Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.Dale Carnegie
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Improving your self-esteem can be interpreted in different ways

There are at least 100 ways to increase your self-esteem. These methods consider the two aspects of self-esteem that are rarely addressed together: you AND others. You’ll be amazed at how simple most of them are.

We’ll start with the types of activities that are the most gratifying; these are the ones that will give you a mental high for several days at a time. A few of these methods depend on a certain circumstance, so don’t fret if you can’t do them. You may not be in a position to do them yet.

An example of this is the quickest way to raise your self-esteem: to save someone’s life. There are actually many ways to do this; you don’t have to rush into a burning house to rescue someone! You can save someone’s life by observing they are having a medical problem, warning them of impending danger, or giving them encouragement when they are feeling depressed. Keeping yourself on the alert to save someone’s life will increase your chances of walking into the circumstances where you can do this.

The #3 way to raise self-esteem is similar to #1: fall in love. Some people would say that they can’t fall in love with a person for a number of reasons. However, they can fall in love with a puppy or a rescued dog or cat, can’t they? How about a squirrel that comes into the yard each day? Falling in love is one of the easiest ways to raise self-esteem.

Improving Self Esteem Can Mean Changing Bad Habits

When considering what to do to improve self-esteem, it’s also important to consider the cessation of certain activities that lower self-esteem. For example, if you know it’s bad for you to smoke the act of lighting up another cigarette sends a message to your own psyche that you are helping yourself die. The end result is the slow creation of the belief that you are not worth much, and should not be alive! What kind of message does that send to your immune system?

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Top 100 Ways to Raise Your Self-Esteem
What is it like to wake up in the morning and know that no matter what obstacles occurred, you will overcome them? What is it like to feel that no matter what anyone said to you, your identity is not shaken? What does it feel like to reap the rewards of having others cherish you for your true worth and vice versa? When you have high self-esteem, all of this and more are possible.
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by Dr. Donna Schwontkowski
Posted Aug. 30, 2009

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The Top 100 Ways to Improve Your Self-Esteem was written by Dr. Donna Schwontkowski (ret.). A chiropractic physician with a master's degree in nutrition and a master's in herbology, Dr. Schwontkowski has also worked as a nutritionist, dietitian, researcher, herbalist, writer, and professional speaker. Dr. Donna also created accelerated learning techniques for students studying large volumes of scientific information and taught them for over 10 years.

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Top 100 Ways to Raise Your Self-Esteem

What is it like to wake up in the morning and know that no matter what obstacles occurred, you will overcome them? What is it like to feel that no matter what anyone said to you, your identity is not shaken? What does it feel like to reap the rewards of having others cherish you for your true worth and vice versa?

When you have high self-esteem, all of this and more are possible.

What is Self-Esteem?

Self-esteem has been defined in many different ways. The National Association for Self-Esteem describes it as the experience of being capable of meeting life’s challenges and being worthy of happiness. Other experts define it as a sense of self-worth when one’s own capabilities are in good equilibrium and harmony between psychological strength and behavior. A simple definition is that self-esteem is a quiet sense of self-respect, a feeling of self-worth.

The lower your self-esteem, the more you fall into the "Poor me" victim personality that can find it easy to blame others for life’s problems. The greater your self-esteem, the more your life seems manageable, on track and has a purpose. The greater your self-esteem, the better your chances of overcoming life’s curve balls, no matter what.

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Start Raising and Improving Your Self-Esteem with our list and tips of the Top 100 Ways to Improve Self-Esteem

Below you will see a list of 100 ways to raise your self-esteem. Simply scan the list for what you can do today to increase your self-esteem, select a few, do them and repeat the process every day. Then evaluate how things are changing in your life after 7 days, after 14 days, and after 28 days. You’ll be amazed at how good it feels to be alive!

1. Save a life. This could be a human being or a pet. Once you save a life, you have made a difference! Your life has purpose and the purpose continues on and on as your act inspires others to do the same.

2. Save your own life. People need you! What are you doing right now that is cutting your own life short? Stop it today once and for all.

