Wondering how to build your self-confidence?
Week in, week out we have guys arrive here in Los Angeles for residential boot camps. And while we teach a lot of hard skills, we also emphasize one rather softer skill: practical confidence, the engine that drives everything we teach at The Art of Charm.
One fascinating thing I’ve come to know about confidence is that it’s mostly a set of learned skills and beliefs. What’s more, while you’re learning these skills you can imitate the behaviors that demonstrate confidence externally and overtime you will develop the internal confidence to match..
What Science Says About Confidence
We’ve done a ton of research on confidence. Here are some things we learned:
- Single-gender education increases confidence; 75 percent of students feel they learn better this way. This is probably why guys in our boot camps have such transformational experiences and easy time assimilating what we teach.
- Confidence is a self-fulfilling prophecy. For example, children who think of themselves as the smartest in the room get the best grades.
- The same study found confidence had more to do with lifetime earnings than IQ. In short, it’s better to be confident than smart.
- Not only can overconfidence make you successful even when you know you’re bluffing, it might eventually become just regular old confidence.
- Spending three minutes checking your Facebook can boost your confidence… unless people are ignoring you.
- Good news for gamers: Playing games with an idealized avatar of yourself can boost self-confidence.
- Learning a new skill provides a similar confidence boost to getting a $1500 a year raise.
- Likewise, sitting up straight in your chair will increase your overall confidence. This applies to posture overall. What’s more, behaving confidently will make you feel more confident over time.
I’ve actually experienced almost all of these running the The Art of Charm boot camps for so many years. It’s nice to see third party science validating all the cool stuff we’ve been doing. So how do you start translating this into confidence in your own life?
I’ve created this handy daily checklist to keep your confidence up and growing.
Get a Good Night’s Sleep
You may know that you need to get a good night’s sleep for proper muscle growth; But did you know that it also helps you to grow confidence? It’s important to be able to think clearly to have confidence, so you’re going to need sleep.
In fact, a study on doctors found that getting good, uninterrupted sleep not only meant higher energy levels; it also meant more confidence.
In any event, the important thing is to get a good amount of sleep every night. What’s more, I know that I always feel better about my day when it’s not rushed. That’s why I get up early — so I can start getting things done while other guys are still hitting the snooze button. Elmore Leonard, crime novelist who created Raylan Givens, the protagonist of television’s Justified gave “wake up an hour earlier” as his central piece of writing advice to neophytes.
What’s more, you’ll want to lay off the snooze button. In the words of Tori Deetz, creative director of Visual Magnetics: “If you snooze even once after you initially wake up, you will waste that magical burst of energy you would have had all day if you just forced yourself to get out of bed right away.”
So start your day early with a good night’s sleep. Consider it the foundation on which your confident daily practice rests.
How to Build Your Self-Confidence with Your Morning Routine
Confidence is a practice. Sorry if I’m belaboring the point, but it bears repeating. So you’re up an hour or so earlier than you’re used to after a good night of rest. What do you do with yourself now?
You start your morning routine. What’s your morning routine? It can vary from one man to another. But here’s a basic outline for men looking to get started. Tweak it as you see fit
I know, right? We’re nuts. But the science agrees with us. Morning exercise is going to help you lose weight and burn fat better than doing it later in the day. Other benefits include improved cardiovascular impact and more energy throughout the rest of your day. And let’s not discount the fact that while everyone at work is complaining about going to the gym later, you’ve already done it.
An accomplishment, first thing in the day. For the first twenty minutes for the first couple of weeks, you’re going to hate it. But once you bust through that wall you’re going to walk around with your head held high. You’re a man who gets things done.
- Eat or Don’t Eat
You might want to skip breakfast: A process known as intermittent fasting works for some guys looking to boost energy levels and burn fat. In fact there are a lot of ways to do it. Really, whether or not you want to get into that is up to you. I’m neither a doctor nor a nutritionist nor a personal trainer. Definitely talk to at least one of them before you start an intermittent fast.
Otherwise, you’re going to want to eat something at the beginning of your day. My advice is to not eat anything that goes into a microwave or comes out of a box. Start your day right with a healthy breakfast. Your body will love you for it after a hard, early morning workout. Here are some great options for a good breakfast from the people over at the Mayo Clinic (http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/food-and-nutrition/art-20048294).
Another cool thing about making a healthy breakfast is that it gives you time to collect yourself. Making your own breakfast can be a sort of working meditation. After that hard workout, take some time to focus your brain on the task at hand.
- Make Yourself Look Your Best
Hop in the shower. Not only are you going to need it after that workout, but it’s going to make you feel great. Some guys like to go for the cold shower that’s all the rage among men on the Internet these days. Me, I like mine hot. Some guys, including professional athletes, alternate hot and cold to activate their nervous system. After my shower, I shave, comb my hair and put on threads for the day.
