Self-improvement begins with reflection and awareness. Learn our tips and tricks for becoming the best version of you!
Ever hear the saying, “no one is perfect”? Well, it may sound perfectly cliche, but there is an immense amount of accuracy in those four words. Whether you are a successful executive at the height of your career, a thriving entrepreneur operating a lucrative boutique consulting company, or working a stagnant desk drive that just gets you by, there is always room for self-improvement. Literally, always.
The first step in solving a problem is admitting you have a problem. Ok, Katie. Enough with the cliches! But AGAIN! It's true. No, a “problem” doesn't need to be related to addiction as most may think. A problem can be thinking you already are the best you can be. It can be settling. It can be giving up on your dreams, goals, ambitions.
There is always a better version of ourselves waiting to be found. It's just a matter of recognizing it, and wanting it.
Self-Improvement Phase One: Recognition
Over the years I have spent navigating my own small business and managing several life hiccups, I have run into more roadblocks than I can put in writing. But as I work my way through challenge after challenge, I learn that every situation is an opportunity to solve a problem and make improvements.
Rather than using these roadblocks as excuses for myself, I can take them as a chance to learn my way around them.
When you run into a problem, you have two choices: you can let your challenge debilitate you, or you can use your challenge to foster a new mindset and reflect. Part of this process is reminding yourself that you are worth the effort; that you have or will take the time to transform yourself into who you have every right to be.
Whether you decide to take action to improve your life, or you adopt mindset hacks, there are several ways you can better yourself and your life.
27 Self-Improvement Tips To Transform Your Life
1. Set Realistic Goals
Dream big and set life goals for yourself, but also set milestone goals that are realistic and within reach. That way, you will find satisfaction and motivation each time you succeed, which will help bolster the courage you need to pursue the next one.
It's easy to get frustrated and anxious when you have big dreams that are taking a long time to come to fruition. That's why small, practical goals (especially ones that get you closer to the big tamale) are a great way to stay positive and proud of each and every accomplishment.
2. Reconsider Your Spending Habits
Financial struggles are one of the biggest downers on earth! They can knock you down and keep you down for years and years. Rather than letting money control your life, take a big step back and assess your spending habits. Where is your money going? How much are you saving? Do you have debts?
You should also consider what types of luxuries you are putting your money toward. At the end of the day, what do you remember more? Those deluxe coffees you buy each day, or that 10 day trip to Bali you took 3 years ago? I am willing to bet that your experience took you further than those Venti Lattes.
Consider your finances and determine where that money is best spent. You will likely find that a lot of your expenses would have been better allocated elsewhere.
3. Make Eye Contact
Huh? How will making eye contact make my life better?
Easy. Eye contact establishes a connection. It shows the person you are speaking to that you are present, engaged, paying attention. This may, at times, catch people off guard… but I can guarantee that it is almost always in a good way.
In the days of excessive smartphone use, our attention is constantly lacking. It's hard to know when you have someone's full attention when they aren't looking you in the eye – more often than not, we are distracted.
Eye contact makes people feel good, and in turn, will make you feel good.
4. Do What You Love
No situation is the same, and sometimes we have no choice but to sacrifice our happiness in the name of getting by in life.
But if ever you find yourself in a position where you have the choice to leave a career you hate to pursue your passion… don't even think twice about it. Do it.
It doesn't matter how successful you are in your current career; if it doesn't make you happy, if you don't love what you are doing, your glass won't be full.
5. Invest in Yourself
I'm not talking a monthly trip to the spa (though that doesn't hurt – more on that in a bit); I'm talking about a true investment in yourself that will help project you on a path toward success.
Whether this means taking an online course to learn a new skill, attending an industry seminar, or going on a productive wellness retreat, spending a little money on things that will make you perform better in work and life is essential.
6. Develop Positive Habits
Self-improvement is often a result of creating and sticking to habits that will help push you toward your goals, whether personally or professionally.