3. Fall in love. Falling in love changes your entire perspective on every aspect of life. It’s a natural high that feels great and makes your love overflow to others.

4. Fall in love with yourself. This one is more difficult but yet can move mountains. One study found that people who stood in front of the mirror and told each part of their body that it was loved for 3 minutes a day lost weight fast and even were cured of cancer, sometimes in 30 days.

5. Stop your negative self-talk. You don’t like hearing others cut you down… stop doing it to yourself!

6. Stop criticizing others. You can choose to look at others from the viewpoint of what’s wrong with them or what’s good about them. Choosing the latter moves mountains.

7. Change your handwriting: cross your t-bars high. Handwriting analysts found that school children taught to cross their t-bars high at the top had grades that automatically increased within 30 days without any extra studying. Their self-esteem soared. The reason why: the hand is connected to the brain’s personality control center. It works for adults, too.

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8. Lose weight. You’ll feel much better mentally, physically, and emotionally at a lower weight, and it will raise your self-esteem. Think about that new wardrobe or another motivating reason and get to it!

9. Overcome a health challenge. Most health issues can be overcome. All you need is a decision, some direction from an accomplished alternative health practitioner, and the follow-through. Decide what you’ll eliminate and give yourself a 3-month plan.

10. Make a list of your accomplishments. As Henry Ford said, "There is no happiness except in the realization that we have accomplished something."

11. Make a list of your strengths. Ask your friends to tell you two or three of your character strengths. Write them in a journal and remind yourself of them every day for a week. You’ll find yourself acting more confident as a result. When you’re feeling down, read your list and know that more accomplishments are on the way.

12. Compliment others on their strengths. Find the same strengths you have in yourself, in others. Tell them that you see these strengths in them. Make their day.

13. Challenge yourself with a new learning goal. Make a goal to learn one new ‘techy’ thing this week. That could be how to work the remote or how to perform new functions on your phone. Robert Cushing said, "The fact is, that to do anything in the world worth doing, we must not stand back shivering and thinking of the cold and danger, but jump in and scramble through as well as we can."

14. Communicate with others in a different way. It’s easy to have low self-esteem when everyone around you seems to be in a new technologically advanced world. You feel lost and as if you’re in a time warp. Learn how to learn how to text message others or how to tweet a message through twitter.

15. Teach a child how to read. Or choose a book and read it to a young child. Make sure the book is inspiring.

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16. Read a book on a new topic. Learning is always a great way to increase self-esteem. Our nervous system gets a "charge" out of learning and it feels good and gives us confidence.

A quote from Thornton Wilder sums it up: "Seek the lofty by reading, hearing and seeing great work at some moment every day."

17. Ask others about their achievements. This gives you respect for others, which indirectly raises your own self-esteem. It’s inspirational as well.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "We are all inventors, each sailing out on a voyage of discovery, guided each by a private chart, of which there is no duplicate. The world is all gates, all opportunities."

18. Smile freely. You have much to smile about so spread the joy! Enliven the day of others! Just the act of smiling will enliven your own life. It creates endorphins that stimulate your immune system.

"One who smiles rather than angers is always stronger" – Chinese wisdom

19. Give someone credit for doing something. Recognition doesn’t come easy in our society. Give it freely, even if it’s credit to the post office clerk for making your day brighter.

20. Do something you hate doing. Going shopping with your spouse can actually have its advantages. Find them.

21. Feed the hungry. The next time you cook a turkey or a roast, make 4 sandwiches and bag them up with a banana or apple and take them down to the homeless shelter or a family that would appreciate them.

22. Feed yourself a nice meal. You’re worth it, you know! Don’t forget to set the table!

23. Share your garden vegetables. Do this with your neighbors, those you like and even neighbors you don’t like. Watch what happens!

24. Sing a song to a child. If you don’t have a child, sing to your pet or other family member. Choose a song with a lot of pep or one that expresses your appreciation for them.

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25. Share your knowledge. Call your local grade school and see if they can fit you in for a "Show and Tell" share session. There must be something you can teach the kids that would light up their eyes and heart.

