12 ways to learn to love yourself.

By David Joel Miller.

The way you treat yourself is the way others will treat you.

Child and adult on beach

Love.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Feeling loved begins with learning to like and then to love yourself. Loving yourself means you are gentle and caring towards the person you will spend your life with – you. Children who grow up never being shown they are loved may find it hard to think that they deserve love. Here are some ways you can create that feeling of being a valuable loved person.

1. Turn off the noise – disconnect from social media and others opinions.

A sad fact of modern life is that with more ways to connect people are feeling less and less connected.  Frantically posting and liking people on social media can create a false sense that your worth as a person is dependent on how many people like you and your posts.

The person whose opinion about you most matters is yours.  What other people think about you is not something you should be focused upon.  Stop comparing yourself to others.  Stop rating yourself.  Work on doing more things that you can feel proud of.

2. Spend some quality time with yourself.

Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that your happiness will come from the time you spend with others.  Balance your time with others and your time alone.  Being alone should not be the same thing as being lonely.  Work at making your alone time an opportunity to rest, recharge and work on yourself.

3. Make meal time an adventure, not a chore.

Think about all the times that you have shared food with someone else.  Shared meals are a part of many celebrations.  Couples go out to dates over dinner.  Family share meal time. Share some time with you. When you eat invest some time in making special things for yourself, experimenting with new foods and making your individual meals something special.

4. Make bedtime and sleep important.

Sleep is an important component of the happy life.  Not getting enough sleep will leave you grumpy and irritable.  Value yourself enough to make rest an important part of your daily routine.  Staying up late doesn’t make for a happier life.  Putting off bedtime is trying to borrow hours from tomorrow to extend today.  The consequence of this is you shortchanged your tomorrow.

5. Maintain your body; you deserve it.

Take good care of herself.  Beyond the sleeping and eating part get plenty of exercise.  Do those things each day that makes you feel valued and loved. Pamper your body.

6. Stop and savor the good things.

Difficult, painful times will be easy to remember.  The happy events in life are harder to capture.  Make sure you spend the time observing and studying the good things that happen in your life.  Commit the flowers, the sunrises and the sunsets to memory.  Make a point of noticing and returning each and every smile you receive.  Share all the happiness you can, and you will never run short.

7. When you make a mistake, don’t beat yourself up.

Be kind to you. The evidence tells us that beating someone up will not make them a better person.  A little bit of kindness for yourself and others goes a long way.  Compassion spent on yourself is never wasted.

8. Save some treasured mementos.

It is rarely the expensive things in life that bring the great joys.  Hang onto those little keepsakes that remind you of the fabulous adventures of life.  Those little pictures that your child draws, the craft projects they make in school, all add meaning to your life.

9. Learn to laugh.

Laughter is not frivolous.  The more you laugh, the more your soul matures.  People who smile and laugh more become happier.  Don’t wait to be happy to laugh, laugh to be happy.  Time invested in watching comedy, swapping jokes and gaiety will yield great dividends.

10. Have time to play.

Time spent playing is fundamental to creative pursuits.  Playing was someone can develop and strengthen relationships.  Play with your child.  Play with your friends.  Make having fun part of your time budget.

11. When something is wrong, take care of it.

People who love themselves do not hide from life’s problems.  When there something wrong the sooner you take care of it the better.

12. Save your stories.

As you move through life, you will experience things. These become your life stories.  Hold on to those stories.  Retell them as you can.  Writing out the stories of your life can become very good therapy.

Try to do some of these self-loving activities each and every day.

Want to sign up for my mailing list?

Get the latest updates on my books, due out later this year by signing up for my newsletter. Newsletter subscribers will also be notified about live training opportunities and free or discounted books. Sign up here – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings, and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books

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Whatever happened to self-control?

By David Joel Miller.

Is self-control a lost art?

Controler

Self-Control.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Self-control is not something you’re automatically born with.  The ability to control yourself is something that develops over time.  As often as we hear about a lack of Self-control you would think that the growing and development of Self-control was a lost art.

Newborn infants are remarkable for their lack of self-control.  Babies cry whenever they want something, and they are totally irresponsible when it comes to eliminating their waste products.  What does it take for these infants to grow into people who have some amount of Self-control?

