Do you find yourself dragging your heels some days feeling you’re not good enough? Do you ever tell yourself you can’t do something – maybe a speech, a project, studies, a 10km run? If this is happening to you then the answer may be low self-esteem. You are not alone - There are very few people that can claim to have high self-esteem in all areas of your life.

So, what’s the solution? A significant key is contained in the first paragraph – it is difficult to have high self-esteem in all areas of your life. However you can make inroads by building esteem in a single area of your life. By focusing on only one area, your chances of success are higher, and once your self-esteem improves in one area it will help you in others.

Before starting it’s a good idea to list any achievements you’ve already made. Grab a piece of paper and spend at least five minutes writing every success that comes to mind – and don’t think Mt Everest! Achievements don’t have to be world records or accompanied by trophies. Don’t stop until you have at least 20 items on your list. Here are examples of successes:
? bringing up children you are proud of
? learning to sew, play golf or some other hobby
? clearing out the shed, and getting the contents organised
? completing everything on your “to do” list
? getting your report done on time
? liking the way you look, or maybe just an aspect of how you look
(e.g. hair, teeth, body, suntan)
? getting on well with people/being popular
? having pets/family/friends that love you
? being paid well
? doing work you enjoy
? increasing the amount of exercise you do (or other self care actions)

After completing the list, read it out loud. Don’t panic if you struggled to write a long list. Some people feel so out of control of their lives that they fail to see the accomplishments they have already made. The next step is to pick a goal you think you can achieve – it can’t be a slam dunk (that’s cheating!) but it shouldn’t be a big stretch either. The goal can be in any area of your life, and it has to be something you want to achieve. Commit to it by writing it down, and include a date for completion.

Wishing and hoping won’t make it happen. To improve self-esteem you need to take action. You’ve selected your goal, now is the time to get moving and make it happen.

Double ’em up. You’ve achieved the first goal. How are you feeling? Don’t be shy about congratulating yourself. It’s only a small step but a significant one. Now comes the “double”. Do the same goal setting as the previous paragraph, only this time DOUBLE IT. That’s right, two goals that are achievable in the same area of your life. These goals need to be at least as difficult as the first one.

Keep going. Last time the aim was two goals. Double it again. This time, work on four goals in the same area of your life. Continue by doing eight, and if necessary 16 goals. By this time you will have increased your self-esteem and made real progress in one area of your life.

An extra tip!
There are a number of affirmations available to improve self-esteem. Here are just a few that may be helpful. - I can do it
- I believe in myself
- I’m motivated
- I’m desirable
- I’m loveable
- I get things done
- People respect me
- People care about me

Author's Bio: 

TALIA MANA is the founder of the Centre for Personal Growth and
Well Being, a motivational speaker and author. Her second book The Art of Calm: Freedom from Stress and Worry is due for release by David Ling Publishers in New Zealand during September 2002. For details of seminars or a free newsletter subscription visit or email