26. List your life’s obstacles. Then write how you overcame them. Confucius said, "Our greatest glory is not in never falling but in rising every time we fall."

27. Write your life story. Hire a writer to help you if you need help, or engage the help of a family member. Find the wisdom in your life.

28. Stop calling yourself names. Stop the negative self-talk. You may feel that something you did was "dumb" but you need to reframe the situation in your mind. Make the dumb mistake humorous and then forget about it.

29. Do something that scares you. Fear needs to be conquered. Don’t choose something that is not smart such as walking down a dark alley. Choose fears like getting over a spider phobia, giving a speech, going to a nightclub to dance, etc.

"It was a high counsel that I once heard given to a young person, ‘Always do what you are afraid to do.’" – Ralph Waldo Emerson

30. New threads may help. Buy a new outfit that you wouldn’t normally buy stretches your personality just a little bit.

31. Deal with irritating people. Write a list of people that irritate you and why you’re irritated with them. Then forgive them.

32. Join a cause bigger than yourself. With all the nonprofits to choose from, this one is easy. Choose one that resonates with your heart. Go to the meetings and volunteer.

33. Set a new exercise goal. Self-esteem increases quickly when you accomplish something never accomplished before. This is pretty easy to do when you exercise.

34. Spiritually look up. In your spiritual book of choice, look up verses that give you direction on what your identity really is. Then meditate on these verses.

35. Solve a problem. Write a list of your current life obstacles. Choose one and make a point to solve it this week.

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36. Strengthen your belief in intuition. Write a list of recent times that people tried to influence your decisions and you followed their advice, which didn’t work out. Then write a list of times when you followed your intuition and things worked out.

37. Fear busting. Identify another one of your fears and fearlessly pursue eliminating it.

38. Lift their spirits. Make a point of calling three people every day for a week to lift their spirits with a joke or a funny story. Jokes can be found on the internet.

39. Deal with naysayers and bullies. Write a list of possible comments for people who tell you that you are worthless or not good at something. These can include:
  • "Are you trying to put me down?"
  • "I always return comments I can’t use to the sender."
  • "Do you talk to everyone like this?"
40. Weaknesses to strengths. Write a list of your weaknesses. Then create a 30-day plan to overcome one of them, just like Abraham Lincoln did.

41. Make a new friend. Invite an acquaintance to lunch. Listen for how you can help that person in some way.

42. Get better and better. Consider the list you wrote about your best strengths. Choose one and improve it.

43. Pamper yourself. Schedule a spa day or a massage with the frills. You’ll feel like a million bucks and send a message to your psyche that you’re worth it.

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44. Get a makeover. Looking your best may not be the best solution to raise your self-esteem for the long run, but it does help temporarily.

45. Get creative in the kitchen. Create a new dish or a new dessert and get your family and friends to taste-test it. If it flops, laugh about it.

46. Take a first aid course. If you’re already certified, take a course in first aid for pets. Be prepared to help.

47. Discipline yourself. The next time you’re in a situation where you want to show anger, exert self-control by seeing the situation as an outsider who’s solving the problem.

48. Excellence makes you shine. Choose one project at work and give that project extra special attention. This can just be an extra hour of polishing after you’ve already finished the project. Do this once a week.

"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit." ---Aristotle

49. Gratitude creates openings for more good things to enter. Keep a list of things in life you are grateful for.

50. Go beyond just gratitude. Write 10 thank you notes to those on your gratitude list.

51. Help others solve problems. Help a child do his or her homework.

52. Help others again – don’t stop. Help a child understand a difficult situation in life.

53. Create ways to help others. Arrange a group of friends to help an elderly or disabled person in your neighborhood.

54. Break a habit. Stop smoking, drinking or cussing. "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit." – Aristotle

55. Give people attention. Consider any habits you may have that interfere with giving people your full attention. This could be a habit such as talking on the cell phone while on a date or multi-tasking while on the phone. Choose one to eliminate and put it in your past.

56. Endless habit breaking. Choose another bad habit that interferes with giving people your full attention. Eliminate it.