Parents are the best teachers of self-control.

In the early stages of life, parents have to provide the control that children are lacking within themselves.  Parents who do not make an effort to control their children teach that child they cannot be controlled. If the child cannot be controlled by the parents, then how could they possibly control themselves?

Increasingly we see young people, and even those into middle life, who have somehow concluded that Self-control was something you were either born with or will never have.  They have convinced themselves that they cannot control themselves.

How is that related to addiction whose hallmark is loss of control?

Can you see how all people who lack self-control in the small, day-to-day items would be at an extra risk of developing an addiction?  People who find it difficult to resist the urge for more food, to spend more money or to behave in responsible ways, are likely to find drugs and alcohol impossible to control.

Those who are low in Self-control give the job of Self-control up to someone or something that can readily control them.  Addictions like to control their victims.  People with poor impulse control frequently get convicted of a crime.  If you can’t control yourself often the state is willing to appoint a probation officer or parole agent who will take over the job of controlling you.

Which is in control – the mind or the body?

Some people struggle to determine where their lack of control resides.  Should their mind and their thoughts control them?  Or is it the body that is in control?  This false dichotomy, that there are two parts to us, the mind, and the body, makes it difficult to learn Self-control.

Our mind, those things we are thinking about, has a huge impact on how our body feels those things.  Our body, those physical sensations of hunger, thirst and being tired, strongly influence how our mind thinks.

Willpower is a skill that you can grow and exercise.

Willpower is not some separate thing that you have or do not have.  If you feel you’re short on willpower don’t blame your genes and at this point, it’s too late to blame your parents.  Begin the process of growing your own willpower.

Willpower comes from our feelings and our thinking.

For more on this topic, willpower, and it’s closely related cousin won’t-power, check out the other posts on willpower at counselorssoapbox.com

Want to sign up for my mailing list?

Get the latest updates on my books, due out later this year by signing up for my newsletter. Newsletter subscribers will also be notified about live training opportunities and free or discounted books. Sign up here – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books

How to spot a good person.

By David Joel Miller.

Are you a good person? Can you spot a good person when you see one?

Do you think you are a good person?

helping person

Good People.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Do you think you are a good person? Most people think they are, but how do others see you? Want to feel better about yourself, work at becoming a better person. “Are you a good person?” is not a yes and no question. Everyone has areas of their life that could be better. These issues could be called “defects of character.” I like to think of these areas as “improvement opportunities.”

Developing goodness is a lifelong task. Some people are too needy to make the effort.  If you want better self-esteem you need to work on becoming a better person. How do you exercise that goodness muscle? By hanging out with good people! Below are some of the ways you might spot a good person. Do you do these things? Do the people in your life have these characteristics?

Good people treat other people well even when there is nothing in it for them.

Make a habit of treating others better than simply the way you would like to be treated. That approach is trading favors mentality. You do for me and I do for you. Truly good people do the right thing because it is the thing. They chose to do good even when there is nothing in it for them.

Good people are not judgmental.

Because someone is different from you does not make them less-than. Good people accept others regardless of their looks, their language or their past.

Good people still form opinions of others based on what others do, but not because of who others are.

Being non-judgmental does not mean having no standards. Doing whatever you want when it impacts others is not always OK. You should evaluate people by their actions. But that non-judgmental stance includes the belief that people can change and that having made mistakes does not make someone a “bad person.” Even really good people sometimes do bad things and vice versa.

Good people respect others property and time. Punctuality.

A truly good person respects and cares for your property as much or more than they care for their own. They do not take things that are not theirs and they ask before borrowing. Just because they need something does not justify their taking what is not theirs.

Good people also respect your time. They consider your time just as valuable as theirs. They are not habitually late. People who feel that others time does not matter do not have anyone but themselves in mind.

Good people also do not repeatedly violate your time, possessions and rights and then try to excuse those transgressions with apologies. Once is an accident but recurring disrespect cannot be made right by continually apologizing for the same action.

Good people genuinely care about others.

For good people, others are something of value regardless of their state or credentials. For the good person other people are not objects to be used to get what they want but individuals who have worth because they are them.

