Why Believing in Yourself is Essential to Health

Written by: AJ LeVan, MAPP
Published on: Psychology Today

Everyone has something they’d like to change or improve; everyone has goals. Therefore, self-efficacy is of universal appeal and widespread need.

For instance, people high in self-efficacy take better care of themselves, see tasks as something to be mastered, and they feel more empowered. They’re not controlled by circumstances. They see setbacks as challenges to be overcome and can cope with hardship better than those with low self-efficacy. People higher in self-efficacy also have a greater sense of motivation and persistence. 

Perhaps most important, according to Alfred Bandura, self-efficacy affects how we feel, think and act, and low self-efficacy has been linked to helplessness, anxiety and depression. Fortunately, whether your current level is average, ample or absent, much like physical attributes, self-efficacy can be enhanced. 

Take One Step at a Time
Self-efficacy is developed, in part, through success – and even small achievements can pack a powerful punch. Pick one small change you’d like to make and go for it.

Draw from Your Past
Reminiscing on past successes can help drum up a greater sense of self-efficacy. Reflect on times when you succeeded at accomplishing things you didn’t think you could do. Reflect on those moments. What did you accomplish? How did you accomplish it? How can these accomplishments be channeled to help you achieve future goals?

Find a Role Model
Admire someone else’s success. When you see someone else succeed, especially someone who you identify with, you are more apt to believe that you can achieve too. For example, working with a personal trainer is great way to increase self-efficacy while also receiving social support!

Accept Self-Doubt…but Put it in its Place
Managing your self-doubt is just one more way to keep “I think I can’t” thoughts from derailing your success. When self-defeating thoughts bubble up, accept them as part of the process and move on. These types of thoughts don’t necessarily reflect your true capabilities. The key is to not let them stop you from moving forward.