Are you happy with your life as it is? If no, congratulations! This article will get you unstuck. If yes, congratulations too! I’m sure you’re here because you identify yourself as a lifelong learner and; there’s always a new way to be better and do better.
Would you be happy with yourself if 5 years from now you are the same person? No new adventures, no improvement in your finances, stuck in the same routine and mentally destructive job, living the same kind of boring life, stressed about the same things, stuck with the same unsupportive friends? Take a moment and imagine these scenarios. If you cringed and thought ‘Nah ah! I’m better than this! I’m made of more’ then, I’m sure you’re ready to take charge of your super sweet 5 year outcomes.
What does it mean to improve yourself?
If you walk into a bookstore, you will find hundreds if not thousands of books on this topic. Every time you’re online, you’ll bump into blog posts and sound bites on the same. It’s increasingly (or it has always been!) a mainstream thing. And as much as you may feel overwhelmed by all this content, you can’t afford to ignore it because there’s no joy or victory in remaining the same person or even worse, becoming worse off!
Self-improvement means becoming better at something. Which in this case, the ‘something’ has to be positive. No one wants to improve how terribly they manage their money or improve your lateness, become lazier, more addicted to drugs, angrier or worse still improve on our self-hate. You want to revert on all the above to be positive. Self-improve is, therefore, progress in the right direction. You will get better and faster results in your self-improvement journey if you are self-aware.
Ways self-improvement can change your life
Moves your cheese!
Self-improvement can bring about tremendous change in your life. Positive change is beautiful. Think about how different your life and body 😉 would look like if you improve your exercise habits.
Brings new opportunities
Self-improvement will make you realize that you have great potential in you and that you can achieve anything you dedicate yourself towards. You will also learn that successful people got there by consistently improving on who they are, which you also can. This belief system will motivate you to do more, work harder, which will lead you to meet better people who will introduce you to more opportunities.
It will skyrocket your self-esteem
Confident people are contagious. And believe it or not, you’re more likely to trust a confident person than one who isn’t. If you dedicate yourself to becoming a reader, your esteem will be better as all the knowledge in you will give you the confidence to speak better, do better, and express yourself more clearly.
You’ll be high on inspiration
Learning what odds and obstacles other people overcame to be successful will teach you that you too, no matter who you are or where you come from, can succeed. You’ll also learn that everyone has challenges, it’s your perception that will make or break you.
When you know better, you do better
When you know how big a change a small improvement every day can bring in your life, you get committed to making small changes every day.
You appreciate yourself more
Here you are, a beautiful and unique individual. Full of life, full of dreams and ambitions, dedicated to bettering yourself. No one else is an exact copy of you. Self-improvement will make you wake up every day believing and knowing that you ’re a king/queen!
You’ll be more grateful and happier
If the only thing you manage to accomplish for the next few days is carrying with you a feeling of gratitude, you will have succeeded.
You will learn to be more resilient
Resilient people push past discomfort. People with grit bounce back when they hit rock bottom. No matter how scared they feel, they keep going. They execute projects even if all odds are against them. Self-improvement will keep reminding you that no matter how tough the going gets, you’re tougher. And you got it in you to succeed!
12 Practical ways to improve yourself
1. Follow through on your commitments
Let’s be honest here. How many years (yes, not hours) of your life have you wasted through starting projects that you never finish? And, how many more years are you willing to pour down the drain in the future? If I only had to write about just one self-improvement tip, this would be it. If you decide to do something, get it done! There’s a lot of research that shows that people are happier when they follow through with their commitments. Yes, your self-esteem largely depends on this one self-improvement tip. Doubt it? Even Bill Gates lists this as his biggest source of happiness.
Every time you practice self-discipline, your self-esteem rises. – Anonymous
2. Forget your goals, work on your habits
If you have a plan for your life and you consistently stick to it, life gets better. Unlike when you depend on luck or just writing down big audacious goals without small steps (systems) on how to achieve them. As James clear states in his book, Atomic Habits, ‘winners and losers have the same goals.’ It’s your habits that matter. I wrote a beautiful article on the same. Head here to learn more.