Good people do not restrict their caring and concern to others like them or to those in positions to return the favor.

Good people are positive.

A good person can find the good in any person or situation. They see the potential, not the defects. They motivate others by their leadership not by playing to their fears. Beware of those who instinctively can find the flaws in anyone but themselves.

Good people are helpful.

Good people delight in being of service to others. They do not think only of what is in it for them because they know that being helpful will bring them joy. It is not kindness when you do for others expecting something in return. A good person knows that doing good things is its own reward.

Good people see things from others point of view.

Good people are not stuck in needing to be right and to convince others of their point of view. They are willing to see things from others perspective.  They are not dogmatic but open to seeing how it is that others form opinions different from theirs.

Everything is not always about them.

Good people can step outside what is best for themselves and honestly want what is best for others. They can find ways to get their needs met while allowing others to do likewise.

Good people are real. Genuine.

A good person does not have to be fake. They do not need to hide their true selves and do not fear others really getting to know them. They like themselves well enough to be able to be who they are with everyone. Good people do not feel the need to be fake in order to get others to like them because they have mastered the art of liking themselves.

Good people are interested in others.

Curiosity and a desire to understand drive the truly good person. They strive to understand others not to find ways to make themselves superior.

For Good people, communication is a two-way street.

Ever met someone, say hello, and then wait as they talk nonstop about themselves? Can you think of someone who evades every opportunity to share of themselves and seems motivated to “pump” you for info?

People who only talk or those who pry without being willing to reciprocate are both motivated to get more than they receive in a conversation.

For the good person, a conversation is an exchange between equals.

Good people do not always have to be right.

Good people may believe strongly but they can admit when they are wrong. A good person can acknowledge when others were right and can give credit where credit belongs.

Are you “Good people?”

Want to sign up for my mailing list?

Get the latest updates on my books, due out later this year by signing up for my newsletter. Newsletter subscribers will also be notified about live training opportunities and free or discounted books. Sign up here – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books

17 Ways to Boost Your Self-esteem.

By David Joel Miller.

Common sense ways to increase your self-esteem.

High self-essteem

Boost your self-confidence.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Feeling badly about yourself? If you have low self-esteem this does not need to hold you back. There are many things you can do to crank up your belief that no matter where you have been or what your life has been like you can move forward and accomplish good things. If “low self-esteem” has been getting in the way of having the life you want, here are seventeen ways to change your thinking and behavior and start creating a life you can be proud of.

1. Stop comparing.

Who you are is not some sort of contest. You do not need to be better than others to feel OK about yourself. One of the fastest routes to improved self-confidence is to accept yourself as you are and stop comparing yourself to others.

Most people have the bad habit of comparing up. You know that you do not look as good as someone on the red carpet. People with only a thousand connections on social media compare themselves to someone with 15,000 connections. More connections do not make you a better person. Life is not a popularity contest.

2. Hang out with confident people.

Hang out with insecure and non-affirming people and you become insecure. Want to be a winner? Hang with the winners. (No comparing now.) Associating with happy people and their happiness will rub off. You become, over time, like the people you hang with.

3. Build on your strengths.

Everyone has strengths. Find the things you are good at. Identify and name those strengths and then emphasizes those things that allow you to make use of your best qualities.

4. Develop your undeveloped strengths.

Some strengths are developed, more or less, and others you still need to discover. Look for strengths and then practice them. Try out new things. You do not need to be great at every new thing you try. Some will not be your cup of coffee. But among those things you try, you may discover the strength that can build you a better life.

5. Study successful people.

Study those people who have overcome adversity and achieved noteworthy things. Read books about those who had great accomplishments. Those people’s journey can inspire you to be the best you can be.

6. Look for “improvement opportunities.”

Reframe every undesired outcome. When you try and do not reach your goal this is a chance to learn more and practice some new skills. No matter where you start out life requires all of us to keep working on our skills and on ourselves.

7. Work with a coach, counselor or mentor.

No one is instinctively perfect. Most “naturals” got to be good by years of practice. Practice alone will not get you there. Not if you keep making the same mistakes over and over until they become automatic. You can’t see your own swing, but a coach can. An outside opinion, counselor or peer can help you find more “improvement opportunities.”

