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4 Steps In Improving Your Self-Efficacy

Albert Bandura, regarded as the greatest living psychologist, coined the term self-efficacy.  He once famously said of self-efficacy; “People who believe they have the power to exercise some measure of control over their lives are healthier, more effective and more successful than those who lack faith in their ability to effect changes in their lives.”  Cultivating a belief in our capability of performing tasks to ascertain our goals is the single most important factor in living a healthy lifestyle.  Bandura points to four sources affecting self-efficacy;

 1. Mastery Experience:  Simply put, success raises self-efficacy, failure lowers it. 

 This is the single most influential way at either increasing or decreasing self-efficacy.  Find ways to shrink change into manageable and attainable tasks.  Dave Ramsey, a popular financial consultant, has helped millions of people escape drastically overwhelming debt.  His method, though unorthodox, has been extremely effective.  He has his clients take all their debt and rank it from lowest to highest.  At the top of the list a client might have a several hundred dollar past due electric bill while at the bottom of the list the client has a forty thousand dollar credit card bill.  He advises the client to pay the minimum on everything and take what’s left at the end of the month and put it toward the number at the top of the list.  Other financial advisors have scoffed at this method since the payer is focusing their attention on the bill with the lowest interest rate.  But, Ramsey’s method ensures that the client is able to quickly conquer one of the bills, giving them a mastery experience.  This success raises self-efficacy and results in what Ramsey calls the “Snowball Effect”.  In the following month the client is left with more money at the end of the month to pay down the next bill.  Create your list of tasks and start with the most manageable!

 2. Vicarious Experience:  If they can do it, I can do it as well.

If one of your peers who is perceived to have similar abilities as you succeeds then you in turn derive an increased sense of self-efficacy.  Vicarious experience is especially powerful when one is unsure of him- or herself.  Surround yourself with people that are driven to succeed.

 3. Social Persuasions:  If others think I can, then I will.

Encouragement from peers can have a strong influence on attaining your goals, whereas, negative persuasions decrease the likelihood of accomplishing a task.  One of the most brilliant additions to Facebook has been the “LIKE” button, and the omission of the “DISLIKE” button .  I imagine that it ranks near the top of things that sent the social network skyrocketing.  Distance yourself from the “DISLIKE” type of people and surround  yourself with the ones that “LIKE” or are giving you genuine praise for your achievements.

4. Physiological Factors:  Butterflies in the stomach is a normal response

We all experience physiological responses during stressful situations.  Famous athletes and speakers have dealt with anxiety before a big event or speech.  The trick to keeping physiological responses from affecting performance is in how you perceive them.  Convince yourself that the symbolic “butterflies in your stomach” is normal and unrelated to your actual ability.  When out to dinner with a group of friends remind yourself that the sweaty palms you have from being anxious about the menu options is normal and you will not let it affect your decision.

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