New Year, New Beginning — One Small Step At A Time

A new year is waiting around the corner with all its expectations, wishes, challenges and adventures. The promise of a new beginning, a new start, new goals, new hopes and new intentions we make for ourselves.

So, how do you want to start your New Year? How do you want to feel in this new time of challenges and adventures?

We can’t control Covid’s course and other issues larger than our lives, but we can decide how we want to start this new year and make our hopes, dreams, intentions and goals come true. We’re all getting a brand new opportunity to change whatever we want to redo, improve on, try out, or take on new challenges. It’s exciting even though it may scare you to bits now!

If we look at the new year this way, it implies that we’ll need to take some action – and action implies moving forward often on an unknown journey. Just as we can’t perfectly control Covid and its impact, we can’t predict with perfect vision and certainty what lies ahead of us. Does this mean we should let go of our hopes, dreams, or goals? It’s a personal choice.

What do you want for yourself in the New Year? What would you like it to be like… for you?

If you feel poor self-esteem has been stopping you from moving forward and you need some insight on how you can manage your self-esteem and learn to reach out to claim all the opportunities and goals you have set for yourself, this post is for you.

Wondering what self-esteem is?

Self-esteem is all about how you perceive and value yourself. It is connected to all your life experiences up to this point, and more specifically to the meaning, you have given to these experiences.
It doesn’t relate to your abilities or how others perceive you. You can be good at something and have low self-esteem, or have healthy self-esteem and not be great at something.
Self-esteem constantly develops and you can improve on it at any age. You may have had childhood experiences that still affect your opinion of yourself as an adult. These experiences may not even be relevant or true any longer, but what they meant for you at the time still impacts your decisions today.

How might low self-esteem impact you when you want to move forward?

What often happens is that you may find yourself avoiding anything that challenges you. You don’t want to make a fool of yourself or become embarrassed. Hence, it’s easier to remain in your safe zone. This may work in the short term, but over time it will reinforce you doubting yourself even more.

You won’t have the ‘evidence’ of what you tried and succeeded at, which strengthens self-confidence.

Your inner voice – or self-talk – is more often critical than encouraging, especially when you perceive yourself as having ‘failed’ at something. Instead, try to focus on your abilities and strengths first. We often believe our ‘negative’ thoughts – and struggle to find positives to focus on, making us prone to expect the worst – first.

The importance of small steps

One way of improving your self-confidence is to start with small steps towards what you want to achieve. Don’t rush into overdoing your new challenge – If you don’t see success immediately you run the risk of criticising yourself harshly, which can become a counterproductive habit.

Break the challenge down into smaller steps – one step at a time. You just have to take each next step, and by putting one foot in front of the other, soon you may realise how far you’ve travelled from your starting point.

As you enjoy achieving each step along the way, you will stay more focused and enjoy the process more. Your confidence will grow, as well as your resilience to keep on track.

Reach out and ask for help when needed. Just because something is difficult for you does not mean you should refrain from getting help. Don’t be embarrassed if you find this difficult. Not being able to accomplish something on your own is not a reason to quit or stop growing. And remember: It takes strength to ask for help!

Celebrate every step you’ve achieved and become aware of any reflexes to judge yourself harshly if things don’t go according to plan. Pick yourself back up. Look back at all the previous small steps already taken and refocus with a more positive mindset.
Finally, keep going! It establishes a new habit and new, positive habits are one of the building blocks of strengthening self-esteem.

3 Actions you can take towards change today:

  1. Challenge your self-talk. Is your inner voice telling you the truth about yourself? What are the real facts? We tend to ‘believe’ our critical self-talk blindly without really questioning it. We are not necessarily what we tell ourselves. Nor what others tell us.
  2. Change the way you talk about yourself, especially when you’re with others. Be as kind to yourself as when you talk kindly of others.
  3. Change your language. Notice first what was positive about an experience, an event, or how you managed something instead of defaulting to negativity straight away.
  4. What can you change in your life immediately that will make you feel better, more confident, more positive? Can you spend your time differently by actually going for an early morning walk/jog that you know will make you feel better? Start that course to learn the new skill you know will be useful and make you feel more confident? Deliberately mix with more positive people?
  5. As always, keep going! It creates a new habit. The more positive habits you have, the more building blocks you have to improve poor self-esteem.

How will you be looking at your New Year after reading this post?

As you have learnt from this blog, poor self-esteem can change. You don’t have to be limited by it. To sum up the lesson: One way of approaching it is by taking small steps every day. Every small step is action taken. The new year will also have 365 days of opportunities to notice your self-talk and work on how you relate with yourself. Changing your self-talk will lead to a different chatter by the end of next year. All of this will affect your self-esteem.

As a final thought, try to remember that it probably took a long time to talk to and think of what you are doing right now and even thought it cannot change overnight, it can change if you work at it every day.

What else?

Stop using ‘can’t’ and change it to something less limiting, for instance ‘I can try..’

Have a quiet time once a day – either before your day starts or at the end of it. Just notice first what went well. The things that went wrong we instinctively focus on first. Change the sequence.

A new year means a new chance, a new opportunity, a new beginning – take action on the one thing you want to do for yourself. Take your first small step towards it.


Karen Bateson

27 December 2021