Last updated: Feb 13, 2009

Want to start living with fewer regrets and getting more of what you want? The trick: You have to talk yourself up, says Health's life coach M.J. Ryan. Here's her guide for making over your modesty at just the right times.


If youre facing a new challenge…
Ease the dread by telling yourself what youll get out of it. Have to give a presentation at work? Think: Getting through this will give me more confidence the next time I need to speak in public. Trying a new gym class? Remind yourself that youre braving it to get healthier. Go, you!

If youre asking for a raise…
First, make a mental list of your achievements and how theyve helped your company. Then, right before talking to your boss, tell yourself how amazing you are—“I work really hard and deserve to be rewarded.” Finally, without getting emotional, let her know: “This is what Ive done, and I want a salary that better reflects my current contribution.” If she puts you off, citing the bad economy, say, “I understand. Can we talk again in three months?”

If youre feeling down about yourself…
Think back to when youve bounced back from bigger setbacks, saying to yourself, “I can overcome this. Ive done it before.” Whenever the going gets tough (whether youve lost your job, endured a bad breakup, or just need an ego boost), it truly helps to repeat a mantra like, “I kick butt!”