Do you trust yourself to do what it is that you say you want to do? You’ve got an idea. You feel some (or a lot ) of fear. Do you doubt that you can make your dream come to life? I know what you’re missing: PRACTICE.
Every time you say that you will do something, but don’t follow through, your belief in yourself and your abilities plummets. You may try to convince yourself that it doesn’t really matter, especially if you’re able to keep your word to other people, but the word you keep to yourself matters just as much.
The awesome thing is that the opposite is also true. Every time you say you will do something and follow through, your belief in yourself and your abilities skyrockets!
So how do you do this in practice? I’ve found one way that might work for you.
Set a time limited challenge for yourself. Choose one activity that you will do every day during that time period and stick to it. That’s it. Didn’t I say it was a simple exercise? To help you visualize this, I will use myself as an example.
Choose one activity to do every day for a limited time period
I set a daily meditation challenge. I’d been wanting to meditate regularly, but kept falling short. This made it the perfect area to start with.
At the beginning of the month, I decided to work my way up to sitting in meditation for 30 minutes by meditating with the date. I would meditate for 5 minutes on the 5th, 6 minutes on the 6th and so on, working my way up to 30 minutes of meditation on the 30th. I started at 5 because I could sit for that long with little problem.
Having the challenge get progressively harder made it take more strength and perseverance than I thought I had, but also made the victory of reaching 30 minutes so much sweeter. I wasn’t even sure at the start that I could do 30 minutes or even 20 on my own!
If there is a way to up your game throughout your challenge (even progressive upping, remember I only did 1 more minute each day), I fully recommend it.
Write down your goal and decide how you will track it
I wrote down what I planned to do in my journal and downloaded a habit tracking app to help remind me to sit each day. If writing a more formal contract with yourself works, do that too.
Remember your motivation, your “why”
This exercise is simple, but at many times along the way it can be quite hard. Having some strong motivations can help you move through those rough patches.
For example, I was fully clear that I wasn’t just doing this for the benefit of meditating; I was mainly doing this to build my trust in myself. I was motivated to use this as a teaching moment for myself (teaching me how to stick with something important to me) and as a confidence builder (showing me how strong I really was).
Also, as someone who has struggled with overlooking my strengths, I didn’t want to give myself the room later to downplay my efforts by saying “I only did this because I didn’t want to lose face or disappoint anyone” so I didn’t tell anyone I was doing this challenge until I was almost done.
If this isn’t motivating to you, then by all means tell someone to help you keep accountable. Do what works for you.
Use everything that happens as information
Remember, this exercise is meant to teach you things about yourself and how you handle reaching your goals. Use everything that happens as helpful information, not as an opportunity to judge or shame yourself.
If you stumble or miss a day, notice why this might have happened and what you can do going forward to make that less likely.
If something that you do works especially well, consider how you can use that knowledge to make other areas of your life better.
Celebrate yourself and your achievements
At the end of your challenge, bask in the sensations of pride and confidence you feel. Really let it sink in that you set this goal for yourself, stuck with it and completed it. You did that! So own it and celebrate it.
If you want to tie a reward to completing your goal, go ahead. It’s whatever helps you to appreciate your efforts. Also take some time out to review what happened, what worked and didn’t work and how you can use this boost of confidence to reach another goal you’ve been wanting to do. If you can do this challenge, you can do others.
And if for some reason, you don’t complete the challenge or it takes you longer than the time frame you initially set, use that as information too. There is no need for shame. You can learn and grow from everything, especially when you fail. And if you learn and grow from your failures, consider that a success!
I hope that what I’ve shared is helpful to you and encourages you to not just take my word for it, but try it out for yourself. Let me know if anything jumped out at you, if you are going to try a challenge for yourself or if you’ve tried one before and had similar (or different) results.
And please share this with your Facebook and Twitter friends if you think they could use a confidence boost!
Until next time,