What do I mean by “little dings”? I mean those seemingly small decisions you make in the course of a day or evening that go against what you know to be the right thing to do. The more you know that what you are doing is not the right thing to do, the bigger the ding.

Now picture your self esteem as a car. Your self esteem is the car you drive down the road of life. It is the outward facing you (and the inward facing you). How does it look? If you have been consistently choosing poorly you may be driving down the road in a  jalopy. Metaphorically speaking of course.

We all know that self esteem is at the root of almost everything we do or achieve in life. When you know yourself, when you respect yourself, and make decisions based on how they will impact your self respect, you choose to support your self esteem. This is important not just in the near term but also in the long term because a lot of little dings combined with maybe a few big ones from childhood can be hard to repair.

Take heart though because every single step you take in the right direction makes a difference and consistency wins out every time. So for example if you are feeling run down and unhealthy and you set a small goal for yourself such as eating right for the next two weeks and you do what needs to be done; you go to the grocery store rather than watch another hour of television; you buy a fresh veggie juice rather than a 32oz soda; you snack on carrots and hummus rather than crinkle cut potato chips and ranch dip….not only will you feel much better health wise at the end of the two weeks but your self esteem will have been fortified as well. Because with each right decision you essentially tell yourself “I’m worth it.” “I can do this.” And make no mistake, with every wrong decision you tell yourself the opposite.

I spent years consistently making small decisions that I knew were not right for me. They were fun; they were based on immediate gratification; and they seemed to have no big consequence. Seemed is the key word there. I had no idea that years down the line when I finally got around to really looking at myself and who I had become and where I was compared to where I had always imagined, I was shocked. I was not happy, that was obvious, but it has taken a lot of reflection to understand why and how I got to that state, and more importantly, how to pull out.

The most important conclusion I have come to is that there is no better way to begin feeling better about yourself and creating the life you want to live than to start immediately with each and every decision. You may not always get it right but every little step in the right direction bolsters you. Smoothes out another one of those little dings, and moves you closer to your best self. Inside and out.

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