When you look at yourself in the mirror every morning, what thoughts run through your mind?
Do you really SEE yourself?
Or do you simply check that your teeth are clean and your hair is in place?
Try this exercise: Tomorrow morning, when you face the mirror, close your eyes and imagine what you look like. Then open them and now check whether your inner and outer images match.
If there’s a disconnect, ask yourself how you can become the best version of yourself.
The process of becoming a new and improved version of yourself is what we know as self-improvement.
Self Improvement and Personal Development
All the major religions of the world have been teaching, since ancient times, that the final goal of human existence is to achieve one’s full potential.
New Age philosophers, business leaders, thought influencers, motivational speakers and life coaches also emphasize self-improvement. In fact, today it has attained the status of an industry worth more than $30 billion world-wide.
Our life strategies and the way we live out our daily lives are largely based on our physical health, relationships and upbringing, social and economic status, behaviors and habits, thought patterns, education and life events that we have faced.
We need skills to survive in whatever environment that we find ourselves in and this adaptability is one of the most important skills that we have as human beings. It’s a tossup whether the strategies work 100% of the time or not. If they fail, we try to develop new ones or we lose our equilibrium.
Self-improvement can then be understood as a complete life strategy that can be adjusted to alter your internal and external environment. In many cases, changing the external environment may not be within your control, but you can certainly alter your internal conditions.
Some of the key goals of self-improvement include:
- Physical fitness, wellness and health
- Maintaining emotional and mental health
- Self-awareness and self-knowledge
- Building self-worth and self-esteem
- Acquiring new skills
- Improving the quality of life
- Enhancing status and wealth
- Establishing long-term, high-quality relationships
- Achieving career success
- Developing and nurturing talent in self and others
- Improving emotional intelligence
Self-Improvement helps to:
- Control negative thinking through visualization, time management, goal setting, etc.
- Transform negative and self-limiting thoughts into positive energy and thinking-patterns. These become established as self-beliefs and confidence in your own capabilities/skills.
- Understand your own patterns of problem-solving, facing challenges,
- Recognize areas that need improvement.
- Achieve better focus, more logical, objective and analytical thinking
- Feel more empowered to take decisions, even those involving risk.
- Learn to prioritize your relationships, nurture the ones that matter and detach from those that are harmful, toxic and draining.
11 Self Improvement Tricks That Will Change Your Life
- Set Smaller, Achievable Goals: Prioritize your goals into urgent, immediate, short and long term. Break each issue up into separate categories, create a road-map and take it one step at a time. This gives you a sense of achievement and reward every time you complete a task. Use the SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, time-bound) goal-setting technique.
- Expect Success: Winning happens first in the mind, as every sportsperson can tell you. Keep the thoughts simple and focus on the end result. Your mindset and ability to visualize can become a consistent thought pattern that nurtures self-improvement.
- Daily Affirmation: You can develop the habit of affirming yourself first thing in the morning, with simple positive thinking and reminders to yourself. It encourages you and puts you in a more receptive frame of mind. Affirmations can be about your abilities, the permissions you give yourself and/or visualizing positive outcomes.
- Break Fear of Failure: View failure as valuable feedback and a second chance to improve your strategy. It doesn’t mean that you lose motivation and wallow in self-pity. Give yourself some time to reflect, or even grieve over what happened, but put a time limit on it. Pick yourself up and start the journey again.
- Physical Fitness: Remember that you are a composite being, consisting of body and mind. Avoid mind-body separation, instead, view yourself holistically. Take care of your physical health, nutrition, hygiene, grooming and safety. Eat a balanced diet with sufficient fresh veg, fruit and greens, get enough exercise, practice effective time-management to get on top of your chores and de-clutter your living and working spaces.
- Analyze your Habits: Keep a track of your energy-levels as they fluctuate through the day. You get a better understanding of your working-habits and capacity. Keep a journal to record your daily schedule and mark the most productive and lowest energy points. This helps you to organize your time better, develop more efficient ways of working. Extend this to your immediate family/co-workers so that you can sync these patterns.
- Mindfulness: Being self-aware means being “in the moment” and fully connected with your thoughts, behaviors and emotions. This helps you develop a calm core within yourself no matter what the external environment. Let go of the past and its chains, and know that the future is only waiting in the wings. What you have is the Here and Now. Recognize and acknowledge your own worth realistically.
- Develop a Consistent Routine: While no one wants to be a slave to the clock or a rigid schedule, consistency provides comfort and structure to your day. Set aside enough Me Time in your day, no matter how packed it is. Eat your meals on time and get enough sleep, exercise and time to connect with family and friends.
- Craft Your Own Stress-Buster Toolbox: Learn to recognize the signs when you’re feeling stressed or stretched beyond limits. Find activities that help you de-stress. It could be something as simple as cleaning out closets, running, walking, a warm shower, or gardening. This helps to break the stress build-up – something that takes just a few minutes to divert the mind.
- Learn: Take a class – there’s nothing like skill-acquisition to boost your self-worth. Whether it’s online, weekend or part time at your local community college, make the effort to study and achieve. Keep a book handy with you at all times to dip into when you have a free moment. Attend webinars, seminars, lit fests, music concerts and theater shows.
- Accept Yourself: Finally, as you look into that morning mirror, put a little love and affection into your gaze. Accept yourself, remember that you’re a work in progress, a unique individual like no one else on the planet. Be honest with yourself, don’t harbor illusions, but be kind and compassionate to the self that stares back at you.