Published on December 30, 2020

4 Steps to Building Self-Esteem Effectively

4 Steps to Building Self-Esteem Effectively

How you see yourself plays a pivotal role in the type of life you create. When you have positive self-esteem and feel good about yourself, you are more willing to try new things. More importantly, when you experience failure, you are less likely to blame yourself. You will see failure as an opportunity to learn, grow, and perform better the next time. This makes building your self-esteem an important part of living your life to the fullest.

Conversely, those with low self-esteem tend to avoid change because they believe failure displays their shortcomings. Self-esteem is often considered a fundamental human need and something we all seek.

If you want to build your self-esteem quickly and efficiently, below are four steps you can follow.

1. Recognize Your Triggers

There are days when you feel like a million bucks, and there are days when you feel like five bucks. On the days you feel off your game, what events took place that made you feel that way?

Oftentimes, you will recognize some similarities in the days where your self-esteem is lacking. Did you fight with a loved one? Maybe you committed to doing something, but the circumstances changed and you couldn’t keep your promise.

Unexpected life changes can also negatively impact your self-esteem. Did you lose a job, move to a new area, lose a loved one, or are dealing with a crisis at work? Each of these events can cause you to doubt your abilities or worry about how the change will impact your life. While the frequency of the event differs, it is important to recognize what creates a “bad” day.


2. Shift the Momentum

Once you know the commonalities in days you suffer from low self-esteem, you need to come up with a plan to overcome it. One of the most common mistakes people make is that they live their life reacting.

When they have a good day, it can get no better. On the not so good days, nothing seems to go right. To build self-esteem that endures every situation, you need to build consistency in your process. How you perceive yourself in times of turmoil is key. When things are going well, you see yourself as successful and fulfilling your purpose. In times of trouble, you see yourself as a failure and wonder if things will ever get better.

Instead of focusing on what is going wrong in your life in times of misfortune, look for the things that are going right. It’s easier said than done, I know. But you must adjust your self-talk on the “bad” days. The good news is this process happens naturally over time. However, you want to stop reacting and start taking control of your life.[1]

Consider when you lose a loved one. It hurts especially at the beginning because your focus is on everything you lost. You lost your friend, partner, and confidant. You lost the opportunity to tell someone how much you appreciate or love them. However, after some time has passed, you find yourself appreciating the good times you had together. You smile at the thought of their laugh and you slowly realize you are going to be alright.

So, what’s changed? The key change is your self-talk. You are no longer thinking about what you have lost but about what you gained—all the wonderful experiences that can never be taken away. For you to build self-esteem in times of misfortune, you need productive self-talk.[2]

When you are speaking to yourself negatively, you are magnifying all that is wrong in your life. It is unreasonable to expect yourself to constantly have positive self-talk, but you should aim to bounce back as quickly as possible.


Don’t continue the negative self-talk until things are better around you. Look to take control and increase your positive self-talk on your own.

3. What You Say Matters

As mentioned in the previous step, how you talk to yourself matters. When things are not going well, it becomes difficult to remember things for which to be grateful. Your brain goes into flight or fight mode, and this causes you to focus on the problem in an over-simplistic manner.

As your ability to think rationally decreases, you may find it challenging to change your self-talk and reflect reasonably. A quick way to build self-esteem efficiently and effectively is to create a positive mindset journal. If you are not a big fan of the journal, then you can instead fill a shoebox or a scrapbook with pictures of things that make you smile.

The goal is for you to quickly reset your mindset when momentum is pulling your self-esteem in a negative direction. In your journal, write down any and everything you have done successfully. Make a note of any goal you have set for yourself and accomplished.

If your preference is images, include pictures of your loved ones and things you want to accomplish in your life. For images of things you want to accomplish in your life, think vision board.

Do you want to be debt-free, take trips with your family, purchase a home, or learn a new language? Whatever the goal, look for an image that encapsulates your goal. Then, whenever your self-esteem is suffering, take a look in your positive mindset journal and remember all that is right in your life. This will help you leave flight or fight mode and reestablish the proper perspective and mindset.


