As 2015 gets underway, and we think about what we want for ourselves in the new year, one thing we could all use to help meet our goals is a little more CONFIDENCE! It can help us become the best version of ourselves, or conversely, when we don’t have enough of the stuff, it can hold us back.

The good news is that you have the power to boost the ol’ confidence level yourself! The people around us can help, but it’s up to you to believe in your own inherent value.

Like most things in life, it takes a little work. Here are some ways to get there:

1. Own your strengths and weaknesses.
Examine what you’re good at and what you need to work on. Let yourself be proud of your accomplishments and your talents. And be honest with yourself about those areas that could use a little improvement. It’s OK if you aren’t a total pro at some things. Or anything yet… give yourself TIME!

2. Try out new hobbies and learn new skills.
Because why not? Explore something different and you might discover something new about yourself. Maybe you’re the next JK Rowling? Who’s gonna know unless you put pen to paper? Or the next Will Ferrell? Try taking a class in improv!

3. Check your friends.
Let’s get real for a second. If we surround ourselves with people who constantly bring us down, it’s no wonder when we feel bad about ourselves. Friendship is built on honesty, respect, and trust – anything less, and the word “friend” no longer applies. Surround yourself with people you genuinely enjoy being around, who empower and support you!

4. Help others.
It’s been scientifically shown that helping others helps us feel good about ourselves. That’s what we call a WIN-WIN! Whether helping a friend with their homework (helping them, not doing it for them), volunteering, or even just lending a shoulder to lean on, every little bit… helps.

5. Be your mind’s big boss.
Is there an annoying little voice in your head that keeps telling you you aren’t good enough, you can’t do something, or that you’ll fail, before you’ve even tried? It’s time to take back control, to steer your mind to more positive modes of thinking. First, recognize that the little naysayer in your head doesn’t have its facts straight; it’s not based in reality. It takes work to shut down the negative self-talk – just like training a muscle – but over time, little by little, you can do it.

6. Break your big goals up into little, bite-sized goals.
It can be a real confidence destroyer when we feel like we aren’t achieving our goals. As much as goals can serve as motivation, they can also feel intimidating and become a barrier, especially when we aim really high. Got a BIG goal? What are some of the smaller steps you’ll need to take along the way? Let these – the things you can achieve this week, or this month – serve as more immediate goals. Once you start checking those off the list, it becomes a real confidence booster!

7. Treat your body right to feel right.
Maintaining healthy habits – like eating well, getting regular exercise, and avoiding the harmful stuff like drugs and alcohol – is proven (thank you, science) to improve our mood and how we feel about ourselves. Sure, we’ve all told ourselves “one more Oreo won’t hurt,” and then proceeded to eat five more. And no, it didn’t necessarily hurt, but we felt kinda gross afterward. You know what feels great though? Getting outside every once in a while! Remember how much fun it was to run around the park as a kid? It still is!!

8. Empower yourself with knowledge.
It’s rewarding to hold special knowledge, so dig into those passions, and become your own expert. Interested in cars, makeup, quantum theory? Studying is fun when you’re passionate about the subject!

9. Let go of perfectionism.
To be imperfect is to be human. You think Miss Popular is perfect? Trust us, it’s all an illusion. Perfection is boring anyways. It’s our capacity to grow and change, and learn from our mistakes, that makes things interesting.

10. Understand that it’s a journey.
Rome wasn’t built in a day. Building and maintaining confidence is an ongoing process. It will take time, effort, and patience.

But you’re off to a good start. You’ve already made it this far.