One of the best things you can do to improve your quality of life is to work on boosting your confidence, as the things you believe about yourself directly correlate to your achievements in life.
Really putting in the effort to maintain high self-esteem takes hard work, day in and day out – but it’ll make a huge difference to everything you do.
Here are the 17 best ways to build your self-esteem and stay positive.
1. Take care of your looks.
It may sound like an obvious one, but it can really do miracles for your self-esteem. This isn’t about being the most attractive woman in the room – it’s about building up your self-image, investing in your looks, and grooming yourself.
Your mood can change dramatically by simply putting on a new outfit or some red lipstick, or by brushing your hair for a few minutes longer than usual.
Take a good look in the mirror and ask yourself: what can I do to make myself look and feel better? Then, focus on those things – instead of ignoring them.
There are little things you can do instantly to improve how you look – and have a positive impact on how you feel and carry yourself.
2. Think positive.
It’s super important to kill negative thoughts and limit negative self-beliefs before they do damage to your self-esteem – because that lasting damage can be quite hard to eradicate later on. If you can change your thoughts, you can literally change your life.
They say, “what you believe, you become” – and that’s true. Be aware of your self-talk, and notice where your mind goes during stressful episodes and how you react to criticism. Is there something you can do to improve on those?
When you catch yourself having negative thoughts, acknowledge them – then mentally discard them. One of the best practices you can follow is living in the moment – not ignoring the past or future, rather just being grateful for all you’ve got right here and now, rather than having regrets about the past or worrying about the future.
If you manage to control your thoughts, you’ll see that things actually tend to be a lot better than they may appear at first.
3. Get to know yourself better.
Self-esteem is directly linked to your beliefs about yourself – so if they’re limiting, you’ll always feel like you aren’t good enough. Spend some time focusing on the things you’re great at, instead of feeling bad about the things that aren’t your forte.
If you struggle to tell the difference, ask your friends and family for some honest feedback. Get to know yourself better! You’re your only enemy.
Start by writing a journal about yourself, capturing thoughts, beliefs, and observations. List the things you love about yourself, the things that are unique or special about you, and the things that give you joy and make you proud to be you.
There are more than you give yourself credit for! If you dig deeper, you’ll soon come out with much higher self-esteem.
4. Stand tall.
This is such a little thing, yet so important for boosting confidence levels. Simply standing tall and having a better posture can do miracles for how confident you feel in any situation.
Don’t hide by slouching or making yourself look smaller. Instead, keep your head up high – it’s a powerful tool.
The best way to do always stand taller is to imagine that a rope is pulling your head from the ceiling. You’ll instantly look a lot more attractive in the eyes of those around you.
5. Be prepared.
You can’t feel confident if you feel underprepared or out of your depth in important life situations. Next time you have an important event coming up that you want to show up for in your best light, prepare for it and do it justice.
Whether it’s a job interview, an exam, a speech at your best friend’s wedding, or simply a difficult conversation you’ve been meaning to have with a colleague – the more prepared you are, the more confident you’ll feel.
There’s no doubt about it!
6. Know your values, and stick to them.
Confidence is a deeply embedded feeling. It means you know your worth – you know what you stand for and what your guiding principles in life are.
Self-esteem is grounded in beliefs, values, and principles. Knowing what yours are will help you live them and stand by them when they’re tested.
What are the principles your life is built upon?
What are your non-negotiables?
Have you got a list of golden rules you like to follow?
If you haven’t given your life principles much thought, it’s time to do so.
7. Slow down your speech.
This is a hard one to get right, especially if your default is to speak quickly and get through what you want to say at the speed of light. However, the next time you’re communicating something important, slow down your speech and watch the effect it’ll have on those around you.
Chances are, they’ll pay a lot more attention and be more drawn to you – especially if you make the right pauses.
When it comes to mastering communication, there’s a lot being said when you don’t even utter a word. Practice it, and you’ll feel a lot more confident about being heard and understood.