4. Create Positive Relationships

Another efficient way to build self-esteem is to establish quality friendships. There is a reciprocal link between self-esteem and the social relationships in your life.[3] Think of it as the positive impact a parent can have on their children’s self-esteem.

Parents who have a positive relationship with their children influence them into adulthood. Your relationship with your friends can have a similar impact. Friends that encourage and support you will help build your self-esteem.

By finding friends who have similar goals and aspirations, you can hold each other accountable—much in the way that friends who workout together are more likely to continue working out than someone working out by themselves. You are not always going to be in the mood to go to the gym, but you tend to go to the gym when someone is expecting you. As you accomplish your goals and keep your promises to yourself and others, your self-esteem will continue to rise.

You can also create positive relationships with the actions you want to take through a reward system. Think of it as training a child or a pet with positive reinforcement. If you are a teacher, can you increase your class engagement if you promise extra credit for answering your questions? Of course. The same holds if you give a dog a treat every time they obey your command.

By creating positive relationships with your desired results and actions, you train yourself to behave the right way. When I face a difficult situation, I reward myself with a Slurpee once completed. You may not be excited by a Slurpee, but you may enjoy some alone time with a new book or taking a half-day at work so you can go to the park. Whatever your motivation, you want to create a positive relationship with a difficult situation.

Final Thoughts

Low self-esteem can negatively impact almost every aspect of your life. For you to improve your personal and professional life, you need to build self-esteem in a manner that will hold you up during the tough times and flourish during prosperous times.


By following the four steps outlined in this article, you will be sure to feel good about yourself and your ability to accomplish your goals.

Remember, building your self-esteem is a lifelong commitment. You will have plenty of great days, with a few less-than-great days mixed in. The goal should be to reset yourself as quickly as possible whenever you feel down and unmotivated.

Do not expect yourself to always maintain high self-esteem. Instead, work to recognize your triggers and take the steps to shift your self-esteem in a positive direction.

More Tips on Building Self-Esteem

Featured photo credit: Ashley Light via


[1] Psychology Today: 8 Steps to Improving Your Self-Esteem
[2] Journal of the National Medical Center: The Foundation of Self-Esteem
[3] American Psychological Association: Positive Relationships Boost Self-Esteem, and Vice Versa

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Last Updated on July 21, 2021

How to Get “I Can’t Do It” Out of Your Vocabulary

How to Get “I Can’t Do It” Out of Your Vocabulary

When someone says, “I can’t do it” . . . I say to myself, “What do you mean you can’t do it?” Maybe you don’t want to do it, but saying you “can’t” do it is a completely different story.

With the right mindset, positive attitude, and a clear vision of what you want to accomplish, the only thing that is holding you back is yourself.

Can’t is a terrible word and it has to be taken out of your vocabulary.

By saying you can’t do something, you’re already doubting yourself, submitting to defeat, and you’re making that barrier around your life tighter.

So today, right now, we are going to remove this word for good.

From now on there is nothing we can’t do.

“Attitude is Tattoo”

Your attitude is everything; it’s your reason, your why and how, your facial expression, emotions, body language, and potentially the end result. How you approach an opportunity, and the result of it, is solely based on you — not your boss or your co-worker or friend.

If you enter a business meeting with a sour attitude, that negative energy can spread like wildfire. People can also feel it — maybe even taste it. This is not an impression you want to leave.


Now imagine you enter a business meeting with a positive attitude, that whatever happens in here is going to be your result, in your control, not someone else’s. Of course, we can’t always win, but even if the outcome is negative, your attitude and perception can turn it into a positive. The question is: can you do it?

Of course you can, because there is nothing in this world you can’t do.

It’s much better to be known for your positive attitude — your poise, your energy, the reason why things go so well because you are able to maintain such character. A negative attitude is easy. It’s easy to complain, it’s easy to be mad, and it’s even easier to do nothing to change it.

