It’s human nature to compare yourself to others. That’s life. But when it feels like you don’t stack up…well, that really sucks.
For example, have you ever scrolled through Facebook and wondered if other people are just happier or more successful than you are?
Or heard about your buddy’s $10k bonus and felt jealousy instead of happiness?
Why is it so easy to not feel good enough? And what can you do about it?
You could spend hours reading inspirational quotes and read a bunch of woo woo, feel good articles online.
Or you could make a few, small, tactical changes that drastically improve how you feel about yourself. No matter how many great things seem to be going on for everyone else.
Today, I want to show you three simple changes you can make in your life to improve your self-esteem:
Strategy #1: Turn Around Your Invisible Scripts
All of us have invisible scripts running through our heads. They’re the scripts that often guide our lives, but are so deeply held they’re nearly invisible to us.
Here are some common scripts:
- “I should follow my passions.”
- “I should get married and have kids before I’m 30.”
- “I work hard, so I deserve this nice apartment/drink/trip.”
- “Only born leaders/natural networkers get rewarded at work.”
- “If so and so loved me we’d be married by now.”
Without even knowing it, these invisible scripts keep us stuck and make us feel like we’re not good enough or we’re not doing enough.
The good news is that once you become aware of the invisible scripts that are getting in your way, you can flip them. And your self-esteem will increase as a result.
You can use “The Turnaround Technique” to help you let go of the invisible scripts that hold you back.
Another strategy you can use to increase your self-esteem is to build a new habit.
Strategy #2: Build a New Habit with Small Steps
How many times have you said to yourself, “I’m going to start exercising every morning — starting today!” Or, “I’m going to walk to work instead of taking the train.” Or, “I’m going to start every day with a green smoothie.”
Chances are, there’s something in your life you wish you were doing but you’re not.
And believe it or not, the fact that you want to do it but aren’t can have a big impact on your self-esteem.
That’s because if you’re telling yourself you want something, but you consistently do nothing about it, you’re sending a message to yourself that you can’t make it happen. And that’s not true.
To fix this, I want you to think of a goal that you want to accomplish. But make it small.
When you’re starting out with any goal — like exercising for example — it’s better to actually start than to dream about starting it forever. And if you make the goal too big, you’ll be less likely to follow through. You would be better off ACTUALLY walking one mile once per week than PLANNING to run three miles 3x per week…and never starting.
Each one mile you walk represents a “little win” for your goal.
Getting a lot of those little wins is what helps you succeed. Because with each little milestone you achieve, you’re actually doing what you set out to do…not just hoping things work out. And that feels really good.
Let me give you some examples:
- Instead of planning to do 100 pushups per day to get back in shape, just do two pushups a day to get started.
- Instead of thinking you have to floss all your teeth, just focus on one tooth a day to get things going.
- Instead of trying to drink a gallon of water a day instead of soda, just drink one glass of water before you go to bed.
- Instead of starting a million dollar business from scratch, just focus on getting your first paying client.
You can ramp up from there. But you don’t want to fail from the start.
Once you’ve chosen your tiny habit, draft your action plan for the next 2 weeks. Once you hit this target, then you can consider expanding.
But remember, big goals are accomplished with tiny steps. And each step in the right direction will help you increase your self-esteem.
Strategy #3: Become Likable
How do you become the person who — on a Friday afternoon — starts getting text message after text message from friends asking you things like:
- “Hey man! What are you up to tonight?”
- “I’m going to this concert, and I’ve got an extra ticket. Wanna come with me?”
- “A few of us are heading to this bar later tonight. You should come meet up with us. There’s a lot of people I want you to meet. It’ll be awesome!”
Their secret? They’ve learned how to become likable. And it’s one of the keys to boosting your self-esteem.
How can you become more likable?
If you were to ask someone, they’d probably say “smile more!” That’s good advice, but there’s another simple technique just as powerful (if not more) — eye contact.
It seems so obvious, but most people overlook it. They don’t consciously use eye contact, which is a shame because it’s one of the most valuable tools you have at your disposal. With a half-second look, you can convey anything from confidence to insecurity to friendliness.
Here’s a special Eye Contact Challenge you can use to quickly improve how you use eye contact and make people think you’re more likable.
(Yes, I’m asking you to test your eye contact. Notice I’m not saying, “Get better at it!” I want you to see the difference when you try different types of eye contact. When done correctly, it can build rapport and intimacy. When done poorly, it can make you look like a serial killer. We cover the difference in the clip below.)
The Eye Contact Challenge: Try holding eye contact for a second longer than you normally would. Practice on your waiter, barista, or the person at the checkout counter.
- How do you feel?
- How does the other person react?
Learning to pay attention to the subtle yet powerful differences can completely change how people respond to you in social situations.
Now, you might be thinking, can you really learn to be more likable? Does making more eye contact actually work?
I get it. I used to believe that some people are born likable and some people aren’t. That some people are just natural at making new friends and public speaking — and the rest of us were stuck feeling awkward. But I was wrong.
The truth is EVERYONE can learn to be more likable.
It’s a skill, and like any other it can be learned. Let me show you.
In this video, Olivia Fox Cabane, author of The Charisma Myth, outlines how eye contact, presence and mindset can dramatically impact how likable and charismatic a person is. She also explains why most social skills advice is garbage and shares what actually works, including:
- At 2:16 — A common, habitual problem women tend to have that makes them seem overeager, insecure, and nervous (you could be doing this and not even know)
- At 7:00 — Two easy ways to instantly become more present in conversations (even when you’re bored or tired)
- At 12:40 — The single biggest inhibitor to charisma and how to correct it
Check it out:
As you become more comfortable in social situations, the rewards can be huge — from simply knowing what to say around people, to meeting a new circle of friends, to accelerated progress in your career, and best of all to increasing your self-esteem.
Develop Unshakable Confidence in Yourself
Improving your self-esteem is super important but without confidence it’s hard to make any of this stick. That’s why I created this video. In it, I share how to develop unshakable belief in yourself no matter what challenges you encounter.
Video Credit: Ramit Sethi, Olivia Fox Cabane