You don’t need a makeover to improve life and spur on self-development. Making proactive choices and doing what you’ve been thinking of doing will take you far. Your sense of wellbeing and finding daily meaning can be boosted with practising these 15 ways to grow yourself.
15 Steps towards Better Self-Development
Here are 15 easy to implement self-development practices that can help you be the very best version of yourself. You don’t need to implement them all at once. In fact, that’s probably overwhelming. Pick the ones linked with each other. For example, Counting Your Blessings (Practising Gratitude) and Complaining Less. Then, once you feel you’re feeling on top of those, add another step.
1. Seize the Day
Yesterday is done and tomorrow hasn’t come yet. Today is the day you need to live in. Of course, keep in mind the lessons learned from the past. Today has its own gifts and you need to be 100% present to be open to them. You need to live in this moment, not be waiting for the next.
2. Plan Ahead
Before you go to bed, make a to-do list for the next day. This way you’ll know what lies ahead, what you need to prioritise and how best to effectively optimise your time. Having a plan before you go to sleep will also help your sleep. You won’t be trying to remember all the things you need to do and are worried you might forget.
3. Keep A Diary
You will get an inside look at your thoughts as you write your diary. Additionally, you’ll be able to see patterns in your life that make you happy or sad, calm or upset. Knowing this will give you a better understanding of your motivations and desires. In short, a diary is a practical way of learning more about yourself. When you know yourself better, you’ll know where you can improve yourself.
4. Prioritise Yourself
Do something that matters to you. Part of making sure you are in a good spot is making an active choice not to put your needs continuously on the back-burner. Yes, help others; but help yourself too. If you’re questioning yourself on being selfish, then pause. Ask yourself if you’d encourage someone else to do what you are thinking or help them with it? If there was ever a moment to follow your passion, now is that moment.
5. Say “No”
The step after deciding to prioritise yourself is learning the word NO. It may be just two letters, but this is your gentle reminder that “no” is actually a complete sentence. Burnout happens easily, so it’s essential to spend time refuelling and safeguarding your own wellbeing. If you don’t want to go to a party, don’t go. If you feel overwhelmed by your workload, speak up. Self-care is not selfish, it’s wise. You can’t be there for others if you fall apart yourself.
6. Get a Coach
There’s no faster way to improve yourself than to have someone work with you on your goals. A coach is someone who helps you figure out what you actually want to do. Then assists in planning a way to do it and encourages you, as well as holds you accountable, to achieve your goal. On average, those who hire coaches report achieving significantly more, with faster results, than if they had done it alone.
7. Try Something New
Getting out of your comfort zone and changing your routine builds resilience. It also is a step towards boosting your self-confidence. It could be a big step like travelling to an unknown part of the world. Alternatively, it could be trying a new activity or simply taking a different route to work. You can start out small and work towards something big. The point is change is good for us.
8. Get Moving
Get up and move! Exercise is good for us – it helps improve your physical and mental health. It releases mood-boosting endorphins in our brains that also improve our wellbeing. And you need as little as 20 minutes per day. You don’t need to go to the gym, think outside of the conventional exercise box. There are lots of alternative ways to get moving and trigger a flood of feel-good chemicals.
9. LOL: Laugh Out Loud
Research shows that laughing is one of the most therapeutic daily things you can do. Look for the ridiculous. The unexpected things around you. And allow yourself to laugh out loud. It may be something you pass by that wasn’t there yesterday or a funny poster. Time spent with people who make you chuckle or your favourite comedy. By doing this you’re rewiring your brain to be happy within yourself.
10. Count Your Blessings
Gratitude is an Attitude. And it’s one that positively transforms your life. One way of fostering it is to keep a daily gratitude list. This will help you appreciate what you have in life. Thereby acknowledge and be thankful for daily things that are often overlooked. Once you start looking, you’ll be surprised to see how many small things go unnoticed or taken for granted. Studies show that people who are able to cultivate gratitude are more satisfied with their lives in general. They are also mentally and physically healthier.
11. Quit Complaining
When you count your blessings and actively seek things to be grateful for, you’ll be happier. Which also means you’re less likely to be negative and complain. Sure, sometimes you need to vent to let off steam. However, complaining for complaining’s sake of complaining is counter-productive. Additionally, it can make you feel angry or upset in the process. If you have something to gripe about, follow it up with a constructive solution. This will also help minimise future complaining and prevent you getting fixated on something negative.
12. Stop Comparing
Comparisons are odious. And there’s nothing like social media to get you on the comparison bandwagon. And specifically, those that are inherently unfair. This is because we typically compare the perceived worst of ourselves to the best we presume about others. More importantly, comparing ourselves puts the focus on the wrong person. You can only control one life – yours. You can’t live your best life, be positive and happy within yourself, if you constantly reinforce the alleged worst in yourself. If you think you need to improve on something, then figure out a way to do it and do it. Don’t get stuck in a self-pity “Poor me, I’m the worst ” rut.
13. Plug In
Research also shows that those with strong family or social connections are generally healthier than those without a support network. Make plans with supportive family members and friends. Proactively seek out activities where you can meet new people, such as joining a club, class or support group. Thus, choose to boost your wellbeing by being around positive, supportive people and seeking out healthy activities.
14. Pay it Forward
By helping others, you actually help yourself, too. Research shows that lending a hand not only boosts mental health, but may also lead to a longer life. Volunteering and giving also positively affects self-confidence, self-esteem, and general wellbeing. It also takes the focus off yourself and what you want to think might make you happier if you had it. This is because it helps you acknowledge and be more grateful for what you already have.
15. Enjoy the Journey
Give power to positivity. Love yourself, love others and love this life. Life is a gift to unwrap each and every day. To gaze upon with new and excited eyes. When you look back on a year, you want to smile. So above all, have fun!
Be Part of Someone’s Self-Development Journey
If the power of self-growth inspires you to help others achieve the same, a career in coaching may be for you. The South African School of Applied Psychology (SACAP) offers a number of coaching courses. These will also help you obtain the necessary qualifications and certifications to be a recognised coach. For more information, click here or enrol online.