Today’s world is a competitive one, where only the ones with unique qualities or have something extra to offer excel and thrive. So to stand out from the crowd, you need to work on developing specific skills and cultivate habits not only to better yourself personally but also professionally. But once you have your dream job or are done with achieving one set of milestones, you stop working on yourself. You feel content with wherever you are and no longer interested in knowing how to improve yourself.
This is where we do injustice to yourselves.
No matter where you are in your life or how much you have achieved or done in life, there will always be something about yourself that you can improve upon. After all, the human potential is limitless, and it’s quite impossible that you have reached a point of no growth.
Remember, “whenever we think we are good, we can be even better.”
So what kind of person you are really when it comes to self development? Are you one of those people who go like “I wish I could be as successful as he is? Or do you tell yourself “if he can do it, so can I!” Right, you are the “if he can, so can I” person, (even if you’re not we’d tell you why you should work on your self development, later in the blog.) and work for your dreams. So if you also try to better yourself in life whether it is about a job promotion, a more loving relationship or about owning a successful business but it just doesn’t give you the desired result. You feel your self development journey remains directionless and you end up stumbling around, hoping it will just happen for you.
However, if you are going through something like this, then relax. Self-improvement is a long journey and needs your patience, dedication and an action plan that leads you toward the right direction. And we are going to show you exactly that.
Ready? Let’s go for self growth!
What Does It Mean To Better Yourself: Brief Introduction to Self Development
When we talk about working on yourself, we don’t mean to bring an overnight change into the way you live, earn or think. After all, you could be leading a very full life without lacking anything and have everything you want. But that doesn’t mean there’s nothing you can work to improve. Self development is a process that just keeps on going. It prevents you from feeling like you are living your life on autopilot and that you are stuck with nothing new or challenging happening. In definition, it literally means the improvement of yourself in terms of your knowledge, status, character, habits, emotional, mental, or even physical outlook. You do this by putting your own efforts to evolve, change and make you a better ‘you’ today than yesterday.
However, people often get confused between external self-improvement and internal self-improvement. You really don’t understand how to work on yourself and what you need to do, and end up disappointed. Aren’t we all like that? We all start high with our motivations, make some new habits or plans, and start to follow them diligently. But then we find our zest for change, our motivations crashing down around us, leaving us more frustrated than before.
What do you think went wrong? Other than the absence of any action plan, it’s the lack of clarity about whether you want an external improvement or internal self development.
External Improvement Or Self-Improvement: Two Sides of A Coin
To define external improvement, it is the kind of improvement that changes the exterior of your lifestyle, a tangible or physical makeover of what you already have. For eg. Money, fitness, status, friends, etc. are all part of external improvements.
While, self-improvement is more about the kind of improvement that we make in us internally to make us better in any and every aspect of life. We strive to transform & improve ourselves from what we already were. For eg. Habits, thinking, confidence, beliefs, learned skills and character.
No doubt, these two seem to be complementing each other, meaning, being successful may start to improve your confidence level. Similarly, if you are disciplined and hardworking, you may become successful.
And if you are still wondering why self-improvement is important than here are few reasons to shed light on its significance in your life, irrespective of your age:
- It increases self-awareness: Self-improvement begins with an awareness that there is something you need to change to do better in life. It makes you question yourself and do assessment of what your reality is, however harsh it might be.
- It gives you a sense of purpose: Don’t we all have a goal in our life? No matter how big or small, we want to achieve it. When you start your journey of self development, it sets your eye on what matters, keeps you focused & motivated to stay on the right track.
- It helps you identify your strengths & weaknesses: Whether it’s your career or personal life- knowing your strengths & weaknesses is vital to decide about how and where you want to take your self growth. Self development plays on your strengths & accommodates your weaknesses and helps you thrive and excel as you already know what you can do and what you cannot.
- It pushes you to keep learning: Self development encourages you to keep a learning attitude. It pushes you to keep learning from your mistakes, taking in feedback from others or learning new things. Learning attitude is key to your success as you always know there’s something out there you don’t know and should know to excel in life.
