How we feel about ourselves is the cornerstone to our happiness and success. We tend to project our feelings to others whether the feelings are positive or negative. When we feel good about and accept ourselves, others sense it and respond positively. If we don’t respect ourselves, others are less likely to be respectful to us. Learning to feel good about ourselves makes us happier, more approachable, and more tolerant, among other things. Incorporate these 10 habits that will improve your self-esteem and watch your life change for the better.
1. Plan for and expect success. Lasting changes don’t usually just happen out of the blue. Like any journey or trip, you need to plan for it and make sure you have everything needed to reach your destination. Identify and describe the end-result you want to achieve – how you will feel and act differently. Make a list of things that make you feel good about yourself and how to work more of those into your life throughout the day.
2. Silence negative self-talk. Your inner voice may tell you that you’re worthless, not good enough, or can’t do something. Those thoughts are like thieves knocking on your door. If you invite them in and entertain them, they will lie to you and steal your self-esteem. When you have a negative thought, force it out by saying no aloud. Picture yourself pushing the thought away. Refocus and replace the thought with a positive thought or mantra.
3. Acknowledge and accept your good aspects, qualities, and abilities. Begin each day by looking in the mirror and stating three things you like about yourself. If it’s hard to come up with these on your own, recall compliments received from others. Friends’ compliments allow you to see more personal, deeper qualities. A stranger’s compliments allow you see your good aspects that stand out most. Use these throughout the day as needed to replace negative self-talk or get a quick dose of confidence.
4. Finish what you start. Completing tasks boosts your self-image. They give you a sense of accomplishment and pride. When you feel like giving up, tell yourself things that encourage you to keep going. Use one or more of these phrases to get started: “I can do this.” “I’m not going to let this beat me.” “I did this before and I can do it again.”
5. Throw perfectionism out the window. Nothing is or can be perfect. Focus on doing the best you can do under the given circumstances. Set realistic standards, expectations, and goals for yourself. Unrealistically high standards and unobtainable goals pave the way for “failure”, low self-esteem, and constant disappointment in yourself and others. Keep things real and do-able.
6. Look for the good. Seeing the good within can be difficult at times. It is often easier to see it in others. Several times a day, look at the people around you. Identify one or more things you like or admire about that person. For example, you see someone open a door for a person who has an arm full of packages. That was a thoughtful act. Have you ever done that? If so, that means you are thoughtful, too. Add it to your list of things you like about yourself.
7. Secretly try something new. You may tend to avoid trying new things if you are afraid of failing. However, the beauty of trying something new is that no one gets things exactly right the first time. Because so many people never make it to that point, your simple act of trying automatically makes you a success. To build on that initial success, avoid self-imposed and outside pressures. Keep the details private until you feel comfortable sharing your new skill or experience.
8. Celebrate your uniqueness. Refrain from comparing yourself to others. Others might seem to have everything together, but if you saw the whole picture, you’d realize that they don’t. You have gone through and overcome things that others couldn’t. Write down 30 or more words and short phrases that identify the characteristics that helped you make it this far. Each day, choose a characteristic to celebrate. Look for a similar characteristic in others and compliment them on what you see. This boosts your self-esteem as you come to understand that people see these same things in you.
9. Learn where to flock. Birds of a feather flock together. To boost your self-esteem and keep it healthy, surround yourself with positive, supportive people. Stay focused with positive with self-talk and actions. Encourage others to see and share the positive aspect of things. Limit your contact with naysayers and above all, ask for assistance when things begin to get difficult rather than after things have totally fallen apart. Positive attitudes and good self-esteem are contagious. Spread them around.
10. Change your mind. It can be very easy to fall back into old habits. The key is to change your mindset. Pull out your self-esteem boosting tool kit of ideas and activities. Pull out the tool you need and start changing your mind. Use the tools until you regain your healthy self-esteem. The more you practice, the quicker you can turn things around and the more automatic it becomes.
If you start working on these habits, then in no time you will see an improvement in your life.