February is International Boost Self-Esteem Month. Normally, I would complain that it’s the shortest month of the year, but I actually like that’s it’s in February. Most people start off a new year with renewed energy for what lies ahead. They set their goals, make resolutions and begin the year with enthusiasm, but as the weeks go by, they lose focus and motivation to maintain the pace they set on New Year’s Eve. Then comes the next phase of feeling like a failure, and an avalanche of self-criticism batters their self-esteem.
If this describes your life, here are some tips to break the cycle this year:
- Get back on track. If you find you have wanning motivation, simply do it anyway even if you don’t want to. Most of the people I know with a regular exercise routine say they don’t love to exercise, but they love the feeling of accomplishment that it brings. Don’t want to do it? Do it any way; you’ll thank yourself later. Showing up is the hardest part.
- Don’t be so hard on yourself. Research shows that people overestimate what they can accomplish in a year but underestimate what they can accomplish in five. This is normal and happens to almost everyone. Don’t dismay; just reorganize and adjust.
- Look at where you are in comparison to where you started. So often, we only measure the path ahead toward our goals; we forget to look behind at how far we’ve traveled since we began.
- Stop comparing yourself to others. Life isn’t a race or competition between people. It’s a journey of self-discovery, realizing your potential and using your passion to leave the world a better place. If you have a need to compare, compare who you are today with who you were yesterday, last week, last month or last year. Bask in your progress.
- Remember your why. You set these goals for a reason. Did you forget? If your reason is important enough, reminding yourself of it should provide the motivation you need to continue.
- Adjust your goal. All successful people know part of setting goals is assessing progress along the way and adjusting. Life happens, things come up, challenges occur that need to be solved. This doesn’t mean you’re a failure; it means you adjust your expectations and change course.
- Reevaluate your goals. Did you start with a goal you thought you should want that isn’t important to you? Sometimes we’re lured into setting goals based on things other people are doing that aren’t something we really want to do.
- Join or form an accountability group. Be sure the people in your group have the skills to hold you accountable instead of making excuses for you. You want your feet to the fire.
- Say “no” and stick to it. Do not allow yourself to commit to things you don’t want to do. A simple answer is, “I’m sorry, but that won’t fit in my schedule,” or “That isn’t aligned with my priorities right now.”
- Check in with your essence. I like to ask myself, “Am I being the person I want to be?” If I am, I can feel good about what’s happening. If I’m not, it’s time to realign myself with my values.
Self-esteem is elusive, but it is something that can always be expanded. You aren’t stuck with the amount you have at this moment. It can grow. Self-esteem is highest when you live in alignment with your values and contribute to the common good. Follow your truth and become the best version of who you are.