Someone recently asked me what I thought they should do to increase their self-image. Before I gave them any advice, I felt compelled to let them know that I have no formal training in such matters. I can only give advice based off my experience and observations. My suggestions are not meant to be a cure-all, but I believe that they might help point someone in the right direction.
Here are my thoughts...
1. Set easily achievable goals. I think the first thing someone should do is to set themselves up for success by developing a series of small, short term goals that are realistic and easily achieved. Nothing builds confidence better than checking the "I did it" box. Some examples of this might be: committing to having an apple instead of a snickers bar every day for a week, or committing to getting up 10 minutes early and walking around the block twice for five days in a row, or committing to washing your dishes after every meal for 10 days, or taking up an activity such as Martial Arts and then committing to attending class twice a week.
The most important thing about this first step is to wholeheartedly commit and then have 100% follow-through. Don't say you're going to do something if you can't fully commit to it.
2. Look for ways to serve. I can't speak for other people, but I know that when I help others, it lifts my spirit and changes my outlook on everything for the better. Kindness is contagious. This is why I love teaching Martial Arts. I feel like I get so much more from my students than I could ever give them.
3. Exercise. Very few things can change your mood and outlook better than a good workout. Exercise helps you to reduce stress, burn fat, develop and maintain bone density, and it helps you sleep better. I personally practice various types of exercise on a consistent basis, but my hands-down favorite is... You guessed it, Martial Arts.
4. Surround yourself with positive people and a positive environment. It's hard for anyone to feel good about themselves when they are in a negative environment. To the best of your abilities, seek to find environments and people that bring out your best. This is another reason why I love Martial Arts because inherent in training, at least at most schools, is the innate desire for personal development and when you are surrounded by other people who want to improve, they generally want to help others improve as well.
I'm sure there are more things you can do to increase your self-image, but I believe that this is a pretty good start. Good luck.
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