When a new year comes, most people want to set something as a goal and marshal all resources towards it, and hopefully reap rewards at year’s end. It’s usually 365 blank pages begging to be written on, at least something that can make for an interesting read at year’s end.
Most people take up the pen, but an equally large number of people end up scribbling stuff that’s barely coherent after the book runs out of pages. Some realize they wanted to get something important “written” within the course of the 365 pages just when they are a few dozen pages from the end. Some are still undecided even after sketching, scribbling and jotting past the halfway staples.
Setting goals in January and evaluating the same some twelve months later is a horror for some, mostly because the reality of having done little to nothing is too guilt-inducing you’ll want to pass it up.
Self improvement does not have to be this grand and epic venture. In fact, self improvement comes from making (at the very least) little, subtle changes that accrue and blow up into big changes over time that set your life direction in an all new path – hopefully, one that you like.
How to improve yourself One day at a time
To best improve yourself consistently, try the following:
1. Don’t get hang on Results
Much as looking forward to the end result justifies all the painstaking effort you make towards a goal, you need to smell the flowers along the way.
For instance, if you set a goal to lose weight, say 1.5 pounds a week, don’t place a barrier around yourself to lock out everything else until you achieve your goal. Rather, as you push to achieve your noble goal, link up with family and friends and share and learn from each other’s weight loss experiences. In addition to building new relationships, you’ll likely garner new motivation to keep on at your goal while having all the fun.
2. Do it anyway
Sometimes it feels daunting to set up goals. It can feel like you need to have all the information first before going on ahead to draft the perfect plan, to set up that special date or night out, or time may not be your ally.
Then you may fall victim to the worst enemy of initiative, procrastination. The best way to make things happen: Do it when it needs to be done, how it needs to be done, whether you like it or not. A little spontaneity won’t hurt.
3. No one is Perfect
A major cause for a large number of people finding self improvement to be quite a challenge is the fear of failure that comes with thinking they may not hit their target. Or the fear of the unknown. What may come after as a result. So you give up even before you’ve started. No one is perfect, but consistently making positive, small changes makes for a better person today than they were yesterday.
4. Set SMART self improvement goals.
Counter indecision, inaction and stagnation by setting checkpoints down your self-improvement path.
S – Specific: State and write down on a piece of paper what exactly you want to improve about yourself or current situation. You can’t hack it if you don’t know it.
M – Measurable: Set criteria to clearly define whether progress is ongoing. This keeps you motivated and helps you keep on track towards achieving your best self.
A – Attainable: Seek to make realistic changes that are achievable.
R – Realistic: Unrealistic, over-the-top goals will actually counter your efforts towards self improvement as it becomes clear you are not willing or are not achieving much. You can’t fool yourself.
T – Time-bound: Always set a deadline by when to make self improvement changes. Setting a time frame for action ensures you are conscious of what needs to be done to succeed and by when – the all important sense of purpose.
Self improvement is a journey and not a final destination. Little pieces of the puzzle fall into place and continuously make the big picture ever so clearer. After a while, it all starts to make sense, progress is noticeable and all worth it. Nothing good comes too easy after all, and nothing beats seeing one’s own self rise to become an embodiment of their own dreams and aspirations – their best selves.