We all had that moment once in our in life when we felt that we have had enough of playing the victim, the loser, the mediocre. I had this moment two years back after a prolonged period of mediocrity and nothingness. I knew I had to shake things up. It was then that I became a student of self improvement ideas.
Do you feel as if something is holding you back from leading a successful and purposeful life? If so, this is just one of the many, many reasons that you may need to work on your personal growth ideas.
The thought to change yourself can be very intimidating especially because we have grown so used to giving up easily. The current trend to ‘chillax’ and ‘take it easy’ has made us soft. We are losing our ability to fight back against adversity, to turn our challenges into opportunities and to create a true champion of ourselves,
If you are still with me then we both share the hunger to grow and define our lives on our terms.
Listed below are some of the self improvement ideas that have changed my life. These ideas will make you feel empowered and will change your perspective towards your life. But, it accounts for nothing if you do not decide to act on them.
These ideas may sound very commonplace or trivial but I promise you, if you include them as part of your routine, then the results would be nothing short of remarkable.
With that mindset, let us deep dive into our list of self improvement ideas.
1. Create a firm foundation:
A skyscraper can be built only on a strong foundation.
You see it daily on the news. How lottery winners lose their money, celebrities wind up in scandals, drug abuse cases.
Create firm core values from which you should not deter. It is like a program in Robocop or Batman which will not allow them to kill anyone.
Think of the values that define you.
Hard work, honesty, integrity are some of the values that will always keep you on the right track.
I believe in keeping a positive mentality, showing love and empathy to others ( not just to your loved ones but to complete strangers).
2. Do not rush for shortcuts
This point complements point #1. Do not rush for the shortcuts. They might look appealing but they are just slow poison in a golden bottle. They do not hold their ground for long.
The good part is that if you stick to your values then your heart knows when it is on a wrong path. Always listen to it.
People have suffered taking steroids for body-building, opting for ‘get-rich-quick’ schemes.
There is no shortcut worth taking. Hard Work, hustling, patience and faith will never go out of style and will never fail to yield results.
3. Self improvement is a process
I love the story of the Chinese Bamboo in this context. The seed when planted shows no signs of growth for nearly four years. But, in the fifth year, it shoots up to eighty feet in just over six weeks. All this while, it was developing the root system to support it.
Success and Personal growth are such. It will take its due course of time. You need to nurture your ideas, your values and keep hustling. Success then is just a matter of time.
Self Improvement is not an app that can be downloaded instantly nor is it your ordered food that will be delivered to you. You need to prove your mettle in the battleground if you wish to taste success.
Learn interesting details about Self Improvement theory
We highly overestimate what we can achieve in a year but we greatly underestimate what can be achieved in 5 years as well – Gary Vee
3. Keep your thinking positive
This is one of those self improvement ideas that I absolutely urge you to stick to.
A lot has been said and written about this, but unfortunately, it still is one of the less practiced ideas in our life.
Our thoughts create our reality. By keeping a negative attitude and complaining about our circumstances we attract more of the same. This is the Universal Laws of Attraction.
I am writing this from my personal experience ( based on the success I have seen in my career ). I am beginning to see some positive signs in my business as well.
Even if you do not buy the law of attraction and that universe runs on energy concept, I still urge you to think positive because of the positive effect it has on your body. It is no secret that your thoughts affect your physiology as well.
An upbeat attitude can do wonders for your mood.
I can go on and on about the remarkable changes that positive thinking can bring to your life.
Here are some of the links that you must go through to understand this a little better.
Check out this insightful article on Positive thinking
Success magazine article on practical steps to positive mindset
4. Finish that task you started
Go all in or go all out. There is no middle road to greatness.
Do it with passion or not at all. This applies not just to your big goals but to the little tasks as well.
Remember the time you had decided to hit the gym or start a blog but you gave it up because of some reason or the other.
The excitement and motivation are at its peak when you start a task but it wanes gradually. Eventually, we reach a make or break phase. Unfortunately, most of the time we choose to walk out.
