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Ten Ways to Build Confidence

Confidence...we all want more of it. Ok, well most of us at least!

We are often drawn to people who portray confidence (and I don't mean arrogance), from musicians to athletes and movie stars, to our local leaders, politicians (yes, really!), coaches and teachers, their confidence draws us in.

Confidence, according to the Oxford English dictionary is "the feeling that you can trust, believe in and be sure about the abilities or good qualities of somebody/something" and "a belief in your own ability to do things and be successful". In terms of the 'self-confidence' definition, that is "confidence in yourself and your abilities".

So where does it come from? Yes, it may helpful if you grew up in a nurturing environment, receiving appropriate praise, encouragement and constructive feedback, but even if you weren’t blessed with an ideal upbringing (which, let's be honest, could mean different things to everyone), even if you are riddled with self-doubt and fear, you can create confidence no matter your age or life situation. In fact the very act of pursuing confidence is an act of strength.

Lots of people would likely agree that reflecting on the most rewarding moments of their lives, the times when they felt the most accomplished, most passionate, and most connected, they were also feeling their most confident.

There is a direct correlation between how we experience success and how we feel confidence. It pretty much breaks down to: the more confident you are, the more in control you feel and the better you perceive your life to be.

When we allow our health and fitness to slip, we may feel out of control and our confidence can start to erode. “I mean how hard is it to eat a salad? Why can’t I commit to thirty minutes of exercise three days a week? What’s wrong with me?” It’s a downward spiral.

Most of us are a jumble of confidence and insecurity. We can know that we are great at our job for instance, but then may struggle with our ability to eat well. We may be confident that we are a great mum/auntie/grandma/friend, but we are afraid to go to spin class in case we can’t work out how to alter and work the bike, and what if we can’t keep up?!

The first step in becoming more confident is to accept that nothing is 100% and to embrace what is working. That positive affirmation can become the seed for a whole garden of confidence and security. Optimism is key.

Helen Keller once said, “Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.”

Like anything else, in order to create hope and confidence, you’ll need a plan. Having a plan puts you in control of your personal growth, and like most things in life and health, it's a combination of things that you do, not just one big magic bullet.

Here are ten actions you can take to begin creating confidence:

1. Get an attitude of gratitude.

Take stock. What’s working in your life? Make a list of what’s important to you and what you’ve achieved, however minor you may feel it is, and start celebrating them. You begin to fill yourself with positive energy when you are grateful for what you have, who you are, and how far you’ve come.

2. Be realistic.

Take note of what isn’t working. Allow yourself to dispassionately assess your areas for improvement in your life. Try not to judge. This is how you work out what can be better, some areas you could work on, and that’s a good thing.

3. Set small goals.

Identify some simple changes you can make that would begin to address those things you've identified as 'areas for improvement'. Don’t overreach. Tackle the issues in baby steps, celebrating each win and building confidence with every success. The changes can start super simple, even if it's getting your trainers by the door ready for a walk when you get home from work, or do a five minute chair workout. One of the biggest reasons people struggle with getting healthy is that they try to lose ten kilos and run a marathon the first week in. Be smart about it and think long term. Baby steps.

4. Stand tall with confidence.

Studies show that adjusting your body posture actually convinces your brain that you feel confident. Stand up tall and take your space in the world because doing so will give you a boost that will genuinely affect how you feel. Your body can change your mind, and if you stand up tall you also can appear more confident to others, despite what you may be feeling inside.

5. Move your body.

Get active, get moving. Seriously, this matters in more ways than one. Being active can give you a boost and promote the release of endorphins (your body's natural feel good hormones) that will leave you feeling powerful, capable, and confident. Try to build up your activity gradually, as studies show that meeting the activity guidelines (150 minutes per week of moderate activity, including two sessions that help work on your strength) can have real benefits on physical and mental health, as well as healthy aging. Winner! creative! This doesn't mean you have to go to the gym.

6. Spruce up.

Being well groomed has an enormous impact on the way we feel about ourselves. Shower. Wash your hair. Choose an outfit you feel good in or go out and buy one. Take the time to put yourself together. It sounds a bit simple, but it really can work.

7. Prepare yourself.

We all feel better when we have a plan and know what to expect. So if the day in front of you feels like it will be long and difficult, pack a healthy lunch and schedule in a few minutes to be active. Take a nice big water bottle along with you to. Don’t allow stress and deadlines to derail your self-care. By preparing beforehand, you can make even the busiest day a success by looking after yourself.

8. Smile and make eye contact.

Invest the energy in creating positive vibes. When you smile and look people in the eye you create a welcoming atmosphere. It’s both friendly and disarming. Portray confidence and show openness, warmth, and kindness as those things make our world a better place to live, for both those around you and yourself.

9. Practice kindness.

Be generous with yourself and others. Offer your help, your knowledge, and your time and you will likely get a big dose of self-confidence because all that giving makes you feel good about yourself, even if it's just a few minutes or a small gesture. When you feel good about yourself you feel more confident, and when you feel confident you feel you can take on the world!

10. Annihilate the negativity.

Have a look at your life and identify anything / anyone that brings you down. Whether you work through the problem, cut off a toxic person, or work out a way to remove the crappy situation, eradicate the negative influences in your life, or at least the ones that are removable or modifiable. Your spirit can never fly freely when you are tethered by negativity. Cut it loose and see just how high you can go.

Confidence can be yours. You can enhance what you already have and you can create confidence in the areas of your life that have none. The sense of ease and satisfaction that comes from feeling confident will lift you up and give you both the peace and courage to love your successes and to explore the areas in your life that could be improved.

Don’t be fooled. It’s not genetic and it’s not an “either you've got it or you don’t” thing. Confidence is a living, changing entity that you can grow.

If you are struggling with confidence or with other areas of your mental health and wellbeing, then you can seek professional assistance to identify tools that may help. You could ask your GP/MD/other medical professional for information about good resources that may help you, especially whilst waiting for an appointment. If you want to have a look at some self-help guides, then these are some that are used within the NHS and may be a good place to start - click HERE!

Please note: This article is intended to be for educational purposes only, and does not constitute medical advice or replace professional assessment or personalised advice.

I do not hold responsibility for the information on any links to external websites within this article and information within these links/websites may change at any time or no longer be accessible. Any website pages/links added are also for education purposes only.

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