How would you rate yourself in the area of self-confidence?
That’s a tricky question, isn’t it? I mean, when it comes to dancing in public or singing karaoke, my self-confidence is practically Zero! I don’t want anything to do with it.
Self-confidence can vary from the different areas of our lives, so I’ll revise my question. Daily New Year’s is all about self-improvement, personal growth, and goal setting.
So, how confident are you in your ability to achieve your goals? Now, there’s a question we can work with.
When you set a goal, do you begin with a pre-planted seed of doubt in your mind? Or do you know, without a shadow of a doubt, that you’re going to crush it? Perhaps you’re somewhere in the middle?
Now, what if I told you that you could boost your self-confidence in your goal setting by working on your self-discipline? Yes, it’s true, but before we talk about self-confidence, let’s look at self-discipline.
My Crumbling Self-Discipline
Self-discipline is something I’ve become painfully aware of as of late. You see, I’ve been writing a book, more of a goal-setting workbook really, and it’s been taking a lot more of my time than I expected. Over the past 12 months, I’ve been highly disciplined with my blog, podcast, and fitness, but I felt the need to make more time for the book.
So, I started sacrificing certain aspects of my regular routine to make time to write. The first part of my routine to collapse was going to the gym.
I usually get up at 4:45 and hit the weights five days per week, but one of my second-quarter goals is to run a half-marathon, so I traded my gym membership for the open road. My goal was to run 2-3 days per week and lift the other 2-3 days. Unfortunately, I usually only hit the pavement twice, but never a third time, and I haven’t been lifting at all. Whoops!
With that, my 4:45 routine started to fall apart. “Running is more exhausting than lifting so I need to sleep in and rest more,” I’ve been telling myself. As I’ve been sleeping in, I’ve been journaling less, tracking my goals less, eating worse, and drinking more.
Next in the routine to crumble was my content creation. I decided to halt all content creation for the blog and podcast for a few weeks while I focused on the book. “It’s all just too much” was my rationalization.
Maybe it was.
Perhaps I burnt myself out by doing too much for too long, and I needed the rest. As someone who loves to work all the time, I struggle in knowing when it’s time to rest and slow down for a while versus knowing when I’m making excuses and procrastinating.
But here’s what I realized for sure: discipline begets more discipline.
Self-Discipline Begets More Self-Discipline
In my few weeks away from the blog, I worked hard on the book for a week, but then, as my routine and self-discipline fell apart, so did my progress. If discipline begets more discipline, I was running hard in the opposite direction!
I was writing less, watching TV more, reading very little—it didn’t feel good, and I didn’t feel like myself. Then the worst happened: my confidence in my ability to achieve my goals began to disintegrate.
I wasn’t feeling like a high performer anymore—I lacked energy and felt completely unmotivated. I even started to think, “I write about this stuff! I’m supposed to know all about goal setting! Why can’t I hit my targets? Why am I struggling so much?”
I was finally starting to understand that my self-confidence disappeared right along with my self-discipline. The two were very much connected.
The Relationship Between Self-Confidence and Self-Discipline
I reference Brian Tracy’s book, Goals! a lot on this blog, and if you haven’t read it, you totally should. It is, after all, the number one best selling book about goal setting in the world!
In chapter 12, Brian says this:
“Whenever you practice self-discipline in the pursuit of your goals, your self-esteem goes up. Whenever you force yourself to persist in the face of tempation or adversity, you like and respect yourself more. As your self-esteem increases and you like yourself more, your ability to disipline yourself increases as well. Each exercise of self-discipline builds your self-esteem, which, in return increases your self-discipline. You get onto an upward spiral in life.” 
When I read that last year, it didn’t have nearly the impact on me that it had when I recently re-read it. When I read it last year, I didn’t realize how disciplined I was being, and I certainly didn’t know how much it helped my self-confidence in goal setting.
What Brian says is true!
When you commit to one small goal and achieve it, you build some self-confidence within yourself that screams, “You’ve got this!” Then, you set another goal, and you carry that positive energy into the next goal, and then the next.
On and on it goes, goal after goal, your self-confidence grows. Eventually, you feel unstoppable.
