9 Ways to Increase Your Self-Esteem

Whenever you feel your current performance and behavior is consistent with the best person you can possibly be, your self-esteem goes up.  You feel happier, have more energy, and are positive and personable with others.  Your entire life improves exponentially as your self-esteem rises.  Here, then, are nine ways I have found to increase self-esteem.

  1. Exercise daily.  Surprised?  You know you should exercise and you know all the reasons.  You know that it’s one thing you can do for yourself that would have a long-term effect on your mental and physical well-being.  What I’ve learned is that just 30 minutes every morning of walking on my treadmill jump starts my self-esteem for the day and keeps it going all day long.  So the next time you’re thinking of sleeping in instead of working out, don’t think of your routine as weight loss or body building, instead, remind yourself that your self-esteem needs this workout.
  2. Keep your commitments.  Especially the ones you make to yourself.  Going back to exercising for a moment.  Every time you make a commitment to yourself to get up tomorrow morning and work out, but then don’t – your self-esteem is negatively affected.  If you’ll watch yourself, you’ll  probably notice that you then berate yourself all day over other things.  This is true for any commitment you make, but especially those that you make to yourself.  You know that you have no excuse for not following through, and you end up beating yourself up.  So keep your commitments – all of them.
  3. Plan your work and work your plan.  This is an old paradigm with a contemporary approach.  When you set your plan for the day, I’m assuming that you do so in a manner that is consistent with what you think would be the best use of your time.  So, when you implement your plan, you are “consistent with the best person you can possibly be,” causing your self-esteem to soar.
  4. Help someone else.  Perform an RAK – Random Act of Kindness.  Do something nice for someone else without being asked.  Return someone’s cart at the grocery store; pitch in to help a co-worker who is behind with her work; let someone get in front of you in line.  Only powerful people do these sorts of things and knowing that you have power increases your self-esteem.
  5. Remember your purpose.  You are a unique individual here to provide a valuable service or resource to the rest of us.  What is it?  Just remembering this fact causes your self-esteem to rise.
  6. Act on your purpose.  If you’re not sure what you’re purpose in life is, find out.  Then, do just one thing today in line with that purpose.  I guarantee this will improve how you feel about yourself.
  7. Learn something new.  Remember how good you felt when you were in elementary school and you learned a new subject.  Or when you learned something new at work, had to apply it, you performed really well and everyone noticed.  Even when we learn something new and nothing happens to give us recognition for it, we still feel better about ourselves for having learned it.  After all, you will have that information the next time you need it.  Anytime we learn something, our self-esteem goes up because we know we’re capable of learning, doing, and accomplishing consistently more throughout our lives.  The people who are the happiest in their retirement – and statistically live longer – are the people who continue to learn new subjects long after the “need” to do so expires.  I say the need to learn never stops.  If you’ve truly reached the highest level in your career, there’s nothing more for you to learn, maybe it’s time for a new career – like teaching others what you know. 
  8. Teach someone else how to do something.  Whether it’s teaching your children or grand-children how to read, a co-worker how to do part of your job, or writing a step-by-step guide for your husband on how to fix dinner, there are plenty of things you know that others would love to learn.  Teaching someone else to do something successfully – meaning that they can then do it for themselves, is one of the greatest feelings in the world.  Maybe that’s why we’re always drawn to teachers – they are full of self-esteem!
  9. Create your own.  While many more ways exist to increase one’s self-esteem, these are the main ones that I share in my seminars on career development.  Each of us has our own unique triggers that work for us and some things work at certain times better than others do.  You have certain behaviors or things that you do that you know make you feel good about yourself.  Keep a list somewhere handy and refer to it often.

Your Assignment

If you’re having trouble setting aside time to do the above list and need help immediately, try this:

  • List ten things you like about yourself.
  • List five of your most positive characteristics.
  • List three goals you have set and accomplished.
  • List the two most important lessons you’ve ever learned.
  • Name one major tragedy or setback that you have survived.

Posted under Inspiration, Leadership, Motivation

2 Comments so far

  1. Colm OReilly January 10, 2007 3:45 am

    Hey Debra,

    Overall I really like this article. On a very subtle level I think it shows that there is no magic pill for self esteem, and it’s actually down to the little things adding up. People must allow all the good they do to bolster their self esteem too, and shouldn’t do it to avoid negative feelings.

    Knowing your purpose goes a tremendous way towards confidence, and here’s just one example. If you know how and what way you give to teh universe you can be proud of it. It also helps when you have to make a decision (such as where to spend your time or what charity to help) since you can’t do everything for everybody, you know you’re enriching the world with your presence and others are doing the same with their gifts.

    I did the exercises too, nice way to start my day. Anyone else who is reading this, do the exercises! Don’t just look at them and say, huh, they’d be useful, and continue browsing!

    Lots of love,

  2. Kelly Martin July 18, 2011 2:18 pm

    This list is fine for someone with very slight insecurity. It is not of any help for people with genuine low self esteem. It does not read like someone who has actually been there. So many motivational sites do these 7, 9, 12 steps and it is so frustrating when genuinely looking for real support.


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