5 Ways to Improve Your Self-Esteem in 2018

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A new year is here, and for many people, it is a time of new beginnings, new dreams and new goals. But maybe you're having a hard time seeing the new year as a time of opportunity. Perhaps you're feeling down about your past, or like you just don't measure up in some way. Make 2018 a year of growth and happiness by focusing on improving your own self-esteem.

Be Your Own BFF

Have you ever stopped and considered the things you say to yourself? Does any of this ring a bell: "I'm so fat," "I'll never learn this," "I'm so lazy," "I just can't do this!"Would you ever say these things to your best friend? How would you talk to your best friend? You would probably be encouraging, affirming, and helpful. Learn to talk to yourself with the same love, compassion and patience you give to your friends and loved ones.

Stop Making Comparisons

During the 2016 Summer Olympics, US gymnast Simone Biles responded to comparisons by saying, "I'm not the next Usain Bolt or Michael Phelps. I'm the first Simone Biles." This young lady recognized her inherent worth, and didn't pattern her success after someone else's. When we compare ourselves to others, we doom our own self-esteem. There will always be people around who appear to be more beautiful, talented, successful, or intelligent. And in the age of social media, where our connections tend to share the best parts of their lives, we feel like we are missing out or don't measure up. Stop looking at the "virtual reality" of other peoples' lives, even if it means taking a break from social media. Consider the good things happening in your life and if you're going through a rough patch, remember that circumstances don't define you. Maybe you're single or unemployed today, but that can easily change tomorrow. Regardless of the circumstances, you are still the same wonderful person in either circumstance.

Know Your Strengths - and Your Weaknesses

Positive self-esteem is not a matter of always feeling like you are on top of the world at all times. Positive self-esteem is recognizing and being realistic about yourstrengths and weaknesses, but not letting them define you. Someone can be a marvelous attorney but a terrible cook, or an amazing parent but completely unorganized. Accept weaknesses for what they are, and as opportunities for growth, but not the basis for your self-worth.

Get Moving

Regular exercise provides so much more than a trim waistline. Short-term benefits include improved mood, better sleep, and stress relief. The long-term benefits are even better, such as feeling good about our physical abilities and appearance, and opportunities to socialize with people who share our interests. Regular and consistent exercise provides the maximum benefits. Set realistic goals: how much time and energy can you feasibly devote to exercise? If you have a demanding job, a family and multiple social obligations, training for an IronMan competition may be challenging (but not impossible). Next, choose exercise you enjoy. If you hate running, you will never wake up early to go for that run, much less train for a race. Try different types of exercise until you find what you enjoy and can commit to. Then – set goals and celebrate your accomplishments. Even if your goal is to walk two miles 3 times a week, pat yourself on the back every week you meet your goal, and celebrate every milestone achieved, whether it's workouts completed, weight lost, or distance covered. These personal successes will continuously improve how you feel about yourself.

Help Others

Sometimes, the best thing we can do to feel better about ourselves is to help someone else in need. Bake cookies for your new neighbor, pick up groceries for an elderly person, or volunteer at the animal shelter. When we see ourselves making a positive impact in someone else's life, our focus shifts away from ourselves, and as a result, we feel happier and more connected to others.

Make 2018 the year you learn to appreciate yourself!

 

Jennifer Silvershein