When I was in college, sailing seriously, I used to keep a sailing journal. I put in training goals and wrote about the days' practices -- what I'd learned, what I was stuck on, what my weaknesses were. I read a sports psychology book and identified self-confidence as an area of weakness. I was reviewing that sailing journal the other day and turned a page to find a list, headed: How To Increase Self Confidence. My reaction as a reader was to roll my eyes, and think, "how quaint I was, back then. How young. How brave and naiive, to think I could reduce self-confidence to a set of bullet points." But then I read the list:
1) Increase physical strength and endurance
2) Improve other mental skill deficiencies (calm, relaxed)
3) Set realistic self goals: control. (Diet, sleep, homework.)
4) Think positively, create enthusiasm
5) Repeat positive affirmations -- "I'm getting tougher," "I'm getting more confident."
6) Increase self-discipline. I am in control.
7) Use visualization 2x/day.
8) Act "as if"
I actually think that's a pretty good list. I actually think my younger self was right. You can increase self-confidence by getting stronger, imposing discipline, setting realistic goals. You can learn to make yourself calmer and more relaxed. You can act as if you're confident already. And of course practicing a ton helps.
I've gotten away from that kind of self-improvement: assessing my weak points and constructing a plan to address them. I think I'd like to get back toward it.