Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on December 4, 2020

How Do I Change for the Better? 11 Little Things to Start Doing

How Do I Change for the Better? 11 Little Things to Start Doing

Look around you – how many people do you think are actually happy with the way their lives have shaped up? Chances are very few of them.

Most of us are filled with regrets and angst. We wish we did things differently. If we could go back in time and change our actions or reactions, we would. But the truth is, what’s gone is gone.

What you have is the present moment and the good news is that it is never too late to change. After all, we hold the reins of our life and have the power to change its course.

So, stop complaining and asking, “how do I change for the better?” because it is time to act. Here are 11 little things to start doing today and become a better version of yourself:

1. Train Your Brain to Be Optimistic

Everything that life throws at us is not in our control. The only thing we can control are our thoughts, attitude and reactions. Would you rather be cynical about the world or adopt a positive mindset and live a more peaceful life instead?

Being optimistic is not as easy as it sounds. It requires practice and a lot of mental conditioning but it sure is a step forward towards a happier you.

So, stop feeding your brain with all the pointless, negative self-talk and replace them with these positive affirmations instead. Start a gratitude journal too, it’ll help.

In this imperfect world we live in, the least you can do is have hope and believe that the best will happen.

2. Focus on What’s Working

Ask people what’s not working in their lives and they can go volumes; but ask them what they are grateful for and they will pause to think.

Advertising

“How do I change for the better by doing this?”, you ask? Well, there is a lot of change you can bring about by just changing your perspective. When we focus on the negatives and obsess over what is not going right, we miss out on everything we need to be grateful for. This just adds to the stress and hinders growth.

Try focusing on what’s going right for a change and you will realize how you end up attracting more of it.

3. Take Ownership

When things don’t go as planned, we are quick to blame the situation, our surroundings and even ourselves but how does that change anything?

Holding on to failures and resorting to blame games are futile. When you take ownership of your actions, you realize that it is so much easier to let go and move on. You are able to look beyond ‘failures’ and overcome them to start the next chapter.

By taking ownership and responsibility, you feel empowered to bring about a positive change in your life – it motivates you and encourages you to push yourself and act on the situation rather than sulking or indulging in self-pity.

Take a look at this article and learn to take responsibility of what happen to you: Recognizing the Distinction Between Blame and Responsibility

4. Be Open to Learning

We are constantly evolving and there should never be an end to learning. From your career and social life to relationships – having a flexible and open mindset is essential to thrive in every aspect of your life.

A close-minded person can never grow because they act from a place of arrogance and superiority. They build barriers around them and have a one-track thought process.

On the other hand, being lifelong learners opens you up to so many possibilities, it makes life exciting and lets you look beyond your preconceived notions. You look at situations objectively, are not afraid to challenge your thoughts and show your vulnerable side.

Advertising

Here’s How to Train Your Brain to Crave Lifelong Learning (And Why It’s Good).

5. Live Your Own Life

Most of our problems arise when we compare our lives to those around us without realizing how baseless these comparisons are.

Everyone has a unique journey, and no one is better off than the other. Comparing your life to other people’s makes you anxious and stressed.

Accept where you are in life, embrace the imperfections and focus on your life because the grass is greener where it is better taken care of. Instead of competing with your peers, compete with yourself and strive to grow and become better with every passing day.

This article will help you focus on yourself instead of always comparing yourself to others: The More We Compare, the More We Lose Ourselves

6. Build a Strong Relationship with Yourself

Being a better person isn’t just about being good to other people, it’s about being good to yourself first.

Work towards building a strong relationship with yourself. If that foundation is strong, you tend to be a more secure person and don’t let other people’s thoughts become your life’s reality.

Practice self-care, learn to put your needs first and accept yourself the way you are. Nobody is perfect but perfection should never be the goal. Treat yourself as work-in-progress and learn along the way. The only thing that matters is growth and self-improvement, no matter how old you are.

This article will inspire you how to love yourself more: How to Love Yourself, Even if No One Else Does

Advertising

7. Treat People with Respect

We have all heard the phrase, “treat others the way you want to be treated”.

Treating people with respect and empathizing with them sows the seeds of a healthy relationship. You surround yourself with positive people who genuinely love and respect you and that certainly is a blooming environment to be in.

