According to a University of Iowa study, excessively nice people often feel as if they have no control over their decisions, thoughts, or opinions. As a result, they can become resentful, frustrated, even depressed. Are you too nice for your own good?

1. You constantly put the needs of others before your own.
2. You never ask people to make sacrifices for you, but you always make sacrifices for them.
3. Conflict makes you very uncomfortable, and you do whatever it takes to avoid it.
4. You don't believe that it's possible to be nice and assertive at the same time.
5. If you have to make a choice between disappointing another person or yourself, you always choose to disappoint yourself.
6. You have trouble saying no, even when you know you should.
7. Delegating is not your strength because you're afraid you'll come across as bossy.
8. You find it tough to speak up and share your opinions.
9. You have a hard time standing up to people who put you down.
10. If you attempt to voice your opinion, you always feel guilty afterward.

Does any of this sound familiar? If so, there's a good chance you're too nice for your own good. It's time to start making some changes. Here's how:

5 Ways to Break the "Nice" Cycle

1. Believe in yourself. If you don't have self-confidence, other people will notice, and they may start walking all over you. After all, how do you expect others to respect you when you keep second-guessing yourself? So make a conscious effort to hold your head high at all times. For a guaranteed confidence-booster, try a strength-building exercise regimen, such as core stabilization--it will not only improve your outlook, but also enhance your posture.
2. Stand up for yourself. Your opinions and beliefs are just as valid as the next person's, so don't be afraid to speak your mind. Remember, you will gain respect from others by standing firm.
3. Don't be afraid to ask for what you want. People who are not naturally assertive often find it hard to ask anything of others. However, if your requests are reasonable, you may be surprised at how willing people are to help. Practice asking for little things, and don't feel guilty about it.
4. Practice saying no. Remember, it's okay to say no to things you don't want to do. If something makes you uncomfortable or you simply don't have the time, try saying, "I'm sorry, but I can't."
5. Learn to accept compliments. You may feel awkward when people lavish you with praise, but accepting their kind words is the first step toward building stronger self-esteem. So the next time someone pays you a compliment, simply smile and say thank you without minimizing or dismissing it. Who knows? In time, you may even learn to enjoy it.