8. Increase your expertise.
Self-esteem grows as we grow in expertise, and there’s no doubt about that. Want to feel like the smartest person in the room? Aim to develop your knowledge – and never stop learning. There’s no shortcut.
You’ll become more competent by:
- Studying and practicing
- Being constantly curious
- Asking lots of questions
- Focusing on the skillset you want to develop
- Making time for your passions.
The more you practice something, the better you’ll become at it. Set aside the time you need to develop your skill set, even if it’s just 30 minutes a day.
When you empower yourself with knowledge, you’ll generally feel a lot better about yourself. You tend to do better at everything else – because you have the strong innate self-belief that you are worth it.
9. Change your habits.
Start small and change one tiny habit – and by doing that, you’ll feel powerful and unstoppable. With that comes immense confidence!
It could be that you want to read for an hour every day, wake up half an hour earlier, or call your mother once a week – whatever it is, give it your best, and you’ll soon see a big change.
It takes about 30 days to change a habit or develop a new one, so don’t give up when it seems like it isn’t working at first.
10. Practice gratitude.
Grateful people are positive people. They’re kind and generous, and they focus on the positive, on solutions, and on the present. They know what they have, and don’t whine about things that don’t go according to plan.
They also focus on their circle of influence, which makes them generally stronger mentally.
Be grateful for what you’ve got and where you are in life – and refrain from focusing on the ephemeral future where everything will “magically” be much better.
Keeping a gratitude journal is a great way to start this little habit, as is recapping the positives of your day when going to bed. Focus on the positives and watch your life transform before your eyes.
11. Exercise more.
Exercise has the power to transform your life, and if you haven’t realized that yet, then it’s time to give it some thought and effort. Exercise should be fun, rewarding, a little challenging, but always exciting!
It isn’t about struggling or punishing yourself; it’s about making yourself feel better – and with it, comes a lot of benefits for your health, and mental/emotional wellbeing.
Find an exercise that makes you feel good about yourself and give it your all.
12. Get organized.
They say your desk reflects the state of your mind – so how messy is yours? It’s time to focus on getting tidy! It may seem like such a small thing, but it has the power to set your mind at peace – and make you feel a lot more confident.
Being messy is usually a sign of laziness and procrastination. How can you build your self-esteem if you’re wasting your life and your potential away?
13. Build a support network.
Choose your network wisely! Hang out with people who have goals, dreams, and a positive outlook on life – not ones who drain your positivity.
As you grow older, your network of friends will likely get smaller and smaller, and that’s okay – you want to be surrounded by the right people, not just anyone.
Surround yourself with people who admire and value you – people who listen to you and understand who you are. Let negative people go, and don’t feel bad about your decision.
14. Help others.
If you use your skills and talents to help others you’ll, in turn, feel fulfilled about yourself. Remember that not everyone has the resources, opportunities, or abilities you have – so, anything you can do to step in and offer that as a gift to someone else, the better you’ll feel about yourself.
Do this by becoming a mentor and practicing your coaching, mentoring, and leadership skills with someone who’ll really appreciate your knowledge and support.
15. Heal your past.
If you cling to the past and can’t move on from previous mistakes and disappointments, your self-esteem will suffer. You need closure and potentially even a counselor – to heal from your past, learn from it, and accept it. It’ll do wonders for your confidence.
16. Read something inspirational.
Choose the literature you read to help you feel good about yourself. If the news makes you feel anxious and stressed, turn it off. If social media makes you feel bad about your life, body, or job, avoid it.
Immerse yourself in inspirational sources and practice self-awareness. Stay away from negative influences and your confidence will be a lot better.
17. See failure as an opportunity.
The natural human response to failure is disappointment, shame, and being hard on yourself, but if you can channel failure in order to learn and grow, and accept it as an integral part of growth, you’ll be a lot stronger than most – and a lot more confident and positive.
The Bottom Line
The tips above don’t work in isolation from one another, so you should focus on doing as many of them as possible to see the best result.
How do you know these tips to build your self-esteem and stay positive are working? You’ll notice a change in your attitude and outlook on life! While it may be gradual, it will be noticeable – to you and those around you.