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How to Build Confidence in Your Twenties to Last a Lifetime

Be as confident as Rihanna, without the billions.

Confidence is a funny thing. For some of us, it’s been a natural trait teachers started writing in our report cards back in grade school. For others – dare we say, the majority of usfiguring out how to build confidence is a consistent battle throughout our lives. Maybe she’s born with it. Maybe it’s Maybelline. Maybe it’s self-affirmation, healthy boundaries, and a positive self image. Who knows?

Post-grad challenges our self-confidence. One moment we were tenured students with bright futures ahead, the next we’re struggling adults who can hardly think beyond the work day ahead. Many of us even derived a lot of our confidence from being a student. The good grades, shiny awards and accolades. Or at least the feeling of pride when we stayed up until 4am studying for an exam and managed to ace it by 10. Oh, a C isn’t considered ‘acing’?

How to Make Friends in a New City - friends laughing

Developing self-confidence directly correlates with your overall happiness

Our confidence and sense of self are the lens through which we filter our daily interactions. It helps us advocate for ourselves in our careers, end toxic relationships, and stand up for ourselves when someone is disrespectful.

Post-grad is an important phase of self-development and growth. By focusing on developing confidence during these crucial years, we can pave the path for a happy, content life. We also recommend getting a dog.

You Got This Chalk - How to Build Confidence

How to Build Confidence in Your Twenties: 5 Tips

So how does one build confidence? While we haven’t read Confidence for Dummies (yet), we have some wisdom to drop anyway.

1. Pour your energy into self-development.

Even if you don’t feel confident, focusing on improving yourself will get you a lot closer to that Beyoncé level of self-assurance. Putting energy towards improving yourself – no matter what that looks like for you – can really change the way you see yourself.

A couple of ideas to start…

  • Consume more knowledge by reading books, taking a class, listening to podcasts or watching YouTube videos.
  • Put effort into your job, even if it’s not your end-all-be-all career. Being a high-performer at work will translate to more confidence.
  • Incorporate a fitness routine into your life, whether it’s walking 2 miles a day or going to hot yoga. Being able to hike a mountain or finish a hard workout class feels badass.
  • Practice self care! Style your hair how you like it, put on some make-up (if that’s your thing), get dressed up, do your skin care routine. Looking good = feeling good.
  • Set goals and realistic timelines to achieve them. Seeing yourself grow and evolve as an adult will make you feel a lot more confident in your day-to-day life.

Setting Goals

2. Develop a strong sense of self.

College has many folks conforming to fit in. Maybe you fully identified as the president of the Underwater Basket Weaving Club, and graduation has you wondering who you are, if not a pro basket weaver. In the transition from college to the “real world”, it can be hard to know who you truly are. But now is a great time to find out! 

Are you the kind of person who volunteers every weekend? Are you great at cooking foods from different cultures? Do you have a keen eye for home decor? What are your values? Can you take your passion for basket weaving to a weekly neighborhood crafting group? Figure out what makes you unique and embrace it.

Knitting Crafting - How to Build Confidence

3. Learn to stop caring so much.

Think about it: if someone told Rihanna they think being a singer is weird, do you think she’d give a flying fork? No! Because she knows that she loves to perform and that’s what makes her freaking Rihanna. And also, she’s a billionaire. Talk the money stack.

Seriously, though. This tip works wonders beyond building confidence. Realizing that nobody actually cares what you’re doing is extraordinarily freeing. And if they are judging you, it’s also a relief when you realize it has no impact on your life.

This step is a lot easier to do once you’ve developed a strong sense of self. If you know who you are and you know you’re a cool person with cool interests, then it won’t affect you as much if someone else doesn’t see that.

All confident people have some haters. Even Rihanna. Yes, really! Insecure people are highly threatened by those with an innate sense of confidence. Learn how to stay in your lane and stop worrying so much about what others think of you.

Rihanna on Vogue

4. Keep the promises you make to yourself.

This goes hand-in-hand with the self-development tip. If you set an intention for yourself, actually keeping your word can go a long way in building your confidence. Not to mention, it builds trust with yourself that if you say you want to accomplish something, you will.

If you say you’re going to that 6am workout class, get your butt up and go! If you say that you want to finally start a YouTube channel about basket weaving (we’ll let it go soon, promise), do it. Following through on your own goals will enforce that you can do whatever you set your mind to, which translates to huge confidence.

Working Out

5. Surround yourself with awesome people.

There’s nothing like having a hype squad to help build your confidence. Your best friends should be the ones who are constantly gassing you up. Having negative friends around detracts from your confidence. It’s hard to believe in yourself if you have people around whispering doubts you hadn’t even considered in your ear all the time. Cutting out toxic friends can be a great first step in a confidence journey.

More Resources on How to Build Confidence

Listen to the Adultescence podcast episode for more tips on how to build confidence in your twenties.

By Jess Lohr

Jess is a Cambridge-based, Syracuse-born twenty-something who loves coffee, dogs and stalking Zillow for her future home. Her favorite ways to kill time include strolling through Boston’s cobblestone streets, socializing over a glass of wine, and reading finance books (if only 22-year-old Jess were like this).

She has spent the past 4+ years working in Consumer Insights, and when she’s not working on her 9-5, you can find her pursuing her most recent side hustle as a dog sitter. Jess is co-founder of Adultescence, a podcast and lifestyle website with the mission of helping post-grads navigate adulthood.

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