How to be better?

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12 Actions You Can Take to Become a Better Person and a Better Leader

July 18, 2018 9 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

There are certain universal aspirations we’re all hoping to attain in our lifetime. We all want happiness, success, love and prosperity. Most of us believe that if we could just do things a little better, improve ourselves a little more, we would become a better person capable of achieving our dreams.

Sounds good, right? Who doesn’t want to be a better person? The truth is, none of us is perfect and we never will be. But that doesn’t mean we should give up on self-improvement — we are all on a journey of becoming the person we want to be. Here are 12 concepts to help you along the way to becoming the best possible version of yourself.

1. See yourself for who you are.

Your journey to becoming a better person starts with understanding who you are at your core. This is about becoming more in tune with your deeper self, so you recognize what riles you up, what makes you happy or sad. How do you deal with your emotions? How do you react when life goes astray?

Take stock of your strengths but also of your weaknesses. What are your negative qualities? What areas do you excel in? What areas do you need to work on in your personal growth and development? When we truly understand ourselves, we can make a conscious effort to improve ourselves and communicate better with others.

Related: Being Boss Means Being Able to See Yourself as Others See You

2. Forgive and let go of anger.

When we forgive we let go of anger and hostility that eats away at our happiness and clouds our mind. Forgiving someone who has hurt you empowers you to let go of the pain from the past. It doesn’t mean you forget what happened; rather, it means you learn to release resentment and anger, which would otherwise be a burden on your mind and heart.

Releasing negative thoughts allows you to heal emotionally, gives you peace and helps you overcome depression, anxiety and rage that create conflicts within our relationships. Festering anger impacts your mental and physical health, with symptoms such as difficulty sleeping, a weakened immune system and heart disease.

Related: 8 Steps to Move Away From the Past You Need to Leave Behind

3. Accept responsibility.

Stop blaming others when things don’t go right. A key element in growing as an individual and becoming a better person is learning to accept personal responsibility for your actions, including your behaviors, emotions and failures — everything you have control over.

We often put the blame on others, sometimes so subtly we hardly realize we’re doing it. We make excuses for ourselves and why something isn’t our fault.

You take control of your life when you accept that you alone are responsible for your actions. To take this a step further, ask yourself whether you’re taking responsibility for creating the life you want, for becoming the person you want to be. Or are you just letting life happen and then blaming the world for your failures?

Related: If You Want Greatness, Take Responsibility

4. Admit when you are wrong and apologize.

When we apologize we show empathy for the wronged person. We acknowledge our mistakes. When we truly try to make amends, we show humility and compassion for those we have hurt. This has the ability to disarm those we mistreated and to heal their emotional wounds, but it can also help us heal. It’s impossible to move beyond a mistake until we admit it to ourselves and to others.

Apologizing allows us to reconnect and move forward. When someone apologizes to us, it’s a chance to see them as imperfect yet vulnerable, and reminds us that we are all human and we all make mistakes.

Related: The Power of an Apt Apology

5. Be a good listener.

Listening to others, and really hearing them out with an open mind, is one of the best things you can do for another person and for yourself. It shows the speaker that you value their opinion. It allows you to develop closer connections to others and hear perspectives you might otherwise dismiss.

We should try to engage in active listening with all the people who surround us, not just those we want to impress. Being an effective listener can change your life for the better by fostering deeper relationships and exposing us to thoughts, ideas and worldviews beyond our own experiences.

Related: The 4 Levels of Listening: Why Every Good Entrepreneur Should Talk Less

6. Be polite.

Being polite is a small act of kindness we can do for everyone we come across. It is not a trivial thing. There is power behind saying “thank you” and “please,” giving someone a warm greeting or taking time to make small talk. These little things instill positive feelings in those around you, especially when you first meet. Different situations will call for different levels of politeness and formality.

Grabbing a coffee or a drink with a friend will be a more casual situation with more relaxed language than a formal dinner or a work meeting. But maintaining a certain level of politeness and civility is always appreciated because it shows thoughtfulness, consideration and kindness.

Related: Good Manners Are a Career and Business Necessity

7. Have respect for others (and yourself).

Being respectful of others is a golden rule if we want to become better people, and it also relates to basically every other point on this list. It goes beyond treating others with good manners and listening to them, although those are important elements of respect. Respect is also about acknowledging differences in a cordial way.

