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When was the last time you stood in front of the mirror and said something nasty to yourself? Something you’d never dream of saying to a friend? Or blamed yourself for things not working out – at work, with friends or in love? Negative self-talk is all too common and we’re all guilty of it from time to time.

Now for the good news

It’s never too late to start being kind to yourself. So start treating yourself – inside and out – to the sort of self-talk and behaviours you actually deserve. Here are four simple strategies to improve your self-esteem and confidence. The new you starts today. Are you ready?

#1 Start journaling your thoughts

That voice you’ve got in your head can be a real bitch sometimes. Like, an actual bitch. And it’s a real overthinker. It can say things to you that you wouldn’t say to your worst enemy. There are a couple of ways you can deal with this voice. One is to acknowledge it in the moment. Ok, I’m having this thought. It’s just a thought and this doesn’t make it the truth.

If this feels hard, give journaling a try. Take pen to paper (there’s something about handwriting that will connect you to this process – trust me) and just start jotting down your thoughts and ideas. Five minutes might be enough to get you started, while you work up to a few pages a day. The process of reflecting and writing will help you to start acknowledging and processing the thoughts you’re having. It might also make you more aware of some patterns or habits to take a close look at on your mission to improve your self-esteem.

#2 Do a life clear out

Spoiler alert. No matter how much you want it, no amount of wishful thinking is going to change anyone else. Shame, right? That boyfriend who doesn’t text you back or friend who forgets to invite you to the Houseparty chat? You’ve made space for them in the centre of your world. And you get to choose who takes up those coveted spots. Making the decision to move on from someone is always tricky.

But, it’s time to listen to your inner voice here. Why give someone else the power to dictate how you feel about yourself? Same goes for social media. Jump on your Insta and immediately unfollow any account that doesn’t bring you joy. Just do it. Focus on surrounding yourself with people, thoughts and ideas that light you up, not bring you down. Your self-esteem will thank you for it.

#3 Just say no

Newsflash. You’re the boss. Don’t want to meet your friends for Friday drinks after work? Then don’t. Don’t want to join a running group? No one’s forcing you. And, let’s face it, it’s time to stop worrying about what other people think all the time. You can always suggest an alternative plan that feels better for you – whether that’s a walk, dinner or a movie. By taking ownership of your decisions and personal preferences, your confidence in yourself will grow.

#4 Fake that self-esteem ‘til you make it

According to a 2016 survey by Dove, as many as 4 in 5 Australian women have low self-esteem. So as you start to work on improving your confidence, you may need to fake it ‘til you make it. (Tip – start by taking our free self-esteem quiz to get an honest assessment of where you’re at on your journey.) Then, come up with a list of nice things you can do to treat yourself the way you should. Do these things often enough and it’s like a muscle – you can improve your self-esteem with practice.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

Eat well – find your new favourite green smoothie recipe or shop at local markets for fresh, nourishing food
Exercise – be sure to pick something you like whether it’s walking with a friend, strength training or boxing classes, or beach runs
Get your nails done
Hang out with a friend who makes you feel good about yourself

So, what now?

When it comes to improving your self-esteem, it may surprise you to know you actually have all the answers. It may just take a little bit of digging. Start by being kind to yourself and take it one step at a time. All the feels, all the speed bumps – they’re all part of it. And it’s all OK.

I’d love to chat about self-esteem with you, or whatever else is on your mind. Your first call is free – book in today.

Over to you

Have you tried any of these strategies to improve your self-esteem? Or have another favourite? Let us know in the comments. And please share this article with a friend who you think might find it useful.