5 Ways to Improve Self Confidence as you Age

I don’t know about you, but I’m always looking for ways to improve my self confidence. I’ve never been overly self assured and now as I get older my self esteem seems to often just get up and go when I need it the most.

When I was in my late teens and early twenties pretty much all I thought about was my image. I’m sorry if this sounds shallow, and I know it is, but many of my waking thoughts were primarily focused on fashion, boys, music and make-up.’

School? Work? World Events? Oh Bleah … Sorry!

I expect some of you were much more worldly wise than me?

self confidence

These photos make me laugh now! I was about 16, and as I remember a friend wanted to become a fashion photographer and needed models. I put my hand up because, well (ahem) he was lovely!

As a result of great shallowness I knew what I liked, although my style was far from iconic. But even though I was shy, the physical self image gave me confidence and transported good feeling down the line to how I felt at work and what I wanted to do.

In general I felt good, and I thought that the world was my oyster.

Over the years kids, work and other responsibilities took away from the time I had to think about myself. I may have become a little more worldly and outward looking, but there was a drought of me-time. You know how it goes …

And a lack of self confidence set in.

The self confidence bomb

Around the age of fifty, I looked at myself in the mirror and with an eye on what was going on outside the home in the fashion and blogging world particularly, and I suddenly realised that my fashion sense was rooted in the eighties and I looked for all the world like a bit of a frump.

My self image dropped to the soles of my old cowboy boots.

Not only that but I didn’t have a job and I felt useless. Because we’d moved around the world so much, all I felt good for was packing boxes.

I’d let my exercise routine slip, although I knew that keeping fit and trim was good for my self esteem.

Anyway, who the hell was that old woman staring back at me from the mirror?

My inner critic was super busy and doing a great job at slaying me.

Woah, way to go. My self confidence was detonated.


5 Ways to improve self confidence

Self confidence relates to many areas of life

The trouble is, without a strong self image we tend to wilt.

And poor self image can be an underlying cause for those mid-life down-in-the-dumps feelings when we perhaps don’t enjoy life quite as much, or  success appears to become elusive, and the tendency is to say: “Oh well, I’m just getting old,” and our self confidence flags.

You know the feeling … when you’re younger there’s so much to live for, and you just seem to be building and moving upwards: Building families. creating homes, educating children, juggling, taking family holidays, and juggling some more.

Then suddenly none of that’s there anymore, and while sometimes it’s a relief, at other times it takes away from who you are, what you always wanted, and how you perceive yourself in the bigger picture.

The belief you once had in yourself fails and often you lose a little bit of that self-assured poise and aplomb you once had.

Why we mustn’t tumble over the hill

Self confidence relates to many areas of our life; career, love, family, character, work and self discipline, and feeling good about yourself is important for general mental health.

So today I thought I’d share some ways to boost our self confidence when we hit free fall and start tumbling over-the-hill.

How do I build my self confidence and self esteem?

self confidence

1. Boost your self confidence throughout the day.

Tell yourself you are beautiful, in control of your life, and happy. Or whatever mantra works for you. Say it when you boil a kettle for tea, when you’re in the car, anytime really just as long as no one hears you! Say it again as you drift off to sleep. Give yourself compliments. Tell yourself there is not such things as loss of confidence in old age and that as the years go by you will become stronger of mind than every previously.

Also, don’t forget to boost other people’s self confidence. Randomly compliment someone you meet in the supermarket queue about how nice they look because low self esteem in middle age is really a thing and you could make their day just by noticing something about them.

Don’t forget to keep smiling. I don’t know why, but it just makes you feel good. I’m not talking about grinning like an idiot, but smile when you’re spoken to, and smile to yourself is something in a book or movie is humorous. Get those smile muscles working and you’ll be building self confidence in a happy way.

The thing you have to STOP!

For that horrible inner critic – every time it rears its ugly head shout STOP. We Are Not Going There!

The thing you have to DO!

If you’re avoiding exercise, tell yourself how much more energy you’ll have for yourself, your daily activities and your loved ones if you just focus everyday on doing something energetic that makes you puff and gets your heart rate going for 30 minutes or so.