- It doesn’t matter what your goals and dreams are, no matter how big or small change you want to bring in your personal or professional life, how to work on yourself is going to start with you. There’s really nothing you cannot achieve if you are willing to learn how to improve yourself. Remember this quote by Jim Kwik:
With this inspiring quote let’s move on to discussing how you can actually work on yourself, what are the tips you need to follow in your self development journey.
How To Self Improve: 15 Practical Self Improvement Tips
It’s not easy to just overwrite your old habits, thinking or even your lifestyle overnight but it’s not impossible. With time and dedication, you can bring a tangible difference in all areas of your life. You can take more responsibility at work to move your career forward or to give yourself the well-deserved ‘me time’ to learn, live and grow as healthier as you can be. So, now we will discuss some of the major tips that you should employ in your life to better yourself.
1. Conduct Self-Evaluation
- You should know what is there in your life that’s stopping your self growth- whether professional or personal. It’s important to analyze your life, habits, lack of knowledge or any other factor that is stopping you from reaching your potential.
- Identifying your weak areas or blind spots also helps you find your purpose.
- Once you know the answer to the critical question of what you want or lack, you can then categorize that into your professional or personal goal. When you know your purpose after an honest evaluation or receiving feedback from your peers or family and friends, you can then move on to the next stage of finalizing your goal.
2. Set Realistic Goals
- If you don’t have specific goals in mind, then you really can’t work on yourself. Setting some practical goals, whether long term or short term, helps you stay focused on your path.
- Just imagine yourself after one, two or five years from now, what do you plan to be or do? When you know the answer, that’s your end goal, you can map out a timeline, generate an action and can start working for it.
- Your goal can be about a big promotion in your workplace, taking IT training & certification or even about reading 40 books in a year. Just remember that don’t set an impractical goal without really assessing your strengths or weaknesses.
3. Foster A Healthy Work-Life Balance
- With an increasingly connected and fast-paced business world, it is quite impossible to achieve work-life balance. We keep mixing our personal and professional lives. Checking emails at all hours, taking business calls at the dinner table and working on laptops during weekends. But that’s really not how you can achieve your self growth.
- Strike a balance between your professional and personal life. As an imbalance between these two impacts your work productivity and your personal bonding with your family, friends, peers and eventually yourself.
- You cannot better yourself when you just don’t know how to prioritize what needs your time and attention in a particular moment. So go ahead, try to stay organized at work, find ways to be more productive, and look for a more flexible schedule. It will help you make a difference in your career growth plan without having to sacrifice your ‘me time’ with family, friends or yourself.
4. Better Yourself Through Your Habits
Aristotle once said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” Cultivating good habits are not just as hard to quit as bad habits but they are actually more rewarding than bad habits.
- Having good habits necessarily doesn’t have to be career-related like learning new IT courses or programming languages or earning training & certificates in cloud computing. Reading a book, journaling or art & craft are some of the few activities that will help you take some time off of your regular roles and responsibilities.
- You never know what life lessons await you when you try to master a craft, finish reading a book or join your locality’s football team. Think carefully about what kind of hobbies you enjoy doing.
As you start developing them, you’ll be surprised how many positive qualities they instill in you. Developing hobbies encourages you to be a team player, enhances your creativity and makes you more receptive to criticism.
5. Develop A Consistent Routine
Doing the same thing at the same time, everyday might be tedious at times but it has its own benefits. It keeps you focused, disciplines you and also organizes your day.
- Make a list of when and how much you want to spend time doing a particular thing. If you are a morning person, develop a consistent routine, schedule everything from the start of the day to the end of day. If you are a night person, then work your way backwards but plan everything out.
- Doing so will help you know what you want to do from the moment you wake up or start preparing for bed and won’t lose time on deciding on things to do and can’t miss out on important tasks.
6. Seek Mentorship for professional self development
Seeking guidance helps you find your way. This holds true especially on the professional front. Whether you seek a professional motivator or a subject matter expert’s assistance, when you have a mentor and his expertise & experience, it helps you a lot in achieving your professional self growth.
- Your mentor can be anyone that you admire or want to be in the next 5 or 10 years or have done exceptionally well in your field. They can be your manager, boss or some individual with excellent leadership qualities and immense experience in your field.
- You can also attend workshops, seminars or connect with people online through LinkedIn or other platforms. But again, don’t just go for a person due to their on-paper knowledge or popularity, take assistance from those who can fill the gap in your knowledge bank, motivate you to do better and pave your path to accomplish your self growth goals.
