We all fall out of love with our bodies from time to time. Whether you’re worried about your weight, your body changing as you age, or your appearance after giving birth, it’s easy to torture yourself with negative thoughts. This triggers a vicious cycle which can be hard to escape.

Self-love makes you feel better about yourself whileyou work on your goals, so it’s a win-win.

Follow the tips below to start loving your body, no matter where you are in your journey.

1. Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

When you’re already feeling bad about your body, comparing yourself to others can make you feel a hundred times worse — and it’s hard to avoid in the age of social media.

Avoid following influencers who post pictures of the ‘perfect’ body. These images are often photoshopped, showing proportions which are impossible to achieve in real life. They’re commonly used to market unhealthy diet products, so are designed to make you feel like you need to spend money to ‘fix’ your body. This isn’t true — it’s all just a marketing technique.

Instead of making comparisons online, find people in real life who have similar goals to you. You can cheer each other on and enjoy the journey together, without harmful comparisons.

2. Think About All the Amazing Things Your Body Has Done for You

When you’re feeling bad about your body, it’s easy to forget all the amazing things it has done for you.

Be grateful for the eyes that let you see beautiful sunsets, the ears that let you enjoy music, and the legs that let you explore the world. Be amazed by how your organs work together in perfect harmony to keep you alive.

If you have children, take some time to marvel at the way your body has created new life. Instead of worrying about stretch marks and weight gain, focus on the love that you have for your child.

Next time you’re feeling low, write out a list of all the things your body has done for you. You’ll soon experience a powerful change in perspective.

3. Speak Positive Affirmations in Front of the Mirror

Positive affirmations are a great tool for altering negative thinking patterns and boosting self-love.

Take some time to think about your body. Write down any negative thoughts that pop up, no matter how silly they sound. Next, write the opposites to these thoughts. For example, ‘I hate my body’ would become ‘I love my body’.

Speak these positive affirmations to yourself each morning. Notice the shift that happens when you stop bullying yourself and start building yourself up instead.

4. Focus on Goals That Don’t Revolve Around Appearance

When setting goals, avoid anything that revolves around your appearance and focus on positive changes instead.

For example, instead of saying, “I want to lose X pounds,’ try saying, ‘I want to feel better by eating more fruit and vegetables.” If you’re just starting to exercise, avoid goals like, “I want to drop a dress size,’ and try goals like, ‘I want to reach the top of the climbing wall,’ or, ‘I want to run 5 miles.’

This kind of goal is much more empowering and stops you from thinking negative thoughts about your current appearance.

5. Use Meditation to Distance Yourself from Negative Self-Talk

Ever feel like there’s a voice in your head telling you mean things about your body? You’re not alone.

Meditation is an effective way to deal with negative self-talk. You’ll learn to notice your thoughts without getting swept up in them. You won’t suppress negative thoughts, you’ll just calmly let them pass by instead of getting upset. Get started by listening to guided meditations online or visiting a beginner’s meditation class.

Bullying yourself won’t change your body — it will only hurt your self-esteem and lower your motivation. Follow the suggestions above to start loving yourself and achieving your goals.