Ready to boost your sense of self-esteem and self-worth, but not really sure how to go about it? In this article, you’ll discover 10 powerful and interesting activities you can do regularly to help improve your self-esteem. From creating a “Strengths and Achievements” journal to learning new things every day, these activities are both practical and helpful in boosting self-esteem.
1: Learn new things every single day.
When we focus on learning and growing, we naturally tend to focus less on failing or making mistakes. For example, imagine you’ve completed a piece of work and your boss returns it to you with some feedback to help you improve it. You could beat yourself up and criticise yourself for not getting it perfect in the first place, or you could focus on learning from the feedback and taking new things on board for the future.
The more we get used to learning, growing and trying new things (while being open to constructive feedback), the more we tend to feel like we’re improving in life and the less we feel limited by our comfort zones.
Learning new things not only helps us improve our sense of self-esteem and confidence, it can also make us more resilient when things don’t go our way because we can still find meaning in mistakes and shortcomings.
Here are some fun and simple ways you can learn new things:
-listen to podcasts
-start a new hobby or creative activity
-read self-help and empowerment books
-go to a class/workshop (such as meditation, photography, pottery or cooking)
-sign up for an online course
-spend time with different people and go to new places
-volunteer or start a new job
2: Start a “Strengths and Achievements” journal
At the end of each day, take some time to reflect on your achievements from the day (big and small!) and all the different ways you used your strengths. This activity will help you focus more on all the good things you do and the great things about you, rather than getting too caught up in any negative thoughts which might negatively impact your self-esteem.
Some examples of achievements might be:
-I persisted with my work even when I felt tired
-I made a delicious dinner from scratch
-I got out of bed early
-I did a workout for 20 minutes
-I complimented a friend and made them smile
-I drank a glass of water instead of a can of soft drink
-I did a meditation in the morning (rather than scrolling through Instagram)
And some examples of strengths might be:
-Assertiveness (I told my boss I needed more time on a project rather than staying up all night to get it finished)
-Patience (I waited for my coffee patiently, knowing that it was a busy morning for the barista)
-Kindness (I shared some supportive comments on Instagram)
-Enthusiasm (I felt excited about cooking a new recipe)
-Creativity (I took some lovely photos of the flowers outside)
-Confidence (I started a conversation with a new colleague)
-Organisation (I updated my calendar and planner)
3: Value your own needs and self-care
Improve your sense of self-worth by taking care of your own needs and doing nice things for yourself. You deserve it! Take yourself out for coffee, get a massage, enjoy a long bath, read a book, or watch your favourite movie. Make it a habit to value your needs and to prioritise your own self-care activities.
4: Set small, realistic goals on a regular basis.
Have you ever set big and exciting goals, but then you didn’t achieve them because they weren’t actually realistic? Setting small, meaningful and realistic goals and regularly achieving them can help you develop a sense of success and self-belief, rather than feeling disappointed and disheartened when you don’t achieve big goals.
For example, imagine you set the goal to run a marathon (but you haven’t done long-distance running in years). The longer it takes you to reach marathon-length runs, the more you feel like a failure and the more likely you are to give up.
However, if you set the goal to run 500metres, then upgrade to 1km, then 1.5km and so on, the more you’ll feel like you’re achieving your goals and have a greater sense of self-esteem.
This can work well for many types of goals; work and business goals, money/savings goals, fitness and healthy eating goals, meditation goals… The list could go on and on. Start small, achieve lots of little goals and slowly work towards bigger goals when you’re ready.
5: Stop comparing your real life to other people’s highlight reels
Whenever you notice yourself feeling not good enough because of everyone else’s achievements/happy moments/life events on social media, remember that everyone has a reality outside of social media. You are usually only seeing the highlights of other people’s lives and it can be easy to forget that everyone experiences hardships, challenges, imperfections and vulnerability.
If you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed by everyone’s highlight reels, then take a good break from social media and spend some time engaging in self-care.
It can also help to volunteer your time to help people or animals less fortunate than you – it puts things into perspective and reminds us that there are bigger problems at hand than not having the perfect photo to share on Instagram. And of course, you get to make a meaningful and positive difference in the world (which is also likely to help improve your sense of self-worth!).
6: Get moving in fun ways
The author of “Addicted to Stress”, Debbie Mandel, said that exercise creates both physical and mental empowerment and various studies support this idea. A study in 2016 of 300 people between the ages of 20-60 years found that physical activity impacted self-esteem; the more physical activity people did, the higher their levels of self-esteem. A meta-analysis published in 2015 also found that physical activity improves self-worth and self-confidence of children and teenagers (which can help build a solid foundation for self-esteem in later years).