7. Lead a Healthier Life
It’s not just about having a sleeping schedule, eating healthy and doing physical activities, to keep your body fit but also about working on your mental & emotional health. Doing a lot of physical exercises to keep you fit and fine is great but mental fitness is just as important.
- When you keep your mental wellness on top, you not only keep your brain and emotional health in perfect condition but you also stay physically fit. Remember, “A healthy mind breeds a healthy body.”
- Keeping your mental wellness doesn't not require you to go to the gym a lot, just choose some mental dexterity exercises like meditation, relaxation or visualization exercises. All these will help you reap benefits of a sharper, calmer mind and a healthier body as you go about achieving your self growth.
8. Learn In-Demand Skills
Learning is a process that always rewards you, it not only enriches, makes you think beyond the boxes but also increases your understanding of the world, the way you live or work.
- You can always start by learning something new or add on to your bank knowledge. But if you seek out training or want to learn some specific skills that can advance your current work position, it will immensely propel your career growth.
- Identify skills or expertise in softwares, languages, technologies or even if you decide to improve your soft skills, it can help you gain a competitive edge. For example, cloud computing has been a crowd-favourite technology that more and more companies are shifting to whether it's AWS, Azure or Salesforce. Industries need professionals with hands-on experience, so go ahead and get your training and certifications.
- You can do self-study or in offline mode but the kind of convenience of learning, flexibility of time and accessibility it provides is astounding, so seek out elearning platforms, and they will nurture your IT skills to make you industry ready.
9. Stop Multitasking & Start Focusing
Contrary to popular belief that being an expert in multitasking helps you save time and makes you flexible, but actually it does quite the opposite. It makes you lose focus and also compromises the quality of work. Additionally, the stress of taking multiple roles and doing justice to it takes a toll on your both mental and physical health.
- Work on one task or two at max and do everything to ensure it is less stressful, less prone to mistakes or rework. Even if you have taken up a lot of work or have multiple tasks at hand, take a step back and prioritize which task is more important and needs your attention.
- After all, there is a difference between being productive at work or at home and being stressed, so keep things clear in your head and you will be able to achieve a lot more.
10. Improve your Communication Skills
Having strong command over your communication skills, verbal or non-verbal, not only helps you excel in your career but it also helps you stay in stable and happy terms with your friends or family.
- It doesn’t matter whether you’re a software developer or a teacher, you should be able to interact and put forward your ideas with people you converse with ease.
- There are many ways you can develop essential communication skills. You can enroll in a learning program, watch videos or read books about communication. Whatever you do, never stop trying to improve yourself so that you can articulate yourself well and leave a mark on the people you talk to.
11. Show Personal Responsibility & Accountability
Not taking responsibility for yourself or being accountable for your actions leads to procrastination and lethargy. We often hear that we are the driver’s of our life! This is what showing personal responsibility & accountability means. Owning up the reaction and consequences of your actions.
- When you choose to do things to better yourself and don’t follow through with it for any reason, you should face the reaction, instead of making excuses for it.
- It’s really not an easy task to take your own responsibility & hold yourself accountable for your actions. But with little discipline, dedication and an honest evaluation of your life’s choices, you will understand and appreciate that things happen because of you, and not to you.
12. Expand Your Network
Networking is a vital key that helps you grow in your career and lets you improve your communication & interpersonal skills.
- Whether you just started your career or an already settled professional, networking allows you to meet like-minded people and let you nurture new and long-term relationships with them.
- Expanding your network helps you grow professionally and personally. After all, as you meet different people from different fields or spheres of life, you learn something new and build solid companionship with individuals. So go out, meet new people and you might soon hear opportunities knocking at your door!
13. Never Quit Trying
Self development isn’t an easy road, you are either trying to change your habit or learning a new habit. Since you are trying to bring such a huge change in your life, naturally you’ll have your moments of doubt.
- It sometimes gets very difficult to stay positive, keep your confidence alive as you face setback after setback, problem after problem. And when you feel so overwhelmed and hopeless, it’s quite easy to talk yourself into giving up, thinking nothing will change. But that’s where you should not quit trying.
