Believe it or not, self-confidence is necessary for being and staying motivated. Self-confidence is our basic belief that we can successfully carry out activities and attain our goals. This makes it the first step to being motivated and energized if your life.

If you want to improve your everyday motivation, you first need to work on your self-confidence by doing the following:

Set specific goals.
Don’t just talk about things in general. “I want to look great in a bikini next summer” or “I want to start reading more” are way too vague to be your goals. Besides, what are you saying exactly? What do “great” and “more” mean? Those are too subjective and so you can never be sure if you have reached your goal. You need to be more specific. For example, your goals can be: “I want to lose 15lbs by July 2011″ or “I want to read 6 books by New Year.”

Make sure your goals are challenging, but attainable.
If you set up unrealistic goals for yourself, you are doomed to fail. Each failure only hurts your self-confidence and makes it more difficult to be motivated in the future, because you’ll be remembering all the times that you failed miserably. In order to set realistic goals you have to be real with yourself. No one knows you better than you! Forget about all the excuses you give to others. Forget about defenses and lies and see what’s left. Instead of “I’m too busy and stressed out to read in the evenings”, you should just give yourself the real version, “I’m too lazy in the evening and would rather vegetate in front of the TV than do anything else.” Once you acknowledge the truth, you can begin to set your realistic goals.

Visualize the steps you need to make to reach your goal.
A lot of research and studies of successful people show they are able to visualize the success ahead of time. Really think about where you want to get. How does that bikini look like? How do you look in it? Which books would you like to read? How would you feel after you’ve read them all? Hold that image in your mind’s eye and it becomes to be a powerful source of motivation.

Advance in small steps.
If you try to tackle the big goal right away you may become overwhelmed, stressed out and hopeless. Instead, break it down into real small and manageable parts that you conquer victoriously one by one. “I will have salad with no dressing for dinner” or “I will read 30 pages tonight” is one thing you might do. Completing those will make you feel good about yourself and it is this ‘feeling good’ that makes the process of pushing yourself easier. In time, you’ll notice that you’re getting very good at it and will be able to kick it up a notch.

Focus on the process of learning and acquiring a new skill, instead of comparing yourself to others.
If you compare yourself to the Victoria’s secret models or to people who destroy a book in a day, you might get discouraged and give up. You want to stay away from comparing yourself to those folks. Your goal is your own. It is accompanied by the unique strengths and weaknesses that you have. Some people are naturally slender, others are naturally fast readers. What does that have to do with you?! Focus on the process, cherish the progress that you make and take pride in the accomplishments, each step of the way.

Get expert instructions.
Once you get on the right path of learning skills and forming the right habits, it is time to seek some expert instructions. If you can’t meet with a trainer or instructor, you are sure to find great information online, for free. Experts who really know their stuff well have blogs, participate in forums or write articles for bigger websites. Find expert instructions to make sure you are using the best and most efficient approach to achieving your goal. Educate yourself in the area you want to blossom in and that is a guaranteed self-confidence boost that will pay off big time.

Get support and encouragement.
Yes, I did say that your goal is your own. It is often futile to set up goals for someone else. “I want to look great in a bikini because I want guys to like me” is the wrong approach. You should do thing for yourself, because you will like it, because it would be beneficial for you. This doesn’t mean that you don’t need encouragement from others. Let’s be real, it feels nice when we get a tap on the back for our efforts, so surround yourself with people who appreciate your hard work and support you.

Regard failure as a sign that you need to try harder and not as a sign that you’re not good enough.
Sometimes you will fail. The sooner you accept this, the less frustration and disappointment you’ll face. Anyone who is trying a new thing is destined to fail now and then. Athletes, scientists, artists, actors – they have all been rejected, criticized or booed at some point of their careers. What distinguishes the truly successful people is that theydo not internalize failure, but turn it into a driving force to work harder and get better.

Last but not least, learn to cherish honest feedback (not to be confused with ‘great job’ comments).
Honest feedback is quite often plain old criticism and when given by the right person, is the most helpful tool for improvement you will ever get. Objective critique is not the enemy, it is your friend. I know it can hurt, but success and excellence come at a price, so be smart, man up and make criticism work for you.

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