How to start giving yourself credit

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People are busier than ever. We have work, family and hobbies. We often feel exhausted and stuck. It’s easy to focus on the things that we don’t do, instead of all the things we accomplish on a daily basis. You’re probably not giving yourself credit where credit is due.

Your life deserves celebration. That means giving yourself credit – starting now.

The psychology of giving yourself credit

We often believe that being hard on ourselves is the only way to achieve our goals. We think that a competitive, unforgiving attitude is just what we need to push ourselves to success. But the truth is that by giving yourself credit, you actually instill confidence, self-compassion and self-love that will take you to greater and greater achievements.

Being hard on yourself can cause anxiety and end up leading to inaction, as you begin to believe that your failures are a part of who you are. On the other hand, research has shown that giving yourself credit and practicing compassion with yourself can actually increase your drive to make changes in your life and is linked to personal initiative and curiosity.

Serena Williams didn’t wait until she won 23 Grand Slams to give herself credit. Richard Branson didn’t wait until he made his first billion to give himself credit. Chances are, they set measurable, achievable goals along the way and celebrated each one of them. They didn’t dwell on their mistakes – they learned from them, stayed positive and worked even harder to achieve their goals. You can, too.

How to start giving yourself credit

Giving yourself credit doesn’t mean avoiding responsibility for your mistakes and failures. It’s ultimately about letting go of the past, focusing on the positive and cultivating a deep belief in yourself.

1. Take responsibility

Do you tend to blame others for your failures and mistakes? If you do this, you may also have trouble giving yourself credit. You cannot take ownership only for the good in your life and not the bad. Harness the power of taking complete responsibility for your own actions and decisions, and you’re on the road to being able to give yourself credit

2. Live in the present

If you have trouble giving yourself credit, you may need to let go of the past – or stop worrying about the future. Instead of holding onto your past mistakes or feeling anxious about missed goals and imaginary opportunities, be present in the moment. Practice gratitude for whatever you are feeling, and realize that you’re doing the best you can with what you’ve been given. This will help you stop feeling guilty and start giving yourself credit.

3. Look inwards

Humans have an innate need for connection and belonging. We are social animals, and we want to be accepted. This means that we often look outside of ourselves for praise. We want others to notice our accomplishments and we base our self-worth on their opinions. The truth is that if you’re not giving yourself credit first, you’ll never feel that others approve of you. Remember: self-love starts with the self.

4. Create empowering beliefs

Have you ever truly listened to your inner monologue? The next time something goes wrong, check in with yourself. Chances are, you’re not giving yourself credit. You may blame yourself or tell yourself that you’re not deserving of success. These are limiting beliefs, and they only hold you back. The next time you notice negative self-talk, replace it with empowering words and start giving yourself credit, even for small things. This will go a long way toward building your confidence and self-love.

5. Keep a journal

A journal is a great place to begin giving yourself credit. Make a list of all of your accomplishments, no matter how small. Did you answer a late-night phone call from a friend in need? Give yourself credit for being a great friend. Did you take on the work of a colleague who had a sudden emergency? Give yourself credit for being an outstanding coworker. When you reach your exercise goals, record it! A journal will also help you focus on how far you’ve come, instead of how far you have left to go, allowing you to stay positive.

6. Celebrate your successes

Positivity is key to giving yourself credit. When we celebrate our successes, our brains release “pleasure chemicals,” like dopamine and serotonin. This rewards us for our achievements and makes us want to achieve even more. Appreciate every step you take on the way to your goals, no matter how small. Reward yourself for finishing your chores. Buy yourself champagne for passing that test. Cook a healthy dinner when you run your first mile. Celebrate your successes and keep pushing forward.

7. Surround yourself with the right people

You are who you associate with. Is your friend group lifting you up or holding you back? You may not be giving yourself credit because those around you are always looking for the negatives in life. As Tony says, “We all get what we tolerate, in ourselves and other people.” You may need to raise your standards and start surrounding yourself with people who support you and celebrate your accomplishments, no matter how small.

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