Because if you don’t, who will? I was asked to write something on “confidence training” and how to get yourself to believe you can do something you have not done yet (i.e. a new distance, a full marathon when you have only ran 22 miles). Self-confidence can be defined as the belief in yourself that you are able to achieve the task at hand. When you perform any skill successfully, you will generate confidence and then be willing to attempt something slightly more challenging. Even with this confidence, it can still be difficult to believe you can achieve your next goal, but there are a few mental strategies you can use to increase your confidence and get you to accomplish your new goals.

First of all, remember what you have done and do NOT minimize your accomplishments. Use self- talk to remind yourself of these accomplishments (i.e. “I trained properly and already did 22 miles”). Be your own personal cheerleader and utilize positive self-talk, which has a direct effect on self-confidence. That is, use self-talk to inspire and motivate you, such as, “I CAN do it.” Do NOT use words or statements that will produce uncertainty, such as “think” or “should.” Therefore, do NOT say “I think I can,” or “I should be able to do this,” when you KNOW you can. These types of words will produce self-doubt, as opposed to self-confidence. Our minds are very powerful and even if you are not 100% sure you CAN do it, you have to believe in yourself. If your mind is telling you that you CAN do it, then your body WILL follow.

Another great mental training technique is mental rehearsal or imagery. This includes playing out the situation in your mind. See yourself, every step of the way, saying the right things, making the right moves, and accomplishing your goals. Imagine race day, imagine running over the bridges, running down First Avenue, hearing the crowds, feeling the wind in your face, and seeing yourself cross the finish line. The more senses you can use, the more real it is, and the better the imagery will work. Replay this scene many times in your mind to help boost your confidence. 

Now get out there, believe in yourself, and remember you CAN and WILL do it!