Find it hard to respect people you dislike? This may change your mind: Could You Still Show Respect to Someone You Dislike? Would You?

8. Learn to Forgive

Forgiving people for their mistakes is a tough job and doesn’t come easy to anyone.

How do you let go and forgive someone for wronging you? It takes immense effort and courage to do so but it is important because if not for that, you will just be holding on too much anger and hurt which is impacts your mental health.

So, set yourself free and learn to forgive – you will be glad you did. Here’s how: How to Forgive and Live a Happy Life Again (A Step-By-Step Guide)

9. Lead a Healthy Life

A healthy mind and healthy body make a happy and better you.

Be mindful of what you’re eating, your sleeping habits and exercising. Adopting a healthy lifestyle leads to better productivity, lesser stress and adds discipline to your life.

Start leading a healthy lifestyle with these good habits: 74 Healthy Habits That Will Drastically Improve Every Aspect of Your Life

Advertising

10. Set Healthy Boundaries

Not everyone around us is a well-wisher. There are some people who are nothing but a source of negativity. Don’t feel guilty about keeping them out of your life.

Self-care is of utmost importance and setting healthy boundaries with toxic people lets you protect yourself.

Remember – it is not your duty to make it work with everyone. If there is someone who is making you feel terrible or unhappy, you are better off walking away from that relationship.

If you find yourself hanging out with toxic people, it’s best to distance yourself from them: 10 Toxic Persons You Should Just Get Rid Of

11. Don’t Take Life Too Seriously

Many of us take life too seriously – we get bogged down by failures, we consider rejections to be the end of the world, we beat ourselves over our mistakes and we get too caught up in the drudgery of everyday life.

Thirty or forty years down the line, how will it feel to look back and see that you lived a life of sadness, fear and regret?

Don’t give rise to such a situation. Seize the day and enjoy the present moment because these days won’t come back.

Here’re 34 Ways To Live in the Moment And Grow in the Moment.

Final Thoughts

The fact that you’re asking “how do I change for the better” is the first step to steer your life in the positive direction. So, make these small changes in your attitude, perception and habits and you will be surprised to see how the road ahead clears out for you.

Life is what you make of it – the choice is in your hands.

More Tips to Help You Change Your Life

Featured photo credit: Nicolai Berntsen via unsplash.com

More by this author

Adela Belin

Writes about motivation, mental health, personal development and shares stories inspired by her personal journey.

The Importance of Self Improvement No Matter How Old You Are How to Cope with Stress When You’re Overwhelmed by Responsibilities 16 Best Podcasts on Motivation to Help You Reach Your Goals How Do I Change for the Better? 11 Little Things to Start Doing How to Crush Your Lack of Motivation and Always Stay Motivated

Trending in Life Potential

1 How to Build Self-Esteem: A Guide to Realize Your Hidden Power 2 How to Control the Uncontrollable In Life 3 Why Feeling Uncomfortable Is a Sign To Improve Yourself 4 7 Ways to Make Life Changing Decisions 5 How to Live Life to the Fullest and Enjoy Each Day

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on March 30, 2021

How to Build Self-Esteem: A Guide to Realize Your Hidden Power

How to Build Self-Esteem: A Guide to Realize Your Hidden Power

Self-esteem is a driving force behind our confidence and how we see and feel about ourselves. It encompasses our sense of value, significance, and self-worth. That’s why learning how to build self-esteem is essential to personal growth and happiness.

Research has shown that over 80% of people struggle with varying levels of low self-esteem. Yet, having a solid sense of self-esteem has the chance to positively impact and powerfully transform every area of your life – from your relationships to your career, from your health and well-being, to your fulfillment and levels of success.

A deep feeling of self-esteem is something that needs to grow and be nurtured over time. In this article I will show you the things you can do right now to learn how to improve self-esteem. Then, you will realize your hidden potential and your self-worth.

What Is Self-Esteem?

While the dictionary defines it as “confidence in one’s own worth or abilities; self-respect,” put simply, self-esteem is the overall sense or feeling you have about your own self-worth or self-value.

Self-confidence, on the other hand, is more about how you feel about your abilities and will vary from situation to situation. You can have great self-esteem (feeling good about yourself overall) but low self-confidence about a particular situation or event (e.g. public speaking). Or, maybe you’ve got great self-confidence in an area (e.g. a sport that you play) but low self-esteem overall.