Moving your body is a simple way you can boost your self-esteem and there are so many ways you can do this while also having fun!
Here are some of our favourite physical activities:
-Gardening. All that walking around, bending over, digging and pulling out weeds helps you get physically active (perhaps without even realising!).
-Dog walking. Take your own dogs (or borrow a friends’) and walk down to your local park. Enjoy being outside and having fun with the dogs.
-Water activities. If it’s too hot to exercise, try an activity involving water. Go swimming, water-skiing, surfing, stand-up paddle boarding, kayaking, or snorkelling.
-Waterfall hunting. Who doesn’t love finding a beautiful waterfall at the end of a scenic walk? Use Google to make a list of all the waterfalls you can visit nearby and go waterfall hunting whenever you get the opportunity!
-Use an app to get moving at home. You can practice yoga, do tai chi, track your steps, try bodyweight workouts, or lift weights using the guidance of fitness professionals (but without having to actually go anywhere!).
7: Cultivate more gratitude in your life
Developing a more positive mindset in general can help you boost your sense of self-esteem and confidence. A simple way to do this is to cultivate more gratitude in your life… And there are lots of fun ways you can do it!
-Start a gratitude journal by writing down 3 things you’re grateful for each day
-Compliment yourself when you look in the mirror
-Look for the silver lining when things don’t go to plan and be grateful for it
-Start a gratitude jar by writing down one thing you’re grateful for each day, fold it up and place it in the jar. Whenever you feel sad, lost, or worried, read through all the notes in your gratitude jar.
-Use a gratitude affirmation, such as “I am grateful for my health and happiness” or “I am grateful for all the wonderful people I have in my life” or simply “I feel grateful each and every day”.
8: Believe in your ability to navigate challenges and changes in your life
Use positive self-talk and believe in yourself when challenges occur in your life. Rather than avoiding problems and telling yourself you can’t solve them, look for potential solutions, seek support, use affirmations and face changes or challenges with open-mindedness and a willingness to embrace the uncertainty.
9: Start a self-esteem bucket list
It’s important to actually do the things which can help you improve your self-esteem. It can be easy to read about how you can cultivate your self-esteem, but then forget about incorporating these activities in everyday life. Sit down and brainstorm all the different things you can do to help cultivate a sense of confidence and self-worth and create a checklist for yourself. Here is an example to help get you started!
Daily Self-Esteem Activities
-Write in a gratitude journal
-Recognise my strengths and achievements
-Do some kind of physical activity for 20 minutes
-Look after my hygiene/wear something which makes me feel good
-Learn something new by reading a chapter of a self-help book
Weekly Self-Esteem Activities
-Unfollow anyone on social media who makes me feel like I’m not good enough
-Face a challenge or obstacle I’ve been avoiding
-Spend time with someone who uplifts and supports me
-Reflect on something I’ve learned and how I can improve/grow
-Engage in a meaningful self-care activity
10: Spend time with people who inspire and uplift you
Even though self-esteem is an internal experience, it can be negatively affected by external people or events. For example, if you’re trying to improve your self-esteem by using all of the activities in this article but you spend most of your time with a partner or friend who criticises you, mocks you, teases you and focuses on your faults and flaws, then it will be much harder for you to improve your self-esteem.
Instead, try to spend time with people who support you and motivate you in helpful, compassionate and friendly ways. When someone else criticises you or makes you feel like you’re not good enough, tell them that what they said wasn’t okay and if they can’t be a little more positive and understanding, then you won’t be able to spend as much time with them.
In the Self Series course by The Daily Guru, you’ll discover fun, simple and unique ways to keep building your self-esteem and boost your confidence. Sign up for the Self Series and gain access to this exclusive course created for women working towards becoming better versions of themselves.
We hope you’ve enjoyed reading about powerful activities to help you boost your self-esteem! We’d love to hear your favourite in the comments below.
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Rachael Kable is a passionate mindfulness mentor, blogger and host of her top-rated podcast, The Mindful Kind. When she’s not writing or helping women create meaningful mindfulness practices, you’ll find Rachael cuddling her fun-loving pooch, stretching out on her yoga mat or enjoying delicious coffee. Connect with Rachael at her online home, www.rachaelkable.com