It’s important to be respectful of other people’s time, ideas, experiences and lifestyles. By showing respect, we acknowledge others and recognize the importance of treating others with integrity. It doesn’t mean you have to flatter them or agree with their opinions. You can respectfully disagree. But if you do this while treating the other person with dignity, you set the example of how you expect to be treated in return.

Related: Respect: The Cornerstone of Success

8. Set goals for yourself.

Goals give us focus and a way to measure our progress. Goals motivate us to stay on track. Start by writing your goals down. Those who write down their goals and dreams are more likely to actually achieve them.

What are your personal and professional goals? Where do you see yourself in five years? In 10 years? And what kind of person do you want to be then? Frame these goals positively — as something you will do rather than something you will stop doing.

Related: The 7-Step Formula for Goal Setting

9. Live with integrity.

Personal integrity is a cornerstone of who we are and what we stand for. Integrity is part of our moral foundation: the principles and ideas we value and hold dear. Integrity is your personal compass, and it will shape the kind of person you become over time.

Living with integrity means being true to your ideals. It means that your outward actions reflect your inner beliefs and values. It means making the choices that are necessary to live up to your standards. Make sure you take the time to understand what integrity means to you and how your decisions align with your values and vision for your life.

Related: The Importance of Integrity: Now More Than Ever

10. Recognize opportunities to grow and change.

Life is filled with unexpected twists and turns we can’t predict. We can’t help but be a little scared of change because the unknown is always a little frightening. That fear can hold us back and, without realizing it, you may be stunting your growth personally and professionally. Allowing yourself to grow and evolve over time is a necessary part of life and part of the journey you are on.

Don’t turn away from new opportunities or shirk your responsibilities. Be willing to take a chance and push yourself outside of your comfort zone, and you may be surprised at what you find. Always strive to keep learning new things — education and experience are essential if you are to grow and become a well-rounded and better person.

Related: 5 Ways Personal Growth Makes Your Business Stronger

11. Be part of a community.

Community can be a geographical location where people live, play and work, but it can also be a virtual space where people connect through shared ideas, values, beliefs and needs. However you define community, it’s important that you find ways to be part of a larger group, and you may even be part of many different communities depending on your interests and background.

Community provides us with support, giving us a feeling of inclusion and connection to other like-minded people. But it also gives us a way to give back, to help others and to share our own wisdom and knowledge. This includes volunteering and working with others within your community, helping to enrich the lives of those around you.

Related: Why Building Community Is More Important Than Networking

12. Embrace the journey.

Remember, this is an ongoing journey. Our actions — how we live, how we spend our time — those things all add up. Recognize that not everything in life is linear. Sometimes we have to go backward to go forward. Along the way, we have to learn to appreciate what we have, to have gratitude for all life has given us.

Remember to have some fun, and allow fun (and happiness) to be sprinkled throughout your day. Life should not be dreary, so don’t let it be. Surprise yourself and others. Remember to show kindness and compassion to those around you. Try to be a role model to others and behave the way you want others to see you and remember you.

How to Become a Better Person

Why does being ‘a good person’ have such a bad name? In the modern world, the idea of trying to be good or kind conjures up all sorts of negative associations: of piety, solemnity, bloodlessness and sexual renunciation. It’s telling that ‘wicked’ has even become a term of praise.

And yet the project of being good is as vital, or even more important, for the individual and society as is the project of being healthy. Yet while we have no problem with going to the gym to get fitter, it sounds deeply weird, even creepy, to suggest that one might ‘work’ at being better or nicer.

That’s because we imagine that practice has nothing to do with being good – and if it is involved, then it’s merely a route to being fake. We assume you just are good (or are not) but exercise is not involved. This seems profoundly mistaken. Just as we have physical muscles, so we have ethical ones, and they too must be put through their paces. Goodness has to be worked at.

In the ethical gym of the future, we might regularly be put through our paces. We would have to imagine life through another’s eyes, practice giving way in arguments, emulate the diplomacy and tact of paragons of patience and learn to deflect despair through calculated doses of hope.

Aristotle thought that being good meant practising twelve key virtues, Christianity argued for seven.

There’s no scientific answer, but the key seems to be to have some kind of list with which to guide our efforts at being good. We all want better lives, until now, too few of us have shown much interest in being better people.

6 Easy Ways You Can Become a Genuinely Better Person

“When you take care of yourself, you’re a better person for others. When you feel good about yourself, you treat others better.” ~ Solange Knowles

I’ve learned that in order to live your best life, you always have to work on improving yourself. This includes expanding your comfort zone, living in alignment with the real you, and taking care of yourself first. Many of us strive to be better people each day, month, year—and the good news is that this entire process begins and ends with us.