I always knew that achieving goal after goal was a great way to build momentum and achieve greater success, but I never realized how good it made me feel until I started to fall apart.
Lack of Self-Discipline Begets Lack of Self-Discipline
A year ago, I was riding an upward spiral and didn’t even realize it. Lately, though, I had been riding the spiral back down, down, down…
So, if self-discipline begets self-discipline, then the opposite must also be true, right? The more I thought about that, the more I realized just how true it is.
After I stopped going to the gym, I stopped drinking my morning protein shakes. Then, because I skipped a healthy breakfast, I started eating unhealthy lunches and having a beer or two with dinner every night.
Drinking beer every night caused me to stay up later and sleep in longer. My morning goals suffered, I became more tired, and a cycle of bad habits began to set in.
It seems that the more I compromised, the easier the compromising became. My self-discipline was getting horrible!
Compromising Our Self-Confidence
How many times have you tried to lose weight, stop drinking, quit smoking, or break some other not-so-great habit? I know I have fallen into this trap a time or two myself.
You start by counting the days: “I’ve been seven days without a cigarette.”
Because you’ve tried before and failed, you’re pretty sure you can’t quit altogether, right? And since you can’t quit altogether (in your mind), you decide to see how long you can go before you eventually fail. “Hey, I made it 24 days this time. New record!”
Maybe you don’t smoke, but I think you can relate to what I’m saying here.
When we have a track record of failing, we resort to counting the days that we do succeed because our self-confidence and our self-discipline are too low to see the real success we want. We make compromises with ourselves with hopes to feel better, but it doesn’t work.
Without even realizing it, we’re damaging our self-confidence.
And it’s not just breaking bad habits—it’s achieving our goals too.
So many people set goals to become debt free, to save money, to run a half-marathon, to go on a European vacation, to learn a new skill, or [insert your dream goal here].
Whatever it is, when we set a goal and give up on it, we’re telling ourselves that we’re not good enough to achieve our goals. Every time we try and fail, our self-confidence plummets, and we stop trying altogether.
But it doesn’t have to be that way! Again, the opposite is also true. If we can start winning some small battles, we can restore our self-confidence and we can begin to build ourselves back up.
Fortunately, I realized what was happening to me. I knew something was off. I knew my routine was in shambles and that I was underperforming. I knew that I had to get back on track, so I worked to reboot my routine.
My self-confidence hadn’t fallen too far, so I forced myself to snap out of it! I told myself to get it together.
But maybe your self-confidence has taken a pretty bad beating. Or maybe, you don’t have a lot of self-confidence, to begin with.
As much as I try not to make every blog post I write into a listicle, I can’t help but provide a few tips to help you start building better self-discipline and self-confidence so that you can start seeing massive success in your goal setting.
1. Get Plenty of Sleep—No Matter What
If you haven’t heard, motivation, decision-making power, and willpower are finite resources. We only have so much each day, so we need to make sure to use them wisely, but more importantly, we need to get plenty of sleep so that we can recharge.
When we’re tired, we tend to make more poor decisions, and when this happens, we tend to spiral out of control. One compromise leads to another, and before you know it, your discipline is off the rails, and your goals are a distant memory.
A good nights sleep will allow you to start your day off with a positive mindset. Always get plenty of sleep, if you can.
2. Prioritize Your Goals
One of the quickest ways to run your discipline straight into the ground is wearing yourself out by chasing a thousand different things. To stay disciplined and achieve your goals, you have to prioritize your OWN goals first.
When you make time for yourself first, you’re telling yourself that you’re most important—that you’re number one.
In doing so, you’re allowing yourself to work on your most meaningful goals, and you boost your self-confidence. Working towards your goals before everyone else’s is energizing and you’re going to want to chase that feeling.
3. Learn to Say, “No!”
Prioritizing your goals isn’t always enough—there are going to be other people presenting you with countless opportunities.
Remember, we’re trying to build our self-discipline and self-confidence. We want to know that we can achieve our own goals and to do that; you have to defend your time and your goals.
Saying no can be difficult, but just like with anything else, practice makes perfect. Anytime you’re presented with an opportunity, ask yourself if this new opportunity is going to derail your goals and if it will, permit yourself to decline.