8. Do good stuff.

The more positive things you do the better a person you become. Think of this as moral or karmic exercises. Good people do not become good by doing one great perfect task after a life of awful actions. Little random acts of kindness and positivity nurture a positive person.

9. Make positive self-talk the rule.

Calling yourself names will not make you work harder or build self-esteem. What you tell yourself your mind will try to make come true. Use positive affirmations, what you tell yourself becomes who you are. Remember to tell yourself you can and then go out and see how much you can do today.

10. Get acquainted with your feelings. Call them by their real names.

Feelings are not evil creatures to be banished. You fear is telling your something, so is your irritation. Learn to recognize and listen to what information those feelings are giving you, but do not let their voices drown out your thinking. If you are afraid examine this carefully. Is this really a dangerous situation or are your childlike feelings just needing reassurance that you are in control?

11. Life is about the journey, not the contests you win.

No one wins everything every time.  In life, there will be some second and third places and sometimes you may finish last. Those are not failures. Not being the best at something this time does not mean that you are flawed. Accept that life is about trying on new activities to see which fit you. You do not need to win every game to enjoy playing.

12. Enjoy being a beginner.

One way to cripple yourself self-esteem is to expect to be great at everything the first time. You learn a lot more by being the beginner and mentally observing yourself developing skills.

13. Be proud of your scars.

Victories come with a price. Sometimes that is pain, sometimes you have to fall down and get back up. Love yourself scars and all. You will have life experiences that are painful. You may not want to repeat some experiences but accept that they made you who you are.

14. Work hard at being you. Do not live to fulfill someone else’s dream.

Be sure that the yardstick you use to measure yourself is yours and not someone else’s. Better still toss those yardsticks and stop the measuring. Explore life and get acquainted with you. Live to be you not to fulfill someone else’s ambitions.

15. Stop hiding your mistakes.

Mistakes and imperfections do not diminish your value as a person. Don’t be afraid to look at your shortcomings and to admit them. Especially admit them to yourself. Looking at these less than perfect outcomes can help turn them into improvement opportunities.

16. Remember to love yourself.

You don’t take good care of things you don’t like and you shouldn’t be spending a lot of time with people who dislike you. You will spend the maximum part of your life with you. Make sure you grow to enjoy your company. Mostly that will happen when you stop criticizing you and begin to accept that however you are is perfectly fine.

17. Take good care of yourself, you deserve it.

This one got left for last. It could easily have been first on the list. Others will not treat you any better than you treat yourself. If you want to feel better about yourself start treating yourself better. You deserve to be treated well.

Self-worth is something you should have regardless of what you do. Remember you are a human being, not a human doing. You are more than the list of things you do.

There you have it, some of my suggestions for giving up self-judging and looking at yourself in a more positive way. Try these on and see if you don’t begin to feel just fine about yourself.

Check out the other counselorssoapbox.com posts on Self-esteem.

Want to sign up for my mailing list?

Get the latest updates on my books, due out later this year by signing up for my newsletter. Newsletter subscribers will also be notified about live training opportunities and free or discounted books. Sign up here – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books

Getting your life unstuck.

By David Joel Miller.

Ways to create a better life.

Life stuck

Getting your life unstuck.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Have you ever felt like your life is stuck? Time is passing and you are just standing still, going nowhere and wishing that your life had more meaning and purpose? Getting your life on track requires a shift in how you see and do things. Here are some ways you can start creating the life you want.

Inventory what you have not what is missing.

If you spend all your time looking at the things you want and do not yet have you can get discouraged easily. Make sure you count up all the things you have accomplished. Emphasize what you have and the shortages will seem less overwhelming.

Keep your eye on the future, not the past.

Let things go. Always looking over your shoulder at the “good old days” can result in losing the present. Bemoaning what you had that is no longer in your life can take the pleasure of those experiences from you. Value what has been a part of your life rather than sit and cry over what has gone. Don’t lose the joys when it is time for something or someone to leave your life.

Plan to be in a good place.

Expect to have a good day. Plan on an excellent day and see if you do not attract more of them into your life. If you expect to have a bad day your brain will willingly create one for you.