And it can begin at any moment.

Here’s how to be a better person to yourself and those around you:

1. Be compassionate.

This starts with self-compassion. Do you ever notice that our role models tend to take good care of No. 1?

Why is that?

It’s because when you talk to yourself harshly, reprimand yourself for every small thing you do wrong, and don’t take care of yourself in small ways—like getting enough sleep and making time to refuel your batteries—you’re not going to be a force for good in the world for anyone.

Some great ways to immediately practice compassion include allowing yourself to not be perfect at the office (it’s a losing game anyway); focusing on what you love about yourself, like your quirky sense of humor, instead of wasting energy hating on your perceived flaws, like your public-speaking nervousness; and periodically doing nice things for yourself—like buying flowers for your home, adopting a feel-good personal mantra, and spending time with people who lift you higher.

When you decide to be more magnanimous to yourself and to others, life changes in an instant.

2. Know your values.

Jay-Z said, “Knowing who you are is the foundation for everything great.” Do you know who you are? The easiest way to interpret this is knowing what you value. What is most important to you?

Understanding what you most value means appreciating and prioritizing your core beliefs. For example, if your personal mission is helping people get fit, but you’re stuck in a job as a financial analyst without even a wink of a side hustle, you’re probably feeling out of alignment. It probably feels sucky, and you might be experiencing boredom, discontentment… even guilt.

If you value community and local politics but spend every weekend switched off and binging on Netflix, this might mean that you are not honoring who you really are.

My personal values include helping people believe in possibility and in themselves, making a meaningful contribution as a coach and writer, investing daily in the quality of my marriage, being kind to everyone I meet, and seeing the beautiful world that we get to inhabit.

Your turn!

3. Be open.

Open, flexible minds allow you to live your best life and receive a lot of good things. This means being non-judgmental, non-critical, and accepting of other people and events. Buddhists talk about it as non-resistance—not judging anything that occurs (yes, even your boss swiping the credit for your idea).

What can you be more open to and/or tolerant of? Your annoying colleague, your ex, your parent who treats you unfairly compared to your sibling?

Openness, acceptance, and a willingness to be in the moment and allow external things to just be, feels like the best emotion of all—peace.

4. Be encouraging.

It’s incredible what a kind word or touch can do. When I was a kid, I went to a lot of schools. It was always scary (a new school feels so big and unfamiliar!) and I was constantly nervous and unsure of myself. One time, a teacher touched my head and said, smiling, “Don’t worry—you’ll have a lot of fun with us in this room.”

I still remember it.

What encouraging word, smile, or touch can you give someone? This can be a small, subtle, almost unnoticeable gesture to most people. Don’t underestimate it. We’re all going through something difficult in some area of our lives… and a wink of kindness can be remembered for over 30 years.

5. Follow through.

Integrity ensues when our thoughts, words, and actions are aligned. Pause for a second and think… are yours? Do you generally do what you say you’re going to do? Many of us don’t—at least in some parts of our lives. That’s why when you’re a follow-through-er, you’re not only fueling your self-confidence, you actually become a role model for others too. What can you follow through on this week—a phone call, a coffee meeting, some research you’ve been meaning to do?

When we follow through, it feels great.

6. Be a miracle for others.

The ultimate way to become a better you is through service—but this doesn’t need to be service on an epic level. When my sister and I were kids, my mum didn’t have a car and our school was a 30-minute walk (in the U.K. rain, that can be a tough, long walk twice a day). Our neighbor offered to drive us to school when she dropped her son off, and that was a true miracle for my mother.

I had to do a last-minute interview when I arrived in New York and had no time to shop, so my girlfriend came over with a few options for dresses of hers that I could borrow. Major miracle! One time in an old job, there was a system I just could not understand. A co-worker (who owed me nothing) took 20 minutes to explain it to me in his patient, clear way. That day, I felt major relief and euphoria when I finally understood it. It felt like a total miracle!

Where can you be a miracle for others?

In thinking about how to become a better person, remember that small changes count. Slow down. Think before you speak. Consider other people’s feelings. But remember: The person you most need to take care of is yourself. As the old saying goes, you can’t pour from an empty cup. So in order to be a person who injects more love into this world, you have to fall in love with yourself first.

Susie Moore is Greatist’s life coach columnist and a confidence coach in New York City. Sign up for free weekly wellness tips on her website and check back every Tuesday for her latest No Regrets column!