Becoming the best version of yourself depends on employing routines at home that will make your work life better, and professional habits at work that will make your home life better. The end result is a streamlined life, bolstered by behaviors that become second nature to you.
7. Challenge Yourself
I am often caught off guard by how good I feel after stepping outside of my comfort zone or facing a new challenge.
Not only does it open your eyes to capabilities and thresholds unknown, but it also demonstrates that you will be fine, even if the end result isn't what you expected.
We are often handicapped by a mental block we create for ourselves. We tell ourselves “I can't do it,” “I don't know how,” “But I've never done that before,” and “What if I am not good enough?”, opting not to try something new for fear of being too challenged.
Allow yourself to be challenged, as the change you see will translate to self-improvement.
8. Ask Questions
Remember that kid at the front of the class who ALWAYS had his hand raised, leaving the rest of the students thinking, “c'mon man, enough questions, class is almost over!!!”? Well, I am will to bet that that kid is still asking questions, and now has a wealth of valuable information and tools helping him through life.
You see, you can either learn the bare minimum, or you can pay attention, raise questions, and absorb more than you ever thought possible.
Not only does it help from an education perspective, but it's a major factor in positive communication. Like eye contact, asking questions demonstrates that you are paying attention and are interested in what the other person has to say. It goes a long way.
9. Take the Risk
Is there something you've been wanting to ask someone, but you're afraid of the answer? For example, do you believe you're deserving of a raise, but have a feeling that if you don't bring it up… no one will?
If so, remind yourself: Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
Take the chance – you may be surprised by the answer! If the answer isn't what you wanted to hear, that's fine… now you know, right?
10. Take A Class
This one's a given and likely doesn't need an explanation.
Learning is the epitome of self-improvement.
11. Let Go of the Doubt
Like a challenge, self-doubt can be absolutely crippling.
It can mean the difference between a thriving, successful career, and a mediocre, less-than-satisfying one; a happy, lively marriage, and a marriage riddled with arguments and insecurities; an active, healthy body and lifestyle, and an unhealthy, uncomfortable body inclined to end up at the doctor's office.
Tell yourself you can, and you will. Remove the doubt in your life and live in the moment without fear of failure.
12. Embrace Your Imperfections
That little mole next to your nose, that funny gait you have… those are part of what makes you, you. They add character to your being, they make you who you are.
Your imperfections should be accepted, embraced with self-love. “This is what makes me, me, and I love myself for it.” As mentioned, no one is perfect… there is no such thing.
13. Treat Yourself
Now we are talking about heading to the spa, or allowing yourself to indulge in the vices that make you feel a bit “extra.”
Part of self-improvement is treating your mind and your body properly, or, taking the time to enjoy something you really love. This could mean clearing your mind at the golf course, getting a massage at the spa, splurging on a nice bottle of wine, or even buying yourself flowers.
It's important here to treat these indulgences as exactly that – a treat. Treating yourself to life's little luxuries on a regular basis no longer means it's a treat. When it's no longer a treat, it's not as exciting to look forward to.
14. Stop Procrastinating
Procrastination is a thief of time and productivity.
Think about it, how GOOD does it feel to check off an item on your list, to get something done that you have been putting off for days? If there was a way to track idle time, I think we would all be amazed to see how much time we waste, often due to procrastination.
It is particularly important to be productive with your time when you work from home like I often do.
15. Read for 10 Minutes A Day
Whether it's a book or a newspaper, taking the time to read is a great way to focus your mind on something that will get your brain working, for pleasure.
Not a work-related book, not a course you've been taking… something that is actually of interest to you. Reading is stimulating and should be relaxing. Don't forget your cup of coffee!
16. Take Criticism Constructively
While we may not always like to hear someone else's critiques, there's no need to let them drag you down.
Instead, take the criticism that comes your way constructively. Ask yourself, “Does this feedback make sense?” How can I use it to better my approach?”