Victims wait for things to happen to them, winners plan for the best while preparing for all eventualities.

Start doing more positive things.

Do more positive things and life becomes more positive. Do for others. Be of service. Do things you can be proud of and watch your self-esteem soar.

Say goodbye to unhelpful urges. – don’t give in.

One hallmark of addictions and dysfunctional behaviors is the cravings. Giving in to that desire may seem like the way to reduce the discomfort in the short-term but over the long-term resisting urges will grow your inner strength.

Rethink your life rules. Who says you have to be that way.

What you tell yourself about you becomes who you are. Tell yourself often enough that you can’t do something and you make it true. What are those unhelpful rules you find yourself living by? Who told you that you were just that way and needed to accept things the way they are?

Clean out the unhelpful activities.

Are there lots of busy activities that are filling up your time? It is not just garages, drawers and closets that need spring cleanings. Our lives can fill up with habits and activates that result in a cluttered, stuck life. If you find yourself out of time each and every day to do those great things start cleaning out the unhelpful activities and make room for the future.

Get rid of toxic friends.

Good friends can help you build your life. Toxic friends poison your environment. Getting unstuck involves looking at your life and deciding what to keep and what to jettison. Unhelpful thoughts and draining friends need to go.

Stop worrying about what others think and say.  Make your own decisions.

Do the things you believe in, they matter. Others opinions shouldn’t matter. Decide what is right and act on that view. This doesn’t mean that you should be selfish. It does mean that you need to follow your dreams and live your life rather than curtailing your hopes and dreams to fit others preconceived beliefs about how you should be.

Be careful who you listen too.

Get good advice from those who want the best for you. There is lots of advice around. Much of it free, but beware those who tell you what to do because it benefits them. True experts can give you facts and options, not answers to how you should live. If you want to get that life of yours moving in a positive direction seek out a coach or mentor, work with a counselor. Look to see what changes in you will produce the changes you want in your life.

Be open to new experiences.

Everything in life does not need to go as planned. Opportunity does not always knock, not loudly anyway. Sometimes the greatest opportunities in life go to those who put themselves in new situations and learn as a result.

Let go of resentments. No more blame.

Whose fault things are matters far less than whose responsibility is it to change things. If you want to get going stop blaming others for steering you wrong. Take back control of your life’s steering wheel.

Emphasize experiences and people, not things.

Things wear out and break. The latest fashion goes out of fashion, but the things you experience are with you for a lifetime. You will forget about those things you bought but you will treasure the memories of what you did.

Tell doubt to shut up. Do not listen to that committee in your head.

There are always those thoughts in your head. “You should do this” and “what about that.” Ignore those limiting voices. Heed the conscience but not the chorus of doubts. Be careful about believing your own thoughts, not everything you think is true. Those voices in your head, sometimes they lie to you.

Start with small steps, one day, one hour at a time.

Do not put off life improvements till you have the time. You get 168 hours a week like everyone else. There will never be a week with more hours or a year with more days. Start now going where you want your life to go and a little at a time you will get there.

Do nothing and ten years from now you will still be where you are now, stuck! Do some small thing to improve that life each day and in ten years you can look back and marvel at how far you have come. Most great projects can be broken down into a series of small baby steps. Take them one step at a time and see where it gets you.

Ask instead of waiting for someone else to take the first step.

Don’t fall into the trap of thinking others should anticipate your wants. There are very few mind readers around in spite of the large number who think they can read minds. If you expect others to know what you want, if you wait to be asked, you may miss out. That other person may be wanting for you to say something first.

Look for supporters, not obstacles.

Do not focus on the people or things that could get in your way. Look for those people who will be allies in your progress. Build bridges, not walls. There are all kinds of things that could hold you back but as long as you look around for obstacles you will miss identifying those who could truly help you get where it is you want to go.

Want to sign up for my mailing list?

Get the latest updates on my books, due out later this year by signing up for my newsletter. Newsletter subscribers will also be notified about live training opportunities and free or discounted books. Sign up here – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books

Is this the year you will change?

By David Joel Miller.

Will anything change for you this year?

