Why Confidence is Your Key to a Successful 2015
As another year draws to a close, millions of Australians are looking forward to 2015 with the prospect of a fresh start the new year brings. Just as many Aussies will be quietly reviewing 2014 and how successful they were in achieving their personal goals over the last 12 months. Unsurprisingly many will feel disappointment at unfulfilled resolutions and unmet expectations whilst vowing that next year will finally be THE year they move ahead in life. The reason I know this is because I’m one of them. This annual ritual of review, disappointment and resolution to do better next time is felt most strongly by business owners whose very livelihoods depend on meeting minimum financial goals. Most entrepreneurs also instinctively know that to make a start and get a business off the ground in the first place, let alone to make it a sustainable success requires agility, hard work, imagination, long-term thinking and that most potent quality of all – Confidence. In the following article we’ll explore the important of Self-Confidence in detail, whilst incorporating goal-setting and physical health to provide a holistic pathway to your business and personal success in 2015.
Confidence: “Fake it until you make it”
Self-confidence, arguably the single most important trait for success in business and life in general, is key to achieving your personal goals in 2015. Defined by Dictionary.com as “belief in oneself and one’s powers or abilities; self-confidence; self-reliance; assurance” – this potent quality is simply the ability to know what you’re good at, the value you provide to others whilst demonstrating your value to others in a self-assured, assertive nature in social situations. Science also backs the important of Confidence as a determinant of life outcomes, with a 2012 University of Melbourne study of employees at large corporations across Australia, Canada and the United States finding that participants who demonstrated higher self-confidence in their early years earned higher salaries and enjoyed faster promotions than their more modest peers. Some people are highly assured and extroverted by nature, so what can you do to boost your self-confidence even if you’re more introverted and reserved?
- Accept Yourself: The first and most difficult step towards greater self-confidence and personal success is simply to accept yourself for who you are, whilst appreciating your particular strengths and acknowledging your weaknesses. If you don’t love yourself, how can anyone else?
- Dress Well: For better or worse, appearances do count. By updating your wardrobe with clothes which fit you well and compliment your body type, as well as ensuring your hair and face is neat and well-groomed, not only will you appear more professional and therefore competent, but you will also feel more confident and prepared to meet clients or even just friends in regular social settings. “Look good, feel good” as the old adage goes.
- Exercise: A whole article could be devoted to the wider health and personal benefits of physical exercise alone, but science has proven that running, walking or lifting weights can not only extend your lifespan and improve your concentration but also fundamentally transform your self-esteem and therefore your self-confidence.
- Set Goals & Take Action: As a nice Segway to our second paragraph, one surefire way to boost your self-confidence and general success in life is to set SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound) long-term goals, broken down into smaller tasks, and take concrete action towards achieving those goals a little bit each day. Even if you fail to meet your goals, the feeling of actively “doing something” productive will boost your confidence to make a start on new projects at the very least.
Goal-Setting: “Failure to plan is planning to fail”
Setting specific, time-bound goals and targets is an unavoidable aspect of establishing and running a successful business, so almost every entrepreneur will find the following advice to be second nature. But often even the most seasoned entrepreneurs fail to set goals for other areas of their life in a holistic manner which maximises their potential for long-term success. Whilst most people will set goals for focused areas of improvement in their life – such as gaining a promotion at work or completing a 10 KM marathon race, the power of goal-setting becomes apparent when it’s truly encompassing – covering all aspects of life from our careers, finance, health/fitness, intellectual pursuits and relationships amongst other things. Setting goals with a long-term perspective of 5 years or more is ideal, as it allows you to ride out the inevitable ups and downs of everyday life on-route to achieving your desired outcomes. Writing your goals down is also a powerful way to boost your motivation, with a 1979 Harvard University study finding that only 3% of people wrote down their goals on paper, 13% had goals and the remaining 84% had no goals at all. 10 years later the 3% who did write their goals down were enjoying 10 times the earnings of the other 97%, whilst the 13% who had unwritten goals were earning on average twice the amount of those with no goals whatsoever. With the middle of the decade fast approaching, January 1st 2015 is an ideal date to set in place long-term goals towards the year 2020 and beyond. But what’s the best way to set personal goals which are likely to achieve concrete results? By setting SMART goals.
- SPECIFIC – Your goals should be defined and focused on achieving something specific, I.e. to lose 20 KG of body fat or to complete a 10 KM marathon race.
- MEASURABLE – Your goals should have metrics attached to them so you can gauge how close (or far) you are to achieving them. I.e. To save $1,000 for a winter snow trip by the 1st of July 2015.
- ACHIEVABLE – Set goals which are achievable and can be broken-down into smaller, concrete physical actions that build towards your desired outcome. I.e. preparing for a 10 KM marathon race by running 2 KM every second day.
- RELEVANT – Set goals that serve a timely purpose in your life and are directly related to your current needs, whereby achieving those goals will offer a big personal reward. I.e. If you’ve recently begun a university degree, perhaps a relevant goals would be to obtain a Distinction average for all subjects.
- TIME-BOUND – Finally, your goals should have a deadline attached to them in order to foster a sense of drive and urgency. I.e. Starting a new business and generating your first $100,000 sales revenue by July 1st Goals should also be broken down into short, medium and long-term propositions.
Physical Health & Wellbeing: “Healthy mind, healthy body”
One of the first things to suffer under the daily stresses of entrepreneurship and working life in general is one’s physical health and wellbeing. But consistently late nights, a diet high in processed fats and sugars combined with a lack of regular exercise does eventually catch up with everyone, reducing physical health and mental vitality. These physical symptoms then begin to negatively affect personal productivity, self-confidence and ultimately a business’s bottom-line in a negative feedback loop. Therefore taking an active approach to your life by fostering healthy, daily habits is the final and most straightforward pillar towards achieving holistic personal success in 2015 and beyond. With a 2008 National Health Survey finding 72% of Australians 15 years and over displayed low exercise levels, taking your physical wellbeing directly into your own hands could also prove to be a competitive advantage. A healthy body leads to a healthy mind, whilst a healthy mind leads to self-confidence and the ability to set SMART goals, further increasing your confidence and so on…. The best part is improving your health is simply a matter of standing up and getting moving! Although there are a few guidelines to consider:
- Exercise 30 minutes per day, 5 days per week (150 minutes)
- Incorporate exercise into your daily routine by walking or cycling where possible, taking the stairs instead of the lift and leaving the bus, train or tram one stop early to complete the remainder of your journey on-foot
- Attend a gym 3 days per week and incorporate cardio with strength training for a holistic approach to building physical fitness
- Sleep 7-9 hours per night and aim for a regular bedtime
- Drink 1-2 litres of water per day
- Don’t forget to laugh and smile!