When I say your “attitude is tattoo”, it sounds permanent. Tattoos can be removed, but that’s not the point. Your attitude is like a tattoo because you wear it. People can see it and sometimes, they will judge you on it. If you maintain a negative attitude, then it is permanent until you change it.

Change your attitude and I guarantee the results change as well.

Believe You Can Do It

Do you know why most people say “can’t” and doubt themselves before trying anything?

It’s our lack of self-confidence and fear on many different levels. The one thing we have to purge from ourselves is fear — fear of bad results, fear of change, fear of denial, fear of loss, the fear that makes us worry and lose sleep. Worrying is the same as going outside with an umbrella, waiting for rain to hit it. Stop worrying and move on.

Confidence is fragile: It builds up slowly, but can shatter like glass. Project your confidence and energy into believing in yourself. This is a very important and groundbreaking step — one that is usually the hardest to take. Start telling yourself you can do something, anything, and you will do it the best to your ability. Remove doubt, remove fear, and stick with positive energy.


Learn how to boost your confidence: How to Be Confident: 62 Proven Ways to Build Self-Confidence

Embrace Failure

Do not fear failure. Do not run away from it. Face it, learn from it, grow, and take action. Just remember: You will never know success if you have never failed.

Your confidence will bolster after embracing these facts. You will be immune to demoralizing results, and instead you will find ways to fix it, improve upon it, and make it better than before. You will learn to never say “can’t,” and will realize how many more opportunities you can create by removing that one word.

Don’t let one simple and ugly word plague your confidence. You’re better and stronger than that.

Start Making the Change

But to actually start the process of change is very challenging.

Why is that?

Fear? Time? Don’t know how — or where — to start?

It’s hard because what we’re doing is unlearning what we know. We are used to doing things a certain way, and chances are we’ve been doing them for years.


So here are some ways that I avoid using the word “can’t”, and actually take the steps to put forth the change that I wish to see. I hope you can incorporate these methods into your life.

Write down What You Want to Change

Write it on post-its, notecards, whatever makes you comfortable — something you will always see. I usually write mine on post-its and put them all over the wall behind my monitor so I always see them.

Tell a Friend and Talk About It

Discussing your goals, what you want to change, is very effective when you say it out loud and tell another person other than yourself. It’s almost like saying, hey, I bet I can do it — watch me.

When you fulfill that goal and tell your friend, it feels rewarding and will motivate you to do it again in a different aspect. Who knows? Maybe your friend adopts the same mindset as you.

Stop Yourself from Saying the Forbidden Word

Sometimes,I can’t control myself in public when I’m with friends, so I have to be careful with the words I use so I don’t embarrass or insult anyone.

Treat the word “can’t” as the worst word you can possibly use. Stop yourself from saying it, mid-sentence if you must, and turn your whole perspective around — you can do it, you will do it, and nothing is impossible!

Repetition, Repetition, Repetition

You think this change will be overnight? No way. This is a practice. Something you’re going to be doing for the rest of your life from now until forever.

As I said earlier, you are unlearning what you know. You know how easy it is to say you can’t do something, so by unlearning this easy practice, you’re self-disciplining yourself to live without boundaries.


Practice this everyday, a little at a time, and before you know it, the word can’t will not be part of your language.

Do Anything That Can Relieve Your Uncertainty

When I catch myself saying I can’t do something or I don’t know something, looking up information on that action or subject, doing research, educating yourself, relieves that uncertainty.

Sometimes, we think we can’t do something because the whole idea of it seems too large. We skip the small steps in our head and only focus on the end.

Before you say you can’t do something, rewind and slow down a little bit. Focus on what the first step is, then the next. Take it a step at a time, and before you know it you will have done something you previously thought you couldn’t do.

Final Thoughts

You know what you must do. The first step is right now. Once you begin this habit, and really start noticing some change, you’ll realize the door to opportunity is everywhere.

The funny thing is: Those doors have always been there. The evil word that we no longer use put a veil over our eyes because that’s how powerful that word is.

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