The reasons could be plenty to give up a task. But, there is one unseen damage that giving up causes. If we are in a habit of giving up, our subconscious mind develops a pattern. Then whenever we pick up a task, we are almost inclined to give up as soon as we face some resistance.
Therefore, whenever you feel like giving up, recall why you started. Then, make it a point to complete that task.
“Keeping the promises you make to yourself is the only way to success – Paulo Coelho”
5. Read , read and Read
It is rightly said that “Birds have wings and humans have books.”
Reading widens your horizon and opens the door to new possibilities.
Expand your knowledge. By reading widely, you immerse yourself in other cultures, beliefs, and fields of study. This leads you to appreciate your own place and to consider other options that were until this moment nonexistent.
I was struggling a couple of years back which happened to be one of the darkest phases of my life. Reading positive, uplifting books and blogs gave me the courage, wisdom, and capabilities to fight depression, sadness, and demotivation.
Subscribe to blogs, newsletters, watch motivating youtube videos.
Reading motivational stuff daily is just like bathing. Even though it is not mandatory but is still highly recommended.
6. Act on the ideas
Reading is just one half of the process. The other major half is to act on it.
Don’t just fill your mind with facts.
It’s one thing to learn the steps to a process, and entirely another to feel them as they become integrated into your being. An idea must be broken down and digested. It should become your blood and bones. It is only then that you can benefit fully from the information you have taken in.
7. Do not live in the comfort zone
I have spoken a lot about how subconscious mind creates your comfort zones.
Read the article on how to train your subconscious mind for more understanding of your subconscious.
In a nutshell, your subconscious records a pattern of activities where you feel safe, comfortable and secure. Whenever you try to do something new, it creates a feeling of discomfort and anxiety. It is because it does not have a recorded pattern of the newly taken task.
Accustom your mind and body to try unknown territories.
If you are not comfortable with public speaking, or too much attention, go ahead and enroll yourself in a public speaking club, or a theatre. The possibilities are endless.
In this way, you not only pick up new skills and discover your hidden talents but you also rewire your brain to adapt to new circumstances.
Facing your fear is an excellent way of challenging yourself. Doing something that you are afraid of every day pushes yourself to grow. It should not be a life-threatening activity but something outside your comfort pit ( as Bear Grylls likes to call it)
8. Exercise at least 30 minutes a day.
Show your prospects that you are in control with your posture and demeanor. If you come off as weak you will not engender confidence in your prospects.
The idea is not just to look good and strong. But, to convey to yourself at the subconscious level that you have decided to create a life on your terms.
Read more on how to hack the subconscious mind.
Of course what you gain in the process is a healthy and a fit body because after all, this is the only one we got.
The list of self improvement ideas is not complete without meditation.
It is not only important to be fit physically but mentally as well.
What does mental fitness mean?
It means exercising your mind till you become the master of yourself.
Meditation helps to declutter your mind, reduce the inner noise and conflict and empowers you to be in total control of your thoughts and emotions.
The most important thing you gain according to me is your ability to focus on various tasks. With improved focus and attention, there is nothing that a human mind cannot achieve.
Start with a ten-minute schedule and gradually increase when you start noticing the difference.
10. Quit a bad habit
You know that there are some activities you engage in that are bad for you (such as smoking or binge-drinking,short-temper ) and that there are some people who bring out the worst in you (toxic frenemies, the gossip girl) – now is the time to let go of them.
Surround yourself with people who bring out the good in you, or who, like you, are seeking to improve themselves via positive action.
Quitting a no-good habit is an excellent way to exercise your mind and will-power.
This is an important point so I will take the liberty to stress on it a little more.
Whatever you exercise, grows (your muscles). Same is true for your will power.
Let us take the habit of smoking.
You know that it is a destructive habit. All the medical proofs and social campaigns have validated that.You find yourself motivated enough to give up on smoking. Every time you feel like taking a drag your willpower helps you resist the temptation.
