Published on February 11, 2021
Self-efficacy is a person’s belief that any action they take will have an effect on the outcome. It is not self-confidence, nor a belief that one is competent to do something, although it may involve both.
Self-efficacy is our inner expectation that what we do will effect the results we want. If you lack this belief, then you fear that whatever you do will not bring about your desired goal. Bordering on helplessness, it leads to self-defeating thoughts. “No matter how carefully I diet, I don’t lose weight” or “I could work out every day but I’ll never get rid of these thighs.”
If you have a strong sense of self-efficacy, your belief system and thought patterns will sound like: “All I have to do is start, and I can whip my body into shape in a few weeks or months” and “I just need to pick a date to start my diet and I will be on my way” and “I may have neglected myself for a while but some hard work will bring me back.”
Whether or not you start a diet, decide to get in shape, or start taking better care of yourself is, ultimately, a personal decision which may or may not be made as you planned. The difference lies in the expectation of success, and it is always easier to set out on a journey that you anticipate will be successful than it is to drag yourself toward a goal where failure is the most likely outcome.
People with a strong sense of self-efficacy approach complex and challenging learning tasks (such as changing bad habits) with a sense of confidence that if they use good strategies, practice smart persistence and utilize the full range of resources available to them, they can and will succeed. And when success is not immediate, they examine their strategies to see if there are more effective approaches to employ. They see setbacks as lessons from which to learn rather than failure and a signal to abandon the struggle.
Self-confidence: a trust or assertion in oneself, believing in one’s aptitude.Self-efficacy: a lot of faith in one’s aptitude that the wanted outcome can be achieved.
“Self-efficacy represents a trait and skill that can be built upon and enhanced. It is not an innate trait that we inherit through genes. All it takes is some grit, determination, and belief in one’s abilities to handle a task. People who do not believe in themselves eventually become ineffectual, incompetent, and undoubtedly have a difficult time to face the realities of life.” ~ Arthur Bandura, PhD., Stanford University
Bottom line: If you believe that you can reach your goal, you’re more likely to achieve it.