I Can Do It

By Robin Bush, ISR Communications

 A wise mentor once shared that the most powerful two-letter words in the English language are, “If it is to be, it is up to me.”  Combine that with “I can do it!” and you have two of the essential ingredients to success, happiness, and health at any age:  determination and self-confidence.

Recognizing you want something you don’t have – an ability, an award, recovery after a health challenge, is the starting point. Next comes setting your sights on an achievable goal and, finally, being determined to reach it.  Determination takes finding what motivates you and ultimately letting go of fear that you won’t succeed. 

There’s nothing new about the power of determination, but when you combine self-confidence with determination, it has a multiplier effect that increases the likelihood of achieving what you set out to achieve and improving health outcomes.

Self-confidence is believing you have value and can succeed in all aspects of your life.  It’s not an attitude that lasts forever; we must continually cultivate it. Sometimes, you succeed; sometimes, you fail, and that’s okay.  Experiencing failure gives you the opportunity to find the courage to continue to try new things with an “I can do it” attitude.  As you develop resilience in the face of challenges, you build self-confidence.  That allows you to quiet the tendency to mull over worries or replay mistakes voiced by your inner critic.  As self-confidence builds, you become much more likely to easily and freely ask, “What if?”  Self-confidence also increases your sense of worth, that you are valuable and important.  This helps you focus on your strengths rather than your flaws and reduces being self-judgmental about what you should be doing, saying, or thinking.  Self-confidence, being the opposite of self-doubt, also helps you make better decisions because you trust in your intuition, education, experience, curiosity, and desire to learn the truth. That leaves you less stressed, a critical component of good health.

Most of us have had the experience of walking into a room and feeling everyone staring at us or worrying we might not have anything to say that someone else might value. What can we do to build self-confidence?

  • Posture can affect how you feel. Try sitting up straight, smiling, and standing in a powerful pose. Each sends messages of self-confidence to your brain.
  • Exercise is more than getting in shape or building muscle; it’s a confidence booster. Strength exercises build muscle and endurance, and you feel successful as you are able to do more each week. Cardio exercise releases endorphins, which improve mood, decrease stress and tension, and increase feelings of well-being.
  • Don’t listen to your inner voice when it starts comparing you to others. Instead, revert to your mantra, “I can do it.”
  • Switch your attention to helping someone who looks insecure or has other needs. The more you reach out, the less you can be preoccupied with self-doubt.
  • Set achievable goals. Be clear about what you want to achieve, journal your progress, aim small first, then build on your foundation. Give yourself a reasonable time frame for reaching your goal.  It’s okay to aim high but to build self-confidence, you need to find the sweet spot between aiming too high or too low.  You want to find what will keep you motivated to try for more.
  • Strengthen your support system of friends. Be courageous, and don’t hide your personal beliefs.  Friends can believe differently, but it isn’t a true friendship if you can’t express your individual views and be accepted by them, even if your friend thinks differently.
  • Each day, acknowledge your achievements, no matter how small. Reward yourself in a way that feels meaningful.

When you combine determination with self-confidence, even if you only take tiny steps forward in the face of challenges or life changes, you are doing whatever you can to live the best life you can at any age, no matter your circumstances.

Don’t give up – you can do this!

“Once we believe in ourselves, we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight, or any experience that reveals the human spirit.” – E.E. Cummings