Believe in Yourself in 2014

Posted On Jan 16, 2014 By Tom Holland

Self-efficacy is the key to success

Let's be honest. When it comes to getting in shape, most people know what to do. Eat better and exercise more. Cut out the junk food. Eat more fruit and vegetables. Get in more cardiovascular exercise. Pick up some weights a few times a week. Blah, blah, blah … right?

We do have the answers. We know what to do. The problem doesn't lie in understanding the basic laws of energy and theories of exercise science. We get it. So what is the real problem? How do we stick to and achieve our fitness goals, once and for all?

The answer is that you have to believe in yourself.

It's all about self-efficacy. Popularized by psychologist Albert Bandura, self-efficacy is the "belief in one's capabilities to organize and execute the courses of action required to manage prospective situations."

In other words, it's about developing situational confidence, a strong belief that once you undertake a certain task, you will be successful at completing it. People who achieve the fitness goals they set for themselves have high levels of self-efficacy. They are better able to stick to their fitness programs because they:

  • View problems as challenges
  • Recover quickly from setbacks
  • Develop a deep interest and a strong sense of commitment to their activities

Conversely, people with low self-efficacy tend to quickly lose confidence, avoid challenges, dwell on the negatives and believe that many things are beyond their capabilities.

So how exactly do we build self-efficacy?

  1. Mastery Experiences: It's common sense: one of the best ways to develop self-efficacy is by successfully performing tasks. Losing a few pounds, lifting more weight, doing your first chin-up. All these are examples of mastery experiences that can build this valuable sense of confidence.
  2. Social Modeling: Seeing other people similar to yourself accomplish a task can lead you to believe that you can do it as well. This is why there is such incredible value in group exercise, organized races and support groups like Weight Watchers. There is power in numbers.
  3. Social Persuasion: People can also be persuaded by others into believing that they can succeed – like a coach, a personal trainer or a friend. If someone whose opinion you respect says you have the tools necessary to accomplish a specific task, it can strengthen your belief that you can.
  4. Psychological Responses: How we respond emotionally to situations also affects self-efficacy. The level of control we have over our nerves, moods and stress levels can all play a huge part in helping to increase our self-efficacy. For example, learning to be relaxed before the potentially extremely stressful start of a triathlon can boost your confidence that you will have a great swim.

One of the most rewarding things about being in the fitness industry is helping people build their self-efficacy. Helping them to set and achieve small yet challenging goals so that they increase their belief that they can succeed, that they can set the bar higher and higher with a positive outcome. Implement the four points listed above so that you can achieve all of your 2014 goals.

Believe in yourself.