The dictionary defines self-improvement as…”the improvement of one’s knowledge, status, or character by one’s own efforts.”
Self-improvement, also known as personal development in its truest form is the process of developing and improving one’s abilities, character and really any and all aspects of a person and his or her life.
Self-improvement always begins with self-awareness and introspection. In fact, self-awareness is the cornerstone of self-improvement and can often be its end goal.
Your life only gets better when you do. When you work on yourself, the rest naturally follows. Below are 25 of the main areas of self-improvement –
Confidence, quite simply, is having a belief (or trust) in yourself (or in others) and is one of the most important areas of self-improvement. Self-confidence is how we view ourselves when it comes to mastering skills and achieving the goals we want to in life. This can be learned, specifically when you work hard in certain areas of development. It’s all about believing that you are capable of succeeding. There is a slight overlap with self-esteem and self-confidence, but we’ll discuss self-esteem later.
Within the concept of self-improvement there is an incredibly fine line between what is classed as assertive and what can come off as aggression. It’s easier than you realize to cross the line and take your assertiveness into the arena of aggression. Bear this in mind – aggression is generally based on the desire to win. Whereas assertiveness is all about balance.
You are open and honest about what you need and what you want, but you still consider the needs and wants of others. Assertiveness is self-assuredly stating your point while being firm, but fair. Aggression means you don’t care about others, it’s all about what you want and when you want it. For example, if you drop a large pile of work on an employee, demanding it back ASAP when you know they finish for vacation at 5 – you’re being aggressive.
Have you ever heard someone say that they always treat others how they would like to be treated? Well, we often cut other people more slack than we do ourselves. Self-respect is all about treating yourself the way you would want others to treat you.
We get caught up in judging everyone else, but don’t realize how we do this because we recognize their weaknesses as ours. Or, we’re just too uncomfortable to look within ourselves to see where we could improve. You don’t get to judge someone else’s level of self-respect for themselves, and no one else has the right to do that to you. You know yourself better than anyone, but self-respect is all about loving yourself first.
Your career is what you make of it. Some people try to differentiate between a job and a career. However, if the job that you do is what brings in the money to pay the bills then it’s your career, like it or not. If you don’t like it, then it’s up to you to change it.
While most people prefer to work to live rather than to live to work, your career can foster a lot of positivity in your life. We’re all good at certain things and while it’s important to improve on weaknesses, it’s equally as important to play to our strengths. So, does your career play to your strengths? If not, what can you do to change that?
Goal Setting And Achievement
What do you want to achieve in life? Are you striving for promotion? Are you and your partner planning a family? We all have a picture in our head of how we would like our lives to turn out. Which is why it’s important to set goals and create plans to achieve them. It’s a never-ending process.
Once you reach one goal it doesn’t end, you create a new goal and you go again. This is something that you can do in your career and in your personal life. While reaching your goals provides you with a buzz, it’s important to take value in the journey it took to get there, too. It’s the journey that provides you with valuable lessons about yourself.
Believe it or not, it’s a thinking skill. It’s the ability to give your full attention to one activity and give it all of your effort. People who have the power to focus sweep distractions aside, move beyond procrastination and tackle tasks with vigor.
If you’re someone who starts tasks and is easily derailed by the television, your phone or a bird flying by the window then you need to work on the art of focus. It should come as no surprise that focus is an area many people are interested in developing. Start reinforcing good focus habits by rewarding yourself every single time you start a task and complete it without breaking focus.
We briefly referenced the overlap between self-esteem and self-respect. Self-esteem, though, is a reflection of how much value you place on yourself. It is your attitude towards you as a person. It covers beliefs like I am good enough. It also includes emotions like shame, triumph, pride, and even despair. It’s our self-concept.
How do you view your self? Is it positive? Is it negative? This is your self-esteem. It is believed to influence the outcome of your career, your happiness, your relationships, and beyond.
Eliminate Self-Sabotaging Behavior
Unfortunately, many of us engage in the act of self-sabotage. As we make steps towards self-improvement the doubts creep in and we start to find ways to undercut our progress.
Sometimes it’s intentional, but other times it’s your subconscious that is setting out to derail your efforts. It can be a challenging negative behavior to overcome, but you can do so with a bit of self-awareness.
Change Bad Habits
We all have bad habits, some are more destructive than others. While your partner might have the nasty habit of smoking, your habit might be getting lost in video games for hours at a time. One has negative health consequences and a monetary impact.
While video games can consume hours of your day and are essentially, a giant waste of your time when you have other things to do. No matter what type of bad habit you’re looking to break, it can be done. In doing so you grow as a person and you are skilled enough to break other habits or prevent them from ever happening in the first place.
I can’t. I’m not smart enough. I’m not skilled for that. I don’t know. These are all examples of limiting beliefs. You place limits on yourself with negative thinking about yourself. You won’t if you keep telling yourself you can’t. It’s something that we are all guilty of. Why would you want to live a life of limits when you could free yourself from your negative thinking and succeed?
There is a plethora of reasons why your productivity is low. We are all driven by different external (and internal) circumstances. Essentially, productivity is all about how efficient you are, whether you’re at home or in the office. How productive are you?
You probably put in 40 hours a week just at work, then you come home and… well, it all kind of goes south from there, doesn’t it? The phrase work smarter not harder is one that evokes feelings of frustration (and maybe anger). There’s nothing more annoying than having your boss walk by saying this to you. However, there is a sliver of truth in it. You don’t necessarily have to work harder – a bit of organization can go a long way in making you more productive.
