11 Research-Backed Hacks to Improve Self-Confidence

Confidence is not a reflection of what you can or can't do. It is merely a belief of what you can or can't achieve.
11 Research-Backed Hacks to Improve Self-Confidence
Image credit: Tomas Laurinavicius
Guest Writer
Lifestyle entrepreneur and blogger
7 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Self-doubt kills more dreams than any failure ever will, and the only way to battle it is with rock-solid confidence.

Confidence is not a reflection of what you can or can't do. It is merely a belief of what you can or can't achieve. Like most things, it is always changing and resembles a swinging pendulum. However, there are some confirmed ways to help you remain in control.

I compiled a list of 11 proven hacks designed to build and maintain self-confidence.

11 Research-Backed Hacks to Improve Self-Confidence

Use distancing pronouns.

When life gets tough, people tend to seek counsel from the smartest person they know -- themselves. Self-talk is just a natural way to relieve anxiety in stressful situations. However, recent research has shown that how you refer to yourself during pep talk makes a big difference.

The trick here is to use he, she or your name to distance yourself from the unpleasant situation. For example, instead of saying "I am reading now," try saying, in my case, "Tomas is reading now." In other words, try to see yourself as an observer.

According to the researchers, some of the most overwhelming moments are a byproduct of goal pursuit. Self-distancing helps to see them as challenges rather than threats. Consequently, it makes you feel an instant alleviation and confidence boost.

11 Research-Backed Hacks to Improve Self-Confidence

Overcome imposter syndrome.

You know are a talented, smart and competent person, but for some reason, you still feel like you are deceiving someone.

Just by reading this you may already feel a relief. You are not the only one. You might be suffering from imposter syndrome. This is the syndrome of high achievers. Those who set the bar low simply do not care much about the quality of their work.

To overcome the inner imposter, remind yourself of your achievements. Write a list of your personal successes. You did not get lucky by chance. You are who you are and you know something that others don't.

Related: The Secrets to Reaching Your Goals Are Persistence, Confidence and a Belief in Yourself

11 Research-Backed Hacks to Improve Self-Confidence

Get physical.

Your body was designed to be in motion, so get moving. Even a simple stretch, power pose or walking around helps.

Practicing physical activity allows you to stay in touch with your body, raises your energy levels and releases more endorphins. In fact, how are you going to reach your goals if your body doesn't feel like it's going places?

Before you go to an important meeting, interview or any other stress-inducing situation, do a little workout, stretch or strike a simple power pose and make yourself feel more comfortable.

11 Research-Backed Hacks to Improve Self-Confidence

Use the five-second rule.

The five-second rule is as simple as it sounds and you can apply it everywhere. However, simple doesn't mean easy.

Whenever you experience inspiration, act within five seconds to make it happen. Otherwise, your brain will kill it.

According to the rule's author, Mel Robbins, confidence is a skill. Whenever you have a good idea to do something, it has to be followed with a physical action. Otherwise, you will have time to doubt it and it will never materialize. Remember a situation in a meeting, when you had a good idea, but hesitated to speak up. You didn't do it, because after five seconds your brain found a better reason to stay quiet. Therefore, to act confidently, you have to be faster than your doubts.

11 Research-Backed Hacks to Improve Self-Confidence

Visualize success.

Visualization is a critical part of achieving any goal. It's hard to be confident when you don't know the specifics of your objectives. Imagining success helps you to do just that.

Take your time, close your eyes and see how you'll get there. Try to engage all five senses in it. How does it feel and smell, what do you hear, who are the people around you, what do they wear? Every little detail matters. For better results, take a piece of paper and write everything down.

11 Research-Backed Hacks to Improve Self-Confidence

Be prepared.

Knowing what you are doing, what you are talking about or how things work is the ultimate foundation of confidence. There's nothing sexier than knowledge and experience, and without them, confidence only makes you look funny.

In other words, do your homework and do it well. Read briefing materials, books and articles. Watch and listen to the experts. Hire a mentor and learn with the best.

Related: 5 Ways to Trick Yourself Into Feeling More Confident

11 Research-Backed Hacks to Improve Self-Confidence

Limit social media.

One of the deadliest enemies of confidence is the unconscious comparison to other people. Studies have shown that social media strongly facilitates this behavior.

According to the research by Clarissa Silva, 60 percent of people have reported having lower self-esteem caused by social media. It makes us practice quick assumptions and judgments of other people's happiness. As a result, it fuels our insecurities.

The truth is that there's no way to feel secure about yourself if you are constantly glued to a screen. Real life happens outside of these boxes; make sure to find time to explore the world around you. Our screens can wait.

11 Research-Backed Hacks to Improve Self-Confidence


Finding your inner peace is essential for true confidence. After a good meditation, weak faith in self-abilities seems like nothing more than a delusion.

Meditation is a tool to inspect your daily thoughts. Many of them may be fearful, limited or unhealthy, but you are not your thoughts. Meditation helps you to get past them and grow a new, loving and compassionate self.

You don't have to go extreme and attend a 10-day silence meditation retreat. Spending just 10 minutes a day can work as well.

11 Research-Backed Hacks to Improve Self-Confidence

Keep your goals a secret.

Setting and achieving goals is crucial to building unwavering self-confidence. Although it may seem counterintuitive, keeping your goals secret increases your chances of reaching them.

It's been proven that public announcement of your goals leads to a false sense of accomplishment. Moreover, you are more likely to encounter naysayers.

In my experience, the best way to handle goals is to find a trustworthy goal partner for the journey. Alternatively, you can share it only with the people you trust. To distinguish between who you trust, draw a classic "drains" and "radiators" map. Surrounding yourself with supportive people can do miracles.

Related: The Surest Way to Build Your Confidence Is by Not Fearing Change

11 Research-Backed Hacks to Improve Self-Confidence

Practice affirmations.

It has been proven that positive statements can improve one's confidence and creative problem-solving, and reduce stress, along with other benefits.

To practice affirmations, say positive things about yourself or situations that make you feel uncertain. For example, stand in front of the mirror and tell yourself: I am fully confident in my abilities and no one cares about this topic more than I do. Repeat it until you believe it and watch your confidence grow.

11 Research-Backed Hacks to Improve Self-Confidence

Build confidence through failure.

No one likes to fail, but failure is the best indicator of learning. If you are serious about getting confident, then you need to fail until you become accustomed to it.

There is no easy way to do this, but according to Peter Guber, you can fail faster. Fix your mistake as soon as you realize it and learn how to avoid it in the future.

Don't wait for something magical to happen. If you liked any of these methods, go and try them out. Remember the five-second rule. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 ...

My Queue

There are no Videos in your queue.

Click on the Add to next to any video to save to your queue.

There are no Articles in your queue.

Click on the Add to next to any article to save to your queue.

There are no Podcasts in your queue.

Click on the Add to next to any podcast episode to save to your queue.

You're not following any authors.

Click the Follow button on any author page to keep up with the latest content from your favorite authors.

  • 11 Research-Backed Hacks to Improve Self-Confidence
  • 1. Use distancing pronouns.
  • 2. Overcome imposter syndrome.
  • 3. Get physical.
  • 4. Use the five-second rule.
  • 5. Visualize success.
  • 6. Be prepared.
  • 7. Limit social media.
  • 8. Meditate.
  • 9. Keep your goals a secret.
  • 10. Practice affirmations.
  • 11. Build confidence through failure.
Next Slide