57. Change your diet. When you incorporate healthier foods in your diet, it sends a message to your psyche that you are important. Eat more vegetables or fruits or add a handful of nuts each day to your diet.

58. Increase your communication time. Pick one night a week to spend one hour talking to your family members about how their week is going, what challenges they are facing, and how you can help.

59. See the sandman more often. Plan on getting a few extra hours of sleep at least one night a week. Sleep enhances your decision-making processes and your concentration.

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60. Schedule a surprise. Make time in your schedule for your spouse or special loved one. Then follow through with a special surprise date.

61. See the good. Write a list of 10 mistakes you’ve made in life and the good that came from them.

62. Stop making your life difficult. When someone asks you to do something that is difficult, what do you tell yourself? Write down the answers and create new statements you can tell yourself.

63. Stop feeling bad about yourself. What stops you from feeling good about yourself? Write down the answers and then decide how to change it.

64. Tell yourself what you love about yourself. What are the top 10 things you love about yourself? Make a list. Review the list during the week, especially when someone cuts you down.

65. Learn the art of cherishing others. Think of three reasons why you cherish people in your life. Write them down in your journal and send a quick email to five people about those reasons.

66. Experiment and become curious. The more you try new things, the more confident you will become when new situations arise in your life. Decide on one area in life to experiment in, such as new foods, new clothes, new gardening methods, new ways to talk to people, and new ways to show your family you care.

67. Find a self-esteem role model. Who do you look up to as an example of someone with high self-esteem? Ask that person if he or she will be a mentor to you, checking on your progress for the next 90 days.

"The way to gain a good reputation, is to endeavor to be what you desire to appear." – Socrates

68. Be a role model for self esteem. While you are getting mentored in self-esteem, find someone else to mentor to pass your knowledge along to. Teach while you learn.

69. Compassion training. Who do you have very little patience for and why? Identify three types of people, then make an effort to either volunteer to help that type of person through a nonprofit organization or through reading about the challenges they face on the internet.

70. Expand your brain. Take a memory course. Memory loss is frequently encountered as one ages and correlates directly with loss of self-esteem.

71. Expand your skills. Write a list of 12 skills you would like to learn in the next 12 months. Then prioritize them and determine a strategy to proceed forward.

72. Overcome obstacles in your mind. Take out your list of obstacles and list of failures. Every problem has a hidden treasure. Brainstorm with your self-esteem mentor on the hidden treasures for your obstacles and failures.

73. Determine what is most important in life. Choose five values that guide your life. These could be love, excellence, patience, efficiency, health, friendship, self-discipline, learning and more. Now, go back to the list of obstacles and list of failures. How can you view these obstacles and failures in light of these values?

"Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude." – Thomas Jefferson

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74. Self-discipline can come easy. Self-discipline is directly related to self-worth. What new habits can you add to your life that can prove you are self-disciplined?

75. Positive not negative. Record yourself on a long phone call with a friend. How often were you positive? Negative?

76. Ask yourself different questions. Ask yourself, "What else can I do to help someone?" and "What else can I do for myself today?" at least twice during the day.

77. Set realistic goals at work. Plan out small victories that lead to bigger ones.

78. Reward yourself. You deserve a reward any time you reach your goal, or get a lucky break in life. Make sure your reward boosts your self-esteem.

79. Get help when stuck. Decide who would be most helpful for you to experience health breakthroughs. This could be hypnotherapists, coaches, or neurolinguistic programming trainers, or other experts. Make a call when stuck.

80. Use visualization. Change your past failures and obstacles to success by imagining the outcome differently – from a perspective of success.

"Far away in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I may not reach them, but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them, and try to follow where they lead." – Louisa May Alcott

81. From your knees to standing tall. Don’t be afraid to get down on your knees and ask God for forgiveness, help, wisdom or patience.

82. Prove to yourself that you are eternally blessed. Make a list of all the talents and resources you have been blessed with. Then ask God to show you how best to use them.

