(recommended reading for ages 11-16)
A new year, a new start!
We all love new beginnings. A fresh start.
It’s like a clean canvas that you can paint anything on! And that’s an exciting feeling isn’t it?
So what does it mean to you? If you were to start afresh and create an action plan for your dreams and aspirations from this day onwards, what would you put down in that plan?
As a student, what is that one thing that you want to achieve in the year 2022?
Perhaps it is a new hobby you wish to cultivate. Or you may want to spend more time reading. Or practice healthy food and sleep habits.
Whatever we set out to achieve, no matter what stage we are at, there is one essential component that’s going to get you to your goals faster. And that is, approaching life with Confidence.
When we feel confident, we are more likely to look ahead and move forward towards opportunities rather than back away from them. And even when things don’t work out the way we had anticipated, confidence helps us try again. It helps us build resilience and keeps us on a positive growth path.
On the other hand, if you feel low on confidence you may hesitate to give yourself another chance or try again when you fail at a difficult task.
An obvious question that you may ask yourself at this stage is: Is confidence a personality trait or an acquired skill?
The good news is, confidence is a skill that can be acquired. It needs learning and practice.
Confidence is not something you have, it’s something you create. Being confident requires you to believe in yourself, in your abilities, skillsets, tenacity and will.
Confidence comes from within, and it is possible to build and strengthen the confidence mindset.
Why is confidence important ?
Being confident is non-negotiable. It is not a “good-to-have”. It’s a “must-have”.
When you feel confident, you are better able to start conversations, build a connection with peers and superiors, seek and find new opportunities, handle conflicts, persuade others, and ultimately achieve all your goals.
A confident mindset is a growth mindset. It seeks opportunities and is not afraid of challenges. It is positive and encourages self-growth.
Confident people will act on an idea while others may still be pondering over it.
When you feel confident you are more likely to act on your ideas, thoughts and dreams. You are more likely to seize the moment and to persevere despite all odds.
Confident people are not afraid to say “No” when they want to. They say what they mean and mean what they say.
Lack of confidence on the other hand, gives rise to limiting self-beliefs and fears. Fear of failure. Fear of being judged. Fear of the unknown.
How does one build confidence?
- Get Things Done. If there is one thing that can build your confidence, it is getting things done. When you set yourself small tasks (with a deadline) and you achieve these tasks regularly you are sending out a strong signal to yourself that you are capable of accomplishing what you set out to do, makes you feel confident.
Your day-to-day goals are an excellent place to start. If you accomplish the goals you set for each day, you are most likely able to meet your weekly and monthly goals. When you achieve these daily, weekly and monthly goals you’re going to feel confident enough to set yourself up for bigger tasks, take on bigger projects, and set an ambitious life goal because you have proof that you can achieve your goals.
2. What gets measured gets improved. Whether you’re trying to learn a new language, get better grades in Math, improve at a sport, or acquire healthier habits, the best way to know if you’re making progress is to keep a track of it.
Keep a log of the daily progress you are making in a particular area of your life. Measure your accomplishments on a daily, weekly, monthly basis.
Create a yardstick against which you can measure the achievements of the goals you set up for yourself. It will help you stay on course, and you will build confidence as you see the progress you’re making in real time.
3. Keep your promises
When you say you’re going to do something, make sure you do it. You will build trust and respect in yourself. Acting on your commitments and promises to yourself or to others helps you strengthen your self-belief.
The New Year is a great reminder to prioritize and plan. While those grand new year resolutions are good to make, more often than not, it is the everyday habits that actually help us fulfill our goals. It is those little everyday habits that impact our lives and clear the path toward out dreams and our future.
As a student, learning is an important priority that must be on the top of your list. A few things you can ask yourself to arrive at your own personalized list of daily “must-dos”.
1. What do you need to learn to move towards your goals and plans?
3. What are those daily habits that will take you towards your goal?
A well thought out Daily Habits list can become that guiding force behind everything you do, giving you clarity and confidence.
Signs of a confident student:
- Has a clear set of goals and knows what needs to be done to achieve those goals
- Seeks connections with peers and seniors and is not afraid to ask for help.
- Expresses opinions without prejudice. Uses strong communication skills to express himself/herself.
- Is highly efficient with time management and can prioritize tasks with ease.
- Seeks opportunities to discuss ideas and execute them. Takes the lead to initiate change for the better.
- Plans frequent opportunities for partner and group work. Knows the nuances of rapport building, negotiation, persuasion and problem-solving.
- Uses learning to add value to self and to the community. Displays leadership qualities at an early age.
If these are signs displayed by students who have learnt how to build their self-confidence, what can you do to approach this New Year with more confidence? We’ve compiled a rather simplistic list for you.
Daily TO-DO’s for a self-confident YOU:
1. Organize your workspace at the end of the day and prepare your schedule for the next day. This will ensure that the first few minutes of your day are spent feeling in control of your time. It will help you to utilize your time productively. This will keep your mood uplifted, set your spirits high and boost your confidence.
2. Create time blocks. This will help you designate a specific time for learning, pursuing hobbies, speaking with friends, spending time on the internet, and any tasks which are important for you mental and physical well-being.
3. Assess your learning and knowledge timetable. What are you currently learning in your school curriculum? What would you additionally like to learn because you know it will enhance your overall personality and add to your current talents? Would a course in Creative Writing or Dramatics help you in your academics or your future goals?
4. Communicate with your peers. Invite them to a learning session or engage them in a debate on a current topic. It will help you test your learning and research skills and build your reasoning, analytical and persuasive skills.
5. Communicate with your superiors. Ask them for their advice, opinion, and guidance on something that is important for you to understand in its entirety. It will help you create a strong support system.
6. Create a chart to self-assess and measure your progress. Start taking note of every single achievement – small or large. Success breeds confidence. Take stock of your knowledge, skills and experience. Value them, and be proud of them.
And remember, to exercise and rest. When you nurture your body you’ll nurture your mind. Numerous studies have shown that meditation and breathing techniques provides our brain with oxygen, helping us think clearly and act mindfully.
Learn something new everyday. Every time you do something new that you are afraid of, builds your confidence.
When someone praises or compliments you, say a gracious, heartfelt “Thank you”. Don’t shy away from those precious words, as they feed your confidence.
Creating confidence is not about knowing it all; it’s about trusting that even when you do not know everything, you’ll be able to handle it and learn from the outcome.
And remember, being confident doesn’t mean that you will never fail – it just means that if you do, you will have the coping mechanism to pick yourself up and try again.
So gift yourself the best possible gift you can – The Gift of Confidence!