In a nutshell, self-improvement is about using your time and other resources to nurture your potential so you can create a life you love. It’s about:
- Building the courage to step out of your comfort zone
- Cultivating the self-awareness to know how your mind works
- Working through limiting beliefs so they no longer hold you back
- Sharpening your natural talents and developing new skills
- Going after the things you want because you know you deserve them
To name just a few. The benefits are clear. If you can achieve your goals and feel successful and fulfilled, you’re going to live a happier life. But how can you empower yourself to do your best? How can you make it easier to achieve your goals so you can think bigger and achieve more?
Let’s explore seven powerful self-improvement strategies that have the power to transform your life.
1. Set goals that excite you
First up, you’ve got to know what it is you want to create for yourself and your life. This is where you get to dream big and set the right goals for you. The right goal should stretch you while igniting your passion. It will force you to grow by taking you out of your comfort zone as you figure out how to do things you’ve never done before. Your goals open the door to new opportunities, new accomplishments, and a ton of satisfaction and self-improvement as the needle moves ever closer to the finish line.
Goals work because they give you a clear focus so that you can head in the right direction. Each day we have so many options. With a goal to work towards, it’s easier to prioritize your actions while eliminating distractions. Goals help you focus the resources you do have in the right places so you can get the maximum return. It’s a proven way to work smarter, not harder.
For best results, set goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-Bound [or S.M.A.R.T]. In terms of time-scales, we always advocate a three-month target. That’s because 13 weeks is long enough to achieve something significant, but short enough to push off procrastination and keep you motivated to implement.
So make a life goals list today. And if you need some help with your goals, this SMART goals worksheet helps you plan your goals and create your roadmap.
2. Plan your year
Not all goals can be achieved in three months, but there will be an aspect of that bigger goal, which you can accomplish within a 13-week period.
That’s why it’s powerful to map out your year with a tool such as a wall calendar.
Plot your year in one place and you’ll be able to maximize your time and best figure out how to fit in all the things you want to do. For example:
- Plan your vacations – because self-improvement is about rest, rejuvenation, and adventure as well as goal-getting
- Plot out your deadlines – so you can see which tasks and activities are interrelated. It makes big picture planning a whole lot easier
- Include any dates you don’t want to forget – such as birthdays and anniversaries
You can even check off the year as the days pass to help keep yourself time focused. After all, you can’t ignore what’s staring you in the face!
3. Plan your projects into bite-sized chunks
Do your goals feel so big that you don’t even know where to start?
If so, you’re not alone. Overwhelm gets the better of all of us. That’s because overwhelm creates brain fog, which makes it incredibly difficult to be decisive or plan effectively.
So how do you move through this self-improvement roadblock? It’s the same way you ‘eat an elephant’. You tackle one chunk at a time. A tool such as the Project Action Pad can help you do this. With the help of this tool, you can break down a big goal into all the component parts. Create a task list in this way and you’re no longer trying to start a business [for example]. Instead, you know you need to choose a name, create a logo, build a website, develop your offer, plan your marketing etc.
Empower yourself to see the individual steps and it’s so much easier to take action – because overwhelm melts away. Take one step at a time and success becomes inevitable.
4. Plan your week
A big cause of overwhelm for anyone looking to achieve goals and do your best is lack of time.
Often, your goals are an extra to what you’re doing right now. That means you have to fit your goal-based tasks and activities into an already hectic schedule.
Here’s the truth…
It’s not lack of time that holds us back. Instead, it’s how we manage time. It’s why learning to manage yourself is one of the biggest catalysts to self-improvement. It’s all too easy to squander time. You don’t mean to, but that quick look on Instagram can easily turn into an hour and you could fit more productive stuff into the time when you Netflix binge in the evening!
Self-improvement isn’t about overloading your time so there’s no room for fun – or even doing nothing. Instead, it’s about developing the discipline to master your minutes so lack of time doesn’t become the reason you don’t make progress.
Planning your week with a tool such as the Weekly Action Pad is a powerful way to do this.
Weekly planning is hugely proactive. Learn how to plan your week for maximum productivity and performance and you’ll reduce the likelihood that you’ll hit the weekends with a ton of stuff still to do. You’ll also make it a whole lot easier to fit everything in.
