Having the confidence to try new things is one of the greatest skills you could ever learn, because it will allow you to experience the world in new ways, push your boundaries, and actually live a life you’re proud of rather than just cowering away from everything you fear.
But for many people, learning how to try something new requires some effort because your body and mind are stuck in the “stick to what’s safe” route.
You get used to what you know, and new things suddenly seem like they’re scary, dangerous, or not worth your time.
I’ve only ever gotten the things I want in life by trying new things.
Whether it was moving out of state to college where I knew no one, moving to a new country, self-publishing a book, starting a Youtube channel or about a million other things that I’ve decided to try, my life has been much richer and more enjoyable for it.
Here’s how to build up the confidence to try new things if you’re someone who isn’t going to be the first to leap into the unknown.
Must-Read Book for Finding Your Confidence
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It’s called “You Are a Bada**: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life.”
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1. Start Small
You don’t have to start building your confidence by moving abroad when you’ve never left your hometown, but you can start small!
It can be something as simple as trying a new food when out at a restaurant, taking a new course on Udemy, or it can be going to a new restaurant when you usually choose the same one every time you go out to dinner.
It could be inviting someone over to hang out who you haven’t invited before, or it could be planning a new vacation destination instead of the yearly trip you always go on.
Go at your own pace and start small so that you build up the confidence to try new things over time after you can connect with how fun and exciting it can be.
2. Set Goals
You might want to set goals to try new things in order to hold yourself accountable, as sometimes we need this in order to force ourselves out of your comfort zone.
You could set a goal of trying 10 new foods this month, or you could set a goal of taking that trip to Japan before next Christmas.
Whatever it is, when you turn your desire into a goal, suddenly there is an emotional connection behind whether you hit that goal or not and that can propel us to take those scary steps and move forward with our plans to try new things.
I find that using a bullet journal like this to help with this keeps me motivated and inspired.
3. Make Others Hold You Accountable
Another great way to build confidence in trying new things is to have others help keep you accountable.
Tell your spouse, your parents, your friends, what your plans are.
This helps because they’ll encourage you (if they’re good people!) to do those things, and you will also have the added emotional connection of letting them down if you don’t try those new things, which adds a whole new layer to your goal.
Obviously this won’t work if you tell your spouse you want to move to Bolivia and they’re so not on board, but especially with the smaller things like joining a new sports team or club or maybe finding a new hobby, anyone worth having in your life will definitely support you, ask how you’re doing with it, and maybe even help you meet people who can help you reach that goal.
4. Identify Why You’re Not Doing New Things
If you want to learn how to do new things, you first have to learn why you’re not doing new things.
Sure, you’re stuck in your comfort zone, but why? Is it because you fear failure if you try new things?
Is it because you’re fearful of what might happen if you do those new things and just don’t like it?
Is it just that you’re lazy and have grown accustomed to your comfort zone and don’t have the gumption to leave it?
Identify what it is about you that has you stuck in a rut and not trying new things, and focus on that part of you when it comes to changing it all around.
You could go as far as to go to therapy to talk to a counselor about it, or it can just be something that you know about yourself that helps you talk yourself into doing new things.
There are a million different reasons we don’t try new things, and figuring out yours is going to give you the freedom to tell those parts of you to shut up, as well as being able to logically work yourself out of those traps.
5. Do a Countdown and Just Do It
Whether you want to sign up for the new soccer team or book that flight abroad, often we need to have the courage in the moment to try new things by just counting down and forcing ourselves to click/sign up/jump (figuratively or literally).
I often take a deep breath, then count down from 5, and when I reach the end, I shut off all parts of my brain and will myself forward into the unknown.
Give yourself too long of a countdown and you’ll start second guessing.
You can also use other techniques like telling yourself that you can do anything difficult for just 10 seconds, or doing a kind of exposure therapy where you become less fearful of the new things you try because you inch closer and closer to exposing yourself to the things that scare you (for instance, you might not be able to force yourself to try a new food if you’re so terrified, but you can force yourself to smell it).
6. Surround Yourself with Success Stories
Part of the joy of trying new things is the person you can become afterwards. It enriches your life and makes you a more fun, more exciting (and excited), and more alive kind of person.
But you don’t have to just go off of your own success stories.
Spend time researching, spending time around, or learning about people who have tried new things and hear what they have to say about how they feel afterwards.
Did your sister come back a much happier person after she took her backpacking trip?
Did your friend find a new career in restaurants after he started trying new foods?
Surround yourself with success stories of people who tried new things, which will encourage you to do the same because you’ve seen the proven results of life being better on the other side.
7. Raise Your Self-Esteem
There are some new things that don’t rely on our self-esteem.
For instance, I’m scared of trying new foods because I’m scared I won’t like the taste and I feel I have a really sensitive palette and feel really uncomfortable eating something I don’t like.
That has nothing to do with my self-esteem. I think I’m a great person. I just don’t want to try tofu.
But other new things do rely on our self-esteem.
Maybe you’re scared of trying to make a film because you don’t think you’ll be good enough.
Maybe you’re scared to travel abroad because you don’t trust yourself to be able to communicate or get around.
These can all be fixed by increasing your self-esteem to the point where you have confidence in yourself, in general.
The person who tries new things doesn’t have 100% confident that those things will always work out or that they’ll be good at those things, but they have confidence in the journey and that they’re somebody who can fix problems and learn to overcome obstacles.
Whether it’s positive affirmations, going to therapy, or just that slow build of confidence that comes with starting small, you need to build up your self-esteem in order to release that fear and live the life that you 100% deserve.
This self-love workbook is a fantastic way of realigning your own thoughts and outlook on yourself, which is important to do before you can really deal with anyone else’s feelings or thoughts about you.