Self-improvement is a pretty self-explanatory term.
In definition, self improvement is the improvement of one’s knowledge, status, or character by one’s own efforts. In other words, one could say that it’s the quest to make ourselves better in any or every facet of life.
There are many books, blogs, seminars, webinars, articles, etc. to help find a lot of information on self-improvement to guide you. All these sources tend to be focused on the negative aspects of our lives.
Similarly, I will also focus this blog on self improvement as a guide to offer you the best suggestions to eliminate any adverse factors in your life for good. Or at least to reduce it considerably.
Work, meetings, deadlines, appointments, telephone calls, shopping, tending to the pets, etc. are things most people would have to work into their daily routines. These seem and probably are quite important. Most of the time, on the waiting list there are other things such as spending quality time with family, friends, or even have some dedicated time for ourselves.
Unfortunately, as life moves forward and we discover, sometimes too late, that the points mentioned on the waiting list should have received the most priority and realize that these are some of the key factors responsible for all of our overall happiness all along.
We hear it often enough that the value of time is more than money. Yet we seem to not embrace this as a way of our daily lives. In fact, it should be our obligation to ourselves to reduce creating stressful situations as much as possible and to enjoy a meaningful life.
Our busy lives can also make it very difficult to manage our time efficiently which could eventually lead to many health problems, both at the physical and mental levels. Time management is a very primary skill in self improvement to learn for anyone as a means to become more productive in our professional as well as personal lives.
The good news is that time can be domesticated to make it, in certain ways, obey us. The first step in implementing this process is to identify the elements that rob our time.
All the factors are generally divided into two major groups
The external factors could be unexpected phone calls, long phone or online conversations, unplanned visits by various stakeholders, the open-door policy you may have at work, frequent interruptions by other staff members, unplanned meetings, friends and family, etc.
The internal factors could be personal motivations such as priorities and objectives that change, the lack of a daily working plan, lack of self-imposed deadlines, the tendency towards multitasking, unfocused work habits, unaccountable goal setting habits, laziness to resolving any conflicts, the incapacity of saying no, indecisions, fatigue or tiredness, etc.
While reading the above, perhaps you were recalling all the similar situations that you might usually go through. If so, that’s a good thing. The more you know of what is preventing you from self improvement, you can focus on them to take corrective actions. All you have to do is to calmly try and prioritize what your ideal day should entail.
From waking up to having breakfast, getting ready for work, what should be in your workday planner, what is your work cut off, post-work visits to the gym, some light entertainment afterward, eating healthy throughout the day, identify which phone calls are important to you for the day, etc.
The more details you can focus on for planning your day, the better you will be able to steer it and also will stress about anything a lot less. You will also find fewer unexpected things happening to you throughout the day. Your family and friends’ time is also to be included in your plan for the day.
Here are some suggestions to achieve this
Create a habit to write things down. This is useful, especially if you have a bad memory. Not only this can serve as a reminder throughout the day, but also, writing things down can be viewed as a commitment you make to yourself.
Try to write your daily plan in a list format rather than just a quick summary. There are even apps you could download on your phone to create this type of list and can update it daily.
While doing so, you may also make side notes of things that may serve as an inspiration or reward to get any difficult tasks done. I personally find this very useful.
Learn to prioritize. You will be surprised by how little time it takes to do this, perhaps even while you have your morning tea or coffee. I simply put a priority number next to the to-do list I had created in the previous step.
Learn to say no to things that deter you from fulfilling your daily plans. One big mistake that many of us tend to make is to put other people’s problems in front of us. This is something I had a lot of trouble doing at the beginning. In fact, I never stopped helping others, but I have learned to manage it a lot better these days where doing so does not create stress for me or overloads my time or schedule.
Self improvement and success go hand in hand
I meet many people who may seem to have goals and ambitions but do not know for certain how to go about achieving them. They may have even thought about what makes up self improvement which may lead to their ideal life but lacks a clear understanding of how to make the plan work.
There are some people who may even have a vague idea on how to go about self improvement. These are also the same people that believe that if only they had a better job, or had been given better opportunities, or met the love of their life, or whatever else, everything would be fine and they would be happy.
Some believe that if only they had more money they could have whatever they want and be on their way to self improvement.
Such ways of thinking would mean that they feel their happiness, or lack of happiness is decided by external factors and their thoughts and actions are of little consequence.
They may have spent some time thinking about what they actually want from life, and do not really believe there is anything they can do to create that life.
On the other hand, there are those who do not even know what they truly want to achieve from their lives and or what would really make them happy. They seem to just drift from day to day, week to week, month to month, and year to year, and do little more than just about get by.
They may have seemingly secure jobs and be earning enough to live relatively comfortable lives. They seem happy enough and have no greater ambitions to achieve anything more from their lives than they currently have.
Is self improvement important?
The reality is that throughout our lives we all should be constantly growing and developing. Circumstances are always enabling us to evolve even if we do not make the conscious decision to do so.
Up to a certain age, we learn through formal education and we continue to learn through our experiences for the rest of our lives. We have to learn and grow to deal with everything that life throws at us.
We all must embrace self improvement.
Do keep in mind that modern life moves at a dramatically faster pace than at any time previously in our history. For anyone living in modern society, there are more opportunities to do anything that you want to do with your life than ever before.
But there are also more complications than ever before. Fast-changing technology means that we are just about forced to adapt to new ways of living and working. Many of us are forced to even learn new skills at a later stage of life to make a shift in careers.
In just a few years we will be faced with the reality where there would be no ‘jobs for life’ anymore. This would deeply impact our personal lives as well. We need to become focused more than ever on self improvement.
There is a certain amount of discipline to self improvement required to roll with the challenges of the future for both for yourself and your family members.
Yes, this constant state of evolution can be viewed as very stressful and often it can be. Through self improvement strategies, you must create processes that will take most of the stress factors away from you. You will first need to learn how to do this and then to improve your skills at regular intervals (i.e. quarterly, yearly, etc.).
One of the methods I have personally gained a multitude of benefits is through meditation. Millions of people around the world meditate regularly. It helps you to focus largely on whatever you give priority to. Soon you will find yourself achieving a lot more during the same amount of time as before.
The point I am making here is to do anything suited to you to attain self improvement in both your professional and personal lives. It directly equates to success in all facets of your life.
The earlier you start your self improvement journey, the sooner you will find a tremendous amount of positive changes around you such as keeping your jobs, upgrading your skillsets, adding more streams to your income, easily relatable by others, becoming a champion at your vocation, better parenting, being admired, creating the ideal environment for your family, and the list is endless.
Ultimately, your commitment to self improvement leading to your personal growth may as well be the deciding factor in how you can manage the everchanging landscape of your future.
If you want more details into meditation even through your busy life, here’s my suggested eBook. It is a quick read and you could start implementing it as soon as you finish reading it. Meditation is a proven and effective weapon against stress, time management, and the general philosophy of life.