There has never been a better time to improve your self-esteem
Jonny Pardoe is a self-esteem and confidence coach, author and podcaster who has provided you with his top tips on how to build your self-esteem. From first hand experiences he knows that everything listed in this post is effective, therefore by integrating these 'habits' in to your daily routine you will start to become the best version of you.
All copy produced by Jonny Pardoe © June 2020
The Self-Esteem Muscle
Self-esteem improvement is just like a muscle. You just have to work at it constantly. I know from experience that this effort has worked for me and I know of other people who have benefited too. Where the true struggle comes, is when we feel helpless and useless, as if we have no control over our lives.
"I want to get people moving away from such thoughts though and taking actions to improve how they feel about themselves."
Treat self-esteem just like a muscle in the gym. You won’t improve it unless you work at it. You probably have heard the phrase ‘don’t skip leg day’ in the gym. If you haven’t… what it means is that some guys will work purely on their upper body and not on their legs. The result? They come out with massive or muscular upper bodies but thin or ‘chicken’ legs. In particular, self-esteem for men seems to be something a lot of us neglect (me included, in the past).
The same is true with self-esteem. If you are not constantly working on it, then you will not increase it. Simple. Mine became so low at points that I became so fed up with it, that I decided to do something about it. I dived into book after book, course after course but where I started to reap rewards, was when I started applying consistent habits to my life. My self-esteem is not 100% maximum now, but it is so much higher than it used to be and most of the time I feel great about myself. Of course, I will have knock backs from the inevitable challenges of life, but then I know the habits which will help me to get back on top.
"I genuinely believe the world would be a better place if people had more self-esteem. There would be a decrease in mental health struggles like depression and anxiety if people liked themselves more. More people would be going out expressing who they are, and this would add more value to the world."
There would also be less hate in the world, as people who attack other people are insecure or don’t like something about themselves are purely projecting this on to other people. The result? The person they attack will then start to not like who they are, and this negative chain reaction continues, etc etc.
This is why I coach, write and speak about self-esteem and confidence as my favourite area of personal growth. I believe it is absolutely essential. I don’t just talk about theories though I actually talk about real life experiences and trying it.
What I am going to share with you today
What is self esteem?
Simple ways to boost self-esteem with some powerful habits
So, what is self-esteem?
I thought I would cover this as there are so many definitions out there: self-esteem, confidence, worth, acceptance. You’ll find a whole range of results in different books and search engines. From personal experience and my best sources, these are my definitions:
Self-worth/acceptance = how you feel about yourself now in life.
Self-concept = the idea of what value you bring to life and what you are capable of.
Self-esteem = a combination of self-worth/acceptance and concept. How you feel about you as a person across life.
Self-confidence = how you feel about yourself in a given situation in life or skill. I often see confidence as specific but if you have high self-esteem you are more likely to approach and try things with confidence.
Therefore, to increase self-esteem it is important to have a great opinion of yourself but accept who you are now. Positive thinking alone will NOT work. If someone ever says, ‘think positive’, to be totally honest, it’s not very good advice. You can’t think your way into better self-esteem via switch; you have to be applying regular actions that improve your self-esteem. You need to apply the right habits, hence why I talk about it as a muscle. Working to like yourself is not selfish because high self-esteem will have a great knock on to others.
"To not work on your self-esteem is selfish as you will not be producing the best/happiest version of you, not be providing positive energy to others and not providing the true value of you to the world."
Powerful habits to help build self-esteem
These are things that I’ve researched and then applied to my own life. I do not talk about things unless I’ve actually tried them first-hand, as I’m not some robot computer quoting theories. I actually want to talk about real life experience.
Weekly goal planning
Setting goals helps you to connect to your own value. Setting goals helps you to understand what you want and to feel a sense of purpose. It’s important to be ambitious but also to set realistic goals, which can be broken down. A big challenging goal can be broken down further.
Now – it can be great for the self-concept side to think ambitiously and to set big challenging goals, but if you aim too high and don’t reach them all the time, your self-worth / acceptance will decrease. This was one of my biggest challenges with my self-esteem. Therefore, when challenges come, re-evaluate the goals and break them down further. It’s important to review your goals and those tasks that support them, at least weekly, to check that you are on track.
