A lack of self- confidence is often something we blame when something we do doesn’t go well. We overlook how self-confidence can help us keep fit and we can take steps to improve our self-confidence. I learned a lot about self- confidence when I started taking classical guitar lessons as an adult and my teacher would often say, “You need to be more confident and believe in yourself. Stop freezing up.” She’d say this because, despite having practiced, whenever I arrived and started playing a piece, I’d muck it up and would take several tries before I’d get it right. You’d think I was playing in front of an audience of 10 thousand. I’d do the um, ah and sorry thing. Those are very bad habits and not good if you ever want to perform. I loved learning the classical pieces, they were soothing to my soul. But Bach and Beethoven weren’t easy to play. I’d often put in an hour a day. However, because of my family sometimes I only managed 30 minutes. I did play every day. I saw improvement. Yet during most lessons at the beginning, I’d freeze up. I’d start the piece with my fingers all in the right place then I’d get a note wrong, and instead of just going on, I’d say, “Oops,” and stop. My teacher would then say, “Don’t say anything. Just go on.” I’d say,” Oh yeah. Sorry.” I would fumble to get the right fingering and start over again. That would go on a couple more times. Then I’d get warmed up, and my fingers moved as if there were no problem. As I took more and more lessons, I didn’t freeze up so much. The biggest boost to my self-confidence came from simply practicing. The more I practiced, the better I felt, and the better I played. I only took lessons for 3 years because of my job. It was enough time to learn something about playing the guitar but not enough time to be really good at it. My skill level was a direct result of the practice I put in, and when I stopped having lessons, I eventually stopped practicing. No practice=no improvement. Acquiring a skill takes work. Once you have the skill, you have the ability to do something which builds trust in that ability. And trust builds self-confidence. How many times do we sabotage ourselves because we give up too early and don’t acquire a skill? I know in my life there are many things I can do at an average level and very few things I can do really well. Regarding the area of fitness, it’s really easy for me to act in a way that’s unconfident. I listen to inner messages of, “Oh I’m just too lazy.” “I don’t feel like it.” “The hike is too hard for me.” or” I can’t go out in weather like this.” I love to walk, and for years I’ve been a fair-weather walker which means I only walked when the weather was good. I never walked in the rain unless it was forced upon me, meaning I was coming out of a building and needed to get to my car so I could get home. But three years ago, I got a high energy dog, and that changed everything. I went walking in the rain by choice for the first time with my dog, Daisy. Walking in the rain with Daisy was like walking in a little wonderland. It was fun. Other times I focused on how miserable I was. Walking Daisy, I focused on the pitter patter of rain on the leaves of the trees. The big difference was that I wore the right rain gear. Waterproof gear is essential when walking in bad weather. The point is I took that first step and walked in the rain.One thing I’ve learned from walking Daisy is it’s not true that I can’t go out in bad weather. I can walk in bad weather, and it’s good for me. I’m confident, and I’m fitter because of it. Self-confidence comes when we practice and get good at something. To get fit and stay fit depends on our self-confidence. We can get that confidence by choosing to take one step and practice. With me, that step was to choose to go out in bad weather and walk. I didn’t listen to the lie I told myself. I chose to walk in the rain and Daisy helped me do that. And it takes practice to do that every time it rains. The result is whatever the weather is I find a way to walk. I’m confident I can do that. Whatever stage we are at with fitness we can take one step to build our confidence and challenge ourselves to get fitter. Here are 2 questions to ask yourself:
- What inner messages do you listen to regarding fitness?
- What’s one step you can take to be more confident?