[This is one of a series of 30-Day Experiments to do this year instead of New Year’s resolutions.]
Want to maximize your potential to make a difference in the world? Work on improving how you feel about yourself. Your self-perception has a huge impact on just about everything, from how you relate to people to what you are willing to try and how likely you are to succeed.
One of the biggest contributors to how you feel about yourself is how you talk to yourself. Realize it or not, we all have a near-constant commentary running about who we are and how we show up in the world.
Unfortunately, much of that commentary is negative. “I screwed that up. Why did I say that? I’m too short. I’m too tall. My nose is too big. I talk too much. I’m too shy. I should have done that better.” And on and on it goes.
Precious little of our internal commentary reinforces and builds a positive sense of self. To counter that, and to start building a habit of noticing and acknowledging the positive, try keeping a Self-Appreciation Journal.
Every day, write a list of things you can appreciate about yourself. You can start with these questions as prompts:
- What do I like about myself?
- What skills do I have?
- What do other people like about me?
- What do I do well?
- What do I like about my appearance?
- What did I do well today?
- What do I like about what I did / how I showed up today?
- What positive impact did I have today?
- How have I left things better than I found them?
- What have other people complimented me about?
- What is my secret superpower?
Once you have written your daily list, challenge yourself to sit and soak up the positive self-observation. Don’t just check it off the list and move on. Let yourself acknowledge it.
Here are some tips, Similar to the ones in the Gratitude Journal experiment, to get the most out of your Self-Appreciation Experiment.
- Make it easy to start with. Keep the journal next to your bed and jot down three things you’re grateful for before you go to bed. Keep it to a one-sentence description. Review the list the next morning when you get up to start your day. Over the thirty days, if you find yourself wanting to dive in deeper, feel free to up the number of things in your list or the amount you write. But if it starts to feel onerous, dial it down again.
- Ask questions. Go through the self-appreciation-prompting questions above to help prompt ideas for what to write. Brainstorm additional questions. Jot them down throughout the month as they occur to you.
- Make it real. Don’t just mechanically go through the motions of writing things down. Try to really feel the appreciation and admiration for the things you write down.
- Remember, size doesn’t matter. This isn’t about finding grandiose things to be appreciate about yourself. If you see the biggies, great. But it might just as well be an appreciation for the fact that you are conscientious about making the bed every day, or that you call a store clerk’s attention to it when they give you too much change.
- Make your day a self-appreciation zone. As you go through your day, make a conscious effort to notice things you like and appreciate about yourself. That will both have a positive effect on your day and make your Self-Appreciation Journaling easier.
If you decide to take this 30-Day Experiment on, keep us posted here on how it goes!
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