Self-efficacy is the belief we have in our abilities and competencies.
Albert Bandura, a pioneer humanist and father of the concept of self-efficacy, defined it as “people’s beliefs about their capabilities to produce designated levels of performance that exercise their influence over events that affect their lives”
Self-efficacy determines how we think and feel about ourselves.
Self efficacy in all forms influence our thoughts, emotions, actions, and motivation. It operates mainly through the cognitive and emotional channels and plays a crucial role in shaping our perception of life experiences.
Here are some ways to improve self efficacy
1. Mastery Experiences
Success directly impacts the way we think about ourselves. Succeeding in a task boosts confidence and increases the likelihood of achieving similar tasks again. We gain a sense of ‘mastery’ over it. Failure, on the other hand, does just the opposite. It breaks our confidence and leaves us in self-doubt.
Building efficacy through self-mastery requires resilience to manage expectations about success and accept failure positively. People who succeed after overcoming the obstacles and recuperating from the breakdown have a strong sense of self-belief efficacy.
2. Vicarious Experiences
The second source of efficacy roots from seeing others around us, especially people who we can relate to. Watching similar people succeed or hearing their success stories motivate us to believe that if they could, we can too.
3. Modeling Experiences
Role models have a vital role to play in building self-efficacy. Those are the people we follow, admire, and want to replicate. Their actions, principles, and achievements indirectly teach and persuade us to repeat the same. We are more willing to put in efforts and work in the direction that they show us.
The only challenge of this source is that if the role models are wrong in their ways, it is likely that their failures destroy our self-efficacy or we too get tempted to go astray.
4. Emotional and Physical Experiences
Our present mental and physical states influence self-efficacy to a great extent. For example, a depressed person, or a person who is fighting with a rough disease, is less likely to feel very confident and optimistic about themselves. Negative experiences and stress make us vulnerable whereas positive experiences and happiness make us feel good about ourselves.
So how does this fit into your healthy lifestyle or want of it?
For me this means making goals but achievable ones. For example setting a goal of wanting to fit into a size 8 from a size 12 in a month is doomed to failure or a really restrictive diet that you just can't stick to. The inevitable failure will only deplete your self efficacy and your confidence in your ability to acheive a goal.
However making achievable, more realistic goals will greatly improve your self efficacy and your ability to accomplish further goals in the future.
Small wins along the way will gradually build up your self efficacy tool belt and the results will speak for themselves.
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