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Published on February 18, 2019

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

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

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.

“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.

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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.

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.

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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

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:

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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

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.

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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.

Take a look at this article and get inspired:

34 Ways To Live in the Moment And Grow in the Moment

The Bottom Line

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 Resources About Changing 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.

How to Make Living the Dream Life Possible How Do I Change for the Better? 11 Little Things to Start Doing Today 15 Really Good Podcasts to Keep You Motivated and Reach Your Goals How to Crush Your Lack of Motivation and Always Stay Motivated The Importance of Self Improvement No Matter How Old You Are

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1 Signs Of Low Self-Esteem And The Root Causes You Might Not Know 2 Can You Stop Depression from Damaging Your Brain? 3 How to Practice Mindful Meditation to Calm Your Thoughts 4 10 Personal Development Goals for Success and Happiness 5 10 Things You Can Do Now to Change Your Life Forever

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Last Updated on May 21, 2019

Signs Of Low Self-Esteem And The Root Causes You Might Not Know

Signs Of Low Self-Esteem And The Root Causes You Might Not Know

People who have low self esteem are always hard on themselves. Sometimes they even cannot truly accept compliments because they would second guess people’s intentions.

    In this article, we’ll look into the symptoms of a low esteem person and what you can do if you find yourself having self-esteem issues.

    Symptoms of a Low Self-Esteem Person

    Common Symptoms

    • Unable to trust your own opinion
    • Always overthinking
    • Afraid to take challenges, being worried you wouldn’t overcome them
    • Hard on yourself but lenient with others
    • Frequent anxiety and emotional turmoil

    Lesser-Known Symptoms

    Being a workaholic

    At work expectations are set clearly. Even if there’s pressure in the workplace, compared to relationships or the social world where so much is unknown and uncontrollable, work is more straightforward.

    It’s easier to meet the expectations and perform well at work. Therefore, some people with low self-esteem would shift their focus to work and put all their energies there.

    Overachieving or underachieving

    Many of us have already heard that people with low self-esteem tend to be under-achievers as they’re too afraid to take new challenges and not confident enough to fully utilize their talents.

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    However, there’s another extreme. Some of them are too anxious of failure and being rejected, so they will try their very best to be outstanding to prove their worth.

    Causes of Low Self-Esteem

    Most of the time it stems from our childhood. Here’re some negative early experiences that lead to low self-esteem:[1]

    • Frequent punishment
    • Frequent neglect
    • Chronic abuse
    • Harsh parental standards
    • Being bullied/boycotted
    • Being on the receiving end of someone else’s stress or despair
    • Lack of praise, warmth and affection
    • Staying in a family or group where other members are prejudiced towards

    Childhood is when we form our “Bottom Line” and “Rules for Living” which affects the way we think, that’s why all the negative early experiences can have a very long-lasting effect on our adulthood.

    How “Bottom Line” Affects Your Self-Esteem

    “Bottom Line” is how you usually feel about something, based on your early experience. For example, “how you felt when you first left home becomes the emotional bottom line for when you leave other things in your life.”, according to therapist Robert Taibbi [2].

    When we talk about self-esteem, the bottom line is about how people around you treat you, as we grow up taking the voices of people who are significant to us. Did they say you’re adorable, or you’re always not good enough? Did they neglect you that made you feel worthless?

    That largely affects the way you view yourself and hence affect your self-esteem.

    How “Bottom Line” Determines Your “Rules for Living

    Based on the “Bottom Line”, we would form our “Rules for Living”, which are the strategies for dealing with life. For example, if you have the belief that you are always inferior to others, your Rules for Living would be “better not to speak up and to keep a low profile”.

    How Low Self-Esteem Affects Every Aspect of Your Life

    So what are the consequences of having low self-esteem?

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    It Makes You Confuse Love with Low Self-Esteem

    Having a low self-esteem, you expect people to treat you badly.

    When people are being just quite nice to you, you feel overjoyed and have unrealistically good feelings for them. This can be easily mistaken as love and also scare people away who might be just interested in being friends with you (at first).

    It Makes You Have a Lower Hand in the Relationship

    As you think your partner is too good for you, you bear things that you shouldn’t stand for.

    Sometimes you even confuse love with self-esteem. Are you giving in really because you love him/her so much or you just dare not to speak up and bargain?

    It Makes Your Employers Feel That You’re Not Talented

    People with low esteem sometimes are actually gifted. But they don’t know how to show it and “sell” themselves.

    During meeting, they keep quiet, during presentation they speak weakly, during daily conversation they say “sorry” and “maybe” too often…As a result, employers and other colleagues perceive people with low esteem as people without much talents.

    It Can Lead to Depression

    Over time, low self-esteem can lead to depression according to a study done by University of Basel researchers.[3] Psychologist Dr. Lars Madsen added that low self-esteem is “a key factor in both the development and maintenance of depression”.

    How to Improve Self-Esteem

    As we can see, low self-esteem is a deeply rooted issue and leads to lots of consequences. To solve it, it’s not an easy task, but it’s possible. The key is, to use the right ways.

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    1. Ignore All Those “Positivity” Advice

    Very often, we hear people say “Stay positive”, “Hey cheer up!”. People with depression know all these do not help. It just makes them feel worse.

    Same for low self-esteem, simply telling people “To me you’re wonderful!”, “You’re actually awesome”, “Why don’t you appreciate yourself more?”, or even worse “Hey you should be more confident” does not improve their self-esteem. Instead, they would feel inadequate or even guilty of their behavior.

    2. Focus Elsewhere

    “Healthy self esteem needs to emerge subtly.”[4]

    Same as happiness, you don’t immediately feel happier when you tell yourself to be happier. You need some concrete ways to do so like pursuing a goal that truly matters to you, like spending quality time with your loved ones.

    When you want to improve your self-esteem, don’t try too hard on thinking of ways to do so. There’s no direct way to improve it. It should be a by-product of our overall life’s satisfaction.

    According to psychologist Abraham Maslow,[5] to live a fulfilling life, you should take care the 5 levels of human basic needs. To help you understand more about this psychological model we made a video to explain it:

    Or you can refer to the graph below:

    5 Levels of Human Basic Needs

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      To focus elsewhere, we’ve summarized the above items and put them into this list for you:

      • Deep connection with loved ones
      • A healthy body
      • Sense of control
      • A meaningful life purpose
      • Recognition and respect from others
      • Sense of security
      • Creativity

      As you gradually equip yourself with the skills to fulfil the above needs, you’ll forget about self-esteem and suddenly you’ll find that you just feel proud of yourself when you know so much that others don’t.

      Resources to Help Increase Your Self Esteem

      To help you gradually build your self-esteem, here’s a list of the best self-help books that can help you fulfil the goals:

      1. How to Win Friends & Influence People
      2. Outliers: The Story of Success By Malcolm Gladwell
      3. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change
      4. Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time
      5. The Paleo Manifesto: Ancient Wisdom for Lifelong Health
      6. The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Busines
      7. The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts
      8. Thinking, Fast and Slow
      9. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life
      10. Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions

      The Bottom Line

      If you find yourself having low self-esteem, don’t be hopeless. Have faith in yourself that you can regain self-esteem and become a confident and successful person.

      How?

      Understand the root causes of your low self-esteem and overcome these causes with the advice in this article.

      Featured photo credit: Joe Gardner via unsplash.com

      Reference

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