Its not a panacea, as over confidence and a feeling you are too good have brought down many. But I believe building self esteem holds some of the keys to success and happiness.
Where do we get some?
Feeling comfortable, a sense of confidence in your approach to life, is developed over time and experience. Being open to life’s challenges and opportunities, pursuing them unabashedly with a measure of success is where it comes from. Building on the successes (partial or total) in challenges you engage in, create a foundation to build on. Its contagious and has a ‘multiplier’ effect.
Break it down!
Any skill we seek or goal we want to achieve is made infinitely easier by recognizing it is a process and will take some time and dedication.
If we want to quit smoking we can go ‘cold turkey’, difficult for many, or use another approach. Outright quitting creates a ton of pressure and elevates the ‘spotlight’ in your circle of acquaintances.
Why not try an approach of setting smaller goals, that are achievable.
Try a strict limitation – a cigarette an hour or no smoking before lunch or after dinner etc. You get the idea! After you have sucessfully met that challenge move the ‘bar’ higher – a cigarette every two hours – no smoking till 2 pm – etc..
You have reduced the difficulty and can use the success achieved at lower barriers to reinforce your ability to do it.
Break it down!, this applies to everything, everything, everything ! (sports, academia, arts, physical fitness…) making progress is all that counts. You measure and judge the success, NO ONE ELSE!
Enjoy the Journey!
An important lesson that I have learned, the hard way, is to enjoy the journey. Focusing on your failures and distance to the goal is frankly exhausting and depressing. Learn to be satisfied with the incremental progress you make, even if it leaves you far from the goal you have set. It makes you happier, proud and keeps the fire burning to continue.