If you’re hearing isn’t what it used to be, get a hearing test done (try Australian Hearing if you’re in Australia) – not being able to hear in social situations is terribly deblitating. And check out these simple steps to keep your hearing in tip top shape.

Lucky or Not?

Stop comparing yourself to others – just don’t do that. There will always be others who are doing better than you, or who are more beautiful, or luckier. It’s a game you can never win.

On the flip side of comparison, keep reminding yourself how lucky you are. When you see someone who is less fortunate than you, reach out a helping hand in a practical way, and then tell yourself how fortunate you are not to be in that situation.

2. Fake it till you make it!

Always act the part, even if you don’t feel like it. Walk into that room as if you were Marilyn Monroe, hold your head up high. You are beautiful! Watch heads turn as you play the part. Be the person you want to be. No, you do not want to be Miss Piggy from the Muppets, thank you!

Sometimes a lack of self confidence can be fortified by faking it, until one day you find an air of confidence just sticks around more often.

3. Surround yourself with positive people

Don’t surround yourself with negative thinking people or friends who pull you down. Decide who you feel good around, who makes you feel good, and people you can rely on when times are tough. Ditch those who suck energy from you. Have you ever read the Celestine Prophecy which discusses the power of positive energy?

4. Learn a new skill

Getting out of your comfort zone and trying something that makes you a little uncomfortable is always good for your self confidence.So too is learning a new skill.

What could you learn?

Study something you’ve always wanted to learn even if you don’t actually apply it in a new job. You’ll feel better about your self, and you’ll feel as if you have more to offer other people too.

What about art classes, or learning a language, or how about a cookery course? Why not embark on the English Literature degree you never had the chance to do when you were younger? Ok Ok, if you really want to learn about the mating habits of frogs – go for it!

For my Aussie readers:-Have a look at the TAFE website and check out their courses and evening workshops.

Join me on one of my blogging workshops … I also offer online and Skype or telephone mentoring.

What about Open University? Anything you fancy there?

5. Dress well and look scrumptious

And now here’s the terrifically shallow bit, but oh my goodness it’s important for your confidence.

By dressing well, I don’t mean wearing the most fashionable or the most expensive designer gear all the time, but rather dressing to feel good. You might be a snazzy dresser, tailored dresser, boho or hippy … now’s the time of life to focus on yourself again and find out what works for you.

Don’t be afraid to try new looks. If you don’t want to spend a lot of money then do some experimenting and take a friend along with you to charity shops in your area. You’ll soon find things which either suit or don’t suit you for a fraction of the cost and if you have to take them back the next day because you really don’t like them, well you haven’t lost much.

Ways to improve self confidence as you age

I’m wearing Vivid International PORTOBELLO separates above and FRANKiE4 footwear  leather ankle boots.

Wear what makes you feel gorgeous

So decide what makes you feel hot and gorgeous, and get thee to the shops with a good friend or your daughter, or a friend’s daughter, and try, try, try, until you find things that you like and which look good on you. Perhaps you’ll find a brand that particularly suits your style.

Some of my faves at the moment are Vivid International for the stylish, colour co-ordinated easy wear shapes and styles, and FRANKiE4 footwear because the shoes, boots and sandals are just SO comfortable, long wearing and stylish at the same time.

Check out the FRANKiE4 footwear website and have a look at their fantastic styles –  available online with a great sizing guide and good returns policy.

The way you dress affects you in many ways.

Don’t you know the feeling when you wear something great and suddenly your mood is boosted and your self image is lifted? So buy the best clothes you can, those that will stand the test of the washing machine (who wants to hand wash these days, or have expensive dry cleaning bills?)

Of course, I’d love to know how you feel – do you have some great confidence boosters or any tips that you’d like to add in the comments?

Until next time,



  1. I missed out on university at ‘the right time’ bit took the opportunity to go in my fifties- what a confidence booster it (eventually) turned out to be. I reconnected with my enthusiastic ten-year-old self. These days I feel that my opinions are worth listening to. Still a bit iffy on what suits me but I embrace the concept of looking fabulous

    • Well done Sonia! It takes commitment and attention to go back to learning and I’m so glad it turned out well for you. I can also understand how it gave you confidence to put forward your opinions with more aplomb.

