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Last year, I wrote an article about learning to gain long-lasting confidence, but I wanted to share with you even more tips, specifically quick tips for gaining confidence you can start to master right away. These are small things you can do today that will make a huge impact in the way you feel about yourself.
1. Shower and get dressed every day. I know my fellow moms who stay at/work from home can relate. It’s far too tempting to just hang out braless and in yoga pants all day instead of putting the extra effort in looking our best. But you would be surprised at how much more you will accomplish if you get dressed for the day, because then you are ready for anything. You never know who you will meet out in public, whether it’s running into an old friend, or making a new business contact. Also, you are sure to have a more productive day at home!
Makeup is an individual choice, but I know I don’t feel my best unless I have my makeup on, too, even though I hate to actually have to put it on.
Here are some tips for dressing your best and maximizing your wardrobe.
2. Making your bed matters. If the very first thing you do in the morning is make your bed, you’ve already accomplished something worthwhile. This sets the tone for the day, letting the world know that you are up, and you mean business. It only take a minute, but the feeling of accomplishment is huge. For this reason, I also suggest you make sure that when you go to bed at night, your kitchen sink is completely clear of dirty dishes. Nothing is more satisfying than going to bed having at the very least that one thing done for the day.
3. Create a to do list, and set goals. It’s so easy to get overwhelmed with all you have to do today, but if you write it down, you will be able to compartmentalize your list, and find it much easier to tackle every task. If you happen to accomplish things that weren’t originally on your list, like making your bed, add it to the list just to have the satisfaction of crossing it off! If you can’t meet all of your goals, go for priority, and that includes making yourself a priority with your exercise routine.
4. Exercise. The increase in blood flow and elevation in feel-good endorphins is enough to boost your confidence immediately. Plus, many studies show regular exercise reduces overall anxiety and depression. Exercise also activates your brain, making you a better problem-solver and achiever; it is no coincidence that the majority of the most successful people in the world exercise in the mornings. Find an activity that you truly enjoy. Don’t take up running if you’ve always hated to run. You are far more likely to stick with an exercise plan if it is something that you enjoy. If you are someone who would like to make new friends, an aerobics class is seriously so awesome for this. I have made wonderful friends from regularly attending boot camp classes at my local YMCA. But you don’t even need a gym membership to get started working out. You can get started at home with countless Youtube videos for free!
5. Break up with the scale. Confession: I don’t know how much I weigh. I used to weigh myself every day, sometimes several times a day. But doing so puts way too much emphasis on a number that fluctuates daily, even hourly. It’s far too easy to allow our weight to determine our mood and self-worth, and who needs that extra stress? Instead of going by the scale, go by how your clothes fit. You know if you haven’t been eating the things your body needs and at the appropriate times, when you haven’t been making exercise a priority, or if you have been experiencing an unusual amount of stress. The scale does not accurately reflect how well you are taking care of yourself. At the time of writing this, I am pregnant with my third baby, and my doctor knows to tell me if I’m putting on weight too quickly, so if you can save the weigh-in for the doctor’s office, you will save yourself so much added stress. You don’t even have to look at the scale then if you don’t want to, your doctor understands, especially if you have had a dysfunctional relationship with the scale like me. Instead, practice healthy body image techniques that help you rock the body you already have, and realize how awesome you already are!
6. Compliment others, do it sincerely. When meeting other people, nothing breaks the ice more quickly than a nice compliment. Plus, it makes you feel good about yourself, too! Lifehacker today posted a brief article on The Best Way to Compliment Someone You’ve Just Met. In it, author Patrick Allen writes, “If you’re not sure to how to connect with someone you’ve just met, networking expert Robbie Samuels suggests you pay them a compliment about any accessories they may be wearing. It could be a jacket, some sunglasses, jewelry, or anything you could consider peripheral gear. This kind of compliment acknowledges a choice that they made, something they can control. You start things off on good terms, and you avoid being disrespectful or acknowledging something out of their control (like their physical appearance or name).”
7. Keep a journal of your successes, even the small wins. On the days you’re feeling crummy (and we all have crummy days!) it’s a great reminder to yourself that you’re so much more than a few poor decisions. You accomplish things others would never dream of being able to do for themselves. Remember that.
8. Avoid pop culture and limit social media. It’s easy to feel down on yourself when you see friends, family, and acquaintances doing things you wish you could do, but can’t. It’s especially easy because we forget that the things posted to social media are the highlights of someone’s lives, edited and polished before it is carefully curated for your consumption. It’s as though we are viewing another’s highlight reel, but comparing it to our own blooper reel.
I hope she doesn’t mind me sharing this story, but I have a friend who once mentioned that she feels badly about parents who can afford to take their children to Disneyland, because her kids may never get to go. But that same person is a super creative mother who knows how to make even the smallest thing into a great celebration for her kids, creating special memories and passing down their rich traditions. I mean, her Facebook updates blow my mind! Her kids will never feel a void in their lives because they’ve never been to Disneyland because she makes up for it in spades in her endlessly thoughtful creativity. In defense of the Disneyland mom (which I am because we live just 20 minutes from the Park), it’s impossible to say what sacrifices she makes to be able to afford the monthly passes, and perhaps that’s the only time her family can get together to spend time together because of the husband’s travel schedule. Either way, we can’t live thinking that parenthood is a competition to be played out online, because we are never getting the full story. One thing is for sure: we are all doing the best we can with what we have, so let’s just be happy for each other when things are going well!
9. Clear clutter from your home. Women especially have a hard time feeling calm and happy when her home is cluttered. It creates a mental chaos, is hard to keep up with, and who wants to have visitors when their home feels out of control? Women especially take it hard when their home isn’t in order because we tend to feel it is a reflection of our ability to be a traditional homemaker. I once shared my thoughts on why I think at least keeping your living room clean is important for your mental health. Being able to get rid of clutter is freeing, and will allow you to feel you can take on anything.
If you need help being able to sort through your clutter, one of the best books to come out on the subject is the very popular The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo.
10. Learn a new skill. I often think about our pre-internet world, when we had to learn skills by way of having them passed down through the generations. When I wanted to learn to knit as a child, my grandmother and mother started me off on the most basic stitches, and then I had to depend on library books for anything more advanced. The different shop classes in school (wood shop, metal shop, home economics, etc.) were so much fun, but those have all but been eliminated from the education curriculum. Now, if you want to learn a new skill, there are millions of resources available to you online! You can learn to do anything yourself, such as cake decorating, through a quick Google search. My point is, learning a new skill will boost your confidence levels tremendously. You can use Google, YouTube, Pinterest, or this great list of classes found online.
11. Make yourself a mixtape. Since this isn’t 1992, when I say “mixtape”, I really mean a playlist you can create and listen to for free like my personal favorite service, Spotify. Continuously add the music you know you love and makes you feel amped up and energized. Add the songs that move you both spiritually and physically. Listen to it for an instant pick-me-up or to get your psyched for the things you have to get done today.
There are countless ways to boost your confidence and self-esteem, but I hope this list gives you some quick ideas you can implement right away. What are some of the quick pick-me-ups do you already incorporate into your daily routine? Let me know in the comments below!
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