“I’m shy and introverted. How can I feel more confident?”
If you’re wondering this, today’s post is for you.
Confidence comes from genuinely liking and appreciating yourself as a human being.
Your confidence level (and your opinion of yourself in general) is a direct result of the choices you make in your everyday life. In a way, it comes down to your perception of your ability to take on challenges and reach your goals.
If you know from experience that you can handle most things that come your way and you trust yourself to stick to your goals and see them through until you’re happy with the results, you will naturally feel more confident, capable, and positive about yourself.
Even if you start from a place of not feeling confident, that’s okay!
When you put in work on yourself and see results in your life, confidence will begin to bubble out automatically, without you even having to think about it.
And if you’re currently in that starting place where you don’t feel confident about yourself, that’s okay! It just means there’s room for you to make better choices and improve.
Since building confidence is about taking action, today’s post will cover 3 practical and effective steps you can take right now:
- Discerning what aspects of yourself you can improve in order to feel more confident,
- Laying out a clear path for how to get there, and
- Using your brain chemistry’s reward pathways to keep yourself motivated until you reach those goals.
Following these 3 steps creates a positive cycle that helps you feel more confident by proving to yourself that you can accomplish anything.
Before we get started…
Let’s sort out a common misconception.
Most people will find this article by searching for a phrase like “how to feel more confident as an introvert.” Inherent in that question is the assumption that introverts often struggle with confidence, especially in social settings.
However, “shyness” and “introversion” are not the same thing!
While shyness describes that feeling of being afraid to speak up, introversion is simply a preference for taking moments of solitude to recharge your mental batteries.
You may be an introvert who is perfectly comfortable speaking up in social situations. Or, you may be an introvert who feels terrified to step out of your comfort zone around others.
Many introverts can feel on the shier side, which is why the two terms often get used interchangeably.
So whether or not you feel like shyness is an aspect of yourself you’d like to overcome in order to be more confident, you’re in the right place.
The tips in this article will help you get past social awkwardness and that feeling of “not fitting in” just as effectively as they will help you get past other challenges that may hold you back from feeling confident.
Now, let’s jump in!
1. Map out your starting point and your goals.
For our first step, let’s look at where you are now and where you’d ultimately like to end up!
In order to know what areas to work on, you must first understand who you are and what parts of yourself you like and don’t like.
Happily, introverts are usually quite talented at introspection.
This is a huge strength!
Whether you journal it out in detail or just sit quietly for a while and think, turn some attention toward defining your own characteristics and how you feel about them.
As you introspect, frame your strengths as things that you want to develop further. Think of your weaknesses as challenges to be overcome.
If you write a list, it might end up looking something like this:
- shy, and I want to learn to feel comfortable meeting new people
- a hard worker, and I want to give myself more credit and feel proud of my accomplishments
- currently overweight, and I want to get healthy and feel comfortable in my body so I can be more confident with dating
- passionate about my beliefs, and I want to feel free to speak up and sharing my beliefs and values with my loved ones
- extremely caring, and I want to continue caring for others while learning how to care about myself just as much
Keep going until you feel like you have a full picture.
It’s totally okay if your list is a hundred items long. It’s also fine if it has just one big item that affects everything in your life.
Either way, you now understand where you’re starting from and where you’d like to go.
Onto Step 2:
2. Make a detailed plan with specifics.
Many people make a list of goals and then that list gets shoved to the back of a drawer, never to be seen or thought of again.
How can you keep that from happening?
By making a plan you can actually take action on instead of letting those goals sit there on paper like the vague, undefined generalities that they are now.
For example, how will you know for a fact when you have “become more confident”? That’s hardly a black-or-white state of being that you can measure to know when you have reached it. Therefore, it’s not yet helpful to you.
Time for clarity!
In this step, we’re going to take the goals you wrote down in Step 1 and define them clearly so you can measure your progress over time.
Knowing every single time you reach a milestone, because you have quantified and observed those milestones, your confidence is being built by default because you are recognizing your successes.
It also lets you know when maybe you’ve been slacking on a goal (yes, we’re eyeing that gym pass that’s been languishing on your bedroom dresser). ;)
While un-measured goals are easy to let slip with excuses like “I’m working on it!” you won’t be able to make excuses when you define those goals and see a clear lack of progress.
So, get to work by clearly defining milestones for each goal you wrote down above.
As you do this, ask yourself…
“At what point will I feel more confident in myself once I’ve made progress toward this goal?”
That “point” is your defined goal.
Let’s flesh out the examples we used in Step 1:
“I will feel more confident in my ability to meet new people when I have attended one Meetup group per month for six months.”