Starting your day with a shower and a grooming routine is a serious investment in yourself. What you’re saying to the world is “I’m worth the time it takes to look good.” Best of all, it really doesn’t take all that much time to get yourself looking spic and span. It’s not just other people who will pick up on the subtle signal that you think you’re worth it; You’ll know, too.
- Brief Meditation or Reading
Even if you only have ten minutes or so, I highly recommend taking ten minutes to sit quietly or read something inspiring. For some guys it’s the Bible, for other guys it’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter. What matters is that you’re trying to call back to what your core values and aspirations are. You’re starting your day by orienting yourself toward them. Which provides an excellent basis for the final part of your morning routine.
- Setting Goals for the Day
If you plan to do nothing you’re going to hit that goal every time. So before you head out into the world, come up with goals for the day. These might be work-related or they might be personal. The important part is that they be actionable, measurable goals you can complete throughout the course of a single day. Write these down, because you’re going to want to revisit them at the end of your day.
If you’re an app guy, here are seven goal tracking apps that can help you to keep your eyes on the prize.
Affirmations Will Keep You Going Throughout the Day
The affirmations I teach through The Art of Charm aren’t woo-woo, New Age wishful thinking. On the contrary, affirmations from The Art of Charm are designed to remind you to stay on target. They’re not a magic formula that’s going to make everything OK. They will, however, help you to keep your eyes on the prize when times get tough.
So how do you craft an affirmation like The Art of Charm?
- Identify the problem. For example, let’s say that you’ve been spending the last 45 minutes messing around on social media when you promised yourself you’d be a workplace superstar. It’s clear you’re procrastinating.
- Specify your goal in general terms. Using the example cited above, the problem isn’t social media per se. Rather, it’s that you want to be more productive than you’re currently being.
- Ask yourself a simple question: Why? In this case, the “why” is “Why do I want to be more productive at work?”
- Answer the question. For the example we’re using, the answer might be “because I want the promotion I’ve been working so hard on,” “because I’m passionate about this project” or “because I have a review coming up.” What you’re trying to do here is say — in total honesty — why you want to accomplish whatever your goal is.
- Say it to yourself. For example, your final affirmation in this case might be “I need to stay on task because I’ve worked too hard for this promotion to fail now.” Take a few minutes to really let it sink in.
The point here is neither to give yourself some kind of bogus pep talk or to berate yourself like a drill instructor. Rather, what we’re doing here is gentling reminding ourselves of why we want — need — to accomplish a goal we’ve set for ourselves.
Confidence Is a Look
Remember what we talked about above? Confidence is largely a set of behaviors. Even if you don’t feel confident, you can fake these behaviors. There are two easy ones I always bang on about in our articles and in boot camps:
- Posture: Stand up straight. Sit up straight. Practice it in the mirror until it’s second nature to you. You’ll feel more confident as well as look more confident. In no time, people will start treating you like you’re a confident man. And that, my friend, makes it way easier to act in a confident manner.
- Smile: Smiling makes you look more confident and approachable. You should practice this in the mirror, especially if you’re not a super smiley guy by nature. Remember that you want to smile with your whole face, not just with your mouth.
Try those two consistently for a couple weeks. Then take note how it has impacted how people around you perceive you and behave towards you.
Your Evening Routine
Your evening routine caps your day. It’s not as extensive as your morning routine. What you’re really doing here is twofold: First, you’re reflecting upon your day. Second, you’re setting yourself up for a good night of sleep. Bedtime routines help you to fall asleep faster and get more restful sleep; Some guys include evening meditation here as well. That’s going to help tomorrow’s morning routine go down a lot smoother.
- Clean Up and Brush Your Teeth
It’s good to spend a couple minutes washing your face and brushing your teeth before bed. I know a lot of guys think acne is something for kids, but let me tell you — it can come back with a vengeance when you get older. So take care of your skin. Multiple studies show that men’s skin is one of the most attractive qualities he can have.
- Change Into Your Pajamas
That might be some shorts and a t-shirt, but it should be something designed for sleep. I personally love legit pajamas. What you’re doing here is sending a subtle signal to your brain: “The day is over. You can start relaxing. See? I even have my sleep clothes on.”
- Recap Your Day
Go over your goals for the day. Did you accomplish them? Why or why not? Be honest. When you’re done doing that, write in your journal.
Put the devices away: the light from your smartphone or tablet is no good for your sleep hygiene. Read a book until you’re ready for sleep. Then start all over again at alarm time.
For more tips on how to boost your self confidence, be sure to subscribe to our podcast and explore all of the resources on our website.
- Sleep well.
- Eat (or don’t).
- Wash and Groom.
- Set goals for the day.
- Craft affirmations as needed.
- Stand up straight.
- Clean up.
- Get into your pajamas.
- Recap your day.
What’s your routine like? Leave us some comments and let us know if you’ve tried this stuff and if it works for you.