3. Don’t just read, be a reader
There’s some crazy magic that happens when you give yourself an identity even if you haven’t gotten there yet. So the next time someone asks you to talk about yourself, don’t say that you read, say you’re a reader.
Don’t: I’m trying to be a writer
Do: I’m a writer
Don’t: I’m trying to save money.
Do: I’m a minimalist/finance expert.
Apply this in everything you are and aspire to be. And that, smart human, are 2 ways in one to improve yourself.
Read many quality books for both fun and knowledge and, give yourself a smart person identity and live up to it.
4. Pin a ‘100 opportunities challenge’ board in your room
In 2018, I was almost drowning in a pool of low self-confidence. All the jobs, conferences, fellowships or internships I applied to, I got rejected. I was beginning I to entertain the thought that I wasn’t smart enough. Then I came up with a brilliant idea to pin a flipchart in my room and list down 100 opportunities I’d pursue in 2019. I started with 10 and I’ve been adding more as the year progresses. I’m at 25 as we speak. The idea is to not stop applying until I get accepted. Until I get to 100, I will not entertain any negative thoughts! Try it and tell us how it goes!
5. Take up a new online course-and do it till the end!
Did you know that Havard University offers certified free online courses that are self-paced and that you can do at the comfort of your home or office? What more could you ask for?
6. Declutter-both people and stuff!
Get rid of toxic people in your life. As they say, ‘you’re an average of the 5 people you spend your time with.’ Stick with the progressive and positive gang only. Similarly, owning too much stuff, especially stuff you do not use affects your mental health. A clear mind requires a clean and well-organized place. We’ll not even talk about the negative financial effects that come up with owning too much stuff.
If you buy things you do not need, you will soon sell things you need. – Warren Buffet
7. Face your fears
Well, I’m yet to face my fear of snakes. I can’t bring myself to go to a snake park and I often have anxiety attacks when I’m in the forest when I imagine the possibility of coming across one! However, I’m aware of this fear and I’m working towards overcoming it. Recently, I realized I can look at photos of some snakes without freaking out. What do you fear? Be deliberate about breaking away from that mental prison.
8. Create or own an asset
You have to own something to build wealth. It doesn’t matter what it is; a blog, stocks in a company, a piece of land, a business, podcasts. In the book Rich Dad Poor Dad, Robert Kiyosaki teaches about minding your own business. If you are an employee in a company, do your work diligently but every single day, dedicate at least 4 hours towards minding your own business. This means building your side hustle, blog, book, researching and building your stocks portfolio etc. When you leave that job or worse still if you get fired, you will still be an owner of something, and you will be closer to your financial freedom.
9. Get excellent at your skills
Are you still swimming in a pool of average performers in 2019? Jump out now! Being average is no longer acceptable. You’re either excelling or failing. Not ‘sort of making of making it, trying to make it, thinking about doing it’. No, improve your skills and charge a premium while at it!
Being average is no longer acceptable.
10. Demand better from yourself
The beautiful thing about life is that you can’t lie to yourself. You know deep down that you can do better than you are doing right now. To improve yourself, you need to start by being accountable to yourself and demanding better from yourself. Look in the mirror and get real with yourself. When I fall into the laziness trap, I often have conversations with me, myself and I and remind myself that if I keep going down this path, I’ll be poor at 30. This freaks me out and gets my ass off the couch. What real talk do you give yourself to get moving?
11. Respect your most valuable asset, time
There are only as many days in a year as you use them. Yes, you don’t have 365 days in a year. You only have the number of days you use productively. Get moving.
12. Learn a new language
You do not exist in a vacuum. Or live in your country or continent alone, do you? The answer is no! Which means, that you need to learn other people’s and cultures and languages for you to thrive. It will be easier to network with people who speak the language you choose to learn; people are often impressed and humbled if you speak their language. Better still, if you choose to use Duolingo for this, you will learn the art of consistency! Which basically connects to tip one above.
Self-improvement is gradual. You succeed by slowly incorporating small new habits every day. Then, the concept of compounding will take place and with time you’ll experience stellar results.