“Who you are is what you settle for, you know,” Janis Joplin famously said. If you suspect that you settle for less than your due, here are five signs that you may need to work on your self-esteem and assertiveness.Our stress and anxiety can increase when we are settling for less than we deserve. We might notice a growing unsettled feeling inside ourselves.

Dreaming of “Someday”

Are you delaying the work you need to do to realize your dreams? Do you plan to get that degree, start that business or finish that book, “someday?” To put off work on your goals until the stars are perfectly aligned is to settle for less. “But I can’t do that until after I graduate, or get married, or have X dollars in the bank.” That’s your fear speaking. Act now. Make a plan. Start saving. Network. Study. Take some small step towards your goal. There will never be a perfect time. “Someday” will never come if you never begin.

I learned an incredibly strategy to help with this. It’s called the 4 Quadrants. Take a piece of paper and make 4 boxes. one box is labeled 5 years, the next 1 year, the next 1-3 months and the last box is labeled this week. Then write down the big goals, under the one box labeled 5 years. Write down the goals that seem far away, almost unattainable. Dream and be creative. One the one labeled 1 year, think and write about what would need to happen in the next year to make that dream be closer to a reality. On the one labeled 1-3 months, think about and write down what would need to happen in the next few months to make the 1 year goals attainable. Finally on box labeled “this week”, think and write about what needs to happen for the 1-3 month goals to become attainable. You’ll be surprised at how this can keep you focused on the big goal; doing so in small, bite sized chunks. Check you’re progress weekly and adjust as needed.

Thinking Instead of Doing

Do you think about your dream, but can’t make yourself do anything to achieve it? Perhaps you are afraid to act because you think you’ll fail. Constantly thinking about something you would love to achieve is a sign. If you can’t get that dream out of your head, it’s because you really need to pursue it. Sure, it will be hard. Worthwhile things always are. Start telling yourself all the reasons you can do that thing instead of all the reasons you can’t. Think of what you’re wanting as important, not selfish.

Setting the Bar Too Low

Do you play it safe instead of taking risks? Do you take the practical path instead of following the road that leads to your dream? Do you tell yourself to be satisfied with what you’ve got instead of reaching for something more? Setting the bar too low is a challenge if you’re dancing the limbo. But in realizing your dreams, it’s the wrong strategy. To aim for less than your best is to settle for less. Challenge yourself. Risk failure, and if you fail, recognize it for what it is: a learning experience. Look at it from a curious perspective, not a judgmental perspective.

Envying Successful People

Are you jealous of people who’ve “made it” in your dream field or with the perfect guy, perfect kids, great house? Do you see successful people as sellouts—dishonest or greedy or just plain lucky? Don’t train your unconscious mind to believe that you must be these things to succeed. That’s a lie. Don’t blame other people if things go wrong. Successful people overcome the bad things that happen. Celebrate success wherever you find it. Make friends with it. Hang out with it and with those who have it. You deserve to have it, too.

Wasting Your Time on Trivia

There’s nothing wrong with binge-watching your favorite TV series or looking forward to that delicious indulgence when you get home. Escape-reading thrillers or following the latest celebrity gossip can be great ways to relax and recharge. But if you find yourself doing this kind of thing too much of the time, if it’s the highlight of your day, take a close look at what you’re doing. Spending your time on trivia is just another way to settle for less. We all have just 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Don’t waste your precious time on things that have nothing to do with achieving your dreams and goals. Choose to make relaxing and rewarding youself part of your day, but in a way that doesn’t derail you from you’re goals also. For example, if you have a goal to get up in the morning and go for a run, but the night before you’re having one too many glasses of wine, chances are that indulgence isn’t serving you.

Take Steps to Realize Your Dreams

Rationalizing that you’ll work toward your dream “someday,” thinking about your goals but never starting to work on them, and setting the bar too low are three signs that you’ve set yourself up to settle for less than you deserve. Envying those who have “made it” and wasting your time on trivial pursuits are two more. Don’t ignore these signs. Take steps to get closer to the life you deserve. Don’t give into fear. Decide what you really want and go after your dreams. Don’t settle for less than you deserve. If you’re unsure about what you want, give me a call and let’s set an appointment to work through it together.

Have you had experiences that have made you feel like you’re not getting what you deserve? You don’t need to setting for less. Call now for a free consultation and schedule an appointment to gain back the part of you that’s been lost.