By Morey Stettner
Confidence breeds success. If you’re sure of yourself and your abilities, you’re more apt to persevere and keep a steely focus on your goal setting.
Highly confident doers master the art of setting and attaining goals. They know where to set the bar — high but not unrealistically high — and they proceed with optimism and a can-do attitude.
“Confidence has a huge impact on goal setting and how we see the world,” said Jennifer Silvershein, a psychotherapist in New York City. “Confidence affects what we think we can achieve. If someone is confident, they’ll probably create a larger goal. If someone has low confidence, they’ll probably create a smaller goal.”
To harness your confidence to advance toward goals:
Adjust Your Mindset In Goal Setting
Too much confidence can work against you when goal setting. If you shoot for the moon, you can wind up disappointed if you fall short.
“Some people are so judgmental with themselves,” Silvershein said. “It’s an all-or-nothing mindset. They’re not satisfied even if they get very close to their goal.”
She suggests setting smaller, incremental objectives in pursuit of a larger goal. You’ll gain confidence along the way by clearing these hurdles, and the ultimate goal that may have initially struck you as outlandish can gradually appear more attainable.
Play The Percentages
Confidence propels you to set goals outside your comfort zone. That way, you’re not just chasing what’s relatively easy to get.
When advising executives on goal setting, Silvershein asks, “What percentage of the time do you think you can achieve this?” If they answer 50% or more, she’ll reply that their goal is not ambitious enough.
“A goal isn’t successful unless you’re not sure if you can achieve it,” she said. “It should almost feel unreachable and be something you’ve never achieved before.”
Set Your Own Standard
Regardless of your confidence level, it’s tempting to feel adrift if you think that your peers are outperforming you. Your self-confidence can wane as others outshine you and bask in triumphs that elude you.
“A confident person is happy with what they have,” Silvershein said. “They don’t need to compare their status to others — or boast or brag — because they’re satisfied with what they have on their own.”
Shrug Off Disappointments
Confidence means knowing that even if you don’t meet a goal, you are still capable of greatness. You don’t let a disappointing outcome crush you.
“Confident people give less power to losses,” Silvershein said. “They see their mistake and move on from it, rather than dwelling on it.”
When she counsels someone who feels shaken for not achieving a goal, she replies, “Beautiful. It means you’re dreaming big enough. Goals are flexible. As our lives change and our circumstances change, our goals can change.”
Confidence enables you to conduct an honest self-assessment. By identifying your strengths and weaknesses, you are more likely to set your goals accordingly.
“When you’re confident, you have the skills, abilities, talents, experience, know-how and smarts,” said Marci G. Fox, a licensed psychologist in Boca Raton, Fla. “And if you don’t have those things, you know how to get it.”
Cut The Self-Doubt
Even supremely confident individuals harbor doubts. They just don’t let them block their progress.
Fox warns against self-sabotage that occurs when you think, “I’m an impostor” or “I don’t measure up.” Such messages can turn into self-fulfilling prophecies.
“When doubt rules, you can wind up thinking you’re a fraud and get in your own way in reaching your goals,” said Fox, co-author of “Think Confident, Be Confident.”
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