83. No more duplicates. Consider ways you don’t do things your way and instead follow others. Decide how you can be individualistic. "Insist on yourself. Never imitate." – Ralph Waldo Emerson

84. Make positivity flow from and towards you. Practice building yourself up instead of putting yourself down.

85. Persist at all costs. What’s your greatest obstacle? Determine a new way to conquer it. "Energy and persistence conquer all things." – Benjamin Franklin

86. Find a lonely person to help. "Two are better than one because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he has no one to help lift him up." – Ecclesiastes 4:910

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87. Perfect your concentration skills. Practice concentrating on one topic for 15 seconds, then 30 seconds, then 60 seconds. This is actually more difficult than you think!

"The ability to concentrate and to use your time well is everything if you want to succeed in business--or almost anywhere else for that matter." – Lee Iacocca

88. Let Einstein inspire you. Read a book about Einstein or just read his quotes. "Try not to become a man of success but a man of value. ... Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds." – Albert Einstein

89. Spend 10 minutes imagining your success. "The significance of a man is not in what he attains but in what he longs to attain." – Kahlil Gibran

"Your imagination is your preview of life's coming attractions." – Albert Einstein

90. Spend time helping others imagine success. What you do for others will come back to you.

91. Do nothing that you are not proud of. "Whenever you do a thing, act as if all the world were watching." – Thomas Jefferson

92. Seek out humor. For one day, find humor in something that happens every hour. You’ll be amazed at how this shift in consciousness increases your self-respect.

93. Watch inspirational movies. "Life's like a box of chocolates, you never know which one you'll get." – Forest Gump

94. Take on a new attitude about work. "Work like you don't need the money. Love like you've never been hurt. Dance like nobody is watching." – Mark Twain

95. Take on a new attitude about relationships. "Trouble is part of your life, and if you don't share it, you don't give the person who loves you enough chance to love you enough." – Dinah Shore

96. Look for opportunities in odd places. Turn on the news. Brainstorm 10 ways to help or volunteer based on the latest news stories. "No great man ever complains of want of opportunities." – Ralph Waldo Emerson

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97. Have a Helen Keller brainstorming session. Helen Keller said, "Life is either a daring adventure or nothing." What can you do to add the daring part to your life?

98. Familiarize yourself with the afterlife. There are many good books written on those who were given glimpses of heaven and glimpses of hell. Read them.

99. Meditate on what really matters in life. "And in the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years" – Abraham Lincoln

100. Consider behavior inconsistencies. Do you believe in one thing but act in another? Let Ralph Waldo Emerson inspire you with his quote, "What you do speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you say."

How to Raise Self-Esteem

You can approach the task of improving your self-esteem in two major ways: within your head through your thought processes and by taking part in certain activities. Self-esteem improves when you:

  1. Learn something new.
  2. Teach something to someone else.
  3. Set a personal goal and accomplish it.
  4. Help yourself become more self-reliant.
  5. Help another become more self-reliant.
  6. Rely on your Creator for pulling you through a bad situation.
  7. Do something special for yourself.
  8. Do something special for others.
  9. Make personal decisions based on values of love, forgiveness, gratitude, excellence, compassion, and community.

Don’t Make Improving Self-Esteem a Selfish Pursuit

Raising self-esteem makes life easier and by changing yourself and influencing others in certain ways, everyone will benefit. Raising self-esteem should not just be a selfish pursuit that is all about you; you are only half of the equation. The fact is that the more you do good things for yourself, the better you will feel… only to a certain level. That’s because people were designed to live in community with others. If you did everything for yourself and forget about the "others" part, you would die alone, and probably be miserable. On the other hand, if you do everything for others and forget about the "you" part, your self-worth would also be very low. The trick is to balance the two.

The Top 100 Ways to Improve Your Self-Esteem was written by Dr. Donna Schwontkowski (ret.). A chiropractic physician with a master's degree in nutrition and a master's in herbology, Dr. Schwontkowski has also worked as a nutritionist, dietitian, researcher, herbalist, writer, and professional speaker. Dr. Donna also created accelerated learning techniques for students studying large volumes of scientific information and taught them for over 10 years.