Self Improvement: How To Improve

Self Development Tips

004_Goethe_800x600Many people spend their lives wondering when success or a better life is going to magically appear in their lap but, of course, it never happens this way.

Instead,  spend less time dreaming and more time working on your thoughts, feelings and goals – this is how to improve your life.

Goal Setting

My first suggestion is to set clear goals and map out an action plan. Use who, what, where, when and why questions to nudge your thinking.

Think about what is important to you. For example, your goal setting activities would include deciding what you want a year from now, five years from now… What goals would be important for that to happen? Who do you want in your life? How do you know when you are headed in the right direction?

Set goals, then when you take steps each day towards your goals, you are far more likely to reach your goals than if you just wait for things to happen. And doing that is far better than seeing success happen for other people but not yourself.

Is It Attainable?

When deciding the direction you are headed,  are goals attainable? Start with your short term goals and then work toward your long term goals. This way you won’t become discouraged, waiting for five years to see some fruitage from your efforts.

Even while attainable, be careful not to sacrifice important things to get your goals met. An example of this is a person who decides to move up the ladder at work, but has to put in long hours. This person may be sacrificing time that would normally be spent building a stronger relationship with spouse and children. Is the trade off really worth it?

Your Inner Dialogue

Since thoughts and feelings determine whether you are successful or not, be sure they line up. Start listening to yourself.

If you have some negative or self defeating or fearful thoughts and feelings, this will hold you back and make it more difficult to achieve your goals. Look into some therapies you can do yourself or find a therapist that can assist assist you. Emotional Freedom Techniques, EMDR and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy are a few that have been greatly helpful to me.

How To Improve

You may know people who seem to be in a constant state of improvement. Always working on some things, reaching towards their goals and making plans.

I believe you can over do it, getting so caught up in the “doing” that important things such as relationships, parenting, family time, being a spiritual person and nurturing yourself can get put to the side. However, it is important to have goals and set a direction. To muddle about is to get no where.

How to improve? Where do you want to start? Self improvement does not have to be labor intensive, it can be smaller and easier things, just to get the ball rolling and you will feel like you are making some progress.

So let’s go over several ways to improve – some will not take a great deal of time or effort, others will.  All are under the “umbrella” of improvement and will help you have a better life.


Stress Management

It can be a stressful world we live in. What is your stress level? Low, medium or high? Stress management is important for optimal well being. I suggest you work on it, if you see it in your life.

Don’t ignore it. Stress usually builds up over time and leads to symptoms and diseases. In fact, it is thought that 75% or more of Doctor’s visits are caused by stress.

Your Appearance

How you feel about yourself is reflected in your everyday appearance. Improve on yourself with just making sure your hair is styled and your clothes are well fitted and presentable when going somewhere – shopping, working or visiting others.

This makes a good first impression, as people first judge you in the blink of an eye, according to research. (read more on that here).

It does not take fancy styles or the latest fashion. Just look well groomed. This is a boost to your self esteem.

Smile And Make Eye Contact

For some, it is hard to look people in the eye. If this is done in your culture, practice smiling at people and looking them in the eyes. This shows you are comfortable with people. People feel positive about this and will respond back positively.

If you have a hard time, start out by looking just above their eyes and as comfort grows, shift to looking in their eyes.

Make A Budget

Many people have too much debt. Money stress – where the money is going to come from, is one of the biggest stresses people have.

I heard yesterday from a relative that is only managing to pay the interest on his credit cards, and so will not ever get them paid off as things stand. Unless he changes something, the amount due will continue to mount.

So he is making some drastic changes. (Update: he and his wife took on a large job of having an estate sale and packing up household furniture and items for someone and he was able to pay off two credit cards! They are taking their tax return and paying off a third credit card. Way to go!)

Go On A Money Diet

Go on a money diet. Take a look at all the places your money is spent. Cut back on your spending, unless you are severely limited in your income, this can be done.

Can you cut all but your necessary bills? When working, don’t buy your lunch, make your lunch. Instead of having cable, buy the box and an antenna for your tv and see what you can get free or check movies out of the Library where you live and learn to play games with the family, which is much more interactive and bonding than watching a movie.

