Top 10 Tips for Self-Improvement
While I do not always end up managing to put each of the following tips into practice, I do make a big effort to do so each day. This is a list of my favorite tips to improving your life. All it takes is a little bit each day and you will see wondrous changes. Feel free to add your own tips to the comments.
10. Get off to a Good Start
This means getting up early and eating breakfast. You will have much more energy throughout the day to follow the rest of these tips if you do! If you are so inclined, you can even include a little exercise in your morning routine. If you live with other people you can try to use this opportunity to get everyone together at the table to eat in the mornings. This is a nice way to start the day and a good way to ensure open lines of communication in a very busy household.
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9. Keep a Schedule
It is a very good idea to write down the tasks you need to achieve in each day. As you complete them, tick them off. You should not, however, feel like you are bound to your list. If you don’t manage to do everything, it doesn’t matter – move any incomplete tasks from today on to tomorrow’s list. This is also a great help if you are a procrastinator.
If you spend too much time in front of the computer, at your desk, or doing whatever it is that your occupation requires, you should take a break. This doesn’t mean you have to take time off work – it just means you should try to make better use of your non-work time to do something fun. I always have difficulty pulling myself away from the computer and as a result I don’t go out as often as I should on the weekend or in the evening. But every time I do – I wonder why I haven’t done it sooner. This is a good way to develop new interests, and friends and to break up the monotony of everyday life.
7. Be Generous
Generosity has a tendency to come back. By generosity I am not referring only to money. You can be generous with your smiles, your advice, and many other things. Always try to find a way to help others. One day you may be in great need and people you know will be more likely to come to your aid when they know that you would do the same for them. You might know someone that could use help around the home from time to time – not only are you doing a good thing by helping them out, but you may also make a great new friend.
6. Accept the things you can’t Change
When something bad happens in our lives, we try to fix them or change them. But sometimes we can’t. Often this leads us to spend hours moping and falling in to depression. If you can make yourself accept the things you cannot change – you will become a much happier person. Acceptance of these situations also allows us to start finding a way to cope much faster. For example, you may realize that you have only $10 left in your bank account that has to last the next 2 weeks. Instead of getting down about it, accept that you have no money and work out a way to survive on that amount. You can save yourself from wasting hours in a bad mood by just getting on with life. You will find much more serenity in life following this tip.
5. Learn a New Language
Learning another language is one of the best ways to improve your grasp on English. In my own experience, learning French at high school taught me so much more about grammar than English class ever did. In addition, when I later started studying Ancient Greek, I learnt a lot about the roots of English words – something I have found very useful in writing in the years since. As well as improving your knowledge of English, if you learn a living language you increase the number of places you might like to visit – or make those holidays much more enjoyable by being able to speak to the natives in their own tongue.
4. Break the Chain
If you have a lot of patterns in your life, try breaking them – do something different every day. Let’s say you always order the same meal at your regular Friday night restaurant. Why not try something else this Friday? Not only do you get to broaden your experiences of life, you open up many doors for the future. Not long ago I would never eat oriental foods or seafood. Then one day I decided that I would just try it. Seafood is now one of my favorite foods and I would hate to be without it. Because I discovered that I love Thai and Chinese food, I can eat in any restaurant I want. That first step also meant that I am now willing to try absolutely any food (except maybe the ones on the Top 10 most Disgusting Foods list). My disliking for those foods had a much greater impact as well – I would only holiday in countries that had foods I felt safe with. Since then I have been to Oriental countries and loved it.
3. Face the Fear
Every day you should do something you don’t want to do – or feel uncomfortable doing. This varies in degrees for everyone, but we all have little things we can start out with. For example, you may not go to the gym because you fear everyone looking at you – do it anyway! In no time you will be so much more confident that you abolish the fear entirely and can move on to the next fear – maybe even something bigger. Living a fearless life gives you a confidence that is visible to others. Instead of building walls around ourselves, we should be tearing them down.
2. Forget Goals – Live for the Now
Lists of this nature almost always tell you to set and write goals. I am going to tell you the opposite. A very wise psychotherapist once told me that if you set a goal, and achieve it, you are often left with an empty feeling because the goal is not what you thought it would be. Not only does it not satisfy, you inevitably end up missing out on so much life by striving to reach something in the future. Having said this, I don’t think you should ignore the future – it is worth having some idea of what you might like to one day achieve – but don’t focus all of your energy on getting it. A good example of the difference is this: I have a goal to live in France. I spend 10 years trying to save up all my money so I can acheive that goal. In the meantime I am so busy scrimping and saving, that I can’t afford to go out with friends, I can’t afford to live in a nice home, and I am miserable because I am not living in France. On the other hand, if I simply decide that one day I would like to live in France, the idea is in my mind, but I continue to live and enjoy my life. In living my life, I am happy now and not focused on a distant goal. If it happens, great. If it doesn’t happen, I haven’t failed at anything. But who knows what wonderful things may happen in my life in the meantime? A very good fictitious example of this can be found in the film American Beauty.
1. Don’t Procrastinate
This is one I struggle with a lot in my own life. This has been a great challenge for me as I work from home, but taking this job has really helped me to stop putting things off and take control of my life. The feeling after completing a task you would normally put off is a great high – and certainly a much healthier one than some of the other highs in our lives. When you put something off, you are putting yourself into time-debt. You have to pay that debt back and almost always you end up having to do that at the most inconvenient time. By putting off writing an article for the site, for example, I end up having to write one at 7 at night when I would rather be watching a movie and having a drink! Your life will become so much more organized if you follow this rule.
Bonus: Read the List Universe every day
Scientific studies have proven that people who read the List Universe every day live much happier and fuller lives. Okay – I made that up – but do it anyway!
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