Many of us want to work on our self-improvement, but we struggle to get started, as everything feels very future-oriented. Every one of the suggestions on this list is something that you can get started with today. Either do them all, or pick one or two. Self-improvement is not a race or a battle, but rather a continuous journey we get to explore, so you might as well enjoy the ride!
Stretch at a regular time in your day to form a habit, whether that is for ten minutes when you first wake up, three minutes at a coffee break, or an hour before bed to loosen tight muscles. Stretching is great for both your mental and physical health, as well it helps you to age gracefully.
Download WeStretch from the App Store or Google Play, or use it right in your desktop browser to start stretching for free!
Whether you prefer to read the newspaper, become absorbed in a fantasy novel, or listen intently to a self-help audiobook, reading is a great form of personal development. It challenges your beliefs and opens your mind to new things while strengthening your brain.
Book the appointment you’ve been postponing.
Regardless, of whether it’s a type of medical check-up or just a haircut, you will feel better about yourself for going and checking that off your to-do list. A medical check-up can save your life. An aesthetic appointment can boost your confidence and be a great mental reset.
Write in a journal.
Start with just a single sentence, such as what you had to eat or something you saw that day. Eventually, as you become comfortable, writing can become a great way to process your emotions, set goals, and spark ideas that you didn’t have before.
Get at least 150 minutes of physical activity in a week.
Do what moves you, whether that is joining a Zumba class or spending time puttering around your garden. The importance is to maintain or improve your quality of life, and exercise is a great way to do that.
While 150 minutes may seem like a lot at first, break it down into smaller chunks, as it breaks down to about 20 minutes a day. Even if 20 minutes all at once is too much, find two ten-minute periods to walk around, or do a handful of 3-minute stretching breaks throughout your day. Exercise in the way that works best for you.
Grant yourself some downtime.
However you relax best, give yourself a few minutes a day the opportunity to unwind. Have a bubble bath, do a sudoku puzzle, or sip a glass of wine- anything that grants you a moment of peace. Taking breaks is essential to achieve maximum potential, as backward as that may seem at times.
Get enough sleep at night.
Sleep is a fascinating subject and it can contribute greatly to your self-improvement. Simply, ensure that you are getting about 7-9 hours of quality sleep every night, in a dark and comfortable environment. This alone can boost productivity, mental sharpness, and creativity!
Drink enough water and stay hydrated.
While the 8 glasses of water are just a generic suggestion, keep sipping on water throughout the day, so that your skin is smooth, your urine is a pale yellow, and that you don’t feel thirsty. Dehydration can affect mood and mental clarity, so maintaining your hydration levels is essential.
Clean your environment.
Whether you adore or abhor cleaning, it is a great way to improve your surroundings and increase your productivity. By tidying up, you are removing little distractions that can keep you from doing your best work and becoming your best self.
If you love to clean, I needn’t say anything further. If you don’t enjoy cleaning, break it down into small steps, such as putting just 5 things away, or setting a timer so that you only clean for 10 minutes. Your room may not be perfect, but it will be tidier than before, and you might decide to finish the job once you start.
Eat healthy food.
Be sure to snack on high-quality snacks throughout the day. They will keep your mood stabilized and your body functioning properly! (Bonus points if you make it yourself!)
Focus on your hygiene.
Washing your hands for twenty seconds can reduce the risk of many illnesses. Putting effort into your daily hygiene routine can also boost your self-esteem and make you feel more confident in yourself.
Listen to music.
Listening to your favourite songs can help to pump you up for whatever task you are about to undertake next. Better yet, singing along to the radio or playing an instrument both release endorphins and strengthens your brain!
Put your phone down.
Hold yourself accountable for not looking at your phone or hiding it in another room for a few hours. When you go to pick it up, tell yourself, “No, I don’t need to look at my phone right now,” and put it down. This reduces FOMO and helps you to engage more fully in the world around you.
Reflect on the past.
Think about the good and bad times, and how you have grown since then. Reflect on what you have learned and what you may need to work on, whether it’s how you communicate in situations or being proud of yourself for past accomplishments.
Plan for the future.
Are there any goals you want to accomplish? Where do you see yourself in 1, 5, or 10 years? If the far future seems too daunting, try looking closer, such as meal planning for next week or schedule that you will go for a walk tomorrow at 7 am.
Live in the moment.
We have evolved from who we were in the past and the future is not yet here- what is worth celebrating at the moment? Embrace those who are currently in your life right now and find the good in each day.
Make a fresh start.
Make today the first day of a new routine. Rearrange your room the way you like it. Find a new hobby or embark on a new, fulfilling career journey. Any little paradigm shift will help you to achieve the life you want to lead.
Write down your feelings.
Allow yourself to process negative emotions by writing them down and then destroying the paper. This cathartic release symbolizes overcoming these challenging situations and can act as a mental reset to begin feeling like yourself again.
Reach out to someone you love.
Life can be short, so embrace those you love and let them know what they mean to you. This could mean sending a text to your best friend, calling an old mentor, or even writing your grandma an old-fashioned letter!
Reflect on why you want to focus on self-improvement.
Do you genuinely want to see yourself improve? Are you ready to take the necessary steps? Do you have someone who can help to guide you along this journey? If you don’t feel like you are ready, ask yourself ‘Why not?’.
Meditate for a few moments of peace to yourself.
It doesn’t matter how you meditate, or the length of time. Find a method that works for you, and focus on breathing deeply. As a starting place, breathe in through your nose for a count of four, hold for a count of four, breathe out through your mouth for four, pause for four, then repeat this cycle to calm your sympathetic nervous system and engage your parasympathetic nervous system.
Allow yourself to have a treat.
Self-improvement isn’t just about continually pushing yourself out of your comfort zone, but also allowing yourself to rest and be proud of what you have achieved. Have a small moment of indulgence, be it a delicious snack, watching a fun video, or allowing yourself a chance to focus on a hobby you enjoy!
Practice saying no.
Saying no allows you to do more. You are allowed to choose which projects will help you along your journey of self-improvement and which ones won’t. If someone gets upset at you for saying no, you may have to re-evaluate your boundaries with them.
Shift to a positive mindset.
What you focus on grows and how you see the world around you dictates how you perceive it. One great way to begin a positive mental shift is to write out ten good things every day. They can be as small as enjoying a nice cup of tea to as big as reconnecting with an old friend on top of a mountain. Just focus on the good things that make you happy!
Sign up for a course.
Virtual or in-person, long or short term, it doesn’t matter what kind, of course, you sign up for, just as long as it is something you are genuinely interested in learning. Even something as simple as a single free YouTube video can help you along your journey of self-improvement.
Have mindful moments throughout your day.
While mindful moments are similar to meditation, they are less structured and often just small instances of peace. Focus completely on your senses as you drink from a warm mug of tea, or the different sensations you notice as you wash the dishes. This help to slow your day down and stabilize your mood.
Seek open communication with those around you.
Ask those you are close with if there is anything you can do to communicate better with them or strengthen your relationship. The caution with this option is that you may not always be okay or comfortable with what they have to say. Only take advice from those you trust and who you know have your best interests at heart.
Start saving for the future.
You can start saving for a stable future today. Talk to a financial advisor about the best course of action for you, but even putting $5 in a basic savings account is the first step toward your future.
Talk to someone you trust.
Coming out of the stress of a global pandemic, talk to someone about your concerns, whether it is a licensed psychologist, a church counselor, or someone you love. This will help you to feel less alone and they can help you find strategies that will help you succeed.
Spend some time outside.
Nature and fresh air are incredibly restorative to both our physical and mental health. Spend a few minutes outdoors, whether that’s going for a walk or other outdoor activity, or just sitting and enjoying the view.
Try something different.
Push yourself outside of your comfort zone. Strike up a conversation with a stranger or try cooking a recipe that you’ve never tried before. These experiences are great steps to working on your self-improvement.
Actively listen to someone.
Take the time to genuinely listen to someone talk about something they are passionate about. Ask them more questions, not so that you can demonstrate your knowledge about the subject, but rather that you can learn something new. You probably also made their day, just by listening!
Ask 5 questions.
These questions can be about yourself, about someone else, or about the world around you. The point is to keep your mind open and to grow your curiosity.
Learn about a different culture, country, or religion.
We are scared of what we don’t know. By taking the time to talk to someone or to do a quick Google search, you can open your eyes to learning new things, but also realize that we are all just human.
Are you a performer or do you have to speak in front of people? It’s not a bad idea to get in the habit of recording yourself, either by voice recording or video. This will illuminate habits you may not have realized that you have while highlighting anything good you are currently doing.
Set yourself up for a good day with a morning routine.
Combine what makes you happy with what makes for the most effective morning. Try staying off your phone when you first wake up, but maybe give yourself five minutes of quiet as you sip your morning beverage. Lay your clothes out the night before, and spend a little bit of extra time making yourself look good.
Know that you are enough.
Whether you make a large stride in self-improvement today or you were barely able to get out of bed, you are enough. Be confident in who you are, and know that the world is better for having you in it, truly.
Written by Kayla Willsey