How to be more confident
Building confidence by repeated efforts
I get to talk about confidence in my nutrition counselling sessions quite a bit, whether we are talking about confidence in the kitchen or confidence in our body. The Covid-19 pandemic has given me some time to slow down and read a little more. I have been reading and listening to a lot of different perspectives on confidence.
For most of my life, I would not have described myself as a confident person. Over time, I starting developing confidence in different areas of my life including sports, academics, and my skills in the kitchen. Then the weirdest thing happened… people started labelling me as a confident person. It felt awkward at first to be honest because I felt that there were still areas of my life where I was not confident and I wanting to see improvement. The difference was, I starting feeling more and more capable of taking on the challenges facing me and I guess that made me confident?
But what is it?
What makes a person confident or not?
Is confidence something you are born with? Is this a personality trait?
After some reading and reflection, I believe that confidence is something that we develop over time. Confidence comes from repeated efforts producing positive results.
For example, think of the first time you made a dish like soup or cookies. The first time we try, we are slow and steady, likely following a recipe, and maybe even have someone with us helping guide us along. Then each time after that, the process gets a little more comfortable and a little easier. We develop confidence in our abilities to successfully make that soup or those cookies because we have seen positive outcomes in our previous attempts. This is not to say that there won’t be a bad batch here and there, but (hopefully) by then, we have developed enough confidence to recognize the bad batch as a simple error and not let it scare us off from ever cooking again. A bad batch does not make us a bad cook.
This approach is the same as for many other skills such as soccer skills, math skills, learning a new language, learning a new relationship with food or learning to be confident in the body we have. It is scary at first! It feels awkward and hard. Sometimes too hard and we want to give up.
Overcoming fear and building confidence
To overcome that fear, and to achieve confidence, what do we need to do?
We need to try. That means developing a way to overcome the fear and try, knowing that we might fail. We have to be just 1% more willing/ curious/ courageous, than scared in order to take the leap and try something new. If we are successful that first time, we see a positive result and may be willing to keep trying. If we don’t see a positive result, then we might need to enlist some support and helpers to try again.
This mentality applies to changing behaviours too.
It is hard to change your relationship with food or with your body. In sports, we rely on a coach to help show us the way, and in school, we rely on the teacher. When it comes to changing our thoughts and behaviours, we still might need that role model or support system to show us what is possible. The fear is there because it is hard. You will mess it up and do things wrong or fall into old behaviours. And that is okay.
Where to start when you’re building confidence
Here is a short step-by-step process on how to be more confident:
1. Figure out what change you want or need to make.
2. Start small. Try focusing on small changes that feel achievable or at least possible.
3. Acknowledge the positive results. Remember, sometimes, simply trying to change a behaviour or the relationship with your body is a positive result.
4. Call in back-up. You may want to make change all on your own, but trust me, it is easier with support. They can be there to keep you feeling courageous when the going gets tough.
And pretty soon, you will be on your way to building confidence.
This may seem to simple, but confidence is not something you are born with. Confidence is something you earn by proving to yourself that you can achieve.
Can you think of one area that you have been able to develop confidence? Did that confidence comes easily or was it an exercise in resilience?
You’ve got this. Take the first step and commit to trying, learning and tweaking as you go.
Where can I find more information on how to be more confident with my relationship to food and my body?
You may want to check out these previous articles on our blog:
How to make friends with food even when you hate your body
Finding Food Freedom and Combating Unnecessary Diet Rules
Mindful Eating for Health and Meal Satisfaction
Reach out to our Registered Dietitian and Online Nutritionist team to book private one-on-one nutrition counselling here: Personal Nutrition Counseling Support .
We work with people who want food freedom. If you have struggled with a poor relationship with food, don’t love the body you live in and are overwhelmed with trying to figure out what to eat to keep healthy, YOU are OUR people. You don’t have to stress about food anymore. Let’s chat!