Even if your life is going swimmingly, there is always room to focus on self-improvement. Maybe you’re working long hours, and have lost your sense of self. Or you focus on everyone else, and never take time to be alone. Whatever the case may be, setting aside time to focus on your own goals and dreams is a mighty good idea.
Self development and growth are all about creating and putting into place the foundations and building blocks for future positive and beneficial changes which will allow you to become the best possible version of yourself and live the best life experience possible.
Personal growth, is a lifelong process, of sustained growth and a process of learning, advancing and developing the life and academic skills that will lead you to a better life experience. We oftentimes think that accomplishments lead to our happiness, but it simply isn’t true. While you may feel good after an achievement, the feeling isn’t sustainable. It’s important to always be learning and growing in life for happiness that’s lasting.
This may be a tough pill to swallow if you feel like life should be complete after reaching a certain goal. Yes, it will feel good to land a new job, or graduate from college, or travel to Europe. But you can’t stop there. Self-improvement is a lifelong thing, so get used to the idea of changing and growing from here on out. To get started, follow the below given 35 practical self improvement ideas that will help you focus on self improvement in daily life.
Understand The 80/20 Law
Also known as the Pareto principle, this is a general principle that you see cropping up again in nature and society. Basically it states that the majority of the effects are created by a minority of the causes. For example, the minority of books that are launched each year make the majority of the sales (same with music), or in a business, 20% of the customers account for 80% of the sales.
The figures aren’t always exactly 80/20, they may be more like 90/10, or 70/30.
How does this relate to self-improvement? The answer is that there’s probably only a minority of things you do which create the biggest and best effects in your life and a small number of bad habits create the majority of the bad effects. This is good news as it implies that just by adding one or two good habits or removing one or two bad ones you can revolutionize your life.
Develop Emotional Intelligence
Understand your emotions, it will help you to know yourself better, and emotional intelligence is developing the ability to be able to assess and manage your emotions so you can control and quickly change your state at will.
Emotions, make or break us, they are the difference between living a good, successful and happy and fulfilling life, and living a life of struggle, failure and pain.
So before you can move to a better life experience or achieve greater success, you will first need to become the master of your emotions, instead of being the victim and slave of them.
Always Get off to a Good Start
This means getting up early and eating breakfast. You will have much more energy throughout the day to follow the rest of these tips if you do! If you are so inclined, you can even include a little exercise in your morning routine. If you live with other people you can try to use this opportunity to get everyone together at the table to eat in the morning. This is a nice way to start the day and a good way to ensure open lines of communication in a very busy household.
Find Your Passion & Fall in love
A surefire way to be happy is to fall in love and be passionate about something – or somebody. Give yourself license to be in love. There are so many years in a lifetime, and it would be nice to spend some of it with people or a significant person or a thing whom you love. There are only so many waking hours of the day, so do something that you love and that makes you happy.
Falling in love is not bounded to humans but you can fall in love with your pet, with your job or with your laptop just like me.
Jar of Accomplishments
If you are active on social media, you have seen a post suggesting that people start a jar of blessings. The idea is that whenever something good happens, you write the blessing down and put it in a jar. Then, at the end of the year you open the jar and reflect on the blessings of the past year. This is a great idea, but why not start a jar of accomplishments as well?
Every time you accomplish something that is related to your goals and improving yourself, write that down and put it in a jar. However, in this case you don’t wait until the end of the year to review your accomplishments. Instead, look them over whenever you are feeling discouraged.
Always Try to Learn Something New
One of the greatest things about self improvement is that one action taken to improve yourself tends to boost your motivation, and increase your chances of successfully achieving your other goals. Learning new things is a great way to do this.
You can take online classes or sign up for education classes at your local community center. All that matters is that you are constantly learning something new and that you study effectively. You should never lose motivation when it comes to learning new things.
Save a Life
Some of us – first responders such as firemen, cops, and medical personnel – are in a unique position to save another person’s life. But it should be noted that even those in unlikely positions are also given the opportunity to save a life – the passerby who pulled a youngster out of harm’s way, or the friend who refused to let her drunken companion drive, or the kid who adopted a stray cat or dog. When it’s your turn, step up and do your part.
Keep a Schedule
It is a very good idea to write down the tasks you need to achieve in each day. As you complete them, tick them off. You should not, however, feel like you are bound to your list. If you don’t manage to do everything, it doesn’t matter – move any incomplete tasks from today on to tomorrow’s list. This is also a great help if you are a procrastinator.
Use Positive Language
The spoken words that you speak and the thoughts that you think, create your beliefs and sow the seeds for who and what you become and the kind of life that you live.
Your words decide your future, so choose them wisely.
“If you think you can, you can, if you think you, can’t you’re right!”. (Abraham Lincoln)
We all talk to ourselves, and we all talk to each others, the conversations that you have with you, are more important than the ones that you have with others. If you want to change the way you feel and your life experiences, start to change the conversations you have with yourself. You and your life are a reflection of your inner dialogue and mental chatter.
