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Give Yourself Credit: The Essential Habit Behind Self-Esteem

Give yourself credit. Are you appreciating your small wins? Here’s why it’s important to find those daily “+1’s” to build confidence and self-esteem.

We often don’t give ourselves enough credit in life – and this can ultimately lead to low self-esteem and confidence.

Too much of self-reflection is often focused on the things we want to fix or improve about ourselves; and in that negative haze, it’s easy to forget all the things that we are doing perfectly fine.

To put it simply: it’s important we give ourselves credit even for the super small things.

When I first started tracking my habits a couple years ago, I added new ones that I wanted to improve on, but I also included old ones that I already had down-pat. These included super easy things such as “Drink Water,” “Go For a Walk” and “Practice Gratitude.”

Yes, those are commonsense habits, which is why it’s so important that we take the time to give ourselves credit for them when we do them. The obvious can become the most overlooked. 

What things in life are you over-looking and not giving yourself enough credit for? There are likely a lot of “small wins” floating around that you aren’t fully appreciating and cashing in on.

For me, anything can become a potential “+1″…completing a chore, going for a walk, meditating for 10 minutes, or meeting someone new.

If it’s a positive habit and it’s feeding into my overall well-being, then I give myself credit for it.

Give Yourself Credit – Be an Easy Grader

I’m very kind and generous when giving myself credit. Perhaps I’m an “easy grader.”

To start, I have a hyper focus on the “small wins” that occur on a daily basis – and even the “small losses” can be easily reframed into a “+1” for me.

I even give myself credit for doing things in my head, such as my tiny mental habits that I practice every morning: 1) Be grateful for one thing, 2) Reflect on one strength, 3) Reframe one negative thought.

That’s +3 for me – and I do it all while sipping my first cup of coffee in the morning!

Now I know what you’re thinking… “Really Steven?!! 3 points for THAT? Sounds a bit generous…perhaps you’re being too nice to yourself…you wouldn’t want to go soft…”

Yes, it may be true, I’m becoming too nice toward myself. It’s a unique problem to have.

Of course, you can certainly make an argument for giving yourself too much credit. A roommate can’t just put out the garbage one night and think to himself, “OK, I did it! I’m done with my household duties for the week! Go me!”

Giving yourself credit is a mental gift to yourself – it shouldn’t be confused with a sense of entitlement around others.

Overall, I recommend being an “easy grader” of yourself. 

For most people, being kind to themselves doesn’t come naturally. You have to start small if you want to reverse the pattern of being an a-hole to yourself.

One idea that’s always resonated with me is, “Talk to yourself the way you would talk to a friend.” 

Think about it: would you speak to your friends the way you speak to yourself in your head?

Maybe it’s time to be nicer.

Find Your Daily “+1’s”

Find your daily “+1’s.” 

Give yourself mental points whenever you do something right.

Your “+1’s” are out there, even if it’s just surviving and taking things one day at a time. Give yourself credit for that, you deserve it!

What’s a small thing you can give yourself credit for today?

Then give yourself credit for giving yourself credit (is this getting too easy?)

When you step back and appreciate your small wins – and give yourself a moment to pat yourself on the back – you get that instant hit of dopamine that often comes with a sense of “reward” or “accomplishment” – a type of happiness hack.

If you want to feel better about yourself, you have to start by treating yourself better.

Now give yourself credit for finishing this article!

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Picture of Dr. Sydney Ceruto

Dr. Sydney Ceruto

A Pioneer in Neuroscience-Based Coaching

As the founder of MindLAB Neuroscience, Dr. Sydney Ceruto has been a leading force in integrating neuroscience into coaching and counseling for over two decades. With three master's degrees in psychology and two PhDs in behavioral and cognitive neuroscience, she is widely considered a top expert in her field.

Harnessing the power of neuroscience-based coaching, Dr. Ceruto's innovative approach focuses on neuroscience, neuroplasticity, and neural pathway rewiring to foster lasting positive change in mental health.

Dr. Ceruto holds esteemed memberships in the Forbes Executive Council, Positive Performance Alliance, Wharton Executive Education Program, the International Society of Female Professionals, and executive writing positions for Alternatives Watch, Brainz Magazine, and TED: Ideas Worth Spreading.

Dr. Ceruto's accomplishments include:

  • The 2022 CREA Award.
  • A lead research position at NYU Steinhardt.
  • Volunteer work with Covenant House and the National Alliance for Mental Health (NAMI).

Her science-backed method of Neural Rewiring has successfully guided thousands of clients toward happier, more productive, and more resilient lives.