One hour before my TV interview with Brigham Young University, I was on the elliptical machine in the hotel fitness room. I needed to boost my confidence. Exercise does that for me. It is a common practice for me to workout before a big meeting or interview. Whenever I feel my nervous system getting keyed up, I make time to exercise. I feel cleaner and I stand taller after I workout. Good posture kicks in and my body and mind feel stronger.
Exercise and empowerment
We all know that exercise reduces stress. What we may not know is that one of the reasons exercise diminishes stress is because it increases self-efficacy. Self efficacy is defined as the sense that one is capable of taking things on and getting them done. According to Dr. Russell Clayton Ph.D. and Psychology Today, people who exercise regularly have a greater sense of self-efficacy. A workout can amplify our sense of confidence, thus making everyday obstacles look surmountable.
Exercise gives us that feeling of self-efficacy because every time we plan to workout and we follow through, we accomplish something. When we follow through on our fitness plan we learn to trust ourselves. We think of ourselves as people who do what they say they are going to do. We commit to something and we do it.
Accomplishment and follow through breed self-confidence.
Lack of exercise, lack of accomplishment
We all know people who do not follow through. Sometimes we ourselves do not accomplish what we say we are going to do. The easy route beckons and we stay in bed instead of getting up to exercise. We work all day and forego exercising afterward because takeout food and our couch sound more appealing.
How do we feel when we do not exercise when we say we will? Weak. Disappointed in ourselves. Not accomplished and not empowered.
More responsibility = More power
I saw a great quote today in Notes from the Universe. It said, “With great responsibility comes great power.” Obviously, this is a twist on the old adage from Voltaire in 1793 and Uncle Ben’s modern version in the Spiderman movie, “With great power comes great responsibility.”
The first quote says we are responsible for our own happiness and behavior. When we are responsible we are empowered. We trust ourselves to finish what we start. We do not have to rely on others to make us happy. That makes us feel strong. Exercising is the perfect example. When we maintain our workout routine, we feel accomplished and confident. That accomplished feeling bleeds into other arenas in our life.
Do you use exercise to generate confidence? What else makes you feel self-efficacy?