Tips and exercises you can do to be your own cheerleader in life.
By Life Coach & NLP Practitioner Mary Meadows
Did you take part in our fabulous online Vision Boarding Workshop this month? If you did, then you'll have met the wonder that is Mary Badass Meadows. Mary is a qualified Life Coach & NLP Practitioner who specialises in stress and overwhelm and we absolutely love her work. We asked her to give us her top tips on how to be your own cheerleader in life and some exercises to get you shaking those inner pom poms!
Cheerlead for yourself, not just for others!
We all have cheerleaders in our lives: friends, partners, family. Heck, you may even have your own life coach cheering you on! And of course, we think nothing of cheerleading others on a daily basis. So why should you bother cheerleading yourself? Is it so important to be your own cheerleader?
By building your self-belief (that inner cheerleader that I promise is there inside of all of us), we balance out the ‘not-enoughness’ that plagues our daily lives. That constant nagging voice in our head, berating us for not managing to get stuff done, for not doing things as well as we think others are, for not fitting in a yoga class, for being a shit parent, for cooking chicken nuggets AGAIN for dinner… I could go on! It’s so easy to believe everyone else has got their shit together and we're the only ones failing at life.
Powering up your inner cheerleader helps you see opportunities. It can make you see and think more clearly. It also stimulates action and persistence and allows you to stay motivated for longer periods of time.
But what do you need to do to be your own cheerleader in life? It doesn't come naturally to many of us but here's how you can get started.
How to get started and be your own cheerleader in life
Here are some great and very doable every-day tips to get you going:
#1 Practice encouraging yourself
Keep it small and chunk things down to manageable tasks. Start looking for evidence that you're doing what you promised yourself you would do.
#2 Be committed
Commitment to your goals and intentions does take time. Try to devise a statement about why your goals/intentions are things you MUST DO. It will help you make them non-negotiables in your life. Why do you want to do this no matter what? You’ll find reasons come first and answers second. What makes you want to do it?
#3 Focus on your own stuff
Comparison sabotages our self-belief. It’s part of human nature but by reducing it we keep ourselves busy with meaningful action towards the things we want.
#4 Done is better than perfect
This is a mantra for life! It’s so important to lower our expectations of what and how much we can do. Our productivity isn’t a measure of our success in life.
#5 Focus on what you CAN control, ignore what you CAN'T
We can spend way too much energy and time thinking and ruminating about the stuff that it is beyond our control. Switch it round and focus on the small stuff we can do every day.
Go a little deeper and become your own coach
Once you’ve got familiar with my starter tips, you might want to dig a little deeper. There are lots of exercises you can do to coach yourself and raise your self-belief. Here are a few you to try which will help you claim your inner confidence and really be your own cheerleader in life.
- A journaling exercise to raise your self-confidence
Make a list of 5 things you are good at, 5 achievements or challenges you have overcome in your lifetime and 5 personal qualities you like about yourself. This is a really simple exercise and one to come back to again and again - I think The Positive Bullet Diary is great for this as you list them at the beginning of each month and reflect on them regularly. If it’s hard to think of 5 just try 1 for each step.
Did you know the root of the word confidence comes from the Latin 'fidere' which means 'to trust'. To be self-confident is to trust yourself, to rise to challenges, seize opportunities, deal well with different situations and take on responsibility for your actions, behaviours and habits. Trusting ourselves can be a bit of a journey, leaning into that gut feeling of what’s right for you. I believe it’s so important to recognise when we do make a decision or act upon our gut feelings. When was the last time you tuned in to your gut? Try it now. Ask yourself: ‘What’s the next right thing for me to do?’ and listen to what your intuition says and then go do it!
- The power of persistence
This is the least sexy part of making any self-development and the one skill that people forget to focus on. We can spend far too much time looking outside of ourselves for that quick fix, that magic book/blog/website/app that’s going to show us how to do it (whatever ‘it’ is for you). One of the biggest life lessons I’ve learnt is to look inwards and to be ok with the shitty stuff about myself. To just accept how I am right now. Acceptance doesn’t happen overnight though and that’s where persistence comes in. Trying again, reflecting on what happened, why we didn’t do something, looking for the steps we missed, or the skill we forgot to deploy, and trying again.
- Conduct an edit of your life
Curating and editing our lives often is something I encourage myself, my clients and friends to do. Think of all the places we consume information and start to curate this in a way that suits you - just as if you were curating a magazine. Think of people, places, activities that energise you and make those parts bigger. Now think of what drains you and distance yourself from these - unfollow or mute people, delete apps, restrict access. It doesn’t matter how you want to do it but by making all the drains as small as you possibly can, you’ll be setting boundaries and creating space to let the good stuff in.
- Practice Power Posing
We convey a great deal about our confidence through our body language. Lack of eye contact and a slumped body posture can indicate low self-esteem and, quite frankly, it just makes us feel a bit shit. On the other hand, positive eye contact and an upright posture just oozes confidence. Simple right? Let’s practice this right now!
Take note of how you are sitting right this second. How is it making you feel? Now take a long, deep inhale through your nose and sigh that breath out. Adjust your posture, place both feet firmly on the ground, head up, shoulders down and back. Practicing power posing for as little as 2 minutes can actually change your body chemistry leaving you feeling instantly more confident.
- Review & reflect on your plans and progress
If you want to make some changes to how you feel or to certain areas of your life, we have to make sure we take some time to reflect and review on a regular basis. If we don’t glance back, we can’t move forward. This is where we get our heads out of the sand!
Grab a notebook and pen and ask yourself some simple questions about your progress. What’s gone well? What’s not gone so well? What could I do more of? What would I like to do less of? It just takes a few minutes, but by focusing on where you are, and how you got there, you can make a plan to move forward – because like it or not that’s the way you’re going!
In all this you shouldn’t forget that you're trying to be your own cheerleader in life. So what should we be doing? CELEBRATING! How do you celebrate your wins? Successes no matter how small are worth celebrating and by doing so you’re activating your inner cheerleader. Celebrate it ALL! We don’t think twice about celebrating the achievements of others, so let’s not forget to sing loudly about our own! Go get those pom poms out!