Nothing terrifies me more than being so close to someone and then watching them become a stranger again

“Your beliefs don’t make you a better person, your behavior does.” ― Sukhraj S. Dhillo Twenty20 cecbag

I believe the best thing you can do for yourself is to try to be a better person, make a conscious effort to improve yourself and your life. Deciding to be better will not only make you feel better about yourself, it will bring better people, opportunities and possibilities into your life. Here are ten simple things you could do to become a better person.

1. Stay true to yourself.

The first step to being a better person is to stay true to yourself. Admit to yourself the good, the bad and the ugly and take it from there. The first step to try to improve yourself as a person is to be truly aware of who you are and who you are not.

2. Ask questions.

Ask people around you about what they know, or ask your friends and family about what they think of you. Sometimes talking to people helps us gain a new perspective or learn something new. Listening to what people think of you or how they run their lives can shed a lot of light and alter our thoughts and actions.

3. Don’t be stingy with compliments.

I don’t mean being fake, I mean genuinely complimenting someone on something they are doing or on who they are. A lot of times people want to feel appreciated and giving someone this small gift will make a difference in their day or maybe their life.

4. Help someone you don’t like.

It is easy to help someone you like, but it’s a lot harder to help someone you don’t like. But your actions should be a reflection of you regardless of who is asking for help. When you keep putting out good in this world, it will come back to you tenfold in unexpected ways.

5. Break up with your ego.

The ego sets us back from being truly kind and compassionate. It’s our ego that tells us we should get angry, or we shouldn’t talk to someone, or we shouldn’t forgive someone. When you put your ego aside, you start seeing things differently, you become less angry and you start noticing positive changes in your life.

6. Create something.

The value of creating work that can benefit other people is priceless, it can be anything small or big. A craft or a business, a blog or a book, a special meal or a whole restaurant. Always think of ways you can add value to your community.

7. Quit a bad habit.

Smoking, gossiping or judging. Quit a bad habit and replace it with a new good one. If you can’t quit right away, start in small doses until you can really let it go.

8. Smile at strangers.

It’s hard when you are in a rush or squeezed inside the metro to be gracious. But a little smile goes a long way. Smiling at strangers especially in the morning makes the day brighter for everyone.

9. Surprise someone.

Surprise your friends, or your partner or your kids. No matter how old we are, we are a sucker for surprises–good ones of course. And it doesn’t have to be a grand gesture, sometimes a simple text will do, or a card or a letter. Get creative!

10. Stay hungry. Stay Foolish.

Steve Jobs’ famous commencement speech ended with this phrase. The phrase is an encouragement to keep learning and pushing yourself to do better things, while also keeping an open mind to try new things, and make mistakes. But as long as you stay wanting more, stay active, and stay looking for answers in your life without settling, you are on your way to being a better human being.

15 Easy Little Ways You Can Be A Better Person Every Day

By making some small positive changes every day, it’s possible to be a better person not only for yourself, but for everyone around you. That’s what naturally happens when you take steps towards your own self-improvement, while also remembering to be mindful — and caring, and appreciative, etc. — when interacting with others.

Whether it’s holding a door open for a stranger, calling a friend, or slowing down for five second to let someone into traffic, a sort of ripple effect of positivity can result. “One small act for good can make an impact you may never know, both in your own life and the lives of others,” author and life coach Jaya Jaya Myra tells Bustle. “It’s the series of small things that add up to the big ones, and as such, it’s the small things that will lead to the most meaningful changes.”

That’s what I mean by “being a better person.” Sure, I’m talking about self-improvement and self-care. But I’m also talking about paying attention to how you interact with the world, and the chain reaction of goodness that can pour forth from there. Being a better person is worth that tiniest bit of extra effort. Read on for some great places to start.

1. Start Your Day Off Right

Ever notice how you feel cranky when your morning is rushed and stressful? Well, that’s not going to do you, or anyone else, any good. So vow, from now on, to do you before work. Take the time to meditate, stretch, read for a little — whatever makes you feel relaxed and calm. As clinical psychotherapist and health coach Ally Bowen, LISW-CP says, “This will set you up for being your best self throughout the entire day.” And that’ll overflow into other people’s days, too.

2. Remember To Eat Breakfast

Not everyone’s in love with the idea of eating first thing in the morning. But if you can stomach it, definitely get some nutrients in your bod to prevent a “hangry” episode later on. “This may be one of the biggest things that matter for each day,” Bowen says. “I could preach on this all day, but breakfast matters if you want to start your day being your best self.”

