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4 low-risk exercises to give you hope.

Hands holding up sparklers against a deep purple night sky.

No matter where you are on your journey to figuring out what to do next in life, fear and doubt can rear their heads giving your focus, clarity and confidence a good battering and even sending them into hiding for long enough it feels like they’re on sabbatical.

What you need is a good dose of hope.

Now, hope can be elusive and fickle – one day it’s there, the next it isn’t and seemingly for no reason you can fathom. In the face of this I have a suggestion: let’s kick start hope by boosting your confidence.

To do this I advocate going to the gym (metaphorically speaking) to spend a little time working on the muscles you need for the (let’s face it) tough job of pulling your confidence out of its current hiding place. It’s like rehabbing muscles that haven’t been working properly or that you’ve injured. They need special attention and care, then when they feel better you can go back to the main workout – taking another step to figuring out what to do next in life.

Introducing your 4 rehab exercises

You may well recognise these exercises and like all good rehab, you will be coming back to them whenever you need to because they work. They are deliberately low-risk and aim to disrupt your default thinking, give you a vital dose of confidence and lightness, and they nearly always lead to unexpected (in a good way) outcomes that will strengthen you ready to go back to the frontline of figuring out what you want to do next in life.

You can pull out all the stops and try each of them or just pick the ones that resonate the most. However, I encourage you to do one that scares you, as this is probably where you will get the biggest confidence boost.

1. Do something you’ve never done before.

Pick something that you’ve never done before that appeals to you; you don’t even have to know why – the reason is neither here nor there with this exercise. 

Examples could be: breadmaking, a workout class, a painting lesson, a tennis lesson, paddling in the sea at sunrise or sunset, doing origami…you get the picture. Keep it low risk and approach it with no expectations. Just see what you notice; which parts did you like, which didn’t you like? What does the experience tell you about yourself?

How this boosts your confidence: you’re giving yourself permission to test out something new in a low-risk and safe way whilst bypassing all the ‘what ifs?’ that may try to hold you back.

2. Follow your curiosity.

Investigate where your curiosity leads you this week. 

If you’ve got any ‘I wonder what would happen if…?’ questions rolling round your brain, notice how many you could try exploring. Where you would usually stop taking any action, pause and let yourself engage with the next step that you’ve been holding off taking.  Don’t worry about the outcome, release your expectations and instead focus on the process, noticing what it feels like to be led by curiosity.

How this boosts your confidence: you’re pushing yourself out of your comfort zone a little and paying attention to what truly piques your interest rather than doing what you think you should be doing or what you deem to be worthwhile or useful.

3. Make a request.

Now this one may take you up a notch or two on the uncomfortable barometer but I promise it’s a real confidence booster! 

The next time you order a coffee or croissant to take away, try asking if you can have it for free (Pret is a good place to try this!).  Imagine you have no choice but to make this request and see what happens – rehab that muscle!  Notice how you feel before and after making the request.

How this boosts your confidence: you’re feeling the fear of looking a fool and being rejected and making a request anyway.

4. Write yourself a forgiveness letter.

Write a letter to your younger self, offering forgiveness for all the choices you made that have led you here. 

There can be disappointment finding yourself at a crossroads and not knowing how to figure out what to do next in life. Frustration with the fears that have been holding you back; the life circumstances that don’t seem to lend themselves to you being able to do something that you really want to do; the comparisons you make about yourself with others; the feeling you’ve been wasting your time and the weariness of just how difficult this journey can be. 

Even if you don’t want to forgive your younger self or you’re not sure you can, try writing as though you do and see what happens. I think you will be surprised at what comes out and the release it brings.

How this boosts your confidence: you’re letting go of the expectations and standards you have held yourself to for so long and which are probably still holding you back having the confidence to explore what YOU really want to be doing next in life.

I leave you with a suggestion: approach these rehab exercises with curiosity about the outcome. Give yourself space to notice what happens to your confidence (and anything else) as you undertake them and then watch for the hope to unfurl.

Let me know how you get on, I love to hear how you find the approaches to figuring out what you want to do next in life.

Photo by unknown on Canva.