There are numerous concerns in your life, but you can control and incorporate insecurity about your appearance into your identity with the right approach.
One of the most detrimental blows to a man’s self-confidence is a lack of trust in his own word. If you don’t believe in your own word, it’s challenging to exude confidence because, deep down, you’ll always feel like a fraud.
Imagine having a friend who consistently promises to do something but always has an excuse.
We all know people like this: unreliable individuals you wouldn’t trust with anything important.
When you repeatedly break promises to yourself, you become that unreliable friend. You won’t take yourself seriously, and in challenging times, you won’t rely on yourself.
Competence equals confidence. Building self-confidence involves following through and becoming someone reliable. Every man you look up to embodies traits like consistency, reliability, and confidence.
We don’t look up to individuals who never follow through; it’s a weak character trait.
Physical development is an excellent initial step for self-confidence. It has personally helped me extend these skills into other areas like business and relationships, and I’ve observed the same with clients. Many clients who excel in my program and develop more self-confidence often secure job promotions.
It makes sense; as you start feeling better about yourself, becoming more confident and energetic, your performance improves in all areas, including work. I always advise the executives I work with that they’re “cognitive athletes,” so improving their fitness is the highest leverage activity for better work performance.
This is why I view physical fitness as one of the best investments you can make, not an expense. You get an exponential return in all areas of your life when you become physically fit.
Unfortunately, most guys believe their best days are behind them.
Insecurity about appearance can be a formidable barrier, a shadow looming over our fitness journey. It’s like a whisper telling us we aren’t enough, keeping us from stepping into the light of our potential.
Train your self-confidence
However, self-assurance is like a muscle: it grows with regular exercise.
Here’s how to step out of the shadow improving your self-confidence:
Focus on a strength skill:
Even though this post is about improving your appearance, I don’t want clients to focus solely on this as a goal. Instead, set a goal that you’d like to achieve in 6-12 months.
A chin-up is a great goal for most guys who want to look better and drop body fat. The lighter you are, the easier it is to achieve a chin-up, and it’s also a fantastic exercise for building upper body muscle mass. If you can already do 5 chin-ups, then a muscle-up would be the next goal I’d recommend.
Focus on nutrition skills:
Dan John, arguably the best coach globally, has been for decades. What I love about Dan is his relentless focus on the basics. He never talks about the 5% of details. His message is always on the big rocks that account for 90% of your progress.
In his book, Easy Strength for Fatloss, he shares the most important rocks for fat loss results.
Five days a week:
- Get a good night’s sleep (8+ hours).
- Wake up and drink coffee.
- Keep fasting until you train.
- Ab Wheel: 1 x 10
- Vertical Press: 3 x 3
- Vertical Pull: 3 x 3 or six singles (adding load or staying the same)
- Deadlift Variation: 3 x 3
- Kettlebell Swings: Up to 75…push the heart rate up
- On the last rep, go straight out the door and walk for about 45 minutes without getting the heart rate over 180-minus your age. If you’re 40, that means never letting your heart rate rise above 140. If you’re 60, it means 120.
- The goal: One-hour workouts, up to five days a week.
- Eat veggies and proteins at meals; drink water all day as appropriate.
- “Gut Biome Breaks:” Eat fermented food (like sauerkraut) and a piece of fruit daily.
Off days: On the other two days, do some additional mobility work and go for a stroll, but keep doing everything else.
This will sort out your body composition issues by sticking to these fundamentals. The emphasis is on repeatable workouts, lots of movement, managing caloric intake with fasting, and mostly protein and veggies and water from a dietary standpoint.
The most crucial point is how you respond to yourself when you fail. I used to think failure was a bad thing, but it’s not. It’s a tool for learning, and you can’t avoid failure if you want to get better.
When I first heard about self-compassion, it sounded a bit esoteric and fluffy to me. That was until I read Dr. Kristin Neff’s work.
She breaks it down into three parts:
- Self-kindness versus self-judgment
- Common humanity versus isolation
- Mindfulness versus over-identification
Self-kindness versus self-judgment:
Imagine you’ve encountered a setback in your diet during your Bulletproof Mindset journey. Instead of self-judgment and criticism, engage in self-talk as you would with your best friend. Instead of ridiculing yourself, adopt a more compassionate approach and reassure yourself that it’s just one day. Your commitment to proper Mindset Training has been consistent the rest of the time, so grant yourself a well-deserved break.
Common humanity versus isolation:
When I mess up, it can feel like I’m the only person in the world who makes mistakes. Common humanity shows me that the feelings I’m experiencing are also being experienced by thousands, if not millions, of people right now. Instead of feeling isolated in my struggles, I can remember that this is a common emotion millions of others have experienced.
Mindfulness versus over-identification:
When you over-identify with something, you have a belief that it’s just part of your character and there’s nothing you can do about it. Here’s an example: Let’s say you order fast food and drink too much alcohol every Friday. You over-identify with this and say, “I can’t help myself. I do it every week. I’ve no self-control.”
Having a more mindful approach would be to tell yourself: “Every Friday, I get strong cravings to eat fast food and drink alcohol. I also feel really anxious, tired, and overwhelmed because I’ve had such a busy week at work. Maybe if I give myself more time to relax during the week, I won’t feel as wound up when it comes to Friday. I won’t feel the need to overindulge.”
Mindfulness shifts the power back to you, giving you the ability to figure out why things are happening and the awareness to change them. It helps you take more ownership of making changes in your life.
Having a repeatable physical goal, a nutrition goal, and being able to overcome failure with self-compassion are the three steps I take with my clients to build self-confidence.