As an MMA fighter who competes in the UFC (the largest MMA promoter in the world which was recently sold for US$4 billion), Michelle Waterson definitely knows a thing or two about how to stay confident. After all, the 31-year-old is a former Invicta FC Atomweight Champion, and as of this year is ranked #6 in the strawweight division.

Want to be better at being at the top of your game? We ask this wonder woman with some 340k Instagram followers for tips on staying confident, motivated and healthy.

1. Break your goals down

“Sometimes, it can seem like your goals are out of reach, but if you break them down it makes this huge mountain seem like little baby hills, which make them more obtainable.”

2. Put them in writing

“Every day, when I wake up, I go through my to-do list and schedule and then write down my huge goals. For example, ‘UFC champion’. I do it daily so I’m constantly reminded of what I’m working for. This way, when I go to the gym, I’m motivated.”

3. To stay confident, do things that make you happy 

“Training and fighting make me happy. I feel the happiest when I’m sweating. When I have no makeup on and I’ve put in an hour of work, I know I did it myself, and that gives me confidence.”

4. Know the power of confidence

“Confidence is sexy. Confidence is beautiful. If a beautiful woman isn’t confident, the beauty starts to disappear. It’s all in how you perceive yourself.”

5. Don’t let the small things get to you

“It took me 10 years to put on 10 pounds of muscle. After my fights, I get a little fluffy cos I enjoy some donuts, but I’m proud of myself cos the body I worked for is what I’m carrying around. If you’re not proud of who you are, change it. You’re in control of so many things in your life. Worry about the things you can change, not the things you can’t.”

6. Do things that scare you

“One of the biggest lessons I’ve learnt is being scared of something, but still doing it anyway. When I walk into the octagon, I know that once they close the door, there’s no turning back. I learnt to conquer my fears straight on, which gives me the confidence to do that outside of the octagon and in life.”

7. Don’t be afraid of failure

“I had to learn the hard way how to pick myself up after failure and how to deal with it in a positive light. When you fail, you tend to be hard on yourself but that won’t do you any good. Failing isn’t a bad thing as long as you learn and grow from it.”

8. Make time for yourself

“I run all the time, anywhere between two to four miles. Sometimes it’s a slow run, sometimes it’s a sprint. I like to run cos it gives me 30 minutes to myself, so it’s more meditative than anything.”

9. Learn to deal with the tough stuff

“Learn to be comfortable in uncomfortable situations. To enjoy the pain. I think that helps you get over a lot of walls you face, when you feel like ‘It’s too hard, I don’t want to do this anymore’.”

Image: UFC/Getty