Understand that what you gain in the process is not just healthy lungs but a strong willpower which will back you up when you embark on your journey to greatness.
Your willpower is the measure of your perseverance and persistence.
Keep challenging yourself now and then with self-imposed short restrictions on high-calorie diet, smoking, drinking or whatever you can come up with.
11. Practise Gratitude
A proper sense of perspective, allows you to stop dwelling on your own misfortunes and can help you be content with what you have. This sense of contentment may improve your overall sense of self-worth and happiness.
It’s so easy to forget that there are so many reasons to be grateful. You are alive. Is it not good enough?
At the end of each day, look back, and say thanks. End on a positive, life-affirming note.
Let me briefly explain how Gratitude works at the subconscious level.
Let us say that every morning you feel the gratitude for your financial situation (even though you may not be where you wish to be but be grateful for what you can do with your current financial situation). Now if the feeling is strong, your subconscious mind develops a pattern of abundance and content. It draws the universal energies to keep you in that state.
That is why it is said that you will have more of what you are grateful for.
But you must not worry about the laws of Nature. What you need to understand is that Gratitude helps you appreciate and value the people and things that you have in your life.
I suggest you read ‘The Secret’ to rewire your brain with powerful self improvement ideas.
11. Treat yourself with respect and dignity
Start respecting yourself. If you do not have love and respect for yourself then how can you expect the world to show you the love and respect.
How do you gain the respect for yourself in your own eyes?
When you stop labeling yourself as mediocre and no good. When you act in accordance to your values even when no one is watching. When you stop beating up yourself for the mistakes of past.
Take out some ‘alone-time’ to contemplate on how you are feeling. What are the things you need to start doing and let go to make yourself happier.
You have not come to this world to suffer and pay bills. It is your right to lead a purposeful, rich, happy and abundant life.
You deserve it. So, act accordingly.
12. Keep the promises you make to yourself
One cannot stress enough on this particular item in the list of self improvement ideas.
I had this strange problem till a couple of years back. I would easily get fascinated by some idea, then start working on it. A couple of months down the lane, I would talk myself out of it. As a result, I never kept the promises I made to myself.
I remember it was Paulo Coelho’s books that sparked in me the fire to follow my heart.
Ever since I have tried to keep the promises I make to myself.
You would have promised yourself to be in a better shape, start your venture, take your parents on a trip, but due to some reason or the other you had to give up or keep postponing it. Don’t do it. The discontent and the resentment keeps building up.
You cannot feel happy by acting differently from what your heart desire. You may not able to achieve it right away, but plan for the same.
13. Be a learner
Always be a learner at heart. The knowledge and wisdom can come in any form.
Observe and listen. When you speak you utter what you already know but when you listen you always gain something new.
I cannot tell you how much I gained since I developed this attitude. I learn from my younger brother, my manager, my colleagues, the tea shop vendor, my housing society security guard.
Each one of us has experienced a different flavor of life. And as a result, each of the story is unique and carries a new lesson.
Learn whenever you have a chance.
Life changes through these lessons, business are created from such conversations.
14. Visualise your goal
I call this the seed of personal growth.
This is one of those self improvement ideas that will motivate you to take definite actions. Whatever a human mind can conceive, can be achieved. All of the buildings, cars, highways, mobile phones, the Internet itself began with an idea.
Develop a clear mental picture of who you want to be. Visualise your goals.
This is not just daydreaming. It is a very effective way of passing a clear blueprint to your subconscious mind. Once you sow the seed, then it is just a matter of time before it becomes a huge fruit-bearing tree.
How should you visualize your goals?
Say you want a beautiful bungalow for your family and yourself. Close your eyes and mentally create the image of the bungalow. Go through every detail. Visualise taking your family through all the rooms. Feel their love, excitement, and happiness. Immerse yourself in the moment. Add any other detail which will emotionally connect you to that image.
Is this dippy-hippy affair?
Far from that. Let me explain to you what actually happens.