A strong and solid sense of self-esteem comes from deep within, from a belief in your importance, your value, and your worthiness. The good news is that there are many ways to improve self-esteem, which we will look at below.

Causes of Low Self-Esteem

Low self-esteem can stem from many areas. It is largely influenced by how other people see and treat us, and our relationships, which is why the influence of our parents has the most significant impact on our self-esteem. Here are some of the most common causes of low self-esteem:

An Unhappy Childhood

Those who grew up with critical, abusive, or neglectful parents are more likely to face challenges with their own self-worth, while those who experienced acceptance, approval, and affection are more likely to have a higher sense of self-value.

Traumatic Experiences

Lower levels of self-esteem can also stem from bad experiences or traumatic events, such as being bullied or being in an emotionally abusive relationship. Essentially, it can stem from anything that has brought up feelings of shame, guilt, or worthlessness.

Experiences of Failure

For some, lower self-esteem is connected to their success and accomplishments, or lack thereof, including experiences of failure, or not achieving goals or expectations.

Negative Self-Talk

Many cases of low self-esteem are perpetuated by negative self-talk. This could be a story that you have created yourself or that someone else created for you long ago that you continue to believe, and it gets in the way of learning how to build self-esteem.

Maybe for you, like for many others, low self-esteem is rooted in your feelings about your appearance or body image. It’s not just about how you look; it’s about how you feel about how you look. We are bombarded with messages from an early age about being too fat, too thin, too short, too tall, or too much of anything, or not enough of something else.

What Happens When You Lack Self-Esteem?

Low self-esteem can lead to significant physical and mental health issues, including anxiety, depression, eating disorders, and addiction. In fact, research shows that adolescents who suffered from low self-esteem grew up to have more physical and mental problems, higher rates of criminal convictions, lower earnings, and challenges with long-term unemployment[1].

On the flipside, a strong sense of self-esteem will help you experience greater health and well-being, better relationships, and higher levels of happiness, fulfillment, and success. One study even correlated higher levels of self-esteem with higher earning potential[2].

Advertising

Assess Your Own Self-Esteem

Individuals with low or compromised self-esteem can see themselves as inadequate, incompetent, and even unlovable. While they often know at a “conscious” level that these things aren’t true, they still feel that way deep within. That’s what makes challenges with self-esteem so tricky; it’s often not about the reality of what is, but the perception of what someone feels.

Those with low self-esteem may appear socially withdrawn or quiet, negative, insecure, indecisive, unhappy, or even angry. They are more likely to find themselves in unhealthy relationships, have a fear of failure, and worry about what others think.

On the flipside, those with high self-esteem, more often than not, feel a strong sense of self-worth and value, feelings of confidence and acceptance. They tend to find themselves in healthy relationships (and ditch the bad ones), take care of themselves, and are more resilient when faced with setbacks, obstacles, and failures. In general, they tend to stand up more for what they believe in and aren’t afraid to speak their minds.

Self-esteem can be measured on a scale of high to low: while too little has its obvious downsides, you can also have too much of a good thing. Those with an overly strong sense of self-esteem may appear cocky, narcissistic, and self-important.

Finding the balance of a strong sense self of self-worth and humility is important as we go through life, which is why it’s so important to learn how to build self-esteem the right way.

How to Build Self-Esteem (A Step-by-Step Guide)

Self-esteem issues are generally found in the gap between who you are and who you think you should be. Paradoxically, most causes of low self-esteem stem from how others see or treat you, yet the solution to increasing your self-esteem is something that needs to come from the inside out, not from the outside in.

Learning how to increase self-esteem is not an easy task. While I wish I could wave a magic wand for you, what I’ve learned is that building and nurturing your self-esteem takes time. However, it is a worthwhile investment. Once you’ve done the work, you’ll reap the many rewards and benefits for a lifetime.

Below are some great strategies to start your journey.

1. Get to the Root Cause

Identifying the real, root cause(s) for your low self-esteem is one of the most important things you can do to build it back up.

We named many reasons above. Maybe one of them, in particular, resonated with you. Perhaps your parents said you were “never good enough” or that you wouldn’t amount to anything. I work with clients all the time who share stories of their parents’ behavior and the significant impact it has had on their self-esteem.

