Self confidence and attitude are vital if you want to succeed in your sport.

Exercise and self-confidence

Exercise and self-confidence tend to go together. It takes self-confidence to make a commitment to regular exercise, and exercise in turn increases that self-confidence. Many athletes work hard to increase their self-confidence so they’ll be successful in their chosen sport.

When psychologists study exercise adherence, they often talk about a special type of self-confidence, known as self-efficacy. Self-efficacy refers to peoples’ beliefs about what they can achieve. The term was originally used to refer to a person’s sense of confidence in a specific realm, for example, sticking to an exercise program. Psychologists also use the term general self-efficacy to refer to peoples’ beliefs about their abilities to reach personal goals and overcome obstacles in daily life.

Numerous studies have found what common sense would predict: People who strongly believe they can stick to an exercise program, do. What’s more, they exert a great deal of effort to accomplish this goal, persisting in the face of those difficulties that inevitably arise. Similarly, people who believe they will fail usually do. In other words, there is truth to the adage, “Whether you believe you can, or whether you believe you can’t, you are right!”

Most of us use the word self-esteem to refer to our basic self-regard — how we feel about ourselves. Self-esteem is the evaluative component of self-concept, which refers to a broader notion of who we are. Self-concept is how we might describe ourselves; self-esteem is our evaluation of this description. In reality, the two tend to go hand-in-hand, since we generally ascribe value to the qualities we describe as our self-concept.

Researchers often study self-esteem in specific areas, such as social confidence, scholastic ability, appearance and physical ability. All areas contribute to global self-esteem, which refers to a general sense of self-worth.

What does this have to do with exercise? One way to improve global self-esteem is to improve self-esteem in a specific area, such as physical ability. Teachers often notice that students who become more proficient at something they are practicing seem to shine in other areas as well. Good physical educators try to structure exercise experiences in ways that promote feelings of mastery and success, whether they are teaching children how to play soccer or octagenarians how to use free weights. Feelings of success enhance self-efficacy and self-esteem, which are good things in and of themselves. What’s more, feelings of self-efficacy and positive self-esteem increase the likelihood that students will continue in these pursuits.

Exercise instructors and personal trainers can do many things to increase their clients’ self-confidence so that they will stick to their exercise programs. Adherence may, in turn, increase clients’ evaluations of their physical abilities, and in some cases, increase global self-esteem.

We all need an occasional attitude adjustment. Financial burdens, work difficulties, family problems or just everyday annoyances can cause anyone to slide into a negative mode. The following will help you change your attitude.


The process starts with a review of the stages of attitude change. First, carefully listen to your feelings and identify the emotions you are experiencing. Second, analyze your actions by categorizing what you do and what you think about. Third, control your thoughts to limit the negative ones. Fourth, go public and let others know what you are attempting to do. Finally, develop specific skills for lifestyle changes. Following are 10 tips for shifting from a negative attitude to a more positive one.

1) Develop your sense of humor. Laughter is often the best medicine. Laughter can relax nerves, improve digestion and help blood circulation. Although it may not be appropriate to laugh away a serious problem, laughter can improve your attitude and help you to better cope with problems. If you were not born with a sense of humor, one can be developed. With practice, anyone can laugh.

2) Play often and take time for physical activity. Take a few minutes at work every day to play. Make up a game. If anyone asks what you are doing, just tell them you’re testing a new stress management technique. If you need some ideas, ask your children, nieces, nephews, etc.

3) Change your scenery. Go for a walk, get away for the weekend or plan a vacation. Spending time in pleasant surroundings can help to revive and refresh you.

4) Think about, talk about and reward yourself for jobs well done. We all have things in our lives that make us proud. Focusing on these “winners” can help us to spend less time focusing on negative events.

5) Surround yourself with positive people. Although negative people cannot always be avoided, you do have the power to choose optimistic friends. Even though it may sound harsh, either repair or taper negative relationships.

6) Use the tools in your attitude adjustment tool box. Your tools may include exercising, talking to a trusted friend or relying on spiritual beliefs.

7) Add new tools to your adjustment toolbox. Take dance or acting lessons, or learn a new sport. These can give you a sense of accomplishment and add to your list of jobs well done.

8) Help a friend in need. The more you give away a positive attitude, the stronger yours grows — even if you don’t feel like helping initially.

9) Improve yourself. Everyone goes through periods when they feel less confident, less attractive or less fashionable. Get a makeover, haircut or new outfit if it makes you feel better.

10) Decide what you are going to be when you grow up. Regardless of your age, are you really enjoying what you are doing in your personal and professional life? If not, it may be time to consider your options.

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