I spend a couple of hours every Sunday morning doing this. There is plenty of guidance on goal setting available but the important thing to do is to set challenging goals which are then broken down, so targets are achievable. That way you will get a boost in momentum as you go. If you don’t hit a goal (which has happened to me plenty of times in the past) don’t worry too much. Instead assess the challenge and go again.
Journaling the good and the bad
Understanding and fixing low self-esteem starts with understanding what your good and bad habits are. These help to increase your self-awareness. When you increase your self-awareness, you will be able to take actions that are better for you. Personally, this is something that I do every day.
For example: yesterday I felt great when I was fasting, but I felt rubbish when I was scrolling on social media for too long in the evening.
Consciously writing it down will allow your mind to adjust your good and bad habits, but first of all, adopt this self-awareness habit to acknowledge what makes you feel good or not so good. This is a great start to self-improvement and self-love.
You’ve probably heard about the benefits of exercise; producing endorphins, chemicals which make you feel good. Yes… so this is the next habit to consider. Exercise is a great habit for you. It doesn’t mean that you have to run a marathon a day or exercise for two hours. Instead 20-30 minutes of exercise is sufficient. Ideally something that makes you break into a sweat. By exercising you are looking after your body, therefore giving a message that you are caring for and loving yourself. This is brilliant for self-esteem.
Positive talk in the mirror and affirmations
Have you experienced those horrible conversations in your head? ‘You’re rubbish’ ‘That was pathetic’ ‘Nobody likes you’ and much more. Well if you constantly speak to yourself like that, guess what? You probably won’t feel great about being you. It’s not enough to try and override it every time it comes up.
"You have to constantly speak to yourself in the right way; that way you train your brain to speak more positively to yourself."
For this purpose, I speak to myself in the mirror for a minute, telling myself what I like about me. This can be hard at first but start by picking small things that you like about yourself or good things that you’ve done in the past, then make this talk a habit.
Discovering your limiting beliefs can be really helpful to understand why you feel such lows. Then reprograming your subconscious with new sayings. If you know a limiting belief is false intellectually and consciously but your subconscious has it stored as limiting belief you will always come back to that negative default. The good news is you can change that stored belief by saying a new belief over and over again.
For example, one of my limiting beliefs was ‘I am not good enough.’ I was constantly working and working, and I perceived myself to be better in the future even though I had a lot of great things going for me.
I said ‘I am enough, I am amazing’ every day and still do. I naturally resort back to a positive state now and feel good about myself. Will I be buzzing high on life and in love with myself 100% of the time? No, but I am able to feel a lot better about me most of the time and some days I feel genuinely in love with being me.
Spending time alone in silence
This comes back to self-awareness. This is about not running from your thoughts but allowing them to be there.
"When we are alone with our thoughts, it allows us to acknowledge them, understand them and therefore understand what might be needed."
I do this twice a day: one 30-minute run or walk and one 10-minute sitting alone with my thoughts. It is important to note though, that MUSIC OR PODCASTS ARE NOT ALLOWED. The only exception to this is binaural beats as these relax brain waves.
Why? Well although these things can be great for us and can be useful at other times in the day, for the purpose of this exercise, those things will detract from allowing us space to be alone with our thoughts. Music or podcasts are distractions from our own thoughts. So therefore, allow time with yourself with your own thoughts.
How to improve self-esteem & Keep working on that self-esteem muscle with habits
So, the above are some very powerful habits to help work the self-esteem muscle, which have worked for me. There are other habits to help overcome low self-esteem available but give the above ones a try and see how you get on.
They don’t have to be massive habits, some can just be short that are practised for a few minutes a day but see what works for you. Give it some time. Journaling how you feel after trying things is a great way to pick up what works for you.
Self-esteem is a muscle you just have to work on, even if it’s hard work at times. It’s a muscle not to neglect; why would you want to feel miserable about being you, when you are you? The choice to work on it or not, is yours.
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