Effective Tips to Start Working on Self-Improvement
Self-improvement is something that many people have misconceptions about. It’s not a quick fix, it is more of a journey that encourages positive change as you go through life. There are many different areas you can focus on, like taking care of your mental and physical health and being able to set realistic goals for yourself.
To get better at each stage of self-improvement you need to start with baby steps. When you set the bar too high it is easy to get discouraged and not be able to reach your desired goal.
1. Improve your Mental Health
To improve your mental health, you may start by incorporating more positivity into your life. If we think positively, we can believe in ourselves and take action on our needs and wants - this is the power of positive thinking! Before proceeding to other types of personal development, such as physical health and goal setting, you should focus on mental health.
Keep on reading to learn about more ways to improve mental health.
Connect with people
Making plans with your friends or family can improve your mood and your day.
Connecting with people tests and improves your communication and listening skills. It allows you to interact with different personalities and see which ones fit you the best. Hey, you might even find a BFF.
Good relationships are one of the key ways to improve your mental well-being. They can help you build up a sense of belonging and self-worth; friends are a great way to boost your self-confidence.
Meeting up with people also gives you a chance to share positive experiences and create amazing memories so you have something to look back on later in life. Our closest friends provide us with emotional support when we are at our lowest and because we are friends we can return the favor when the people we care about have problems of their own.
There are a lot of things we can try to do to help us form stronger bonds and closer relationships. Some examples include:
- if possible, take the time every day to be with your family, e.g. try setting a fixed time to eat lunch and dinner together.
- call your friends that you have not seen for a while and arrange a day out together.
- try turning off the TV to talk or play a board game with your children, friends, or family.
- have lunch with a colleague and talk about your daily worries from work. Sometimes sharing them with people you know can understand you can make a huge impact on your mental health.
- visit a family member or friend who is old and in need of support or company.
- volunteer at a local hospital, school, or community group. Volunteering can give you a sense of self-worth and improve your people skills.
- use technology wisely and efficiently to stay in touch with distant friends and family. Video call apps like Skype and FaceTime can come in handy to stay in touch, especially if you live far apart.
Learn new skills
Research indicates that learning a new skill may also improve your mental health by raising self-esteem and boosting confidence, aiding you in building a sense of purpose, and helping you to connect with others. Even if you feel like you do not have enough time, or simply don’t need to learn new skills, there are lots of different ways to bring learning into your life. The following are some things you can try:
- Trying to learn to cook something new. Find a healthy eating recipe and cooking tips online and create a meal on your own.
- Try handling a new responsibility at work. It could be something like mentoring a junior staff member or improving your presentation skills.
- Work on a DIY project. You could be fixing a broken garden gate, a bike, or something far larger. There are a lot of free youtube tutorials online that you might find to be helpful for your projects.
- Think about enrolling in a course at your local college. You can try learning a new language or some practical skills like carpentry, plumbing, or even construction.
- Try out some new hobbies that you find challenging. This can be anything like writing short stories, practicing a new sport, or learning how to draw or paint.
Give to others
Generosity and showing kindness to others can help us improve our mental health because it…
- generates happy feelings and a sense of accomplishment.
- provides you with a feeling of self-worth and purpose.
- helps you make connections with other people.
It can be little acts of kindness towards other people or greater ones such as volunteering within your local community.
Some things that you can try include...
- Being grateful. Say thank you to the person that volunteered to help you with something when they had no personal gain from it.
- Showing concern for others... Ask your friends, family, or colleagues how they’re feeling and listen to what they have to say.
- Spending time with your friends or relatives who are lonely and in need of support.
- Being generous. Offer to help somebody you know with DIY or a work project.
Live in the moment - Practice mindfulness
Deliberately paying attention to the present moment improves mental health. When you focus on your feelings and thoughts, take note of how your body feels, and the social environment that surrounds you, you can create positive change. Some people like to call this recognition "mindfulness". Mindfulness can help you enjoy life and know yourself better. It could positively change the way you think and feel about your life and how you will approach future obstacles.
2. Improve Your Physical Health
Watching what you put into your body, the amount of activity you get, and maintaining a healthy body weight all contribute to your health and wellness.