3. Acknowledge The People You See

You can walk down the sidewalk and stay in your own little world. But it sure is nice to acknowledge people along the way — either by smiling, saying good morning, or giving a little nod. “This simple act not only sends the happy endorphins into orbit, but you are now giving away a free, simple act to every person you encounter,” Bowen says. “Many get caught up in feeling they have nothing to give, yet eye contact and a smile are free and require no special skill.”

4. Be Kind In Little Ways

Whether you’re simply saying good morning to your barista, or holding the door for someone, these little moments can make a huge difference. “It’s easy to focus on yourself and rush off to where you are going,” says therapist Kimberly Hershenson, LMSW. But by slowing down and doing something kind, like holding that door, she tells me it can really turn around your day — as well as someone else’s.

5. Be Helpful In Little Ways

It’s so easy to walk by a piece of garbage in the street, or leave an abandoned shopping cart in the parking lot. And yet it’s also so easy to pitch in and help out. “Small, simple gestures are you showing respect, gratitude, and appreciation,” says Erin Asquith, LCSW, a marriage and family therapist. And that’s kind of a big deal.

6. Chat With Someone You Don’t Know

If you usually breeze on by your coworkers, or ignore that guy in the elevator, chat ’em up instead. “Studies show that having meaningful connections and doing random acts of kindness contribute to levels of happiness,” says psychologist Dr. Crystal I. Lee. It may feel weird at first, but it’s totally worth it.

7. Try To Be More Mindful

You don’t have to meditate the whole day through, but you can slow down and appreciate things. “You can practice mindfulness by being fully present in a moment for just a couple of minutes,” Lee says. “So maybe the next time you take your coffee break, drink your coffee mindfully … Doing something small like this will be a better recharging break for you, which will make you a ‘better person’ for the rest of the day.”

8. Shift Your Perspective

Pay attention to your automatic thoughts, and work on shifting your perspective away from the negative. “Say, for example, your power goes out unexpectedly,” Jaime Pfeffer, a success and life coach, tells Bustle. “After the initial shock wears off, you could spend the afternoon calling people and complaining (which really doesn’t help anything) or you could look at it from a different point of view, such as a time to reconnect with your family.” See the difference?

9. Give Everyone The Benefit Of The Doubt

In a similar vein, your days will feel way less negative if you stop assuming the worst of people. Let’s say you go into work, say “hey” to a coworker, and she completely blows you off. You can feel mad and hurt, or you can give her the benefit of the doubt and assume her reaction had nothing to do with you.

“When you do, your interactions … will be more positive, because you’re not just feeling better about her, you’re subtly treating her better,” says coach Sandy Weaver. “Plus, you won’t be inflicting painful, judgmental thoughts on yourself about yourself. It’s a win/win and will go a long way towards making you the kind of person people want to be around.”

10. Stay In Touch

If you haven’t called your mom in a minute (or your dad, or your aunt) go do it right now. “Everyone is so busy these days, they often forget or don’t have time to talk or visit with people they care about,” psychic and spiritual counselor Davida Rappaport tells Bustle. It only takes five minutes, but it’ll mean so much to her. And to you.

11. Organize Your Life

Spend a few minutes every morning jotting down a to do list and planning out your day. As Rappaport tells me, this’ll not only keep you organized and on track throughout the day, but it’ll keep your stress levels down. And I think we could all use more of that.

12. Let Your Appreciation Show

One of the easiest ways to make other people feel great, while also feeling better yourself, is to show some gratitude. “Start with actually feeling the gratitude when you say ‘thank you,'” Georgian Benta, host of The Gratitude Podcast, tells Bustle. ” people know you appreciate them and what you appreciate about them: your family, your friends, the people from your favorite coffee place, your coworkers, the waiter at the restaurant that’s been very kind, or the cook that made you a great meal.” It’s a small gesture that makes a big impact.

13. Work On Improving Yourself A Tiny Bit Every Day

Make an effort, every day, to take a step towards self-improvement. And one way to do that is by creating a list of things you’d like to be and do, and referring to it each morning. “You may find a picture or quote that embodies the attribute,” coach and counselor Renée Jones tells Bustle. “Put it where you see it daily. Looking at what you want every day will focus your thoughts and feelings in that direction.”

14. Give Little Gifts

If you see an opportunity to show someone you were thinking of them, take it. “If you are heading out of the office to pick up your lunch or a cup of coffee, or go to the post office, why not ask your boss or coworkers if you can get them something?” Rappaport asks. It’s such a small gesture, but it’s one that’ll make you both feel good.