Make a budget. Write it out and plan for all the things that must be paid, set aside some for emergencies and save for the things that you can, rather than put them on a credit card. Stop using your credit cards unless you are making a purchase and then pay that right off. (To build your credit score).

Take the money you are now beginning to save and apply it to your highest interest rate credit card.

Another example is that in the summer, your electric bill may be less, if in North America, so earmark that freed up money to pay down a credit card or save for the August sales of children’s back to school clothing and items, if you have school age children. This will save you money in the end, which could be applied somewhere.

Give A Compliment, Show You Care

Think of genuine compliments you can give to others. Complimenting others often gives them a lift and in return, it shows you feel confident in yourself.

So here are a few examples: That was clever of you, good job, the color of what they are wearing suits them, I appreciate you. It does not have to be long and drawn out. Just point out something good.

Ask about how things are going and really listen. People will remember the feelings they get of someone really caring about them, and will in turn show you more respect as well.

Focus On Your Strengths

Figure out what your strengths are and focus on them. Incorporate them into what you are doing when possible. This will help you feel like you are excelling and are good at what you do.

For many, they think it is all an uphill battle or struggle to make improvement. You on the other hand, can continue to feel good about yourself while you make improvements.

health conscious couple

Work On Your Health

Take a look at your health. Is it good, fair or poor? Many people don’t think much about their health, until they don’t have good health, are faced with a disease or are seriously over weight. Once the problems “manifest” to where a person notices, it can take some diligent effort to get things turned around.

Besides the physically seen symptoms, there are many who fight foggy thinking, depression or inability to concentrate. This can all be affected by ones diet, and many times can be corrected by taking out some foods from your diet and adding more of other healthier foods and good oils, such as fish oil in. See my health articles on this site.

Accept Your Imperfections

If you are a perfectionist, or had a perfectionist in your life who criticized you, it is time to let it go. These feelings and beliefs lead to not starting things, not feeling you can do an adequate job or giving yourself constant criticism. It is a downward spiral. Let it all go.

Listen to your thoughts and counteract the negative thinking. Be comfortable in admitting you are imperfect in some areas. It show you that you are human. If something negative pops up often, have a counter statement worked out to tell yourself immediately. Fight the negative thinking!

Excel At What You Do

I was explaining this to my 10 year old (going on 16!)  niece the other day. She wanted to do just a quick clean up of putting the dirty dishes in the dish washer and to get back to the computer, when the cupboards and kitchen stove also needed cleaning.

I pointed out to her that she needed to do her best. Do more than the minimum that was required. Do a good enough job that it impresses people (her parents in this case). She will have to hear this lesson more than once, to get it.

This is a lesson that if learned young, will take a person far.  If you have never put that into effect until now, start.

When I was a manager of a store and when I owned my businesses, I always looked for self starters, that could be given a set of instructions, they asked questions if needed and then dug in and did a good job. This attitude will take you a long ways at work.

No matter what you are doing, strive to do your best.

Be Prepared

By preparing, you can be successful. Create a to do list, look up what you will need for a project instead of winging it, or ask for directions ahead of time. Or maybe it is that you need to practice something several times, such as a public speech.

Being prepared can increase your confidence and certainly makes you look better in the eyes of the people that are around you.

Do Set Goals

set goalsPersonal growth is important to many. Have goals and work to achieve those goals. It is good to have direction in life, or you just flounder about, not really getting anywhere. Goals give you something to work toward, you will know where you are heading.

Sit down and write out your monthly, yearly and five years and beyond goals, as mentioned above. With goals, you will see the progress and that will help with your motivation, confidence and self esteem. So make sure to see the motivational articles on this site.

Make Time For What Makes You Happy

What makes you happy? Make time for it. If you feel like your life is out of control, this will help you feel like you have more control. It brings satisfaction and contentment, often some excitement to life.

It Is Worth It

It takes work to see self improvement, have motivation and become your personal best, but it is worth it. Check out the articles on site to assist you in becoming your best.