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In the world of self-help, there’s an elusive personality trait that everybody wants. It’s something that we’re promised will help get us to where we need to be in life. If we wish to start a new business venture, travel the world, or just enjoy our relationships more, this is what we need.
And what is this magic habit?
But understanding the psychology behind confidence can be tough. A lot of the advice we come across just rehashes vague affirmations about how we need to live our dreams. But what does that mean for you? While people can – and have – written dozens of books about the psychology of confidence, it’s much better portrayed in actions. So today, I want to bring you realistic and practical ways to embody this attitude.
So here are 15 actionable tips to be more confident!
- Keep your space clutter-free. This can sound like frustrating advice for someone who wants to make real change in their life. However, the truth is that your unconscious mind is constantly taking clues from your environment about how to behave, and if you want a quiet and focused mind, then making sure your work and living spaces are clean and clear is absolutely vital.
- Take extra care of your personal hygiene. Similar to the idea about keep your space clutter-free, taking care of your personal hygiene will unconsciously echo an aura of self-respect. It will also impact how people perceive you and therefore react to you, and when others start to show you more respect, you’ll begin to naturally become more confident.
- Constantly set and achieve small goals. Who do you think is more confident, the person who sets one massive goal and works their whole life to achieve it, or the person who sets dozens of small goals and achieves them one by one? The person who is constantly setting goals, of course. They might not have such a big vision, but they have something that is even more important in the context of confidence, momentum!
- Make eye contact. Making eye contact is another important confidence hack. It will naturally make you more engaged and attentive during any conversation you have. When you’re more involved in a conversation, you will have more confidence to respond appropriately and people will treat you as such.
- Push yourself physically. If you want to be confident in yourself, you have to be confident in your body. And this isn’t just how you look (though that always helps). Try to get out and set exercise based goals; run a marathon, lift some weights, join a soccer club. When you do things that you didn’t think you could do, you’ll be surer in yourself when attempting things in the future.
- Practice Positivity. I get that this sounds like vague advice straight out of the mouth of some new age guru. However, positivity is a habit that is neurologically wired into your brain, and the only way to improve it is to make a conscious effort to be positive as often as possible. Keeping a journal and tracking your thoughts and attitudes is a great way to do this.
- Keep a wins list. Winners are confident, and everybody’s a winner at some point. However, in the hustle and bustle of modern life, it’s easy to forget in what ways you’ve been successful. Keeping a list of all your wins, big and small, and referring back to it regularly, will help you cultivate a mindset of success for future endeavours.
- Finish something you know you need to. When we leave important things by the wayside, we undermine our confidence because we lose trust in ourselves and our ability to follow through. However, gaining this trust back is very simple, just recognize the psychological significance of these tasks, as well as their practical significance, and push yourself to do them!
- Smile as much as you can. Research has long since proven that smiling has a direct impact on your self-confidence. Like any other habit, it might not feel natural at first, but by making an effort to smile you will automatically decrease natural levels of anxiety.
- Read hard books. Sometimes when we take on challenges, whether physical or intellectual, they can initially seem incredibly daunting. It’s great for your confidence if you pick up a book that you think you’d find difficult, and read through until the end, whether or not you understand everything the first time around. By attacking the project page by page, you’ll start to see that your mind is a lot more capable than you originally believed, and this realisation will confer across to other areas of your life. When you’ve read hard books, you won’t feel like the slowest person in the room, and begin to feel like you can hold your own in any conversation.
- Dress well. You know the old saying you’ve got to look the part to fit the part. The same goes for confidence; it’s much easier to feel sure of yourself in a well-fitting suit then in an oversized t-shirt. Remember you don’t need to spend a lot of money, just look online for style ideas and make sure you find the brand of clothes that sells items that fit you well.
- Appreciate compliments. Confident people don’t get uncomfortable when people give them compliments. Why? Because they agree with what the other person is saying. Whenever someone says something nice about you, make an effort to say thank you and appreciate it. Don’t immediately try and find evidence to disagree with them.
- Know your values. When you aren’t crystal clear in your values, it’s very difficult to be self-assured. As soon as a person or event challenges your worldview, you can lose all confidence in what you believed. To know what you stand for you have to think about it and reflect on it, and critically engage with others who can challenge you often. Read philosophy texts and write down what you think about different aspects of life and why. Work on being firm in your beliefs while at the same time remaining open to the idea of changing your mind.
- Make greeting a habit. Social people are generally more confident. While natural introverts may find it difficult to greet people regularly, making an effort to do so is important. When you talk to everyone and bring a little positivity into their day, they’ll respond in kind, you’ll build social allies, and you’ll naturally feel more connected and comfortable in your environment.
- Don’t conceal who you are. The last point here is both the most important and the most difficult. We all know who we are deep down on an intuitive level, and once we’ve come to know our values, we’ll be even closer to that self-knowledge. Life is a constant struggle to reveal to the world, who we feel we are, in our work, family and social lives. One practical way to do that is to reflect back on things you do and say and ask yourself “was that true to me?” If the answers no, you need to begin to turn those behaviors around.
These 15 actionable tips are simple, but that doesn’t make them easy. Try to keep a journal with you at all times and reflect on each of these ideas, tracking your progress, and measuring it against your subjective feelings of self-confidence. Don’t underestimate the power of small changes, a little effort can good a long way. Good luck!