Changing your life

Time for a life change?
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Look at that! New Year’s come and gone. Some resolutions have already been abandon. Change is hard, staying the same is easier. Have you ever thought that someday you will make some changes, but time continues on and nothing much changes? You may even have told yourself that you are too old to change, yet all around you others are making changes, small ones, major ones. Some of those people are older than you. Some have illnesses and challenges. And yet they change. Have you asked yourself when will you finally make those changes?

You may see from the blog title, counselorssoapbox Counseling, Therapy, Recovery, and a Happy Life, that I believe in people having a happy life. I believe in wellness and recovery. You can too. Improving your life does not need to be done all at once in huge seismic shifts. That old snowball effect, small changes mounting up, is at work here. Let’s start walking through the process of making life improvements and see where it takes us.

Self-improvement begins with finding out where you are.

Anyone can benefit from a conscious effort to make their life better. You start by looking at where you are and then you decide where you want to go. Don’t get sidetracked into how awful your current life is. View any problems you have as opportunities for improvement.

Some people call this process taking a life inventory. It is important to add to your inventory, not just the marked down and worthless items, but those skills and talents that may take you where you need to go. Make a concerted effort to look for undeveloped talents, those things you said you would do someday that you have not yet tried. One of those yet to be tried activities may be just the thing that has been missing from your life.

Do not rush the inventory process. If you sketch out a house on the back of a napkin you could rush out, buy materials, and start building. It is better to have a good blueprint. This keeps you from having to tear down your house because you forgot the foundation or a way to install electrical and plumbing.

Put your life improvement plan down in writing.

Some time back, a few decades ago, I started working on a written Happy Emotional Life Plan (H.E.L.P.) I carry this around in a loose leaf binder. This plan is one section in the binder that includes sections for the classes I teach and my other important life activities. I look at this plan periodically, about one per week. It reminds me where I have been and where I am going. It is surprising many years, when I get to the end of the year, how far I have come.

Along the way, I discovered that a WRAP plan (Wellness and Recovery Action Plan) was a part of the things I needed to work on. Staying emotionally healthy is a prerequisite for me if I want to reach my goals. But my H.E.L.P. plan includes a bunch of other things also.

You do not need to be lost to check a road map.

Having a Happy Emotional Life Plan does not require you to believe there is something wrong with you. Take a look at the post “Why do successful people have coaches” for more on the way in which anyone can use some help in reaching their life goals.

No matter how difficult or awful the place you are in you can still benefit from doing some things to make your life a better place.

It is not just where you are going but how you wish to travel that matters.

Part of creating a life change plan, one that will make your life what you want it to be, is getting clear on your values. Values clarification should always come before setting goals. If a goal for you is having more money, why do you want that and what are you willing to do or not do to get there.

Don’t try to visit all the countries in Europe in one week.

A common error in trying to improve your life is to try to tackle too many goals at once. People in early recovery from mental illness, substance use, disintegrating relationships and so on often make the mistake of trying to fix all their problems the first week.

You may decide you would like a more abundant life so you take a job working forty plus hours a week. Then you see the need for more education so you enroll in school as a full-time student. Some love in your life would make things better so you begin dating and start a new relationship. All that gets done in the first week of the year. What will you do for the second week?

Trying to make too many changes at once reduces the chances of success. Start by making a few small changes and practice them over and over until those new habits become automatic.

Start any self-improvement plan with a few selected goals and as you make progress towards those goals you can add more to the list.

Plans for self-improvement are life maps for a journey.

It is easier to say you want to be healthy. Taking action on that goal is more difficult. Break those goals you have set up into small steps. Take one step at a time and see how far you can travel. Include periodic reviews for your goals and progress as part of a life plan review.

Sometimes it helps to consult a travel adviser or guide.

If your life plan includes some serious renovations consider getting some professional help. A career counselor can help you look for the new job you want. If you have emotional or relationship issues you need to work on, then a counselor or therapist can help.

Throughout this year we will revisit this theme of transforming your life into the one you would like to have and how you can navigate this process of change.

How are you wanting to change yourself and the life you live?

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Get the latest updates on my books, due out later this year by signing up for my newsletter. Newsletter subscribers will also be notified about live training opportunities and free or discounted books. Sign up here – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books

12 Steps to increase your confidence.

By David Joel Miller.

