Throughout high school and part of college, I dealt with paralyzing fear whenever I was forced to speak in front of a group. Now, that didn't just mean major presentations or speaking in front of an auditorium full of people. It also extended to relatively simple tasks such as raising my hand to ask or answer a question in class. Looking back, I realize that the fear really stemmed from being wrong or otherwise embarrassing myself. Sound familiar? How about some resolutions to make if you want to be more confident?
While researching their 2014 book The Confidence Code, veteran journalists Katty Kay and Claire Shipman discovered that there truly is a confidence gap between men and women. Generally, men are more self-assured than women, and women are more likely to believe that they got lucky and aren't as capable as they really are. Kay and Shipman also found, however, that this gap between the sexes can be closed because confidence is something that can be acquired by either men or women. Good news, right? But also a somewhat daunting task. It's hard to know where to even start. Try these seven steps to make next year your most confident year yet.
1. Make Eye Contact
For people who are shy, making eye contact is hard. But looking people in the eye can give you a little confidence boost. And Steve Kardian, former police sergeant and founder of Defend University, told Real Simple that it can clue your audience in to the fact that you're engaged in the conversation and, you guessed it, confident. Yeah, you know what you're talking about.
2. Straighten Up
Need the quickest of confidence boosts? Sit — or stand — up straighter. Researchers at The Ohio State University found that good posture improves confidence, so you're actually more self-assured when you sit up straight.
3. Turn Up The Tunes Daily
Prepping for a big meeting or a job interview, and need a little oomph? According to researchers at Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management, bass-heavy beats improve confidence and convince you that you can take on the world.
4. Take More Risks
Taking risks is scary if it doesn't come naturally to you. Taking risks and succeeding obviously can make you more confident, but, as improv performer and teacher Brad Barton told Real Simple, falling short can ultimately make you feel more confident. You know you'll be OK even if it doesn't go your way and facing down crowds or going for the big promotion won't be so scary.
5. Pick A Perfume
Next year, consider a signature scent. According to Rachel Herz, a neuroscientist at Brown University, the right fragrance can empower the wearer, making perfume a great accessory on days when you need a boost (or every day).
6. Commit To A Routine
Embrace your morning routine in 2017, whether that be putting on your makeup everyday, trying a new hair style, sipping tea, reading, meditating, or something else entirely. A study published in the British Journal of Psychology found that regular routines and rituals reinforce feelings of confidence and security.
7. Reflect Everyday
Want to feel more confident and self-assured? Reflect on times that you've been successful, confident, and empowered in the past. According to a study published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, recognizing and remembering empowerment leads to increased confidence.