- You have to keep the hope alive, have faith in your abilities that if you keep going, if you just hang in there for a little longer, you will soon start seeing progress. So try, try, try and try again!
14. Celebrate Achieving Milestones (Big Or Small)
When we are so involved in achieving our self growth goals, we are constantly focused on achieving the next thing, moving, pushing forward to the next step. It gets so easy to forget to stop and take a moment to celebrate the little benchmark you just crossed.
- When we don’t pause to acknowledge what we have done or where we reached, we are telling ourselves that they were not a part of or as important as your ‘bigger picture.’ That should not be the case, don’t forget, “many a little makes a mickle.”
- Celebrating your wins- big or small- not only motivates you to do better but it also reminds you about how far you’ve come and what you’ve achieved. Celebrate yourself in the moment, you deserve it-- you’re the most amazing person you can be because today you’re better than yesterday and tomorrow isn’t here-- yet.
15.Take A Break When You Need One
We can show you studies after studies to inform you that taking breaks now and then doesn’t break your flow or it’s not a time consuming activity. In fact, taking regular breaks leads to less or no stress, keeps productivity level high and prevents any fatigue or need for a long recovery at the end of the day.
- You want to achieve self development then you need great focus, healthy body & mind and strong willpower. That you cannot achieve if you don’t take a “power break,” after all, you need to recharge yourself. Take a pause to delve on your progress and celebrate what you have done so far.
Know 5 Easy Steps To Create An Effective Self Development Plan!
Isn’t it easier to navigate life when you know where you want to go and how to get there? So to know exactly what steps you need to take in order to be better than yesterday, you need an effective self development plan. So, follow these 5 steps on how to self improve:
1. Find Your ‘Driving’ Factor
You need to know why you want to self-grow, what’s your motivation for self development. Is it to get the next leading position in the workplace, do you want to start being productive at college or something else. Whatever is your ‘driving factor,’ it will act as your purpose or your driving factor that will guide you through the whole process of a self growth plan, so choose wisely.
2. Analyze Yourself Honestly
When you are aware of what’s the thing that you need to learn or change relating to your career growth and self growth plan and are ready to play out your strengths and accommodate your weaknesses. You take necessary steps to identify and then fill the gap in your knowledge area. You can learn something new such as communication skills or programming languages and maybe try to quit or adopt a new habit.
3. Just Plan It Out
You want to learn something new or quit a habit but then you have other priorities to look over? It’s not just about setting some goals, but also about time management. So what do you do? You plan it. You have 24 hours to learn how to better yourself, if you plan out your time, you can bring change in your life, however limited your time is. Schedule your day and assign time to a particular task. This gives you clarity about how much you can achieve in a day and how much you have already done.
4. Explore the Resources
Once you have scheduled your time or activity, you also need to find resources that will help you achieve self improvement. Do you want to self-tutor yourself to get training for IT certifications, do you need a mentor or consultant to help you figure out your self growth plan? Whatever your answer is, take time to finalize it and ensure that you are utilizing them justifiably.
5. Remember to Review Progress
It’s important that you know how you are doing on your self development plan in order to save your time and bring effective & tangible change in your life. So conduct a weekly or monthly self-assessment to measure your growth and know are you really working towards your goals. You can always tweak changes to your action plan or move your deadlines if you don’t see a favourable result. But don't be too critical about your efforts, missing a few deadlines or milestones does not make you a failure, nor does having a slow self growth process. What matters is to never quit trying as you find other ways to improve yourself.
We all have control over how we want to live our life and how we want to use our time, no matter where you are in your professional or personal life. Take some productive and strong steps to better yourself. Whether it’s about you working for the ‘big picture’ goals or starting to work on leading a peaceful, stress-free life, every small step taken now can have a big impact on how your career growth happens and how others perceive you.
But remember, self development takes time, patience & dedication, so be kind to yourself. Stop bombarding yourself with doubts or worries if you cannot rewire your habits, change your lifestyle or cannot learn new things at the pace you would like to. Yes, make a solid commitment to yourself to try to improve yourself but don’t be hard on yourself and never ever compare your self development journey with others. We all have different learning curves and pace, it takes a lot to step out of your comfort zone and venture into something beyond it.
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