Whether your goal is to get smarter, fitter, friendlier or funnier, almost everyone attempts some sort of self improvement.
As the saying goes, a journey begins with a single step. But which step? There are a lot of options to get started and some approaches work better than others.
The Right Option for You
As a guide, consider these nine ways that you might tackle your latest self improvement journey:
1) Learn a New Skill
The most obvious approach to self-improvement is learning a new skill: sign up for an online course, grab a book off the bookshelf or download the latest podcast.
These are pretty simple ways to look at self improvement. If you need a starting point, login in to your favourite podcast platform, Audible for audiobooks, or even Youtube can be pretty amazing for bite-sized learning. Got some more time: check out Coursera or EdX for free courses from leading universities.
While these approaches can be varied to match the amount of time you’ve got available, this type of conventional learning works for some, but not all.
Read on for some alternatives!
2) Ask for Feedback
Brutal honesty can be the starting point for many self improvement journeys. However, you don’t always have to wait for a big occasion to ask for feedback, and in fact, ongoing feedback can be much more valuable.
Of course, there is an art to asking for feedback. You need to ask open questions, and perhaps more importantly, have an open mind. Dig deeper to explore feedback, and if it gets tough, it can really help to stay focused on the future.
If you need help to get the conversation started, consider asking these questions to the person you’re seeking feedback from:
- How do you think I can improve?
- What would make me better at this in the future?
- What do you think I should pay closer attention to?
- How would you approach the task?
While you don’t have to follow the advice you’re given, getting another’s perspective can really help to open your eyes to the barriers or the potential solutions.
Finally, don’t forget to write down the advice!
3) Start a Journal
Journalling can help you to process your experiences and your thoughts. It’s an incredibly powerful tool that can help to identify the value from an experience (even if was bad) and possibly where something went wrong.
Friends of ours over at The Resilience Agenda have some handy journals, complete with prompts to improve your mental fitness.
Meditation is also know to have some huge benefits and it doesn’t take much to get started!
5) Measure Your Progress
Measuring your progress can be an essential part of self improvement. Knowing where you are today can help you plan to improve, whether your goals are fitness, academic or work related.
iyarn is one way to track your goals, whatever they may be. The app is free for personal use: simply define what matters to you and score how you think your are going. Check in regularly to ensure you are on track, and use the check ins as a way to talk with others.
6) Get a Mentor
Getting a mentor can be an amazing way to improve yourself. While you’ll need to invest some time to build and keep a good relationship, the right mentor can transform your life.
7) Confront Your Fears
Ever heard of “self limiting beliefs”? These can be beliefs that we hold about ourselves that are holding us back.
It’s one of the more drastic approaches to self improvement, but confronting your fears might be an approach you want to consider.
Break your fear down into manageable pieces and start chipping away! For example, if you’re terrified of public speaking, you could start practicing on your own. After a while, record yourself and play it back to keep improving. The next steps are presenting to a trusted friend, then a small group, and before long, you’re within reach of that initial fear of public speaking.
The confidence gained from overcoming your fears is incredibly powerful. If you can do it once, you’ll be even more confident in doing it again.
There are a couple of ways that you can use a commitment to drive your self improvement.
- Start a practical project to learn skills and embed them.
- Volunteer or join a community group.
- Enter a competition or an event, to give yourself a deadline.
These are all valid ways to use a commitment to ensure you achieve some meaningful progress with your next self improvement effort. The combination of deadlines and some social pressure can be a powerful motivator!
9) Get a Study Buddy, or a Training Partner
One of the best ways to ensure you stay on track is make a commitment with someone else to focus on a shared goal. Book some time to pursue these goals, and have some fun!
What Option is Right for You?
We’ve sketched out some alternatives, and with the disruption of COVID-19, maybe 2020 is the year that you achieve a breakthrough in your self improvement efforts.
Best of luck!