Because in a fast-paced life, this can often be your only source of inner sanity. It helps to disengage completely once in a while to adjust your rudder in an endless ocean you get to traverse only once.
Understand the Power of Persistence
Too often we give up on things too soon, when persisting a bit longer would have yielded the results we were after. Over time, persistent forces can do almost unbelievable things. Also, new research suggests that people operating at ‘genius’ level at a particular skill weren’t necessarily born with it, but instead acquired it through persisting through 10,000 hours of effort-full practice.
Using 30-day-Trials to Change Habits
Habits are strange things. Our lives are pretty dominated by habits and routines. It can be hard to let go of a habit or form a new one. Therefore starting a good habit or dropping a bad one is not the challenge, keeping it up is. Companies know that 30 days is usually enough time to install a new habit, that’s why so many offer free 30-day trials to get you hooked on their product/service.
Jump Out of the Comfort Zone
The openness of a person to new experiences is a likely indicator of the future growth trajectory, and a few studies have shown that slightly higher stress levels associated with a little discomfort result in an optimal anxiety that is best for our performance. If it is way out-out-of the comfort zone, it leads to anxiety and breakdown. Always in the comfort-zone, you have been a proverbial frog in the well.
Learn the Art of Small Talk
If you have finally decided to not be an ascetic and live a material life after all, you might as well be a master in navigating the societal patterns. Small talk can take you places, literally.
It’s You That Really Matters
All material things are temporary and although it is important to have the best life experience as you possibly can, the thing that matters the most to you is you.
There is an old saying which states, “There is nothing like your first love”
And it is true to a degree, your first love is special, but a physical relationship is not your first love, your first love is the love you have with yourself. Because the love you have with you is eternal and unbreakable and unlike physical love with another person which is an expression of your love, which can be taken away from you at anytime. Nothing can ever take away the love your inner being has for you, because the inner you is always there for you and it will never let you down. So learn to love yourself, like yourself and make peace with yourself.
Take a Break and Have Fun
If you spend too much time in front of the computer, at your desk, or doing whatever it is that your occupation requires, you should take a break. This doesn’t mean you have to take time off work – it just means you should try to make better use of your non-work time to do something fun. I always have difficulty pulling myself away from the computer and as a result I don’t go out as often as I should on the weekend or in the evening. But every time I do – I wonder why I haven’t done it sooner. This is a good way to develop new interests, and friends and to break up the monotony of everyday life.
Break the Chain
If you have a lot of patterns in your life, try breaking them – do something different every day. Let’s say you always order the same meal at your regular Friday night restaurant. Why not try something else this Friday? Not only do you get to broaden your experiences of life, you open up many doors for the future. Not long ago I would never eat oriental foods or seafood. Then one day I decided that I would just try it. Seafood is now one of my favorite foods and I would hate to be without it. Because I discovered that I love Thai and Chinese food, I can eat in any restaurant I want. That first step also meant that I am now willing to try absolutely any food. My disliking for those foods had a much greater impact as well – I would only holiday in countries that had foods I felt safe with. Since then I have been to Oriental countries and loved it.
It’s so easy to forget that there are so many reasons to be grateful to be alive. At the end of each day, look back, and say thanks. End on a positive, life-affirming note.
Read Motivational and Inspirational Books
If you want to stay motivated, read books that motivate and inspire you. These books could be inspirational biographies and autobiographies, self-help books, or even works of fiction that are uplifting to you.
Think about it. If you are like many people, you probably spend more than an hour each day watching television and surfing the internet. Why not dedicate 20 minutes each day to reading something that will keep you inspired?
Be a Source of Positive Energy for Other People
When it comes to motivation and inspiration, you really do get what you give. So, be encouraging when others tell you about their goals, and curb your own tendencies to complain or be a downer. When you do this, you create positive energy within your inner circle. That uplifts everybody including you.
Be Kind And Considerate To Others
Be kind and considerate to others and yourself, sometimes when we argue we only see things from our point of view and we give very little attention to the other side of a disagreement. Our egos can wreck relationships and friendships. Do not pursue your own interests or satisfy your own ego at the expense of others.
Although we perceive ourselves as individuals we are all as one, treat others with respect and you will have more chance of them returning it back. It is everybody’s duty to forget about their ego and pride every now and again and not deliberately go out of your way to treat others bad or cause them any harm.
We all have feelings and we all deserve to be treated well, also try not to judge or prejudge others and if you can avoid focusing on their bad points and the negative side of people unless it is truly justified otherwise they might just keep on showing that side of their personality to you.
Pick Up a Hobby
Beyond just your usual favorite hobbies, is there something new you can pick up? Any new sport you can learn? Examples are fencing, golf, rock climbing, football, canoeing, or ice skating. Your new hobby can also be a recreational hobby. For example, pottery, Italian cooking, dancing, wine appreciation, web design, etc. Learning something new requires you to stretch yourself in different aspects, whether physically, mentally or emotionally.
