The Importance of Confidence in Reaching Your Goals

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Health is multidimensional and all about balance. There are many spokes that make up the wheel that is health, including exercise, nutrition and recovery, just to name a few. Or, you could look at it from a broader point of view and consider the mental, physical and emotional factors that come into play when you're working toward truly being healthy.
While every one of the aforementioned factors should be individually addressed and prioritized based on your needs and lifestyle, over the years working as a personal trainer, I've noticed a glaring omission that often plays a crucial role in the pursuit of success:
Confidence is an essential behavior as you chase down any goal. It allows to you be self-reliant, committed, resilient and focused. Not having it can cause you to doubt yourself, act on fear, sell yourself short and—worst of all—give up.

The Two Types of Confidence

First, let's take a deeper look at confidence and how it plays a role in our day-to-day lives. There are two main types of confidence: external and internal.
External confidence refers to the mostly visible factors and attributes. External confidence can be a way for others to read who you are as an individual or a way for you to portray how you feel about yourself. Things such as fashion, appearance, self-care, hygiene, body language and verbal communication are all considered external confidence.
Consider, for example, how you dress. What you decide to wear is not only a reflection of your own self-image but also a chance for others to see and make their own judgments upon first sight. The same goes for how you smell, how you speak to people, body language when waiting in a long line for a coffee when you're already late to work, et cetera. Despite being told not to judge a book by its cover, it’s human nature to use appearance as the basis for a first impression.
Internal confidence, on the other hand, is far more important and, often, it’s something people lack. Internal confidence initially cannot be seen, but eventually may come out as heightened levels of external confidence on display.
Self-awareness is a huge example of internal confidence, knowing who you are, what you're capable of doing and how strong you are even on your worst days. Preparation and patience are also great markers of excellent confidence from within. People who create plans and execute them long-term showcase levels of internal confidence by trusting in the process, even if the results come slowly.
Both internal and external confidence are vastly important to your success. Like vitamin D, nearly all humans are falling short somewhere when it comes to confidence. There's simply no bad time to add a little bit more self-confidence, so long as it doesn't become arrogance.

Why Confidence Is So Important

Many people refer to food as fuel, but it's only one of the many things that we consume. We literally eat food for fuel, but other things we consume—news, feedback, daily interactions—have a powerful impact on how we feel and function.
If you eat something you're allergic to, for example, you're going to get sick and feel awful. If you consume a bunch of verbal abuse, you're going to feel similarly awful, it might just take a longer time to recognize the source of your pain.
There are five major reasons why confidence is such a powerful tool:
  1. Believing in yourself will help you overcome physical and mental fears and adversity, allowing you to build up resilience over time and, eventually, understand and appreciate that you are capable of amazing things.
  2. Everyone has a comfort zone where we feel completely at peace. Unfortunately, this zone is also where success goes to die. Live in your comfort zone and you won't achieve anything extraordinary; take just one baby step outside the lines, though, and the possibilities are limited only by your imagination.
  3. There's a reason people always say to trust your gut—because it's usually right! Confidence will help you trust the decisions you make because your mind is strong enough to put yourself in great situations. Second-guessing yourself becomes a thing of the past.
  4. Perhaps the most beautiful thing about improving your confidence is the opportunities for constant evolution and growth. The more the learn, the more you realize that there is so much more to learn and great people to learn from.
  5. Confidence helps you develop tunnel vision and lock in on what is important for yourself right now and for your future. When you are confident, you start to believe in yourself and trust whatever plan you have in place, while decreasing your dependence on the opinions of others. Most importantly, you will stop obsessing over what you can't do and maximize what you can do right now. 

Three Simple Ways to Develop More Confidence

If you've struggled with self-esteem and confidence in the past or wondered how some people are just "born with it," it might sound like improving confidence is an impossibility, just something that people put on the fronts of covers to sell books or magazines. While it's not as simple as looking yourself in the mirror and just telling yourself to believe, there are ways to gradually improve the way you carry yourself and believe in yourself.
1. Do Something That Scares You Often
Remember that comfort zone we talked about? Run away from it as fast as you can. Do something that terrifies you at least once a day. When it turns out just fine, your brain will say, "Hey, that wasn't so bad. Actually, I liked that."
You don't need to jump out of a plane to get the desired effect, either. Start by wearing an outfit you have been nervous to wear or asking your crush out on a date. Apply for that promotion at work. Start that diet or try that new workout class. Whatever it is that previously scared you, for whatever reason, do it and do it now.
The more you push yourself out of your comfort zone, into uncertainty and find success, the more momentum will build and fears will crumble, allowing you to reach new heights of self-development.
2. Take Pride in Your Self-Care Routine
Going back to external factors of confidence, let's take some pride in our appearance. Self-care is a buzzy word right now, but all it really comes down to is taking steps to present your truest, best self every single day. Taking a few minutes each day just for you can not only help alleviate stress, but will also help you start to love and appreciate your mind and your body, just as it is. Removing anything that feels inauthentic or damaging to your life plays a big part in learning to live confidently and remain try to yourself. When you love you, you win.
3. Concentrate on Lifting Others Up
The most epic and effective way you can boost self-confidence is to lift up someone else around you and treat others how you'd like to be treated. Offering someone who looks unsure of themselves in the weight room a compliment or offering to share your favorite healthy recipes with a co-worker struggling to lose weight could bring about a smile that changes someone's outlook on the day. It doesn't cost a cent to be an amazing person, but it pays back something money could never buy.
Don't let confidence be your missing link for any longer. You can tap into a clarity like never before when you believe in yourself from the inside-out.