The New Year is less than 24 hours away, which means many of us are going to resolve to make changes to our daily lives to become better versions of ourselves. You probably don’t have any trouble defining your large goals (e.g. lose weight, save more money), but it’s the small, actionable steps that create the habits that lead to those goals that usually trips us up. No matter what your New Year’s resolutions are, you’ll have greater odds at keeping them if you follow these self-improvement tips.
- Take Time for You – While you might associate being a better person with doing more for others, the truth is you need to take time for yourself in order to be that better person. If you are burned out and stressed, you will not be a positive contribution to anyone. Taking time out for yourself is not selfish; it gives you the opportunity to refresh your own wellbeing.
- Create Daily Me Time – Once you understand that taking time out for yourself is a contribution then it’s time to schedule it. It is important to keep your integrity to yourself when declaring your “me” time. Set aside some time daily. If you are like most, this may seem near impossible; but guess what? You can find 15 minutes every day.
- Be Dedicated to Your Personal Time Now – If you don’t respect your personal time, no one else will. Take your 15 minute meditation time in the morning or your daily time out on the front stoop just listening to nature; read a spiritual book like the Book of Psalms which will take you a few mere moments every day.
- Let Others Know You are Serious about Your Personal Time – Once you have an established amount of time and set time of day, let everyone know you have a big, “Do Not Disturb” sign on your back. It’s fifteen minutes a day for goodness sake. Everyone will survive without you for a while.
- Choose How You Start Your Day – You can choose to start your day grumpy and irritable or you can choose to start your day grateful that you were given another chance to enjoy life and love. The choice is always yours. Choose to wake up declaring out loud a few things you are grateful for and watch how this daily habit changes your day and your life.
- Start a Gratitude Journal – When you are feeling overwhelmed, grab a journal and write down your feelings – even if they are negative. Then, give it a new spin. For example, even though I didn’t get the promotion I wanted, I now know what the process is and what I need to work on to better my chances before I put in for the next promotion. I am exactly where I am supposed to be in this moment and am grateful for the great things to come.
- Practice Journaling Randomly – Journaling releases negativity and toxicity from your body, soul and mind. However, journaling also resets your mindset. Don’t just fill a journal with negative stuff. If your romantic partner makes you smile or performs a kind gesture, write it down. It will give you something to look at when you miss them or are really mad at them in the moment.
- Keep Positive People Close to You – Your attitude will directly affect your day; so if you are being sour and negative, your day will spiral into a sour and negative day. Keep positive friends close by and reel them in when you need a boost. Don’t be ashamed of your bad moods, just take responsibility for them. Grab a friend, talk about it and then let it go.
- Keep Negative People out of Your Bubble – You will never rid yourself of all the negative people in your life. After all, some of them are your employers, co-workers and family members. You can, however, keep them at a distance while enclosing yourself in a more protected bubble. You don’t have to let their negativity into your space. Make a choice to slowly distance yourself from them and know that their negativity has nothing to do with you; it’s their stuff don’t own it for yourself.
- Choose Your Filters Wisely – If you read negative stories, watch the news and get involved in gossip, you will most likely end up with negative thoughts. After all, negative stories are what so much of these things focuses on these days. Choose what books, music and television you let in. Stop ‘hanging out’ on social networking gossip sites and take responsibility for your own actions.
- Listen to the Right Kinds of Music – Uplifting music will change your brain waves and fast music will give you a boost of adrenaline. If you are feeling low, pop on some dance tunes and watch how quickly your toes will begin to tap.
- Start Your Day the Right Way – Start your day the right way with one positive thought, affirmation or conversation. If you read something positive, think something positive or say something positive, your day will be that much better and you will have done this by your own power.
- Laugh it Off – Have you ever started your day by tripping over something, losing your car keys or finding that the raccoons knocked over your garbage pail? Rather than get upset, laugh it off as life stuff or sing a favorite song. You’ll be glad you did.
- Smile a Little – Smiling releases serotonin. When something goes wrong or someone irritates you, smile about it. You will instantly feel better for being positive and you may help lift their bad mood too.
- Be the Person You Envision – If you are seeking a mate in life or even if you want to attract more success – be the person that you envision successfully reaching those goals. Be someone who sets goals, takes risks and faces challenges with grace. While hard at first, the more you practice, the closer you will be to becoming that successful person.
