We came across a great term the other day in wellness class: “Self-Efficacy”. The term was clearly a new one, and the first challenge was actually just how to pronounce it. Basically, self-efficacy is a belief in your ability to successfully perform a task. It is a confidence that you will be able to accomplish something which probably is challenging.

Think about it. If you are considering an activity (like an exercise program or an activity), you are already anticipating what it will be like. If it is something really new – for example, a person who has never done any kind of resistance training is thinking they should try some strength training – you might not know if you can do it or not. And you may not really believe or feel confident that you will be able to do it. If your general view of yourself is that you really aren’t much good at doing new things, your “default” belief in your ability to do the task may be that you can’t do it. This belief makes it more difficult to try new things, possibly for fear (or expectation) of failure. The trouble is that we can avoid trying the new things and basically get stuck.

If you have been reading along, you probably find yourself among the group of people who are at least willing to try some new things. That is an awesome attitude because taking a shot at some exercise or activity targets has set us in motion, even if we don’t hit the targets we had set. I think it is more important for us (especially if we are relatively new to deliberate wellness activities) to try some things and learn from them. We will enjoy some activities and not enjoy others. Or, we may find that we learn to enjoy some activities we formerly were not good at. It is surprising how our satisfaction can improve as our skill improves.

My challenge is that each of us work to develop new skills and accomplish new targets. We need those successes so that we can realistically believe we are able to successfully perform challenging tasks. That is self-efficacy, and it is an important element in our overall wellness.