Jen's juicy quote yesterday got me thinking about self-belief. I agree with her sentiment that when you truly believe that something is a top priority, nothing can get in your way. It's simple, but as some of you said in the comments: "it's not easy". As Jen herself said, "I'm not there yet either… I'm talking theoretically here".
So how do you get to that point of believing?
I tend to find that action comes before belief. If you're not someone with confidence on tap, I find it useful to do what the lovely LBTEPA said in her comment, "acting as if you believe it". I interpret this as "performing the desired actions as if you believed in yourself" as opposed to pretending you believe. If that makes any bloody sense at all. For example, at this start of this year my self-belief levels were at a dark and skanky low. Even as I started doing tiny, positive things (keeping my food journal, small amounts of exercise, listening to my hunger signals) I had no real conviction that they would do any good.
But I vowed to keep plodding along regardless of what the brain was telling me. So even when the Voice of Doom was whispering, "Wow, you used to be able to do this easily!" in the middle of kickboxing, the idea was to keep going and focus on the action.
Slowly the balance has started going the other way. Momentum is building. The more tiny, positive things I do, even with teeth gritted, the more my brain seems to link the actions together and conclude, "You are capable of good stuff."
I'm noticing this with some of the Up & Runners. The more training sessions they string together, the more positive they feel and the more they start to believe they will get through the eight weeks. This is regardless of how good or bad the session itself was – the victory is simply in the doing. I can see them starting to believe in their own power and it is so, so inspiring.
I find the action-before-belief thing applies to many aspects of life, in large and small ways. Like every time I make an effort to hang up my coat instead of dumping it on the floor, I am slowly changing the tune of "I'm a slob" to "I'm quite a tidy person".
The only exception might be writing. No matter how much action I take on the writing front, the self-belief doesn't come. But I reckon that might just be a writing thing. Maybe if you allowed yourself to believe in your own abilities too much you'd get cocky and a piano would fall on your head. I think with writing you need that wee bit of terror and doubt in your guts to keep you motivated. Hehe
What works for you? Do you have any tips or tactics for cultivating self-belief?