It’s a vicious circle. You lack success in some area, and that affects your self-confidence. Your lowered self-confidence means you are less likely to achieve success, and thus it continues.
This can be especially devastating when you are trying to lose weight. First, being overweight makes you more likely to have confidence issues. And chances are you’ve tried to lose weight before, perhaps dozens of times. Since you’re trying again, you may already feel like a failure.
But failure is just a temporary roadblock on the way to success. Every successful person has encountered failure, and often plenty of failures. World-renowned businessman, philanthropist and impresario Ed “Honest Ed” Mirvish once said he’d probably had more failures than successes; he just didn’t talk about his failures so people didn’t think he’d had any.
You can get past any roadblock on your journey to success, but to do that you will need confidence. When you are sure of yourself and the ultimate outcome, nothing can stop you! But how do you get confidence when you just don’t feel that way?
Here are some surefire ways to increase your confidence until you know for a fact you will succeed — and you will!
1. Look the part.
If you walk around unclean, with unkempt hair and baggy, shapeless clothes, you look like you don’t care about yourself, and you will feel that way too. Don’t wait till you’ve achieved your desired weight to start caring about how you look. Stay clean, get a good haircut and buy a few pieces of clothing that will keep you looking good until you fit a smaller size.
Homework: Pick up a fashion item that makes you feel good — a pair of fashionable shoes, a scarf and some fun jewelry are all good choices.
2. Fake it!
Do you try to hide in the background? Do you walk with your head down, looking at the floor? Do you hunch your shoulders over, hoping no one will notice you? This shows a lack of confidence. When you adopt these postures you are underlining your feelings of inadequacy. You will never start feeling more confident if you carry yourself this way.
Homework: Walk tall, shoulders back, posture erect, head held high. Believe yourself to be a confident person and carry yourself as if you are! This will result in you feeling more confident in reality.
3. Edit your internal dialog.
We all have words running through our brains every day. We are normally not even aware of our internal dialog, but it’s there and it both reflects how we feel about ourselves and dictates how we think about ourselves. Stop allowing yourself to subconsciously undermine your confidence. Pay attention to what you are saying to yourself. When you find yourself saying things like “you’re not going to be able to do that” or “she won’t like me because I’m fat” or any other negative comments, edit them out.
Say positive things to yourself instead. You can even say them out loud. You may feel silly at first, but you’re already saying all sorts of negative things to yourself. Why would saying positive things be any sillier? Repeating positive affirmations will help you believe yourself as a capable person. And you are one!
Homework: Practice saying positive things to yourself, either internally or out loud. Here are some examples: “I can do this.” “If anyone can do this, I can.” “I will succeed.” “I look good.” “I am worthy.” Of course, you can customize these sayings to any specific circumstance. If you’re going to the gym, say: “I belong here,” or “I will complete my workout and feel great!” If you’re walking through a mall, say: “I deserve to be here,” or “I am totally confident.” If you’re going to a restaurant, say: “I will stay on my diet,” “I will resist temptation because I want to succeed.”
4. Set small goals — and achieve them!
Sometimes a big goal can be overwhelming. Believe me, when I needed to lose 160 pounds of fat that could have been way too intimidating for me. Each small goal you achieve brings you closer to your large, exciting goal. But also, for every small goal you achieve, you will become more confident in your ability to achieve greater success.
If your ultimate, exciting goal is to run a marathon and find you can’t run two miles, then you could feel bad about yourself. If instead you set the goal of running two miles, you work to achieve it and feel good about yourself, as you should. Hey, you ran two miles! That’s awesome! Now you can set your goal at running 2.5 miles!
Homework: Set some small goals for yourself. Let’s say your big, exciting goal is to lose 60 pounds. You could set a small goal of losing five pounds. Great. Even better, you can set a goal of sticking to your diet today. Or getting to the gym and completing your workout. You can set a goal of walking for five minutes longer on the treadmill, or at a higher incline. All of these are great goals that will ultimately bring you to your big goal, and I encourage you to do them! But you can also set a goal of keeping a journal, or cooking every meal this week. When you begin to see yourself accomplish your goals — any goal — you will understand and begin to believe that you can do anything. And you CAN!
5. Be happy… and grateful.
You have issues, I have issues, we all have issues. None of us has a perfect life because there is no such thing, and if we did have a perfect life, we’d still find something we wanted to improve upon. That is the way we humans were created, and that’s why we achieve so darned much! If we didn’t have the natural drive to improve things, we’d still be living in caves.
But if you’re reading this, you have plenty to be grateful for. You can read, for one thing. You have access to a computer and the internet, for another. Most of all, you’re alive!
Happiness is only 10 percent our circumstances. It is 90 percent the way we choose to view things. Choose every day to be thankful for everything you have in life — enough food, shelter, family, friends, hydro, a job… whatever you have, be thankful for it because someone out there doesn’t have it. And choose every moment to be happy. This doesn’t mean you have to be content with the way everything is, but there’s no reason to mope around about it. Work toward changing it if possible, and if not, accept it and go on with life.
Homework: Remind yourself every morning when you wake up and every night when you go to bed — and as many times in between as you like — about everything you have to be grateful for. No matter your circumstances, there will be a lot of things on this list.
You don’t have to have already been a confident person to find self-confidence. You are a worthy, deserving person. Believe that! Don’t cause your own lack of success because of negative thoughts about yourself. Being confident does not mean that you are conceited or narcissistic, and in fact being confident can make it that much easier for you to help others as you achieve your own goals. Take the steps here to increase your confidence and get you on your road to success.