04/21/2015 01:17 EDT | Updated 06/21/2015 05:59 EDT

Six Tips to Improve Your Self-Confidence

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Self-confidence is not something that comes naturally for a lot of people. For some, it's a constant internal battle that they face every day. According to an article on Simply Psychology, "Research has shown key differences between individuals with high and low self-esteem. For example, people with high self-esteem focus on growth and improvement, whereas people with low self-esteem focus on not making mistakes in life."

The good news is that self-confidence can be developed and improved over time. By building your confidence you will not only feel better in all aspects of your life, but others will view you differently too.

In 2014 I travelled more than 100,000 kilometres, speaking at various health, wellness and fitness conferences all over the world. I was constantly asked about how to build confidence, and I always responded by saying that being happy with who you are is an ongoing process.

Building your confidence is similar to building a house: you need a foundation, strong walls and a good roof. It takes time, as you may need to break years of bad habits and negative perceptions, basically rewiring your brain to think differently.

Here are some simple yet powerful strategies that will help you re-frame your situation and to put you on the path to building your self-confidence:

Be mindful of your thoughts

Recognize what you give your attention to and acknowledge how that makes you feel. Here's a little food for thought: you may be familiar with the concept that whatever you put out into the world is what you will get back. The more positively you think and act, the more open you will be to receive the positive things that come into your life.

Self-deprecating thoughts can be hard to shake, especially if you have some tough situations in your life. It's important to remember to cut yourself some slack. The next time you're feeling down on yourself, just remember: you probably wouldn't speak so harshly about your worst enemy, so why are you treating yourself like this?

Cancel negative thoughts

Once you're aware of your negative thoughts, catch yourself in the act, and cancel them. Cancelling your negative thoughts is a big step in the right direction to building your confidence. You may not be completely ready to start recognizing your positive attributes, and that's okay -- that will come with time. But focusing on removing the negativity from your life and creating a more neutral mind set will work wonders.

The Real Sexy, Smart and Strong

It's important to understand that confidence is a state of mind. It's an attitude that signifies you are happy with yourself physically, mentally and emotionally. I've recently worked a campaign with GoodLife Fitness called "The Real Sexy, Smart and Strong," which aims to change the conversation on positive self-perception.

The campaign recognizes that everyone is different and celebrates that. It encourages everyone to be comfortable and happy with who they are. Being you is enough. Being sexy, smart and strong is an attitude, not something predetermined framework that you have to live up to. It's about the total package, mentally, physically and emotionally and the true embodiment of confidence. It's important to feel at home in your own body and mind and to be comfortable with who you are. It's about having positive energy and staying in-tune with how you live your life.

Learn the art of positive affirmation

Once you've reached a more positive mindset don't just banish your negative thoughts but try replacing them with something positive. As the saying goes, the glass is either half empty or half full. For example, instead of saying "I can't eat chocolate for the next four weeks," say, "I will eat one piece of chocolate as my reward for achieving my fitness goal this week!"

Short positive statements known as "affirmations," can be used anytime, anywhere to help remind and reboot your brain to be positive. Affirmations are most effective when said out loud and repeated over and over. If you catch yourself thinking "I hate exercise," stop yourself. Instead try thinking something like "Exercise is good for me and I will feel better after I do it!"

Recognize your strengths

Many people sell themselves short and don't recognize all the great things they've accomplished or amazing qualities they possess. Try writing a list of the things that you are good at or qualities that you genuinely like about yourself. Discuss your list with friends and family and have them add to it.

The people you are close with will be able to acknowledge great things about you that you may not have ever realized. Celebrate your strengths! These are things to be proud of and it's important to give yourself the proper recognition for all the great qualities you possess.

Here is a cathartic exercise worth trying: on a piece of paper, write down any negative thoughts or negative feelings you are experiencing. Next tear up that piece of paper, acknowledging out loud that you no longer wish to hold on to those negative emotions and are releasing them.

Experiences and accomplishments

Sometimes you simply need to dive into something and experience it first-hand to gain the confidence that you may have been originally lacking. The unknown can be a scary thing, however, once you actually experience something you will most likely find that it wasn't anywhere near as bad as you initially thought it would be.

Always start by setting small goals; when you achieve them, your confidence will increase. It always feels great to check something off your list or successfully do something you've always wanted to do. Little by little you will begin to pile up the successes and this cannot help but give your confidence a boost.

We all have to remember that what makes us different also makes us special. Embrace and enjoy who you are and what you can do. This way the glass will always be full!

What tricks do you do to keep your mind in a happy place? Let me know in the comments below!


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