Increase your self-confidence by following these 12 easy steps.

1. Stop trying to be perfect – no one is.

Confident man

Confidence
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Focusing on being perfect keeps you thinking of the negative. Focus instead on your personal best. Work on being just a little better each time you do something and over the long haul you will see improvement. Skills take constant polishing to develop and to maintain.

2. Improve yourself.

Learn a new skill, tackle something you have never done before. Confidence is based on having a wide variety of areas in which you feel competent. Freed of the need to be perfect in everything, you can be however good you are at lots of things. The more skills you have, even rudimentary skills, the more confidence you will have.

3. Don’t compare your private self to others public selves.

We all know our private self. The times we have done something we regret. You know your imperfections. It is easy to compare yourself to someone else’s P.R. image. Do not compare your naked self to someone else’s red carpet costume. Time and again we have seen a public person that many thought had it so together, only to find out that this public person hid a major flaw.

4. Accept yourself warts and all.

The key to increasing your self-confidence is to accept that the way you are now is perfectly OK, all the while striving to become the best person you can be. Being self-deprecating is not being humble. Stop putting yourself down. Accept yourself and you make it easier for others to accept you. Reject yourself and no amount of accomplishments will make you feel good about yourself.

5. Please yourself first for increased confidence.

Trying to please others first results in being chronically unsure if you measure up. Outside people do not know you the way you know you. There will be others in your life you will never be able to please. Some parents think the way to get their children to do better is to always point out their offspring’s flaws. The result is that those children feel they can never measure up and some give up trying altogether, a thing we call learned helplessness. As adults, many people can trace their lack of confidence to a lifetime of trying to please impossible others.

If you have or had someone in your life like that, realize that pleasing them is an impossible task and focus on pleasing yourself.

6. Take more chances.

The great basketball players take more shots. Many highly successful people have tried a number of careers or businesses before they found their niche. You do not protect yourself from failure by sticking to the things you already know. Trying new things helps you discover talents you never knew you had.

7. Have a gratitude list.

Creating a list of the things you have that you are thankful for. Write down a list of your life accomplishments.  Remembering the things you have accomplished in life boosts your confidence. People who lack self-confidence tend to dismiss their accomplishments and discount what they have because they focus only on the things that are lacking.

Recognizing the things you have and the part you have played in creating those things can boost your self-confidence.

8. Use affirmations to increase your confidence.

Affirmations are an incredible tool for boosting confidence. Tell yourself that today you will have a great day and your brain creates it. Say these positive affirmations to yourself every morning. When you need a boost of confidence, repeat them to yourself.

For maximum effectiveness pick affirmations that you believe. Do not try to lie yourself into self-confidence. If you want to be more famous your brain may not accept the affirmation I am famous. It could accept that “Today I will do things that people should notice.”

9. Do your homework – be prepared.

Giving a speech about something you know nothing about will not inspire confidence. Teachers, even those who have been at it a long time, will prepare before classes. New to a field? Learn the basic vocabulary and the “who’s who” of your job. The more you know and the more subjects you know about the easier it will be for you to have conversations with people. Knowing what you are talking about breeds confidence.

10. Educate yourself – read.

Confident people know a bit about a great many things. Self-assured people read and read widely. Read about your own field but also read about things outside your interests. Being well versed in many things will help you interact with others in a confident way.

11. Find the things you care about.

Know yourself and know your interests. It is much easier to be confident when talking about or doing something you really care about. Self-knowledge should make you more confident not less. Accept your good qualities and do not dismiss them lightly. It takes time and practice to become proficient at things. Pick things to practice that you enjoy and you will learn them more rapidly and become better at them.

12. Look for the happy things in life – smile and laugh.

Being a happy person draws others to you. Happiness is a skill. It requires practice and observation. The negativity in the world yells at you every day. The positive happy things wait patiently to be noticed. Make happiness watching a skill you hone every day.

More self-esteem info

Want to sign up for my mailing list?

Get the latest updates on my books, due out later this year by signing up for my newsletter. Newsletter subscribers will also be notified about live training opportunities and free or discounted books. Sign up here – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books