As you achieve more of your goals, your self-confidence will grow and saying, “No!” will get more comfortable—I promise.
4. Build a Routine
Over the years, I’ve realized that I’m at my strongest when I’m in my routine. Life can be hard, and some days require more motivation and willpower than others. A daily routine is the best thing to get you through the difficult days.
When you examine your goals, try to break them down into the smallest pieces possible. Then, attempt to build habits and routines around those goals.
I love to learn about high performance and personal development, so I need to read books. However, reading isn’t my favorite pastime, so I built a daily reading goal to stay on track.
Getting started took a lot of self-discipline, but once I built the routine, autopilot kept me going. This routine comes in really handy on days where I’m feeling worn out or unmotivated to read. Because of my routine, I read daily regardless of how I feel.
And it doesn’t stop there! I’ve built routines around my writing, podcasting, fitness, and so on. What routines can you create to support your goals and improve your self-confidence?
5. Embrace the Confidence/Competence Loop
Want to be a confident chef? Read, watch, listen, and learn as much as you can about cooking techniques, ingredients, recipes, and so on.
Want to be a master goal-setter? Learn as much as you can on the subject. Hey, you’re already doing that, and I’ve got mad respect for you for it!
Essentially, the more you learn in any topic, the more confident you become, so why not devote some time to learn every day? I wrote a blog called How to Learn Something New Every Day Without Spending Any Extra Time!
You should check that out ASAP and get your confidence/competence loop up and running.
6. Acknowledge Your Adequacy
The feeling of inadequacy is the opposite of self-confidence. Wait—did you catch that? Read that again. The feeling of inadequacy is the opposite of self-confidence.
When we feel inadequate, we don’t feel good enough. One of the biggest reasons people don’t set goals is due to their fear of not being good enough to achieve them.
But here’s the truth: you are good enough. The fact that you’re here, reading this blog, means that you have the right mindset to achieve massive success in your life. You simply lack the self-confidence to see it clearly.
Believe me; you ARE adequate. Probably more than adequate. What you know right now is enough to get you started towards achieving your goals. You just have to get started. The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.
And, if at the end of this article you still don’t feel adequate or self-confident, get in touch with me right away. I want to talk to you and help you if I can—and I won’t charge you any coaching fees. I just want to help you realize your fullest potential.
7. Take Massive Action
Alright, the last tip I’m going to give you for building your self-confidence is to take action. Taking action can be scary, but staying where you are is even more terrifying. Isn’t it?
As much as I try not to be, I’m relatively risk-averse. The idea of taking significant risks usually stops me from starting.
However, one of Brendon’s High-Performance Coaches helped me to realize that there is just as much risk in sitting still as there is in taking action. You risk stagnation, never seeing your dreams come true, and you even risk your future.
Please don’t stay where you are!
Take action towards your dreams. I always say that taking action and building momentum are the two biggest keys to success in any endeavor, and that includes building confidence and discipline.
You can’t build confidence in your life or in your ability to achieve your goals if you don’t take action first. Trust me—You’ve got this!
This was a long, meandering post. Thanks for sticking with it! I truly appreciate you being here, reading my articles, and being willing to grow. That last part isn’t easy, but you’re going for it anyway, and I’m proud of you.
We’re all on a journey, and we’re all headed for a particular destination. Some of us are deciding on the destination and planning our route. Others, however, have no idea where they’re going.
Some aren’t even aware they’re on a journey—someday they’re just going to wake up somewhere they don’t recognize or like.
If you’ve taken anything away from this article, I hope it’s this: self-confidence and self-discipline are directly connected, and if you want to achieve your biggest goals in life, you have to start with your daily routine, and you have to practice that routine with discipline.
Remember: discipline begets discipline. The more you practice it, the better you’ll get at it. Your confidence in your ability to achieve massive goals will sore, and you’ll be practically unstoppable.
Until next time, take care.
 Brian Tracy, Goals!: How to Get Everything You Want — Faster Than You Ever Thought Possible (Berrett-Koehler Publishers; Second edition, 2010), 154.M
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