Are there mental habits that will increase your self-confidence?  Most definitely. Below are 7 of my favorites

1. Don’t worry if you don’t feel confident all the time.  It sounds counter-intuitive, doesn’t it? But Dr. Alice Boyes, in her useful new book, The Healthy Mind Toolkit, describes her realization that she needs both self-confidence and self-doubt to do her best work.  A little self-doubt can keep you humble enough to realize you may need to learn more or work harder at something.  It may even give you the dogged determination to keep going and “show people what you’re made of.” Doubt, according to Boyes, “causes us to question what we’re doing, mentally prepares us to accept change, propels us to work harder or differently, and can lead to us taking more cooperative approaches in dealing with people who disagree with us.”

I love this reminder that your feelings of confidence will ebb and flow during the course of a day – or a lifetime – and that this fluctuation is normal. Not to worry!

2. Show compassion toward your Future Self.  Caring for your Future Self could involve actions as small as filling up your gas tank this afternoon because you have a busy morning tomorrow and as far-sighted as exercising now for better health as you age.  “I may not want to exercise,” you could say to yourself, “But my Future Self sure would appreciate it.”  In this blog, habits guru Leo Babauta points out that people who don’t procrastinate are also likely to be people who want their Future Selves to be happy.   Can you decide to be one of them?

3. Practice compassionate and realistic self-talk.  Being able to realize when you are suffering, to comfort yourself, and to tell yourself that “tomorrow is another day,” will help you accept yourself even when you haven’t been able to handle yourself the way you would have preferred. Being supportive and kind to yourself when you have made mistakes will not only boost self-esteem; it will also boost your motivation and self-control, according to research cited by psychologist Kelly McGonigal in her book, The Willpower Instinct.

– Meg Selig

Read more: The 7 Thought-Habits of Highly Self-Confident People

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