3 Baby Steps to Begin Growing Your Self-Confidence Today

I used to be entirely unconfident around other people. I pictured myself as unattractive, awkward, and strange.

Nowadays, I am the polar opposite. I strike up random conversations with strangers. I don’t shrink in the face of criticism. I dance ridiculously in public.

This dramatic change was not the result of a quick fix or secret trick. It happened slowly, over a long period of time. It was the result of a series of small, manageable actions.

Strong Sailor

Photo Credit: Official Navy Page (Creative Commons)

Here are three little steps you can take today (and hopefully tomorrow) to begin transforming your self-image and confidence.

1. Smile at a Person You Don’t Know

When we’re unsure of ourselves, we treat eye contact as if it is a physically torturous experience. In doing this, we’re refusing a golden opportunity.

It feels positively uplifting to confidently lock eyes with another person, and rather than look away, smile at them. When someone returns the smile, it is a beautiful connection that naturally makes you feel better about yourself.

Don’t sweat it if your smile isn’t returned or even if the person looks put off. Many people will not return this gift that you’re extending to them, but the fact that you’re a person who reached out and took a chance deserves applause anyways.

2. Compliment Yourself

We all have qualities and achievements that we appreciate in ourselves, but it is often easy to dwell on the negatives until self-doubt becomes engrained in our thought processes.

To overcome this, you have to recognize your successes and positive attributes.

I recommend sitting down today and writing a list of all of the victories, no matter how small, that you have had in recent memory. Next, list the traits that you are proud to possess.

This practice will cause you to reflect on what makes you great, rather than what limits you.

If you want to go one step further, jot down everything you are grateful for. Then, write or repeat to yourself positive affirmations like I am kind, valuable, and strong or I have unique qualities that others love in me.

It may seem silly, but I promise that reflection on positive aspects of yourself and your life will improve your mood. Do this as often as you see fit, and you’ll begin to change the patterns of thought that lead to feeling unworthy.

3. Clean Your Room

Waking up in a cluttered or unclean environment begins to make our lives feel hectic and dirty over time, even if only on a subconscious level.

On the other hand, rising in the morning to a clean and open space inspires feelings of freedom and clear-mindedness.

Over time, picking up after yourself will lead to increased self-respect and a stronger sense that the day is yours to seize.

In Closing

As I said earlier, the road to confidence can be long and difficult. These three tips are by no means going to change your life over night.

They will, however, give you a place to start. The key to building real confidence is to always keep stretching your comfort zone. I’ll be writing an extended guide to confidence building, so watch for that down the line.

In the mean time, practice these three tips, and try to face little fears or discomforts, one at a time. You will be proud you’re making an effort to improve, which is a self-esteem boost in itself.

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”
―Lao Tzu

What other tips do you have to increase self-confidence? I’d love to hear them, so don’t be shy in leaving a comment below! Thank-you, and have a wonderful day.

If this essay resonated, you'll enjoy my Dead Honest Newsletter, my list of Cage-Melting Books, and following me on on Facebook and Instagram.

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About Jordan Bates

Jordan Bates is a Lover of God, healer, mentor of leaders, writer, and music maker. The best way to keep up with his work is to join nearly 7,000 people who read his Substack newsletter.

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11 years ago

Great tips, Jordan. Thanks for sharing. I especially like number one. Randomly smiling at strangers is always an exercise in courage, and a returned smile is just the icing on the cake. 🙂

Michael Clark
Michael Clark
11 years ago

Seizing the moment is a good point. People need to realize how blessed they are to have opportunities to improve themselves and live a happier life. Nice incite JB!

Amit Sharma
Amit Sharma
10 years ago

I would reverse the order..
1) Clean your room (Wake up everyday in a healthy and sound environment)
2) Jot down your positive traits (everything that you think is good about yourself)
3) Smile at strangers, try to make eye contact, talk (if possible). If you feel awkward go back to step 2.
I’ve made a great improvement on myself following this..

Jordan Bates
10 years ago
Reply to  Amit Sharma

Ah, Amit, interesting. I didn’t think of my list as being in any particular order, but I like the order that you would choose to do them in. You’re very welcome. Thank you for commenting, and take care.

Alicia Martin-Shoates
Alicia Martin-Shoates
10 years ago

I been down on myself alt lately, these times should be the happiest because I just a had beautiful baby girl and married my best friend, but I still seem to feel like I’m at a stand still.. So I enjoyed reading your thoughts on what helped for you. I will try to put all of your topic of interest to work for myself. WishMe Luck…Thank You

Jordan Bates
10 years ago

Alicia, really sorry to hear you’ve been feeling down on yourself, especially in the midst of a time where you feel you should be happy. However, it sounds like you’re going through a time of a lot of transition. These times are always scary and overwhelming, even if they’re changes for the better. Keep your head up, take it one day at a time, and try to appreciate the great things that are happening to you. Wishing you the best.

10 years ago

i dnt know why i am loosing my confidence level totally .what ever i am trying to do itz being a disastrous.i feel low and bad for my self .

Jordan Bates
10 years ago
Reply to  harry

I think we all go through periods of doubt, Harry. Sometimes giving it a bit of time, exercising, and getting good nights of rest can work wonders. Hope you’re feeling better.

9 years ago

I feel uneasy when I am surrounded with peoples all around as if everybody is watching me, observing me … as if they will notice my mistakes and rather comment on my actions.

8 years ago

Thank you for this. I have been keeping my room clean it helps a lot. I have always smiled at people and it makes my day better. Another thing I like to do is ask everyone how they are before they ask me. Take a sincere interest in the other person. Everyone. The barista, the check out person at any store, person in the elevator, just everyone. I feel great after that. And notice something about them that I honestly like and compliment them on it. I don’t make it up, I have to be telling the truth. It works!

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