Identify Your Blind Spots
Scientifically, blind spots refer to areas our eyes are not capable of seeing. In personal development terms, blind spots are things about ourselves we are unaware of. Discovering our blind spots help us discover our areas of improvement. One exercise I use to discover my blind spots is to identify all the things/events/people that trigger me in a day – trigger meaning making me feel annoyed/weird/affected. These represent my blind spots. It’s always fun to do the exercise because I discover new things about myself, even if I may already think I know my own blind spots (but then they wouldn’t be blind spots would they?). After that, I work on steps to address them.
Ask for Feedback
As much as we try to improve, we will always have blind spots. Asking for feedback gives us an additional perspective. Some people to approach will be friends, family, colleagues, boss, or even acquaintances, since they will have no preset bias and can give their feedback objectively.
Get into Action
The best way to learn and improve is to take action. What is something you have been meaning to do? How can you take action on it immediately? Waiting doesn’t get anything done. Taking action gives you immediate results to learn from.
Don’t Think Too Much
Although positive, creative and constructive thinking can be helpful and essential for us at times to create, problem solve, become more successful and design, most adults tend to over think things too much.
If your thoughts are general or neutral, then that’s fine, but if they are causing you emotional pain, worry or anxiety and keeping you stuck in a negative place in your mind, then it’s time to let those thoughts go and pick a better feeling subject or train of thoughts.
Humans spend too much time hooked up into negative and self destructive thinking, when really they should get out of their head and observe and enjoy more, whilst they engage in their surroundings, or focusing on what they are doing. If you observe animals or young children then you will notice that they don’t worry, they just focus on enjoying and observing. If your thoughts are making you feel bad, then ignore them and ditch them, or change the subject.
Surround Yourself With Good Souls
You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. I don’t remember the source, but the saying rings so true. Brutally get rid of the leeches that suck on your life energy. They are usually uniform and fairly easy to identify: classic cases of victim mentality, pessimistic whiny little bastards who leave a stinking air of negativity wherever they go.
Because your existence takes on new shapes as you start viewing this world through different lenses, soaking in diverse cultures and understanding that there is another way. Solo travelling experiences to non-touristy locations especially can give unusually fresh perspectives.
Along the space-time continuum of experiences, you can traversespace by travelling extensively. Reading does the trick for traversing time. So there you have it, a couple of essential elements to forge you into a well-rounded individual.
Make a Stunning First Impression
Human evolution has resulted in a very interesting by-product; you make effective snap judgments based on your reservoir of untapped unconscious to guide you in decision making. These judgments helped our ancestors survive by sensing threat in seconds, the situations are far less threatening now but the instinct stuck. Your first impression is so indelible that it makes sense to get it right.
If you are someone who is perennially afflicted from Monday-morning blues,you can try your luck in freelancing. Personal brand and good habits go a long way in ensuring a smooth sailing as a freelancer and it might be a welcome respite from the usual corporate stress. It also gives you the freedom to travel at your own pace and work from the location of your choice, if your mode of operation is online.
You Do Not Have To Fix Everything
We have been led to believe that we have to fix or deal with everything because we think that something is wrong with us that needs to be put right. But you already have everything you need and you already have access to how you choose to feel.
Most people think that there is something wrong with them or they believe they’re not worthy or good enough which is the underlying root cause of low self esteem. This however is not true, and if someone has told you or made you feel that you’re not good enough, or you find yourself telling yourself.
Then remember, this is just a bad statement and all statements can easily be turned around, so constantly let you know that you are worthy, deserving and good enough.
Because, it is not a case of there is something wrong with you and you need to improve, you just need to learn how to unleash the real you, your real true potential and strive to be the best version of yourself.
Learn From Your Friends
Everyone has amazing qualities in them. It’s up to how we want to tap into them. With all the friends who surround you, they are going to have things you can learn from. Try thinking of a good friend right now. Think about just one quality they have which you want to adopt. How can you learn from them and adopt this skill for yourself? Speak to them if you need to – for sure, they will be more than happy to help!
Start a Journal
Journaling is a great way to gain better self-awareness. It’s a self-reflection process. As you write, clarify your thought process and read what you wrote from a third person’s perspective, you gain more insights about yourself. Your journal can be private or an online blog. I use my personal development blog as a personal journal too and I’ve learned a lot about myself through the past year of blogging.
Pirotitise Your Tasks
We all have chores and goals we want or have to do, but the more our tasks pile on top of us and the more we think about how much we have got to get done it can all start to feel a bit stressful and a bit overwhelming.
The key is to write a things to do list, and jot down in order of importance, all the things you want or need to get get done. List them in order of importance and priority.
Then only focus and only work on one thing at a time or one step of your goal at a time, otherwise if you look to far ahead then it all gets a little bit daunting and overwhelming.
Learn Chess (or any strategy game)
I found chess is a terrific game to learn strategy and hone your brainpower. Not only do you have fun, you also get to exercise your analytical skills. You can also learn strategy from other board games or computer games, such as Othello, Chinese Chess, WarCraft, and so on.
Bonus: Read the List Universe Every Day
Scientific studies have proven that people who read the List Universe every day live much happier and fuller lives. Okay – I made that up – but do it anyway!