- Time to Get Organized – Set up a filing system, get a calendar and keep it updated, throw out your unnecessary junk. Once the initial work is done, all you have to do is maintain the organized systems. Don’t want to do it yourself? Pay one of your teens to do it for you.
- Time Chunk – Chunk your time into sections and give yourself an allotted time frame for whatever you are doing and stick to it. Have you ever started cleaning out a closet in the bedroom and somehow found yourself cleaning the kitchen only to return to the bedroom and it’s still a mess? You’re not alone. Give yourself 30 minutes to clean out a closet and then when the time is up. Move on to the next chore. Do this at work and at home and you’ll find you get a lot more accomplished each day.
- Use Your Cell Phone – Use your timer on your cell phone to time your tasks whether it is running errands or cleaning or making phone calls. Knowing how long you generally spend on these tasks can help you see where you can make improvements which will reduce the stress in your life.
- Use Technology – Use your cell phone for reminders on your calendar; be it birthdays, appointments or remembering to take the clothes out of the dryer. Set up your bills to be automatically paid each month. Research online ahead of time where you’ll get the best deals before going shopping. Don’t be embarrassed or think you are failing at remembering. Instead consider it not having to worry about remembering because it’s done for you.
- Get an App – There is an app for everything today from traveling to banking. When you are on the train or waiting in line at the store, you can things done that would normally have to wait for lunch hour or days off. Being able to accomplish more during these wait times will give you more free time for yourself.
- Shut Down and Unplug – Take time off from technology and unplug from your social devices. If you want to be a better you, you need connections – real life connections. You need to see faces and hear voices and so do other people. Take the initiative and plan a real-life coffee date. You’ll make a difference for yourself and for someone else.
- Pick and Choose Your Time – Only you can schedule your time productively. If you choose to scroll on Facebook or to stay up late and oversleep in the morning, the results will be an unfocused and unproductive life. Choose and schedule your time carefully and reap the positive benefits.
- Set Attainable Goals – If you set your sights too high, you are more likely to fail. It’s ok to have one big goal but break it into smaller attainable goals to work towards. Completing these smaller goals will keep you motivated no matter how long it takes you to reach the final big goal.
- Grab an Accountability Partner – When you set a new goal, it’s important to let people know about it. It’s also important to obtain an accountability partner. When you know you have to answer to your accountability partner and that others are watching your progress, you will work that much harder so you don’t disappoint anyone, including yourself. You also have that partner cheering you on from the sidelines.
- Learn the Power of No – Learn how to say no; while difficult at first, it gets easier with time. Saying no frees you up to do what is necessary for a healthy, productive life.
- Incorporate Health Routines – Never forget the importance of health routines. Keeping fit is your responsibility and it doesn’t have to be sixty hours of cardio or 100 pounds of weightlifting. A simple power walk will suffice, but do it daily and stick to it.
- Pay Attention to What You Eat – You only have one body. How you feed it is up to you. A happy body needs the proper nutrients for brain power and health. Avoid foods that only drag the body down. When you eat right, you feel great.
- Pay Attention to How You Eat – It’s just as important to pay attention to how you eat as it is to what you eat. Take your time, slow down and eat sitting down. Try not to talk while eating. Take a few minutes to digest after eating. While it is the practice of today’s society to “do lunch,” it’s important to breathe right and eat right for proper digestion.
- Take a Time Out – Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths a few times a day, even if you have to go out to your car or take a bathroom break. A few minutes of deep breathing and relaxation can reset your mindset for the rest of the day.
- Get the Proper Rest – Lack of sleep can make you feel bad and have negative thoughts. If you’re not getting enough sleep at night consider taking a power nap during the day. Even 15 minutes can reset you mood, creativity and your focus. Set your alarm for 15 minutes and watch how much more energized you will feel afterward.
Bonus Tip: Drink a glass of water before bedtime to hydrate your body and help it flush toxins. Drink another glass first thing in the morning before eating or drinking anything else to help kick start your organs.
Everyone wants to be the best they can be. By following these self-improvement tips you are well on your way to a more balanced, focused, energized life. When you feel balanced, you’ll feel better about yourself and everything else around you.
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