Life’s Little Lessons: Self-Improvement

We all peer into the mirror every day, multiple times each day. But do we really “see” ourselves? Most of us maintain an outer façade—and this veneer is basically the kind of person we want people to see us as. Sometimes, this outer veneer of ours is so solidly fixed in place that we forget to self-reflect upon who we really are. And when we forget to do that, we leave no scope of self-improvement. For us to be better every day, we have to be aware of our true selves and open up a path to regular self-improvement. Easier said than done? Not if we stay true to ourselves!

The Biggest Obstacle to Self-Improvement

One of the biggest roadblocks to beginning self-improvement is that we need to realize that we need it. Our beliefs, habits, emotions, hurt, and even the environment we are in are also factors that can interfere with self-improvement, but mostly, it’s the fact that we prefer to turn a blind eye to our own faults. Very often we are so set in our thoughts and so quick to pass judgments that we forget one simple fact: that we too, could be wrong! And we are so firm in the belief of our, well, righteousness that we go about trying to prove ourselves right, going into a defensive mode. Trying to prove yourself right all the time is, in fact, detrimental to not just self-improvement, but to life in general, including personal relationships, professional dealing, and even life goals in more ways than just one. By being too set in our ways, we become our own enemies

How Do You Get onto the Path of Self-Improvement?

Frankly, there are many ways you may realize that you need to be on the path to self-improvement pronto even if you cannot make yourself realize it on your own.

  • Life’s Little Lessons: Sometimes, even when you feel that you don’t need improvement, life gives you opportunities by presenting you with failure. When you fail to achieve your goals, be they short-term or long-term, and are faced with repeated misses, then life is telling you that it’s time to pull up those socks and get to work on yourself.
  • Trial & Error: The perfect example of this is trying to learn something new. To get better at something, you have to keep practicing through the errors you make and keep at it till you become an expert at it. The art of deliberate practice is a sure shot straight path to self-improvement, too! 
  • When People Offer You Criticism: When someone sends a negative comment our way, our most natural reaction is to shut that person out of our lives. And while it is good to shut out the negativity, constructive criticism needs to be taken positively. When a comment hurts, look within and see if there is any truth in it. Sometimes negativity can be an opportunity in disguise.

Tips to Make Self-Improvement an Easy & Innate Habit

Frankly, it’s never easy to admit that you are wrong. Even to yourself. But the day you do that, are able to own up to the mistakes you made, and sincerely apologize to the person you ended up harming or hurting, or even just face yourself in the mirror with an apology in your eyes, that’s the day your journey to self-improvement begins in a good way. And as they say: well begun is half done! From then on, it may not always be a smooth ride to finally achieving your goals, but being honest will always make those bumps more bearable. Here are some tips to make your journey a bit happier and easier…

  1. Break It Down: When you start self-improvement, the first thing you do is hone into what it is you are trying to improve. For example, let’s take it to be the way you look and dress. Improving your outer persona is your main goal. You now need to break it down further: what is it that you want to improve in the way you look? Your body weight, skin, hair, or your dressing sense? Break your main goal into smaller goals. If losing weight is a priority, break that down further, too.
  2. Tackle It One By One: Now that you have your main goal and your mini goals, arrange the order in which you want to tackle your smaller goals. For instance, if your big goal is lead a healthier lifestyle, your mini goals are likely to be to get some exercise, eat healthier, avoid mindless eating or drinking, and lead a healthier lifestyle in general. So start with eating healthier as a mini goal, move on to avoiding mindless eating, then exercise, and finally be more active in your day to day activities. If you start with eating healthy, break it down further: make sure you eat 2-3 servings of fruits and 4-5 servings of vegetables every day, throw out all the processed and packaged foods in the kitchen, and carry some healthy snacks with you wherever you go to avoid binging on unhealthy snacks.
  3. Make a Date With It: If exercise is next on the list, affix a date and time to your workout schedule. Start from today and keep 30 minutes aside to exercise: walk, swim, or do yoga or even hit the gym. The choice is yours but the date and time have to be fixed.
  4. Try & Get Feedback: If you are unhappy with your frumpy dressing sense, then don’t shop on your own. Take along a friend to advise you on what suits you best, or hire a professional stylist to help bring out the best in you.
  5. Rinse & Repeat: Self-improvement is not a one-time thing. It’s not a fad you just indulge in once. It a continuous process of you being the best that you can. Obviously, you will make mistakes in your life and in a bid to be better. Use all the tools available to you to make yourself better, and keep at it. The goals might change from time to time but the ultimate process will remain the same—of realizing and reflection, the urge to change, the process to change and then satisfaction with the change made.

Remember that the journey of life is often about the little things. And one very happy “little thing” that most of us tend to ignore is how well do we like ourselves.  We need to be happy with who we are, but at the same time keep an open eye, ear, and heart towards being better versions of ourselves.