Whatever experiences you may have had, and whatever the root issue might be for you, I strongly recommend you get someone to support you through the process to identify and deal with it. Find a counselor, therapist, coach or someone who is trained in helping uncover and address these traumas, past experiences, and root issues. These folks have proven tools, tactics and strategies – and best of all, they help you experiment in a safe space.

While you may be able to do a lot of work on your own, my experience is that if you don’t address the root cause, that feeling will creep back in over time. You can’t run away from the truth, and you can’t band-aid over old wounds. You’ve got to get to the source, which won’t be easy, but if you want to learn how to build self-esteem, it needs to be done.

For this step, Lifehack’s Free Life Assessment may help. It can show you where you feel fulfilled and where you feel you are lacking. Try it today!

2. See Yourself How Others See You

See yourself how others see you, and talk to yourself as others would talk to you. What do I mean by this? Think about the person who loves you the most in this world.

Advertising

Now, take a moment, zoom out, and imagine you are standing in their shoes and watching through their eyes. Look from their perspective and see yourself as they see you.

What do you notice about you? What would they say to you? What do they love about you? What do they see in you?

3. Do Your Best

Simple advice is often the best advice. When you do your best and place your full effort into each and every day, you start to feel better about yourself.

Now, your best might change from day to day, and some days, your best won’t be as good as it was the day before. It’s important to remind yourself that you are doing the best you can with what you have, right now, in that situation, with that time frame, your level of skill or knowledge.

When you know you’ve done your best, you have no regrets and nothing about which to feel bad or guilty. If you do your best and then someone criticizes you, it’s easier to brush off when you know you did the best you could.

I ask my clients (and myself) this question all the time, whether they’re ruminating over something they’ve said, thinking about what they could have done better, or just disappointed about an outcome they had hoped to achieve. Did you do your best? If the answer is yes, then there’s nothing more you can do – until next time.

4. Engage in Activities That Satisfy You

The key word here is satisfy. Find things that give you a deep sense of satisfaction, a feeling of fullness and purpose.

Too often we engage in activities or relationships that leave us feeling self-conscious, empty, or terrible about ourselves. It’s time to put more focus, time, and effort to do those things that feel good for your body, mind, and spirit, and to engage in things that make you feel whole and full.

Identify what satisfies you mentally (e.g. solving a big problem or creating something new), emotionally (e.g. hanging out with friends or volunteering), physically (e.g. exercising, eating right, or taking care of your body), and spiritually (e.g. meditation or going to your place of worship).

When you engage in something that makes you feel good and, even more importantly, makes you feel worthwhile, you will experience greater self-esteem.

5. Identify Who You Are and Be True to That

Self-awareness and a little soul searching are critical to your success in life and key to learning how to build self-esteem. In some cases, lack of self-esteem stems from a lack of knowing the kind of person you truly are, and the value you bring. Many of us have spent so much time trying to fit in and please others that we’ve completely lost our sense of self.Spend time paying attention and getting to know yourself. Take time to identify who you are. Some things to think about include:

  • Identifying your strengths and talents
  • Acknowledging your value and worth, and uncovering your passions
  • Understanding your values and what’s important to you
  • Thinking about how you want to serve or contribute to the world
  • Acknowledging your blind spots

6. Accept Yourself

Make the decision to accept the imperfectly perfect you. Know that regardless of what you have been told, what has occurred, what wrong you have done, or what challenges you have faced, you are enough. You are doing the best you can with what you have.

We all want to be accepted for who we are. But first, we must accept ourselves.

7. Stop Compromising Yourself

When you let others push you around, put everyone else’s needs before your own, or cave in to what everyone else wants because you don’t want to rock the boat, it lowers your self-esteem. You are putting their needs ahead of yours, and your mind thinks to itself, “I guess I’m not that important.”

Advertising

I worked with two different clients just last week on this very thing. They were both putting everyone else’s needs ahead of their own, and it was having a significant and negative impact on their health and well-being.

Now, I’m not suggesting you shouldn’t take care of your kids and spouse, meet your work deadlines, or be there for your friends. But you’ve also got to take care of you. We compromise ourselves to fit in, to be loved, and to be acknowledged. However, if you are constantly compromising yourself, you will never truly feel satisfied.

How often do you let what others think of you or need from you dictate your actions or decisions?