The more often you do this exercise, the more attainable it will feel. Once you mentally own that thing, then you start to act accordingly to achieve it. Of course, there is the whole dimension of subconscious mind power and universal laws of attraction.
Read in depth article on visualisation techniques.
15. Create a plan
Now that you have the goal set, draft a solid plan to achieve it.
Break your main goal into several small goals that will lead you to your destination.
For example, let’s say your goal like mine is to start your profitable online venture. Now break this down into several smaller milestones like creating an online portal, planning the content, creating a marketing strategy, ready your products.
Each of these milestones can be further broken down into several tasks that need to be done to achieve the milestone.
For example, to create a portal, you will need a domain name, a hosting service provider, a website. Now attach a timeline to each of these actionable items.
Most important of all, stick to the plan.
Planning and breaking down your task is super essential for you to get started.
16. Don’t follow the crowd
You are not here to follow the crowd. That path leads to mediocrity.
You are unique and your hopes and aspirations are unique to yourself. You do not need validations, your ideas do not need any validation.
People who succeed are the ones who disrupt the system, have the courage to stand out, are not bound by the chains of society. They soar high, amongst other dreamers who believe in themselves even if nobody else does.
17. Attend meetings and seminars
Validate your personal growth ideas that you have adopted by connecting with other people in your field.
Your network is your net worth.
Attend seminars, webinars, and other meetups. These forums give you the chance to meet new people, explore and exchange new ideas and most importantly connect to some of the folks who have made it big in their field.
Grow your circle. Widen your horizon. Embrace new ideas and change your life for the better.
18. Accept your identity & Follow your heart
All our pursuit in life is to satisfy our heart.
Some find their true happiness in climbing the corporate ladder, some in traveling.
Spend time contemplating on what you are good at. Then create a long-term plan to create a living out of your passion.
Initially, you may skeptic about who will make use of your service but rest assured that there are plenty of options. I have heard people make a living out of tasting chocolates, playing video games, traveling and blogging. If they listened to their calling and found a way then so can you.
Understand that your dreams are like your fingerprints. Unique to yourself. They will appeal only to you and urge you to turn them into reality.
This is where it is critically important that you are in terms with your identity. It is only then you will be able to manifest your goals.
Universe has granted you certain skills as gifts and certain dreams as tasks. You are required to oblige.
You are unique. Your goals and talents and skills are unique. Embrace them. Understand them.
When you are yourself, you are the best.
Remember that a meaningful life is one which is spent in pursuit of one’s dream. Time is ticking. Act now!
19. Never Give Up
Challenges, problems, hardships, failures, heartbreaks are bound to come. This is the cycles of life.
Airplane faces a lot of resistance before the lift-off. If you are in the right direction, you will fly.
Do not just be attracted to the success stories but understand the labor, effort, and patience that has gone into it. I do not need to tell you about any of the icons that have made it big in their life.
Pick your favorite icon and read through their biography. They were just like us. Normal people with extraordinary courage and belief.
I was following a Reality dance show which closed this month. There was this guy, amazing dancer, an instant hit with the audience and judges. Then I heard his story. He is from a small town. There weren’t any classes available so he came to live with his grandparents. He has not seen his parents for 5 years.If such is your passion and belief then success is just a matter of time.
20. Work on your communication skills
This is one of the foremost of the self improvement ideas that you should start working on right away. Recent surveys have established that in order to be successful, you not only need to be top notch in your field but also need to have an excellent communication skill.
I have been in IT industry for some time now. All the recent hiring trends highlight the importance that companies are giving on the soft skills. The general belief is that you can teach people the required set of skills but it is very difficult to create the desired level of soft skills.
It is not just your professional life that will benefit out of your communication skills. Your personal life, interpersonal relations, your marriage, all depends on the way you communicate.
When you excel at saying just the right words at the right time, you create fruitful business relations, higher self-esteem, respect in your professional and personal community.
Read a brilliant resource on importance of communication skills by inlpcenter
21.Adopt a mindful living style
Mindful living helps us come out of our autopilot mode.
