Building Self-Efficacy in 2021
Psychologists have postulated that people have different levels of 'self-efficacy’. Self-efficacy is the confident belief that the responses we make to life challenges have a meaningful effect. People with strong self-efficacy face problems with energy and a try, try again' spirit.
How is self-efficacy developed and why do some people appear to have a higher level than others?
Self-efficacy comes from our life experiences and those who serve as significant models in our sphere of influence. It's built up over the years as we respond to challenges with action, flexibility, and persistence.
Research suggests that we can increase the self-efficacy we bring to bear on our experiences by:
1. Living a life of goals. It is challenging to develop self-efficacy unless we succeed at things, and impossible to succeed if we don't have goals to attempt and achieve. Aim to set levels that are challenging but realistic enough that you'll be able to reach them. Set goals for your life, and give yourself credit when you achieve them.
2. Finding good role models. A role model or mentor doesn't have to be someone you personally know, they might be inspirational figures who demonstrate mastery. If there is a personal connection, let the individual know your goals and aspirations so they too can actively help you succeed.
3. Positive self-talk. Instead of belittling yourself for the tiniest faults, build yourself up for the smallest successes. Overcoming obstacles, demonstrating mastery of a skill, or not feeling as anxious as you might have previously been, are examples of success. Acknowledge it!
4. Create the relationships you desire. Remember that not everyone is meant to be in your inner circle. Family and friends are important to a sense of love and belonging. Only a select few should be privy to the inner workings of your heart.
5. Check your mental and emotional health regularly. Self-care is vital to the ability to build resilience. It is impossible to help others be well when you are unhealthy. Fill your own cup daily with prayer, meditation, positive self-talk, gratitude, and inner peace. It only takes a few minutes a day.
6. Celebrate and affirm another person’s success. Remember that the line is moving forward when your friends meet a goal similar to your own. Take your step forward and keep pressing toward the mark.
7. Forgive. This is a clear decisive position to overcome the pain that has been inflicted by another person. Let go of anger, resentment, shame, and emotions associated with the injustice as quickly as possible. Forgiveness does not mean you condone their actions. It means you get to live a life of peace and they no longer have control over you. Do not give someone your power.
Remembering that it all takes energy and effort to succeed. Athletes know that you have to want to win and put in hours of training to make the mark; everyday life also needs that push to succeed. Begin this year by setting goals, establishing positive professional and personal relationships, and saying thank you when complemented by others. Attached is a goal setting worksheet to get you started!
Dr. Jeannelle Perkins-Muhammad, LMFT
TMI Counseling and Coaching