You’ve probably heard a lot about mindfulness, but what does it mean really? It’s all about bringing your full attention to what is happening in the moment. One of the most effective ways to train yourself to be mindful is through meditation. It doesn’t end at awareness, though. It’s also all about accepting the feelings and thoughts you’re processing without putting judgement into the equation.
Do you feel calm spiritually or psychologically? That’s what inner peace means. It means that you have enough knowledge and the necessary skills to keep yourself strong, no matter what is going on around you. We often associate inner peace with contentment.
Dealing With Change
Change is inevitable when it comes to self-improvement, but that doesn’t mean that we’re good at dealing with it. Many people are resistant to change and that’s usually due to fear. They’re afraid of not being able to handle the new instructions for the job they’ve been doing for years.
They are worried to end an unhappy relationship because it feels more comfortable than the unknown. The inability to deal with change is keeping you paralyzed, you’re stuck in place, unable to move forward. Change can be catastrophic, but when you have a good attitude about it it’s going to go more smoothly.
We only get one life, so enjoying the life we have seems like a pretty straightforward suggestion. Unfortunately, there’s always something standing in your way. You hate your job and find it difficult to make the time for the people and activities you love to do. You love your job, but your partner is giving you a hard time about the time you spend there.
You love your job, but it doesn’t pay enough for you to get out and about in your free time. There are lots of obstacles standing between you and enjoying life. The things we just listed… are smaller than you think. The biggest obstacle between you and enjoying life is your attitude. Fun is free.
There’s a fine line between working through your emotions appropriately and controlling them. Part of being an adult human is learning how to control your emotions. When you’re angry you should stop yourself from snapping at a workmate or your child.
You should be able to take a step back and deal with the emotion you’re going through. Take a breath and ask what is causing the emotion and deal with the problem. Controlling your emotions is vital to your working life, home life, and your overall happiness.
Okay, but what about processing your feelings? The first step in processing your feelings is sensing what emotion it is you’re experiencing at that moment. Now, you sense it, it’s time to name it, and once you’ve named it you can attribute it the cause. Evaluate how this makes you feel and now, you can decide how to feel about the feelings and what you should do to resolve it.
Dealing With Failure
The biggest favor you can do for yourself on this front is understand that absolutely everyone in the world will experience failure. It’s a completely normal part of life and it’s a process that we will all deal with at some point. Don’t allow the fear of failure to hold you back from chasing your dreams. In every failure, there is at least one lesson. That lesson is what will help you bounce back bigger and better.
Self-actualization is an area within self-improvement that is used differently by a lot of circles. However, the most commonly held belief of this term revolves around the understanding of your own skills and abilities and fulfilling them. We share the same common base needs such as food, a roof, and clothing. From there the tower climbs to more unique needs… and at the top of that triangle sits self-actualization. Achieve the levels below and this is what you get.
Attitude is everything. Even when life throws negatives at you like lemons falling from a tree, you can still choose to remain positive. People who are able to see the silver lining in every cloud are able to cope better with life.
Choosing the right attitude will help you steamroll obstacles. If you hold a negative attitude, don’t worry (no, seriously) because you can learn to improve your attitude and turn yourself into a positive person.
If you’re already working on mindfulness, then that will help you with this endeavor. In fact, the positive aspect of many of these things is that they feed each other and working on one creates a knock-on effect that can help influence other areas of personal development.
If you were to take a poll of every office and manager across the country, there’s a good chance that most of them would tell you they want to be better at managing their time. While some people are adamant that they work well under pressure, for the most part, it just isn’t true. You might get a bit of a buzz if it’s a one-off, but if it’s a regular pressure? Forget about it.
Managing your time is crucial to managing your stress levels and balancing work with your personal life. It doesn’t have to be down to the minute. If you start by creating a daily to-do list with the most important jobs first, then you’ll soon see just how effective you can be by providing yourself with self-guidance.
What is problem-solving? Quite simply, it’s solving a problem. Some people think quickly in terms of problem-solving and they can solve the issue as soon as it pops up. Others don’t think in the same terms and may struggle with problem-solving. The good news is that you’re not stuck with your skills as they are. This is something you can work on and improve.
The first step to solving a problem is first identifying what the problem is, determining its cause, and then finding the solution to implement it. The biggest thing to remember as you grow this area is that your solution cannot cause problems for others.
Dealing With Adversity
We all face adversity, but it’s how we deal with it that measures our character. Life can feel desperately unfair sometimes, but it will do if you don’t find ways to cope with adversity. This will look differently for everyone because we are all unique in how we cope and thrive.
Adversity in your personal life can cause strife for your working life and vice versa. So, it’s important that you learn coping techniques that will help you deal with trouble as it arises.
How well do you stand on your own two feet? Can you rely on yourself to put food on the table, a roof over your head, and adult? Self-reliance is all about making your own decisions, without needing to turn to others to help. That doesn’t mean talking through big decisions with loved ones is a bad thing, but you’ll know if you have the balance right. If you can’t make even the simplest of decisions without texting, calling or turning to someone else for advice then you might have a self-reliance problem.
How is your emotional intelligence? Are you aware of your emotions? Are you in control of your emotions? Are you able to process your emotions? Can you express your emotions properly? If your answers to all of these questions are yes, then the next should be a given.
You can offer empathy when relating to others and use your best judgement to handle relationships. If you’re making a face to these then maybe your emotional intelligence isn’t as high as you thought.
You can read Areas Of Self-improvement Part 2 HERE
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