How Self Efficacy Can Help You Lose Weight

build self confidence

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If you want to reach your weight loss goal—or any goal in life—the key isn't choosing the right plan or buying the right product. The secret is a tool called self-efficacy. Sound complicated? It's not. Once you learn the definition of self-efficacy, it will become clear that it is a key component for successful weight loss. Several studies have shown that when dieters believe that they can lose weight they are more likely to reach their goal. 

What Is Self-Efficacy?

Behavioral experts have a special name for the way you believe in your ability to reach your goals. They call it self-efficacy. For example, if you set a goal to lose ten pounds and you're sure that you can do it, then your self-efficacy about weight loss is high. But if you set a goal to go to the gym every day and you're pretty sure you're not going to stick to the plan, then your self-efficacy for exercise is low.

Researchers have found a strong link between self-efficacy and success. If you believe that you can reach your goal, you're more likely to reach it. Diet experts have researched self-efficacy and weight loss. Most studies confirm that your negative or positive beliefs about your diet may predict your success.

It might seem like self-efficacy is the same as self-confidence. The two concepts are related but they are not the same thing. Self-efficacy refers to a specific goal like skipping an afternoon snack or attending your evening workout. Self-confidence refers to your feelings about yourself in general. But learning to improve self-efficacy can help you reach your goals and boost confidence.

4 Ways to Boost Self-Efficacy

So how do you boost your self-efficacy, reach your goals and build confidence? There are four things you can do to change the way you feel about yourself.

  1. Set and reach small goals. As you master experiences, your confidence level—and your belief in yourself—will improve. But you want to set small, short-term goals to make sure you are successful. Then, as you complete each task, it acts as a stepping stone to a larger accomplishment.
    1. For example, your ultimate goal might be to lose 50 pounds. But you can break that into several smaller goals. You might choose to skip dessert to cut calories and slim down. Each day that you skip dessert, you build confidence in your ability to reach your goal. And that improved self-efficacy helps keep you on track to reach your weight loss target.
  2. Surround yourself with positive messages. If the people that surround you are successfully completing the goal that you want to achieve, you're more likely to believe that you can do it, too. Find friends that have some habits you admire.
    1. If you're trying to lose weight, skip the lunchroom snacks and spend your break with a crowd that eats a healthy meal. Instead of going to happy hour with your buddies, find a few friends that want to hit the gym and exercise.
    2. You can also surround yourself with positive messages electronically. Sign up for newsletters that provide healthy messages, fill your Facebook feed with posts from weight loss coaches and successful dieters, and follow health-oriented Twitter feeds.
  3. Get social support. Ask for help from the people who matter most to you. Tell them about the goal you are trying to reach and let them know that their encouragement and positive messages make a difference. Then, make it a habit to acknowledge the compliments when you get them.
    1. If your friends and family are not supportive, this is another area where social media can help. Several recent studies have found that positive messages sent electronically can help people lose weight. 
  4. Learn to relax. If you have intense emotional reactions to situations, your self-efficacy with regards to your ability to handle that situation will probably be low. Take some time to identify the situations that cause you to react strongly. Then, learn relaxation techniques that will help you to manage them with a calm demeanor.

Boosting self-efficacy to build confidence is a process that takes some time. But you can take small steps every day to make it happen. As you become more aware of your thoughts and your beliefs, the process will get simpler and it will become easier to reach your goals and become a stronger, more confident you.

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