There are few things worse than feeling shy and uncomfortable. With our world becoming increasingly more anxiety-inducing, many of us are stuck wondering how to become more confident and outgoing.
So, how to become more confident and outgoing? The key is to be honest about your weaknesses and to take time to become the person you want to be.
- Identify your weak spots (social anxiety, low self-esteem).
- Challenge yourself (going out, getting out of your comfort zone).
- Embody the person you want to be (outfits, behaviors).
- Trust yourself.
With these tips, you are bound to be a more confident and outgoing person in no time. Read on to find out more about becoming the extrovert you’ve always wanted to be.
1. Identify Your Weak Spots
So you’ve decided that you want to become more confident and outgoing – this is the most important step in changing your life.
When you take time to work on yourself, it’s crucial to be honest about your experiences and how they make you feel. Don’t push your feelings down. It can be really intimidating to develop new behaviors, but there are plenty of resources available to help you change your attitude towards life.
Although it can be difficult to change old ways, psychologists tell us that it isn’t as hard to change your life as you might think, because small changes are the easiest way to reset old habits.
Once you have decided that you want to change your life, it’s time to ask yourself difficult but helpful questions. The first question you should ask yourself is: what habits do you need to change? What behaviors are keeping you from becoming a more confident and outgoing person?
Some people have a really hard time interacting with others in social situations, so they resort to holding themselves up indoors their whole lives. Other people don’t know how to express themselves outwardly, so they keep their passions and opinions a secret. Research shows that people who are shy often have a hard time making friends, pursuing relationships, and progressing in their careers.
As you spend time identifying qualities or behaviors that might inhibit you from becoming more confident and outgoing, be compassionate towards yourself. You might like to post positive affirmations around your home that inspire you to love yourself and to keep moving forward on your journey towards confidence. Maintaining a notebook, like this 52-Week Guided Journal, is another great option for keeping your spirits high.
2. Challenge Yourself
Now that you have identified what parts of your behavior you’d like to improve, it’s time to get to work on them. This step takes a lot of introspection; take a good hard look at your bad habits and imagine some ways you could overcome them.
If you tend to struggle with social interactions, what would happen if you spent more time in public places like movies, concerts, or bars? Perhaps you bring a friend along with you, and they can keep you company. You don’t have to start big – make a goal and work up to it.
Say your goal is to be able to go to a friend’s wedding without leaving early because of your tendency towards shyness. You don’t have to make the wedding the first step on your journey towards confidence. In fact, you probably shouldn’t – studies show that dealing with social anxiety is a process that requires gentle, gradual therapeutic treatment such as cognitive-behavioral therapy.
Little by little, start incorporating more little challenges into your life, like starting a conversation with someone at the grocery store, or perhaps hosting a small get-together with some new friends from work.
Eventually, you will have gained up enough emotional strength to attend your friend’s wedding and not feel socially overwhelmed. You’re developing the tools you need to be a successful and confident person. Again, it will take time and effort to get out of your comfort zone. Just remember that every step you take outside of your comfort zone is one step closer to the life you want to live.
3. Embody the Person You Want to Be
How does confidence look to you? Is your version of a confident person someone who dresses extravagantly every day, or is it more like someone who speaks their mind without fear? Take some time to envision who you want to become and picture yourself as that person. Play the part of the kind of person you want to be.
If you want to start dressing more vibrantly and express yourself to the world, you’ll need to start gathering clothes that fit your personality. If you don’t have the budget to buy a whole new wardrobe, find your nearest thrift store and spend some time looking through upcycled pieces for clothes that fit you best. If your idea of confidence is more outspoken and vocal, then it’s time to practice using your voice.
Work on telling your story – what is your most authentic voice? How can you share your experiences with the world?
When you start to embody the person that you want to become, it may feel forced. The phrase “fake it ‘til you make it” comes to mind here. This principle has science to back it up, too. When you imagine yourself in a situation – for example, when you envision yourself acting confidently – your brain fires neurons that make you feel as though you are experiencing that situation firsthand.
4. Trust Yourself
The biggest opponent to confidence is doubt, and doubt has the ability to tear you down easier than you might think. As you become more confident, there is a chance you’ll start to experience self-doubt. This self-doubt often manifests itself as sadness, stress, or anxiety, and you might be tempted to crawl back inside your shell.
Don’t give in – these feelings will pass. Psychologists believe that one of the best remedies for self-doubt is to concentrate on one’s goals instead of dwelling on negative emotions.
There’s a possibility that you’ll feel down on yourself, even if developing confidence is your life’s greatest goal. If you start to feel like a faker or a phony because you’re trying new things, remember that everyone has felt that way before.
This phenomenon is called imposter syndrome. Much like it can happen to someone who is hired at a new job that they’re actually qualified for, imposter syndrome often arises when you’re trying out new clothes or behaviors or trying out new habits.
It’s natural to feel this way. Just keep doing what you’ve been doing, following these four steps, and your progress will be immense. Get excited for the person you are going to become.
It’s not easy to step outside of your comfort zone and become a more confident person. It’s thought that over 7% of Americans have suffered from social anxiety in the last year. But anxiousness doesn’t have to get the better of you. Start by simply observing your behaviors – when do you feel anxious or less-than-confident? When do you feel introverted?
After observing your behaviors, challenge yourself to leave your comfort zone. Start by just chatting with someone new, or by buying that bright new shirt you’ve been eyeballing. Remember that habits are changed through small steps. Eventually, these steps will become bigger and more long-lasting.
Finally, allow yourself to become your best self. Be patient, and keep your goal in mind. Soon you will become more confident and outgoing and feel more comfortable in your own skin.
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- Psychology Today: “The Science of Habits”
- American Psychological Association: “Everything you ever wanted to know about shyness in an international context”
- Amazon: This Year I Will…: A 52-Week Guided Journal to Achieve Your Goals
- Stanford News: Stanford research helps people with social phobia face their fears
- Cognition Today: “The scientific truth behind ‘Fake it till you make it’”
- Washington Post: “With Brain Science, Doubt Can Be a Distant Memory”
- ScienceMag: “No, You’re Not an Imposter”
- National Institute of Mental Health: Social Anxiety Disorder