Such is the human brain that as soon as it sees a repeated activity, it recalls the previous patterns and guide us to act accordingly.
There are various mindfulness training exercises that you can do to break this cycle.
To summarise, you need to be present in the moment and not be caught up in the worries of the past or anxiety of the future.
For example when you are practicing your craft, be it painting, a sports or any other task, do not just go through the motions. Be alert and attentive of every muscle movement, every cause and effect and your body’s response to the thoughts that arise during that moment.
When you cover all such dimensions attached to your craft, you attain mastery over your craft.
22. Challenge yourself regularly
Stretching yourself is the only way to expand your limits. An overall goal should be one that is at least a little outside your grasp when you begin the journey towards it. Reaching for more than you think you can achieve will teach you how to do more.
I was hesitant to driving, public speaking ( or anything that attracts public attention). I read in a blog about this concept of taking up a task weekly that makes you uncomfortable. It is then I decided to start writing. This has given me a chance to do a bit of public speaking which has led me to drive to different places.
If you don’t like something but feel like doing it, then go ahead and do it. This might sound trivial but has huge implications.
This behavior of ours to shy away from an unknown terrain gets embedded in our subconscious mind. This then prevents us to try out anything new in life.
23. Do not carry any emotional baggage
You cannot expect yourself to go a long distance with a heavy load on your back. Same is true for emotional baggage.
You have to free yourself from the mistakes or misfortunes of the past.
Forgive yourself or any other person for any incident that has happened in your life. You do not want to be the same person. You are here to lead an abundant, purposeful and peaceful life. Anything that distracts you from this path needs to be dropped.Period !
24. Help others
One of the best ways to get an accurate picture of yourself and to learn wisdom is through serving others. Whether you enjoy volunteering at a homeless shelter, helping kids at your church or cleaning up the environment, service projects can strengthen your sense of purpose and your connection to your fellow human beings.
It helps you understand the problems that others are facing and puts your challenges in the right perspective.
Everybody is fighting their own battle. By helping others, you develop the strength to carry on with yours.
It is by helping others that you rediscover yourself, develop empathy and connect with your inner voice.
25. Self Improvement Ideas & Journey in Journal
Keeping a journal can be an excellent self-help strategy. Recording your journey and looking back at it is a great booster to confidence and belief.
It helps a lot to recapture the terrain that you have covered. This refuels the energy and confidence to take on bigger challenges.
What is life if we do not live to its full potential and what better way to celebrate than to capture the peaks and valleys of your journey in your journal.
I also maintain a gratitude journal that I learned from the book “The Secret”. It basically requires you to list ten things in a day for which you are grateful. What this exercise does is that it forces you to browse through the list of events that actually brightened up your day. It teaches us how to be thankful for the little things we easily take for granted.
As a result, when we are grateful for the things that happen to us, they come back to us in leaps and bounds.
Here is a great article on gratitude.
26. Use your commute time
All of us commute to work, schools or colleges.
Using your commute time to listen to audio tapes and books can help pass the time and expand the mind. If you are not driving then you can even pick a book, watch motivational and educational youtube videos, sift through blogs.
The idea is that you start to value your time and make as productive use of it as possible.
27. Develop a mindset to contribute
As in life and in your relations, when you start to develop a giver’s mindset, you succeed.
If in a relation, a person starts caring about his/her partner’s choices and preferences, likes and dislikes then that relationship blossoms. Unfortunately, we always evaluate a relation based on what we are getting out of it. The real question is what value are you adding in that person’s life?
Same is the principle in the realm of everyday life. If you develop a giver’s rather than a consumer mindset, you start solving problems that people are facing. When this happens, then you are in business.
Life is not as complicated as we have made it be. When few among us can succeed, then so can we. What lacks is the will and determination to execute it.
Hope you liked the list of self improvement ideas. I tried to narrow down and list the set of ideas that can be easily adopted and implemented. Do share your strategy for self-growth.
Check out this small and powerful self improvement course from Udemy