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Go for the Bold: Cultivate Confidence

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2 points

Collect comebacks. Practice three perfect zingers to keep in your arsenal for the next time your obnoxious coworker makes a crack about how you never work past five. ("Too bad you can't get your work done during normal hours and have to stay late. I prefer to have a life.")

2 points

Thank your parents. Remind your mom and dad (and yourself) how far you've come by sending them a heartfelt letter about how their advice and support have helped you achieve your goals. Your level of confidence is often related to how other people -- especially your parents -- view you; when they see you as a successful adult, you're that much closer to believing it.

3 points

Buddy up. Recruit a trusted friend to be your confidence buddy. "Agree to e-mail each other twice a week, pointing out a few of the other person's recent successes," suggests Larina Kase, PsyD, author of Anxious 9 to 5. Be specific: "You looked fabulous in that Donna Karan suit," or "You told the funniest story over drinks last night." "Shining a spotlight on your strengths will give you a more positive outlook," says Kase.

3 points

Spread the joy. Shell out some positive energy each week by bringing fresh-cut flowers to an overworked friend or mowing an elderly neighbor's lawn. "Research shows that doing a good deed builds your own self-confidence," says Tim Ursiny, PhD, author of The Confidence Plan.

4 points

Trust your judgment. Go one week without asking for anyone else's opinion on anything -- from what to wear to the fund-raiser to the best title for that memo -- and follow your own instincts. You may learn you have all the answers.

5 points

Flirt fearlessly. Plop down next to that cute guy who's typing away on his laptop at your favorite coffee bar and say, "Can I buy you a latte in exchange for checking a movie time on your computer?" If all goes well, ask him to join you.

5 points

Fix it yourself. Learn to do one frustrating thing that always requires the help of your partner, handyman, or office techie, like changing a flat tire or fixing a printer paper jam. Mastering a skill, especially if it's something you've been avoiding, will give you the self-assurance to take on other challenges.

8 points

Kick a habit. Give up those cigarettes, soap operas, or snacks that have an unhealthy hold over your life. "Being a slave to a habit makes you feel like a victim," says cognitive psychologist Pierce Howard, PhD. Announce your goal to everyone you know, then join a support group, see your doctor for help, or keep a journal to pinpoint what triggers your addiction.

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