
But acting with intention is purposeful – and creates self-efficacy, self-confidence and self-respect (and hence also increases your self-esteem).
Self-Assess To Act With Intention
If you want to act with more intention, start by asking yourself some questions:
- What are your core personal values?
- What do you want and why (and how does this relate to your values)?
- What are your strengths – and how might you leverage them to help you?
- What weaknesses do you have (that you’ll want to enlist help for or plan around)?
Use this information to your benefit to create an overarching, values-based vision and plan of action. And then follow your plan of action by building boundaries, saying no and blocking off time for your priorities.
Living this way creates alignment with who you are – which increases your sense of self-worth and your confidence levels.
[Recommended Reading: Discover how to align your life around your values by reading How to Redefine Yourself Into Happiness].
Activity #2: Create Self-Care Routines and Rituals
Uncertainty breeds self-doubt. The problem is that life is uncertain (if the global pandemic of 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that).
That’s why it’s so important to have regular self-care routines and rituals. Not only do they make you feel better, but they also help to create certainty in life (even when life gets disrupted).
Note: don’t fool yourself about what self-care is (it’s not really about going to the spa or taking a bubble bath). Self-care involves taking care of your mental, spiritual, and physical well-being. It’s about respecting yourself.
How can you expect to feel good about who you are – worthy of love and respect from others – if you’re not respecting yourself enough to take good care of your body, mind, and soul? [Answer: you can’t].
Taking good care of yourself increases your sense of self-worth and self-respect. And it also increases your confidence because you’re more capable of performing well (it’s amazing how much sharper your mind is when you’re emotionally balanced and physically fit).
[Recommended Reading: 5 Reasons You Feel Guilty About Taking Care of Yourself (and What to Do About It)].
How to Build Your Confidence-Boosting Self-Care Routine
When building a self-care routine, be sure to include activities and exercises that also help to naturally make you feel more confident and worthy of self-respect.
Things such as:
Ever notice how confident you feel after you’ve finished a tough workout? Not only does working out make you physically healthier, but it also makes you feel better about yourself (thereby increasing self-confidence and self-esteem).
Sleep is necessary for optimal cognitive function, and is also directly linked to your mood, optimism levels, and sociability. And that has obvious connections to your self-confidence levels.
Healthy Eating Habits
If you don’t eat healthy, you’re less likely to feel good about yourself. By eating well, I mean eating nutritious foods on a regular basis. Don’t skip meals.
Mindfulness is about being more present in the moment and attuned to your internal thoughts/feelings as well as the thoughts and feelings of those around you. Simple mindfulness self-care practices include: meditation, mindful breathing, journaling, and even gratitude.
One way to begin being more mindful is to adopt some simple exercises for increasing self-confidence and overcoming impostor syndrome. So be sure to download your free guidebook for how to overcome impostor syndrome here:
Activity #3 Focus on Your Body Language
Your body language matters. You likely already know that it has an impact on how others perceive you, but did you realize that it has an effect on how you perceive yourself too?
Change your body language for more positivity by:
Your brain responds chemically when you smile, which helps to reduce stress and has a relaxing effect.
Taking an expansive posture (also known as a power pose).
Striking what’s known as a power pose is one way to improve your short-term confidence around something. You’d use this right before going into an important meeting or giving a big speech.
How do you power pose? Straighten your shoulders and stand tall with your head held high. Put your hands on your hips. Or put your feet up on your desk while clasping your hands behind your head.
This sounds incredibly simple (because it is!). But don’t think for a second that you’re “faking” it. You’re simply using psychology to your benefit.
Activity #4: Affirm Yourself
Your brain has loads of thoughts running through it every day – many of which are within your subconscious. Every time you have the same thought, your belief in it gets stronger.
And that’s where self-affirmations come into play. The point of adopting positive affirmations is to build new neural pathways within your brain to crowd out the negative thoughts and replace them (over time) with self-empowering thoughts.
But do they really work? The answer is yes. . . if done correctly.
When (and Why) Positive Affirmations Don’t Work
Many self development gurus love to talk about their affirmations. There’s only one problem. . . they’re not going to work (at least for most people).
Here’s the thing: if you don’t believe that you’re a confident speaker, saying that you are over and over isn’t going to convince your brain that you are. It’s actually going to have the opposite effect. Your brain will know that it’s a lie and will revolt (making you feel even worse about yourself).
