If you read very many women’s fitness magazines (and the interviews they contain), you’ll notice a common refrain spoken by the women who are talking about whatever fitness-related activity they’re engaged in…
“It gave me a confidence I didn’t have before.”
It’s almost a no-brainer to correlate an increase in physical strength, such as you get from lifting weights, with a boost in perception of your physical abilities. The same goes for becoming skillful at a particular sport, or improving your speed and or agility in a fitness-related endeavor.
However, there’s another jump that often takes place, and if you’re missing out on it, you may be able to get a hold of it with a few mental tweaks, even if your physical progress isn’t very dramatic yet.
Some women will readily affirm that they’ve seen a correlation with increased confidence in other areas of their mindset, and then the rest of their life, after they got serious about working out.
The courage to change jobs, to leave a loveless marriage, travel alone…many female fitness buffs have experienced firsthand that changing their trajectory, fitness-wise, paid dividends in the rest of their world in a way they didn’t expect.
There’s probably a psychological explanation.
The release of endorphins—”feel good” chemicals your body produces during exercise—can promote a sense of wellbeing that may have been missing before…this can certainly help your outlook become more positive, which can enhance your self-esteem, along with your view of the rest of the world.
There’s also an instructive element to feeling and seeing your body do things that it couldn’t do before; making the mental application to other areas may be easier--“Hey, if I can do this thing I didn’t know I could do…maybe I’m capable of doing a lot more!”
If you’re working out, and not feeling like you can crush it in the rest of life, try a few mindfulness exercises to jump start those confidence benefits…
Even if you can’t see visible biceps yet, or run a full mile…congratulate yourself just for showing up. Putting in the work is the important part, and just finishing a workout is worth patting yourself on the back.
Talk to Yourself.
Giggly references to Saturday Night Live’s Stuart Smalley aside, telling yourself—yes, in the mirror—that you’re good enough and smart enough is no joke. Hearing a voice, even (or maybe especially) if it’s your own has an impact. Don’t wait for the rest of the world to be proud of you…tell yourself you’re doing a good job.
Making goals is great, but don’t save your excitement or self-approval for the future you…enjoy your body and your life now. Positivity and gratitude breeds satisfaction, which lets you act from a place of inner strength, instead of need. It’s okay to want more, but it’s even better to appreciate what you already have, as well. Those things don’t have to be mutually exclusive.
If you’re one of the women who has gained confidence along with your physical fitness, great! But if you need to cultivate it, don’t sweat it. Just like your other muscles, your confidence muscle can be worked, and grown.