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The First Step Towards Self-Improvement

So how do you stay calm, composed and maintain your self-esteem in a tough environment? Here are some tips you may want to consider as a first step in your self-improvement program.

Once you’ve decided you wish to change some aspect of your life, you first chart out your plan of how to achieve your goal. Once your plan has been crafted, and you know what your first action step is to be, you want to be certain your environment will support you as much as possible in successfully achieving your newly established goal. However, simply because you’ve set out to make positive changes in your own life doesn’t necessarily mean the world around you is going to be supportive.

There are elements that may be present in your life that could destroy your self-esteem and act as roadblocks to any self-improvement effort. This is where determination enters the picture. You must not let these situations destroy your self-esteem and thereby derail your plan to make a difference in your life. So what are some examples of these various elements, or situations, that can have such a damaging impact?

A Negative Work Environment

Beware of the unsupportive “dog eat dog” work environment where everyone is fighting just to keep their heads above water. This environment comes from a place of “lack,” where non-appreciative people usually thrive and are only concerned about themselves and what they will receive. These folks will not appreciate your contributions regardless of your sacrifice, such as missed meals or extended hours. In these situations, you generally will not receive any assistance, even though it may be in the group’s interest to do so.

You need to do your best to avoid, or at least minimize, participation in situations of this nature. Whether you realize it or not, your self-esteem will suffer and negatively impact your progress towards your goal. Recognize that competition thrives in almost any situation. And, competition in and of itself is healthy providing it exists in a positive, supportive environment.

Other People’s Behavior

There are a number of personality types to watch out for. Bulldozers, brown-nosers, whiners, backstabbers, snipers, the walking wounded, controllers, naggers, complainers, exploders, the patronizing individual, the lazy… these are all the types of personalities to avoid. All these folks will do is provide a bad environment, produce bad vibes, if you will, and damage your own self-esteem if you allow it, and again, certainly negatively impact your progress towards your goal.

Changing Environment

It was once said that the only thing that is constant is change itself. The world around us is in constant flux, always changing, and for the most part, for the best. However, when attempting to improve our lives, this changing environment can negatively impact our progress. Change challenges our paradigms. It tests our flexibility and adaptability, and certainly alters how we view the world that surrounds us.

At times, change challenges our present situation, our life. And, it may temporarily cause stress and anxiety. It is best to accept that the world around us is in constant flux, changing from day to day, even if only in minute fashion, and to be as flexible as we can, adopting what we need to in order to cope with our “new” environment.

Previous Experience

If this isn’t the first time you’ve attempted to improve your life, and if the previous attempt was less than stellar in your own eyes, then there may be some reluctance on your part to proceed with a new goal. It’s perfectly okay to be disappointed, to be less than enthusiastic about what may have been perceived as a past failure.

But remember this, attitude determines the success or failure of crossing “the finish line” as much as anything else. Take from the experience any lessons learned, and remember that progress isn’t always measured in a straight line. Vessels rarely get from port to port without having to make course corrections. Take each lesson learned and apply it to your next journey.

Negative World View

Examine what you allow to impact your environment. Limit the negative influences that surround us everyday by limiting your exposure to such events as “the nightly news.” If we allow ourselves to be drawn into the drama of such events, eventually our self-esteem and view of the world around us will be negatively impacted. Simply don’t allow this to happen… you deserve better.

Determination Theory

The you that you are today, your behavioral traits, is said to be a product of your inherited traits (genetics), your upbringing (psychic), and your environment, such as your spouse, your work environment, your social and economic status, and of course, your circle of friends. However, keep in mind, you have your own identity and are in control of determining what it should be. Just because, for instance, a parent is a failure in some aspect of their life doesn’t mean that you too have to befall the same. Learn from other people’s experience and avoid the mistakes while adopting what seemed to work well.

Some people may appear to be born leaders, or perhaps positive thinkers. However, rest assured, having a positive outlook on life is a choice. Building self-esteem is a choice. Being positive and maintaining healthy self-esteem is not a talent, nor is it a gift. You simply don’t require permission from anyone to have either one. So choose what is best for you.

While pursuing our goals and living life in general, it’s difficult to remain steadfast when events and people in our lives attempt to derail our progress and self-esteem. Everyday, we need to dawn our bulletproof armor, tread forward, and act on our goals and dreams. No doubt, along the path, we will suffer some hits and we will get banged and bruised. Nothing worth pursuing comes easy. We simply need to bear in mind that our armor consists of three elements – our attitude, our behavior and our perception of the world that surrounds us.

Building and protecting our self-esteem is critical to any self-improvement goal. We must be responsible for who we are, what we have, and what we do. And if we recognize certain aspects of ourselves in which we wish to change, progress to that end can only improve our self-esteem. When we take control of our mission, our values, and take responsibility for our own discipline… when we strive to truthfully assess ourselves, to strive for self-improvement and set our determination to accept nothing less than our goals and desires… our self-esteem and self-worth can do nothing less than rocket to the heavens.

Be positive. Be content. Be happy. Be appreciative and never miss an opportunity to compliment. Strive to live a positive life, build and protect your self-esteem, and you will be well on your way to successfully accomplishing any self-improvement task that you tackle.

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