“Keeping a private list on my phone (or a gold-star chart on the refrigerator; we’re not judging!) of each accomplishment at work will give me a solid way to look back on how far I’ve come.“
“Weight loss will happen when I eat fewer than 2000 calories per day on average and exercise for 30 minutes every day.”
“At the next family gathering, when everyone is talking about current events and sharing their points of view, I will speak up and share one of my own.”
“As part of a self-care routine, I will do one of the following at least once a week: dance to music, write in a journal, have a hot bath, or meditate quietly.”
You get the idea.
Keep your goals reasonable (i.e. aim for one Meetup per month at first instead of one every week). That way, you’re likely to reach them without stressing yourself out.
Once you’re happy with your list of things to do, all that’s left is to actually go do them!
3. Take action and reap the rewards.
The title of Step 3 sounds so simple, right? But anyone who has ever tried and failed to reach a long-term goal is sensitive to oversimplification of this process.
The key here is to work with your brain chemistry, not against it.
Making a motivational goal list keeps most people feeling charged up and inspired for… well… a couple of hours. Add in a healthy dose of self-discipline, and you might be able to power through a few weeks before things start to slide.
But we want to overhaul this process and “hack” your brain to enjoy completing tasks, rather than dread it.
Enjoyment is effective!
That’s why it’s so important to knock one item off of your list as soon as possible after you finish writing it out. Just as importantly, make a note of the accomplishment.
Seeing the results of your effort immediately, right after you begin and then again with each milestone, sparks the positive reward cycle that steadies your motivation for a lifetime.
It helps if you can complete each task mindfully…
Have your purpose be this: feeling more confident.
Keep that at the forefront of your brain! You are directly tying that dopamine “reward” rush with the immediate result of feeling more confident.
Essentially, you’re training your brain to associate accomplishing tasks with feeling good about yourself. Do it enough times, and that neural pathway will strengthen and become automatic. This isn’t opinion; it’s science!
Need some examples to get you started?
Consider the immediate result of the very first action you can take.
Let’s apply this toward each goal plan we made in Step 2:
Let’s say you just attended a Meetup event.
Even if you didn’t make any connections, the fact that you went is a huge success.
Give yourself a happy pat on the back, because you just smashed through a milestone! It’ll get easier to go every time as you get more used to it.
By the time you hit the six month mark, you won’t even need to arrive 15 minutes early to sit in your car and get psyched up to go inside. ;)
You were assigned a new project at work. It requires you to look back through your work from a couple years ago as a reference. As you do this, you notice how much more clear and streamlined you’ve become.
Proudly paste a gold star on your refrigerator chart, because that’s fantastic.
After 20 minutes on the treadmill, you get a stitch in your side. You decide you need to stop your workout early.
Old you would have considered that a failure, but old you is the person you’re growing away from. Confident you recognizes that the fact that you hopped on the treadmill at all is actually a big deal. Celebrate that success!
Channel the endorphin rush into a visualization of how amazing you’ll feel bounding along on the treadmill in a few months when you’re down 10 pounds.
At a family dinner, you worked up the courage to interject a counterpoint after your uncle started a heated political debate.
You’re not positive that you changed any minds, but it feels great to have spoken up at all.
After an emotionally draining day of talking your best friend through a messy breakup, you sink into a hot bath to block out the rest of the world.
You feel a stab of guilt when your phone chimes and you ignore it. But you’ve made a point of taking this time alone for self care.
Once your mind clears, it occurs to you that you worked hard today to cheer up your friend. You absolutely deserve this quiet time to take care of yourself.
You’re a great friend. In order to keep being a great friend, you have to meet your own needs first.
When your emotional reservoir is refilled, you will be able to go back to being a shoulder to lean on.
Once you get the hang of associating that feeling of accomplishment with the knowledge that you accomplished the goal, you will feel more confident and capable with every tiny step forward you take.
It’s a positive cycle that keeps on giving for as long as you take actions to keep it going.
Conclusion on how to feel more confident as an introverted man:
Now that you’ve finished reading, go get started on your first task now while the spark of motivation is strong.
Ride the dopamine rush of reward, and then rinse and repeat until the habit has thoroughly taken hold.
In today’s post, we talked about…
- deciding which aspects of yourself you’d like to change in order to feel more confident,
- plotting out measurable milestones so you have baby steps to feel proud of when you’ve accomplished them, and
- fueling your motivation by deliberately appreciating yourself for every accomplishment you make.
Remember, you can always find more awesome tips for boosting your confidence and improving your dating life by downloading our free ebook, “Why PUA Doesn’t Work for Introverts & What Works Instead.”
Also consider joining our Magnetic Confidence self-study program for the ultimate guide to skyrocketing your self-esteem by bringing out your unique best and dealing effectively with any “nice guy” tendencies so you can reach all your goals with nothing in your way! Find out how it works here.