I learned this the hard way the first time I tried using affirmations. I had recently made partner in my law firm, and was facing new challenges that made me question myself and my abilities.
So, I tried some affirmations that basically said what I wanted to believe in myself. But they felt fake – and my brain knew it. That’s when the lawyer in me took over. I did my research and discovered the science-backed ways for making positive affirmations work.
How to Make Positive Affirmations Work
Positive affirmations are one of my favorite confidence-building activities (because if done right, they work incredibly well).
Here’s how to make this confidence-building activity work for you:
Narrate your affirmation.
Your affirmation shouldn’t be just one sentence (or even two). Instead, describe how you feel now, what you’re doing to move the needle and where you believe you’ll get to next.
You can change your affirmation as you go, so start with where you are and where you believe you can get to. Once you get there, you can change your affirmation to get you even further.
Keep your language neutral instead of overly positive. Be specific and credible in your narration (not too general). This will help you to buy in and not like it’s too good to be true.
Be honest about the highs and lows of the process of getting to where you want to be.
Try turning your statements into questions.
Instead of phrasing as “I am” or “I will” say “Will I?” There’s evidence that rephrasing as a question is a more powerful positive motivator than phrasing it as a command or fact.
Example of Self-Affirmations Done Right
Let’s say I want to build my speaking abilities but don’t feel confident about my speaking yet. A good affirmation to start with would be:
“I’m not a confident speaker but know that I can build my speaking confidence over time. I’ve joined toastmaster and am working toward speaking more often at work (even if just in small groups). This is helping me to feel more comfortable with speaking in front of people and even strangers.”
Once you feel better about speaking (yet still not fully confident), you could change the affirmation to something like:
“I’m working to become a more confident speaker. I’ve gained more confidence through my toastmasters membership and speaking up at work. And I’m starting to put myself out there to speak in front of mid-sized groups. As I continue to speak, my confidence will grow and one day I’ll be a more confident speaker.”
Note that there’s often work involved in building your self-confidence. Any work that you incorporate into your affirmation must be done if it’s going to work for you (so don’t forget that part!).
[Recommended Reading: 5 Effective Tools to Stop Living in Fear and Worry].
Activity #5 Playfully Challenge Yourself
This confidence-building activity is simple and fun. I want you to utilize your skills and strengths to help you do something challenging. Get creative with this and be sure that you’re using your gifts in a way that’s fun for you.
The best way to grow your self-confidence is by overcoming adversity and/or rising to a new challenge. So, by challenging yourself you’ll naturally grow your self-confidence. And what makes this more fun (and less scary) is the fact that you’ll be doing something that’s interesting to you.
It’s a way to force you to step outside of your comfort zone yet be willing to do so because you’ll be using your own skills and strengths (which gives you some measure of self-confidence to begin with).
And because you’ll be using those skills in an enjoyable way, you’ll be more motivated to complete the challenge.
Note that you don’t have to start too big with this. Begin with a new hobby. If you enjoy running, train to compete in a marathon. If you like to cook, invite friends over for a dinner party. But don’t limit yourself.
After starting small, do this in the workplace by offering to help on bigger projects (and speaking up to be heard).
[Recommended Reading: It’s important that you have some fun (and not always take things too seriously) because you’ll need it for both success and happiness. Discover how to play more (and work less). . . without guilt here].
In Summary: 5 Easy Confidence-Building Activities (To Start Using Immediately)
Let’s sum up what’s been covered:
- Self-confidence and self-esteem aren’t the same thing (but are related). The former relates to your abilities and the latter relates to how you value yourself. But both are interrelated and building one can build the other.
- Building self-confidence isn’t hard, but takes consistent practice of various exercises and activities (along with some action). Build the proper mindset (one of growth and resilience) and you’ll increase your self-confidence levels.
- Use one or (hopefully) more of the following 5 confidence-building activities so that you can truly believe in yourself and achieve more: be intentional, create rituals and routines, improve your body language, self-affirm, and challenge yourself (using your talents).
And don’t forget to download the Own Your Awesome Guidebook. It’s the perfect companion to this because it’s an in-depth guide to one of the BIGGEST roadblocks to success in high-achievers: impostor syndrome.
You’ll learn how to effectively deal with impostor syndrome, tame your inner critic and start enjoying your success more. Grab your copy of the Guidebook here: