Become A Better You: 5 Steps For Self-Improvement
In becoming a better you, continuous self-improvement is key in all that we do, whether it’s a New Year’s Resolution or a personal commitment, self-improvement is easier said than done.
We might have good intentions but changing long-held habits requires a great dose of commitment and hard work. However, with adequate preparations and a clear road-map, self-improvement can be a lot easier and lead you where you want to go.
Keep in mind these 6 steps to improve yourself and you’ll be on your way to a healthier, and development of more productive habits.
Identify bad habits“About 40% to 45% of our daily activities are habits,” according to Charles Duhigg in his book The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business.
He goes on to explain that habits have three components – a cue, or a trigger for that behavior; a routine, or the habit itself; and the reward, which reinforces the habit over time.
Identifying the habits you need to change will depend on your goals. Are you aiming at a better health? More productive work hours? Better money management? Once you know what you want to achieve, find what’s stopping you from achieving it.
Write down your goals, and every bad habit that’s stopping you from reaching it.
Set SMART goals
Originally conceived by Peter Drucker for his Management by Objectives concept, the term SMART goals has been used since the early eighties to help people set realistic goals and achieve them.
Your goal must meet five criteria:
• Specific. Broad, undefined goals won’t get you where you want to go. Make sure your goal is as specific as possible to make sure you succeed.
• Measurable. Keeping track of your progress helps you stay motivated.
• Achievable. Make sure your goals are realistic but still challenging.
• Relevant. Set goals that are relevant to you an align with your expectations and values.
• Time-bound. Set yourself reasonable deadlines to make sure you have a time frame to complete all the tasks you need to do.
Using these criteria will help you make the changes you need to improve.
Level up your skills
Now that you know which habit you’d like to improve upon, find out if there’s something you need to learn to improve that.
Following the example above, what do you need to better manage your money? If you’re worried about overspending, learn how to create a budget. If you’d like to save or invest, learn more about the different saving and investment options you have available.
Luckily, there are plenty of resources available to learn new skills or improve the ones you have. From free and low-cost courses to YouTube tutorials, it’s never been easier to learn something new.
So, after you’ve found what your goal is and what you need to change to accomplish it, make sure you have the skills and resources to make that change.
Track your progress
Keeping track of your progress doesn’t just help you stay motivated, it also helps you see which tasks are contributing to your self-improvement and which ones are not.
Many apps on the market are specifically designed to help you change habits and track your time. Some apps even gamify acquiring new habits to make it more fun and ensure you stay on track.
Time tracking apps also keep you focused on your short- and long-term goals by showing you on what you’re spending your time. With that information, you can re-direct your efforts towards more productive tasks. If you prefer to stay analogue, keeping a journal can be just as effective to help you stay on track.
Avoid negative people
However, one big roadblock on your self-improvement journey may be negative people.
Make sure you share your plans to improve your skills and habits with people you trust but be prepared to face some negativity – people who tell you it’s impossible or useless to change or adopt a pessimistic view of you as you try to improve.
In his article Dealing with Negative People published on Psychology Today, Raj Raghunathan explains negativity is rooted in three fears – “the fear of being disrespected by others, the fear of not being loved by others, and the fear that “bad things” are going to happen.”
Understanding where that negativity comes from and treat them with patience and compassion can be one way to address that negativity. Or, you can also help them see where their negativity comes from, but many people respond badly to criticism and might not be open to change. If everything else fails, severing ties with that persona might be the only way.
Self-improvement is a journey worth your time and effort. To start improving your habits and lead a better life, keep in mind the six steps above and get your journey started.