  2. I’ve obviously read this before, because I commented before, (but now if new pics?) but it is well worth reading again. I certainly am not a confident person, never have been, especially around new people. I think stretching ourselves to do something new is a great way to gain confidence especially in a group of like minded people. Ps – by the way I would never have thought you lacked confidence Jo! Have a great week.

    • Yes, new pics and updated content Jill – so glad you enjoyed the new read. Confidence is a funny slippery thing I think, and sometimes not always a given despite what one might think about others. Me, I’m generally paddling really really hard underneath and try and keep a calm confident exterior. 😉

  3. You are brave to tackle this subject. Sometimes I feel great and others I feel totally inadequate. I always think you look great and super-confident! My only tip is to exercise. Even if I don’t feel like going to the gym or for a walk I know that I always feel better when I do.

  4. Hi Jo, another great post. A confidence booster for me is to start the day as if I was still off to work. Now I am retired, before heading downstairs, I still get out of the PJ’s and hit the shower before it is even possible to put on any daggy slippers. I dress appropriately for whatever I am doing that day, even if it’s gardening, and most importantly, do my hair. If I’m having a bad hair day, I definitely do not feel confident. Even though my darling husband is no longer with me to share all the plans we had for our retirement, I feel this is still important. Margaret

    • Hello Margaret, I’m so so sorry that your darling husband isn’t with you to share all your lovely plans for doing things when retired. But I am so so glad that you still make the effort to look good and feel good for yourself and about yourself. I agree it really does make a difference. And a day in my slippers with tatty hair and an old housedress or PJ’s on don’t make me feel energised or good about myself at all. Thanks for your lovely tips on this subject. I really appreciate them 🙂 x

  5. helpful Tips.

  6. Love the photos – you were gorgeous too – still are 🙂

  7. I definitely think a new outfit that you know looks good on you really boosts the confidence. I always balk at buying expensive clothes – but these days we get summer sales when summer is only a few weeks old – so we can still buy outfits that are up to date but at a bit of a discount.
    Hopefully once you hit your 50s you have the confidence to find out who you really are and to be that person, say what you think, and discard negative people. Learning a new skill or perusing a hobby certainly adds a new spark to life.
    Another great post Jo. thanks!

    • Thanks Jill. I agree we should have the confidence when we hit our 50s to find out who we are and say what we think … but sometimes it’s a long time coming, and sometimes we are constrained by old thoughts, habits or ingrained patterns of behaviour.

  8. I agree one hundred percent with all this, particularly the dressing well for our age. I also think you look stunning as a 16 year old model – very professional!

  9. Wear what makes you feel comfortable and confident. If that means going up a dress size, opting out of sleeveless dresses or draping a scarf – do it. That way you can go out with confidence and concentrate on showing others the wonderful person you are on the inside without having to worry about the trimmings on the outside.

  10. I’ve just discovered Sussan – they were always a little bit pricey for me before but I’ve already laybyed two beautiful pieces for Winter, that fit like a dream. So nice to find something to suit my middle aged middle LOL!!!

  11. Ilse Justus says:

    Fabulous article, Jo. It is spot on! Your points under 5. are so true and relevant in ‘getting one’s sexy back’. Too often older women are afraid to dress in a way that accentuates their curves for fear of being mutton dressed as lamb but they are confusing ‘feeling/dressing scrumptious’ with showing way too much flesh. If you carry on dressing frumpy, you will continue to feel frumpy. That’s a fact.

  12. Isn’t it interesting that suddenly that “little old lady” stares back at you in the mirror. Up until that time, I never had time to think about myself. The Nest took all my time, energy and thoughts to make it the best nest possible for launching the chicks into the big world. Now the chicks are watching over the old nesters – roll reversal time.
    I have time now to develop confidence, to deal with what ever comes in what’s left of my future. Thinking back on how I stepped up to the plane door, took a deep breath and then positioned my body to be in a stable freefall to earth. Now I have taken a deep breath and done speaking engagements before groups and on television. Something I would never have considered doing. Retirement is a blast and hope I can help others to learn this too.

    • Fabulous Neva! I love your attitude and good on you for being so brave to speak before groups and on TV. Way to go! I loved reading your comment today, and I was nodding my head in the first paragraph. I’m so glad that you are making the most of retirement and loving it 🙂

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