Increase Self-Efficacy and Increase Your Happiness

Posted on January 12, 2018 by mmaloney

On January 1st, I put a message out to the world of Facebook and asked my friends, family and colleagues one question:

What is one of your best strategies for achieving your goals in life, business, health etc?

I received a number of replies to this question that really got me excited about how many different techniques there are to be successful.  It also made me reflect on the fact that there really isn’t one “perfect” way.  What may work for me, may not work for you etc.  However, one of the other things it really made me realize was the fact that there are a lot of statements out there that make success of goals seem easy.  But if that is the case why are more people not successful?

I am a huge believer in the HOW.  I think this is a step that is so often missed in goal setting and success planning.  We end up being very focused on a result and not as focused on what we actually plan to do to get there.  An example of this- meal prep.  In weight loss success you often hear people speak about the fact that preparing your meals in advance is a great technique.  This is true!  The act of preparing the meals in advance is actually very simple.  So what stands in the way?  The how!  How will you execute this?  What will you need to do to follow through?  Etc.  On the other side of that though, too many people get derailed from starting because they don’t know how and it can actually be a road block.  Sometimes people get slowed down by not knowing the path to the finish line.

All of this really got me thinking about why do some people seem to have the ability to achieve any goal they set out to achieve while others don’t?  Which led the leader in me ask myself how can we set our teams up for the greatest level of success in goal achievement?  Because after all successful people are happy people!

Psychologist Albert Bandura has defined self-efficacy as one’s belief in one’s ability to succeed in specific situations or accomplish a task. He states that one’s sense of self-efficacy can play a major role in how one approaches goals, tasks, and challenges.

Self-efficacy is different than self-confidence.  Self-efficacy can be generalized.  However you can have a high self-efficacy in one area and not in another (ie; you may have high belief in your ability to have one on one conversations and have low belief in your ability to public speak, therefore you have different self-efficacy in the two areas).  Self-confidence is better described as one’s belief in their personal self-worth.

When you think about it this way, this helps to reflect on someone’s belief about themselves and why for you saying “I just do it, you can do” doesn’t actually work that simply.  If you have a high self-efficacy that you can do something and the other person doesn’t share that belief in themselves they will be less likely to try.

Take an online assessment here that allows you to evaluate your own personal GENERAL self-efficacy.

If you are looking to increase your own personal beliefs or the beliefs of those around you, here are 3 ways you can increase your self-efficacy… this should lead to increased willingness to try new things, and also increase your overall resiliency to challenges.

Successful Experiences Lead to Higher Belief

Every time you accomplish something you become more and more confident in your ability to do it again.  Knowing this; a great first step is to break the big goal up into smaller chunks.  Start smaller and then grow from there.  If you can see success in smaller pieces you are more likely to be willing to try things in bigger chunks down the road.  On top of that you will start to believe you can accomplish more and more challenging tasks.  This is why there are sayings like “Success breeds success”.

Vicarious Experiences

If you can see people doing what you need to do and relate with them you are more likely to believe that you can do it to.  You need to surround yourself with people who are doing what you want to do.  There are two ways to look at this; if you surround yourself with people who are better then you, you may be more likely to strive to what they are accomplishing.  On the other hand if they are too much not like you (ie: you are 5’2 and you want to play basketball and everyone around you is 6’5) then this may limit your belief.  I always think about my sons basketball team, every year he has played there is always one player on the team who doesn’t realize they are 50 pounds lighter and 1 foot shorter than everyone else.  They really believe they can do everything the others do and it is so amazing to watch them play… they have a different level of fight and passion that is so cool to see!  This is how winning cultures in the workplace are created.  When you see teammates winning you are more likely to believe you can win too!

Master Your State

State is your mindset.  You can impact your mindset and when you do you can impact your beliefs.  Having a growth mindset is one of the greatest indicators of success.  Growth mindset can be developed by altering how you look at challenges in front of you.  When you have a growth mindset you don’t reflect failure in the same way as someone with a fixed mindset.  This means you will be less likely to let fear hold you back and limit your willingness to try.  When you don’t see failure as finite and instead as part of the journey, you are more likely to have resiliency.  This resiliency can lead to an increased belief that you will be successful at anything, it just may take a few failures and a little time to get there.

In the coming weeks I will still be sharing some of the tips and techniques of the amazing people in my life, as they have some REALLY GREAT strategies.  Take some time to reflect on belief systems and how they can impact people’s ability to succeed more consistently.

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