Little Wins: The Secret to Positive Self-Image
Written By: Matt Mignona
The "Most Likely to be a Pro Athlete and a Scholar" award went to Andy, a high school classmate of mine. He didn't just win, he won without competition. Every single person in our class put his name on that line. He had it all.
I couldn't help but notice that he didn't have many friends and he didn't open up easily. In fact, I often felt rejected by him; he wouldn't make eye contact with me and if he ever returned my greetings, it was hastily in passing. One day, in casual conversation with his closest friend, I asked if everything was okay with Andy, and I was shocked by the response. He said, "Oh, he's always been self-conscious. He doesn't feel like he's good enough for you. Or anyone here, for that matter."
Are you Andy?
It's ironic, but I would almost guarantee you have a dozen stories just like this one. In fact, I'd guarantee you've been Andy. You've seen those you envy complain about themselves and you've underestimated your own appearance, abilities, and personality.
The cost of low self-esteem and low self-worth are extensive, and unfortunately many of these belief systems lie deep within your subconscious; you may not even know you have them. Problems with self-image can drain your pocket book as you seek out ways to look and feel better about yourself. They can prevent you from reaching your full potential and even wreak havoc on relationships with the people you love the most. Perhaps most damaging is the direct impact that low self-worth can have on your health and wellbeing.
The impact of positive self-image is just as great; people who feel confident set higher personal and professional goals for themselves and are more likely to achieve them because they action on their goals. Although they face adversity just the same, they're less likely to let those challenges impact their self-image in a negative way. They assert themselves in relationships and generally seek out partners who contribute in a meaningful way and treat them with love and respect.
The bottom line: Negative self-image has detrimental effects that bleed into nearly every area of your life, but you have the power to improve your self-image one step at a time.
Like Jeff Olsen describes in his book The Slight Edge, every brick you lay (every small action you take) lays the foundation for the outcome (your future). By nourishing your body, investing in your emotional, physical, and mental well-being, and working toward meaningful goals, you can improve your self-esteem and confidence.
Growing Self-Image through the 7 Habits
The 7 Healthy Habits that are recommended promote healthy self-image, which is accurate, positive, and results-focused. Those with a healthy self-image know where they excel and where they have opportunity for growth and then focus on making progress toward their potential. It's specifically helpful in that it keeps you confident and humble...you grow with each achievement but stay humble as you focus on the future.
The 7 Habits build your self-image through self-love:
- Fuel your body with foods that impact your health in a positive way.
- Exercise 10 minutes a day, every day,
- Take 10 minutes to stretch and promote mobility and range of motion.
- Set a sleep goal and then meet it.
- Drink enough water to hydrate your body.
- Prioritize well-being: take time for family, intellectual growth, love, relaxation, organization, and other activities that promote peace and fulfillment.
- Document your journey to connect the dots between intentions, actions, and outcomes.
It's common to set astronomical goals that are impossible to achieve and then use your failure to validate the belief system that you're not capable of a whole lot. What we love about these habits is that it meets you where you are today and encourages you to start small. To lay just one brick. And then another and another. Before you know it, you haven't climbed a single mountain but you've elevated yourself 10,000 feet through small, intentional investments in yourself.
We've seen first-hand how these habits and Happier Mind Journal work together to transform self-image in our own lives. Here's what we achieved when we jumped in.
When you set your goals every morning and then achieve those goals, you begin to believe in yourself. Your perception of your strength, resilience, and ability grows.
When you set your goals in the morning and don't achieve them, you still win. Taking time to reflect at the end of the day results in a lesson learned at the cellular level: I didn't fuel my body today and I don't feel well tonight. Soon, doing what you set out to do becomes easier and easier. Even losses are wins when you reflect.
Taking time to think about who you are and who you want to be brings you quickly to a place of humility, not to be confused with poor self-image. You achieve humility - which is a positive trait - when you're self-aware.
When your body feels good, your emotional and mental state follow. Every day that you spend 10 minutes investing in yourself leads to physical, mental, and emotional reward. Reflecting at the end of the day helps you see results in real time, keeping you committed to your goals and feeling rewarded for your efforts. At the end of the six-week challenge, you should see changes in your body, energy level, mood, and most importantly, self-image.
A Formula for Success
In the short six-week challenge, you learn the perfect formula for growth and success: set your goals each morning, make small progress during the day, and then reflect before you go to bed. When you follow this formula in the future - whether you're in the challenge or not - you'll find that you can be all of the things you ever set out to be and more: healthy, wealthy, successful, and happy.