It is effortless to sit more than you should, a lot of people sit at their desks for the entire day. However, sitting less and moving more can have significant health benefits. Regular physical activity is one of the best ways to improve your health and it makes you feel more confident in your body. It is recommended that adults get a minimum of 150 minutes (two and a half hours) of moderate physical activity per week. This means taking the time to do activities that make your heart beat faster, like running.
Plan your plate
Healthy eating is another great way to improve or prevent health problems. Eating healthy and getting enough daily physical activity will help you lower your risks of health problems such as heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and more. To reach our goals, experts advise us to make small, gradual changes and proceed with baby steps.
Mind your metabolism
As you get older, you might notice that you have more fat and less muscle and energy. This is because our metabolism changes as we get older. We burn calories less effectively and break down foods more slowly. We also lose lean muscle. Without exercising more and adjusting our diet, the pounds will start to add up. Having those extra pounds could be damaging to your health and it is hard on your joints too. There are many different options for healthy eating - you need to find what works for you to help avoid gaining weight as you age. Options like a high-fat low-carb diet or the Mediterranean style of eating would be a great place to start.
3. Manage Your Stress
Talk therapy/ Counseling
Talk therapy can help some people deal with personal stress in the long term. One of the approaches, cognitive behavioral therapy, can help you remove your negative thought patterns and change them into something positive. Your therapist can advise you and guide you through other approaches that may be helpful and more suitable for you.
A regular side effect of stress is that you could have difficulty falling asleep. If this side effect occurs three times per week or more for a minimum of 3 months, you might have insomnia. Not sleeping enough can also add to your stress levels and result in a cycle of sleeplessness and stress.
Better sleep habits could help. This includes the way your bedroom is set up. The role of the bedroom in getting good sleep is also key. Generally, your room should be quiet, cool, and dark. The type of bed you sleep on also plays a major role. Your mattress should provide you with support, space, and most important of all, comfort.
When we practice deep breathing, we switch on our body’s natural ability to relax. This can create a state of deep rest that can change the way your body responds to stress. It transports more oxygen to the brain and relaxes the part of your nervous system that is responsible for your ability to calm down.
Give belly breathing a try. Make yourself comfortable, close your eyes, and put one hand on your stomach and the other one on your chest. Breathe in deeply through your nose. You should see that your belly rises a bit more than your chest. Then, exhale through your nose again and concentrate on how your body relaxes. And Repeat.
Nothing has more effect on your stress levels than the little voice inside your head. The good news is that you have full control, but you need to take charge and not let your negative thought patterns consume you. The first step is to notice them, then you can swap negative thoughts for positive thinking. There are more advantages to positive self-talk than just minimizing daily stress. These benefits consist of a longer life, lower levels of depression, greater resistance to cardiovascular disease and the common cold, and improved coping skills when life gets hard.
When we experience laughter, we breathe in more oxygen. Your heart, lungs, and muscles gain a boost and your body lets out the happy hormones. Laughter also improves the immune system, improves your mood for long periods, and lessens pain.
4. Focus and Set Personal Goals
We are all aware of how important it is to set goals, but we often forget how important they are when we get busy with life.
Setting goals helps us develop new behaviors, helps in guiding our focus, and helps us keep that momentum in life.
In one study that investigated goal setting and well-being, participants took part in 3 short one-hour sessions where they were told to set their own goals. The researchers compared people who were setting goals to a control group that did not participate in the goal-setting exercise. The results of the study exhibited a causal relationship between well-being and goal setting.
Lastly, since this blog is about self-improvement it is worth mentioning that September is national self-improvement month. Self-Improvement Month reminds us that we all can improve and take better care of ourselves. There is always space for a better life if we want it and take action. It is a chance for us to think about how satisfied we are with ourselves and to take the right steps to become the person we aspire to be.
September is the official Self-Improvement Month because it marks the end of a season (summer) and the beginning of a new one (fall). If you have procrastinated a little since your New Year’s resolution remember it is not too late to start eating healthier, start exercising, or reading new books.
National Self Improvement month serves as a reminder that self-care can come in many shapes and sizes, but is always of significant importance! It is easy to get distracted with this crazy little thing called life, so take this chance to spoil, motivate, and inspire yourself - you deserve it!
In conclusion, if you are thinking of beginning the journey of self-improvement you could not have picked a better time for this. Start putting the focus on yourself now and celebrate this month again next year when you reflect on your results and all the positive changes that you made.