Hampshire Regional YMCA


12 Steps to Build Confidence and Resilience

Confidence is believing in yourself and your abilities—your competence, ability to learn and grow, and your inborn worth. For some people it seems like self-confidence is easy, and for others it’s a struggle. When we have a good balance with self-confidence, we are happier and healthier. Resilience is how well we bounce back after a setback, challenge, or disappointment, and the more resilience we have, the happier we tend to be. You can have both confidence and resilience, some of each, or low amounts of both. When these are low, it’s good to find ways to bolster ourselves up. The more you practice this, the better you’ll get at it!

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Things you can do to boost confidence and resilience:

  • Identify and challenge triggers for negative feelings/thoughts: What situations get you down? For example, does looking in the mirror trigger negative feelings? Consider avoiding mirrors until you’ve gained more skills to combat negative self-talk.
  • Listen to yourself: what thoughts are going through your mind? Are you judging yourself? Are the words you use, aloud or in your head, negative/judgmental?
  • Question and challenge: Are your thoughts/ideas accurate? If you wouldn’t say it to someone else, stop saying it to yourself. Challenge your negative self-talk.
  • Reframe and adjust: when you have negative or inaccurate thoughts, mentally say “STOP” and reframe it in a realistic, non-judgmental or positive way.
  • Make and accomplish lots of goals: make these achievable and actually challenging, and celebrate your victories! Prioritize action goals over weight/size ones. For more help, watch for an upcoming activity on SMART goal setting or set up a meeting with trainer!
  • Use others: others can help you recognize your own success/achievements and worth when you’re struggling. When someone gives you a compliment, stop and listen, say “thank you,” and don’t minimize/ignore it—write it down, save notes/cards.
  • Stop comparing: stop comparing yourself to others (in real life or the media) and take fewer Selfies—which research shows tend to do more harm than help when it comes to confidence. Focus on you, and get rid of “should” from your vocabulary.
  • Educate yourself! Read up about how media images are created—lighting, hair, makeup, poses and angles, retouching, and more. Understanding the reality behind those images helps us stop comparing.
  • Goals are for you: remember, it’s your self, your body. Live your life for you, not to impress anyone else.
  • Do something for someone else: research shows that this improves your self-esteem and positivity. Do it selflessly. Even small things help.
  • Practice bouncing back: whenever you run into a rough patch or face disappointment, practice mentally getting back up, brushing off, and starting again. Just because things didn’t work out this time doesn’t mean it won’t in the future! Exercise can help you practice.
  • Consider extra help: Use a supportive friend or loved one for extra support, or a professional like a therapist or support group with a professional moderator.