Building confidence step by step: The benefit of trying something new

Students eat together on the promenade. Monday, September 18, 2023. (Photo by Preston Waters)
Students eat together on the promenade. Monday, September 18, 2023. (Photo by Preston Waters)

Written by: Khloe Mace

Editor’s note: The following article was written in partnership with Counseling Services.

Gaining the confidence to try something new can be tricky. Lots of people like the idea of trying something different; it is a natural feeling for us humans to want to explore and experience new things. But when we are in a new situation, it can be scary and stressful. This fear might stop us from trying new things altogether. So, how can we boost our confidence when we want to actually try something new? 

One way to gain confidence is to be kind and patient with ourselves. Change can be tough, and it can get in the way of achieving something new. We may be really hard on ourselves mentally if we fail or have a fear of failing. It is important to maintain our self-esteem in such situations. 

To do this, we can think back to all the times we achieved something we did not think we could do. Remembering those successes will give us confidence that we can do it again. 

Being kind to ourselves also means avoiding negative thoughts that make us doubt our abilities. Self-doubt can destroy our motivation to try and succeed at something new. It is okay to accept failure if it happens. Nobody is perfect, and making mistakes is a natural part of learning and growing. These mistakes actually help us improve and become better at what we do, even if we do not realize it. 

According to Carrie Steckl, a psychologist, trying new things can boost our self-confidence and self-worth. In other words, it helps us believe in ourselves and feel more capable. Steckl also suggests that before trying something new, we can visualize how we will do it and make a plan. This will make us feel more confident and increase the chances of us following through with our plans. 

We can do this by making step-by-step “warmup” exercises to help prepare us. One way to do this is by making a list of five things you are not able to do right now but wish to complete someday. This list will give you some motivation and confidence to keep pushing forward. 

Even though change can be hard and scary, trying something new can be really beneficial for us. It can increase our confidence and self-worth, as well as teach us many valuable lessons. We need to remember to be kind and patient with ourselves while we are learning because, as humans, we are definitely not perfect. So next time you want to try something new, make a plan, visualize it and go for it!

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