That’s because as soon as something is planned, it’s more likely to get done. Better still, know when you’re going to do it and how long its going to take you, and you’re less likely to be caught out.
Use your weekly plan to create the big picture overview of what you want to achieve in the week ahead. You can do this by noting down all your to-dos. But don’t stop at the work-related ones. If you want to do your best, factor in your goal-based tasks as well as activities that will help you achieve work-life harmony. Date night, workouts, playtime with your kids, reading, and journaling etc. Don’t leave all the self-improvement and fun stuff to chance. Plan it – and see the huge impact it makes to your life.
5. Practice gratitude
A life fueled by self-improvement is going to get tough at times. There will be difficulties ahead. You will encounter obstacles that you won’t be sure how to tackle – at first. Things are going to go wrong. You will get disappointed and you’ll probably mess up!
But the lows aren’t necessarily bad – because they provide the fertile soil that helps you to grow and do your best. That’s how feeling grateful can make you more successful. Gratitude fuels positivity. See for yourself… it’s impossible to feel angry or stressed when you’re feeling grateful.
Gratitude is also very grounding. It reminds you of what you already have – even as you strive to achieve more [and even when you’re having a bad day]. Practice gratitude and you’ll cultivate an abundance mindset. From this place of positivity, you’ll find it easier to see the pluses – rather than the negatives. You’ll be better equipped to deal with life’s challenges and you’ll also find it easier to enjoy the journey along the way.
It seems crazy, but often the simplest of tweaks can make the most profound difference. That’s certainly the case with gratitude and why this daily practice is integrated into the SELF Journal. It’s super easy to practice too. Simply write down three things that you’re grateful for each day. Feel how that gratitude makes you feel then use that feeling to fuel you.
6. Track your habits
Success is never an overnight thing. It may look that way when you look at other people’s stories, but those highlight reels never reveal the full extent of what it took to get where they are now.
There are no silver bullets either. Instead, success is the result of consistent daily action. It’s a decision to keep moving forward – regardless. And of constantly taking the right steps in the direction of your goals.
That’s why your habits are so important. Your habits are the things that you do on autopilot and they have the power to either make you – or break you.
Take a moment to think about your habits right now. For example, you may habitually make the bed when you get up in the morning and you probably always clean your teeth before you go to sleep. These habits are so ingrained that you feel ‘weird’ if you don’t do them. These habits require little thought either. You simply do them – because they’re part of your identity.
So imagine how your life could be if you cultivated good habits that would empower you to achieve your goals and do your best? If you’ve ever tried to create new habits you’ll know it’s not as easy as it sounds! Unfortunately, we’re creatures of habit which means it’s all too easy to slip back into your existing groove – especially when you’re feeling tired, down, or demotivated.
That’s why you’ve got to hack it in the early days using a tools such as the Habit Roadmap. Use this tool to mark on the daily habits that you want to cultivate for your self-improvement. For example, a daily power walk, writing 500 words, 3 sales calls, read a chapter – the list of options is endless. Want more inspiration? Check out this list of 10 success habits to start this month.
Next, check off each day that you perform the habit to build a streak. Before long, that streak will become so long that it actually feels painful to break it – in which case you’ll find it easier to force yourself to do it. Keep going for long enough, and you’ll soon rewire a string of helpful habits on autopilot.
7. Journal for self-improvement
Self-improvement and doing your best is a journey that never has to end – because there’s always more you can do and there’s always more to discover.
Journaling is a powerful practice that can help fuel this journey. In fact, there are many compelling reasons to start your journaling practice today. As you journal, you cultivate the self-awareness that empowers you to take action. You can process your thoughts, work through limiting beliefs, and get to know yourself better.
Journaling gives you clarity which can lead to confidence. It can help you figure out your motivations and guide you to work through what’s stopping you.
It’s why journaling is a practice advocated by so many high achievers.
Self-improvement is a strategy that will help you think bigger and achieve more while you enjoy today.
It’s a commitment that empowers you to do your best by lifting the lid on how you spend your time and what you create with your life. There’s no better way to live your life then empowering yourself to go after the things you want while maximizing your chances of success.
So go for it.
Give yourself permission to dream bigger.
Empower yourself to takes those big leaps.
You’ve got this.