If you want to learn how to build self-esteem, be strong, and stand up for yourself. It’s time to identify what you need and want for your life.

Decide what is important to you. Naming these things will give you an inner compass to guide you. Then, identify your boundaries and the non-negotiables in your life. What are you not willing to put up with anymore? 

Get clear on these things now, so when the time comes to push back, stand up, or politely say no, you have the back-up and inner guidance to do so.

8. Look for the Good

We tend to find what we are looking for. Put simply, people tend to (often unconsciously) look for things that reinforce what they already believe to be true.

The same goes for how you see yourself. If you believe you are worthless or unlovable, you will find data to back that belief up. However, if you believe you are worthwhile and beautiful, or courageous and strong, you will soon find data to back that up instead.

The challenge with those who suffer from low self-esteem is that they have gotten into a habit of finding what’s wrong. Often, there is a negative message lodged in their subconscious mind. In some cases, they’ve just gotten really good at seeing all their faults and shortcomings.

The easiest way to change what you see is to change what you’re looking for. Catch yourself doing something right.

Try this: Grab a journal, and for the next 21 days, write down 3 things you value, appreciate, or like about yourself. This might include acknowledging your wins or successes, things you are proud of, or noticing what you feel good about. While it may feel challenging at first, you’ll soon start to rewire your brain to see more of what’s right and less of what’s wrong.

9. Stop Negative Self-Talk

Much of your belief systems come from the negative story you are telling yourself. Your mind believes what you tell it, and if the story you are playing (over and over again) in your mind is one of the horrible mistakes you’ve made, that’s what you will continue to reinforce and strengthen through negative thoughts, which makes building confidence very difficult.

Tell yourself you are worthless and incapable; your mind will believe that. Tell yourself you are able and awesome; your mind will believe that, too.

Catch the negative self-talk and replace it with positive self-talk today if you want to learn how to build self-esteem.

Advertising

10. Find Your Tribe

Since so much of our self-esteem is influenced by our relationships and how others see and treat us, it’s even more critical that you surround yourself with healthy, uplifting, encouraging, and supportive people.

Find people who know the real you, people who can speak to the value you bring, your talents and worth. These are people who can be real with you, sharing the positive and the constructive in an uplifting way.

11. Take Chances

Many great minds have shared that failure has been key to their success, the stepping stone to their greatness, and the catalyst to their growth. You might have heard the stories about Michael Jordan being cut from his varsity basketball team, Oprah Winfrey being told she wasn’t “meant to be on TV,” and Steven Spielberg being rejected for film school not just once, but three times.

Taking chances, experiencing failure, and building resilience is key to learning how to build self-esteem. After all, if you never take a chance, you will never know – and you’ll stay stuck in your story.

12. Find Meaning and Create Goals

As humans, we all need to learn, develop, grow, and contribute. When you are suffering from low self-esteem, this can create a vicious cycle:

You don’t feel great about yourself, so you don’t go out there and make stuff happen. Because you’re not being successful, you feel a lack of self-worth.

    It’s time to break the cycle.

    Take steps that allow you to become who you are truly capable of being. Perhaps this is about finding something that gives you meaning, or maybe it’s about the steps you need to take to get from where you are to where you want to be. For example, the act of helping others (contributing, volunteering and being kind) have shown to not only increases self-esteem, but also happiness, health, and satisfaction[3].

    Start with something small and work your way up. Each small success will bring about greater confidence and, ultimately, a stronger sense of self-esteem.

    The Bottom Line

    The journey to higher self-esteem will be challenging, but the challenge is what builds depth, strength, character and resilience. If the reward is greater self-esteem, which leads to greater relationships, a better career, increased health and well being, more success, and a greater sense of self-worth, it’s worth it.

    While you live in a society where you are constantly bombarded with messages of not being enough and how you could be better, just remember this:

    You are deserving of love, happiness, and success. You are imperfectly perfect. It’s not by chance that you have arrived here, on this planet, at this very time, and even if you feel inadequate, unlovable, or unworthy, know that you are none of those things.

    You may not be able to believe this yet, but some part of you, deep down inside, knows this to be true.

    Now, it’s time to take the steps above and realize it for yourself.

    More on How to Build Self-Esteem

    Featured photo credit: Barbora Polednová via unsplash.com

    Reference

    Read Next