You may even ask another individual their opinion on the criticism received, encouraging honest feedback in the name of self-improvement.
17. Take Criticism with a Grain of Salt
There are some things that can be taken constructively, as mentioned above, and others that you need to let roll off your shoulders. Allowing yourself to simmer and feel hurt over the negative words of others will work against your positive mindset initiative.
Rather than letting someone else's negative feedback control your emotions, causing doubt and fear, accept it and move on. Everyone is entitled to their opinions, but it doesn't mean they are right… right?
18. Complain Less
Let me ask you something: what does complaining do for you? Does it fix the problem? Does it simply make you feel better?
I will be the first to tell you that complaining is not a solution. All it does is exacerbates the problem you are facing, leaving you feeling negative and cynical. Also, the more you do it, the harder it will be for others to be around you.
19. Practice Patience
Patience truly is a virtue! When you find yourself feeling impatient, take a deep breath, find your center, refocus and ask yourself, “is my impatience going to make this situation any better?”
When you let go of your impatience, you'll find yourself enjoying small moments that much more.
20. Get Organized
We are all guilty of being disorganized from time to time – some more than others; it can be difficult to stay on track with our goals, be productive with our time, and follow our routines.
If you're anything like me, lists are an excellent way to get your life organized, both at home and at work. Organization will ultimately lead to a better use of time. You may even find yourself with more of it!
21. Take Interviews Regularly
One thing I learned from my spouse is that even if you are happy with your career, you should take interviews annually. Yes, even if you don't want to leave your job.
This is because as time and markets change, your value as an employee can grow without you even knowing it! Taking interviews can help you get a gauge on what your worth is, offering you negotiating power that you didn't previously have.
It is also beneficial because it helps you stay fresh with the interview process, and aware of the current state of your industry. Nothing like added confidence!
22. Laugh At Yourself
Don't take yourself so seriously! Allowing yourself to find humor in your blunders, rather than embarrassment, is a fast way to find more happiness and less stress.
23. Engage in Community Activities
Community engagement and volunteer work offers a new perspective on life. We have a tendency to pity ourselves over things that less fortunate individuals may attribute to “just another day.” Spending time working for the greater good can open your eyes and mind to a different outlook.
They also have that feel-good factor that we all love
24. Unplug Every Day
Unplugging can open your eyes to things that you never noticed before.
When we traveled to Tanzania a couple of years ago, we weren't able to use our phones or access the internet for close to a week. I thought this time would be stressful for me, given how attached to our devices we have grown to be. However, I found it to be one of the most refreshing weeks of my life! No stress of answering emails, checking texts, wasting my time by scrolling through social media for hours on end…
While this example isn't exactly the type of unplugging I am referring to, the sentiment is the same.
Unplug for at least 30 minutes a day; no phone, no laptop, no tablet – no screens whatsoever! If you're going to go rogue for an extended period, just don't forget to put on that out of office reply.
25. Forgive Yourself
Put simply, there is no moving on if you resort to dwelling over your mistakes.
Don't let the things of the past consume you. Forgiving yourself is just as important as forgiving others.
26. Adopt A New Hobby
Finding a new hobby can be amazing for self-improvement in that you have something else to look forward to outside of your typical activities. Let's face it, life can get a little dry when you do the same thing day in and day out:
Get up, shower, eat breakfast, go to work, come home from work, eat dinner, watch tv, go to bed, repeat tomorrow.
Pretty boring, if you don't sprinkle in activities of interest. Trying something new, like yoga, a club sport, an art class, or book club, gives you a reason to fill your wasted time with something enjoyable and even productive. New hobbies also encourage you to spend your time more wisely, rather than mindlessly browsing through social media or watching TV in between work, food, and sleep.
27. There is No Such Thing As Perfect
Don't forget to remind yourself regularly that there is no such thing as perfect. Striving for perfection can be unhealthy, as there is no true definition of perfect.
Instead, strive to be better.
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