Self Improvement 7: Give Yourself Credit

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give yourself credit

I don’t think everyone should get a medal. But you have done things in your life that you can be proud of.

Give yourself credit!

From time to time you may feel that you don’t amount to much. But this is not true. You have to give yourself more credit. Think of the time you helped your friend. That was all you. Decide that what you do is enough and you are worthy. Give it your best shot and be content with the results.

Are you a runner? It doesn’t matter if you run 6-minute miles or it takes you 20. The fact that you are a runner is enough, give yourself credit. Can’t run? Go for a walk! Walking is the most effective way to exercise and keep yourself healthy.

If you are struggling with your child, it may feel you are not doing enough. But you are, give yourself some credit. If you are doing anything then at the end of the day look back and decide that that was enough for the day, give yourself credit.

When I quit smoking and put on some weight, I understood that I need to start exercising. I started running as the easiest way to burn lots of calories. At that time I hated running. I took really small baby steps by running for 4 minutes and then walking for 4 minutes for 20 minutes a day. I was happy with the results and gave myself a pat on the back. It wasn’t hard, but it was enough to give myself credit.

Know your why

Set a goal! A small one. Your vision may be that you build a business that makes millions. But you are broke now. You may want to run a marathon but the last time you ran was in high school. You may want ripped abs, but you are 30 pounds overweight.

Make sure your goals are something you want and not meant to impress your friends and relatives. They will be impressed, but if you have the external motivation, then you are much more likely to fail. When you do things because of you, then you are much more likely to achieve them.

You have to be kind to yourself

Every step in the right direction counts. Positive reinforcement is the best kind of reinforcement:

Change you negative self-talk: Negative self-talk happens when something goes wrong. It can be either you blaming yourself for what happened or telling yourself that you deserved this negative outcome. In the first case you are downplaying your abilities, and in the other, you question your worth as a human being. But this is not the way to improve your life. Don’t beat yourself up every time something doesn’t go the way you intended or expected.

Celebrate your victories large and small: Celebrating your victories will give you a sense of accomplishment. Celebrating will also mark the end of something. You will get closure and can move to new things. Don’t wait too long to celebrate, chunk things down to smaller pieces and celebrate small victories.

Take a day off when you feel overwhelmed: Plan for the day off so that you don’t have any chores and other people will not fill your day with their requests. It’s not the day off if you have to clean the house, visit relatives, wash your car, mow the lawn or other such activities. Except when you decide in advance to do those things as something that relaxes you.

Find the good in bad situations: Whatever happens, there’s usually a positive intent behind it from the offending side. People usually mean well and the bad things are communication errors and accidents. Judge others’ behavior by the intention they had. Judge your own actions by intent.

Every step you take, every effort you make, is keeping the momentum going and is worth that you give yourself credit for it. You are skilled enough and strong enough to take the next step. You decide what the next step is! Make it so that you can take the step and give yourself some credit for the effort you made.

Anne Sweeney success quote

Define success on your own terms, achieve it by your own rules, and build a life you’re proud to live. ~~Anne Sweeney

Don’t sweat this, find just one thing you can give yourself credit for and be happy for it. And repeat it tomorrow and the day after that. Make it a habit that you find every day something to give yourself credit for.

What have you already achieved?

You can read! This is the kind of mental power I have. I know you can read! Whit the coming of a better text to speech technology this sentence may not hold true in the future. The literacy rate in the world is 86.3 percent. List everything you have achieved. Write a list:

  • What did you do in school?
  • Maybe you handle a computer better than your peers
  • Can you swim?
  • Maybe your cooking is great?
  • Have you helped someone just because you can?
  • Are you good at making your friends laugh?
  • Do you know all the lyrics of your favorite band?
  • Did you make your bed this morning?
  • Can you boil an egg?

Make a list of all the things that you have accomplished. Learning to walk and talk is something most of us have mastered, but it was an accomplishment when you did it. I have run more than 100k, but I still remember how proud I was when I ran my first 10k. The time when I got to 20 I was ecstatic.

Don’t devalue the past because you are now much better. Be kind to yourself.


One day in the gym, writing one blog post, or running your first mile is a victory. Give yourself some credit and then do it again the next day. Persistence is the key try not to skip more than one day when building a habit.

The key to happiness is low expectations

It is your choice to believe that you did a great job and it is enough. There’s a joke that the key to happiness is low expectations. It is not a joke! As long as you keep improving you can do incredible feats. A little bit better every day means a huge improvement over months and years.

And don’t forget to celebrate every once in a while.

Now pat yourself on the back! Create a long list of things that you have accomplished in your life.


Image: Fireworks by Guus Krol
Image: Anne Sweeney by Disney

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4 Responses

  1. marquita herald says:

    Well said Priit! We get so busy with the noise of everyday living it’s easy to overlook the small but significant accomplishments. One thing that helps me is keeping a journal of achievements. I don’t spend a lot of time on it, just jot down notes at the end of the day, but it serves as a great reminder from time to time when I’m feeling less than kind toward myself. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Priit Kallas says:

      Thanks Marquita. Your site is a constant stream of great ideas for me! As is the idea of keeping a journal of achievements.

  1. April 30, 2013

    […] Improve Your Life #7: Give Yourself Some Credit […]

  2. May 8, 2013

    […] Improve Your Life #7: Give Yourself Some Credit […]

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