15. Keep Your Promises

“If you say you are going to do something, do it,” Rappaport says. Text that friend back, put the dishes away, return the email, etc. It’s OK if something comes up and you can’t be on point all day, but try to bounce back and be a person of your word, whenever possible.

Because, when it comes to being a better person, it’s all about how you carry yourself, but also how you treat others. Be kind, be grateful, and show people you care. Everyone will feel better as a result.

Images: Unsplash, James Garcia; Pexels (15)

I Want To Be Better

You know those days where you might not be feeling entirely like yourself, maybe you’re sick, you have empty time for once to stop and think and so your mind is overflowing with thoughts, and you start to think I want to be a better person or I want to make a change? Tell me, how could you do such a thing without realizing one of the requirements of doing so?

To better yourself you have to learn from your mistakes.

And to learn from your mistakes, you have to make mistakes.

After a few days of being slumped up in the house with a head cold, I’ve come to some realizations about my own attitude and feelings lately. That’s not how I want to be. Don’t be grumpy just because you’re not feeling up to par. Be better not bitter. If I’m not happy with something, I’m in charge of making those changes. With those thoughts, I need to let myself grow. I need to change what it is I don’t like, not dwell on it. I could spend a day upset, making remarks at myself for not doing something differently, or I can take that situation and turn it around for the future. So please, I want you to make mistakes. Don’t get so lost in beating yourself up over every individual wrongdoing. Learn from it and move forward. We are human.

I’m cutting the string that doesn’t allow natural human faults without mindful punishment.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to build my world around the worry of pleasing everyone. I’ve wasted hours lost in foolish overthinking. Such an attempt would be a constant run in circles wondering why I’m never finding that finish line — because it doesn’t exist. Stand your ground and build for yourself. I don’t need to “be better” for anyone who doesn’t love me for who I am entirely, I only need to be better for myself and benefit those who are important to me; so that one day I can tell my kids how I’ve grown as a person and I can guide them on how to let themselves grow without the string of fear and judgment tying them to the ground.

I’m cutting the tense string that requires me to worry about pleasing everyone.

Sometimes I think I’m ridiculous for having a breakdown, especially to someone who wasn’t expecting it, but I can tell you that it is never “ridiculous.” It’s okay to feel overwhelmed but it’s even more okay to let it out. You aren’t weak for allowing your feelings to spill out. You’re healthy for doing so. We keep thoughts and feelings so bottled up to the point that our mind and heart reach capacity and we don’t know where to take ourselves next because we aren’t even sure what more we can take. Let. it. out. You’re not alone, so talk. Stop drowning yourself in thought and let someone know what’s on your mind. Float back to the surface. Allow yourself that release.

I’m cutting the string that vibrates viciously as I fear the judgment when I feel a need to release my emotions.

I’m going to be better every day because…

I’m going to make mistakes and allow myself to do so.

I’m going to learn from them.

I’m going to be myself and not worry about unpleasing one person.

I’m going to pour my emotions into the lap of someone who cares to listen without even considering judgment, and I’ll shove it into my workouts as I strengthen my body and mindset.

That’s healthy, and that’s me.

Today, I’m cutting the strings.

So you want to become a better person. I’m a huge believer in a simple concept that can change your life: Who you have been is not who you have to be.

At the same time, who you are today will determine who you are in the future. The way you live your life today determines the quality and experience of your life tomorrow.

As independent, self-oriented men, we get to decide who we want to be, every single day. And who we are is a function of what we do, so whether we are consciously trying or not, we are always crafting our future self.

But are you crafting your ideal self? How conscious are you of the self you’re creating right now? Put simply: Are you in the process, every day, of becoming the person you want to be?

Why Deciding Who You Want to Be Matters

Every day we make choices — some big, some small. Those choices add up to who we are today, and who we will likely be tomorrow. Whether it’s what you’re having for lunch or what you say to a frustrating colleague, you have (literally) hundreds of chances every day to define who you are.

Without that conscious direction, your identity is left to forces, patterns and stimuli beyond your control. The job you stumbled into, the personal history of loss or disappointment, even the apartment or the neighborhood or the movies you watch — these will all, by default, determine who you are, if you don’t consciously decide to choose them for yourself.

The phenomenon of waking up one day to discover that you’re living a life you don’t truly love is a real one. It happens when you don’t actively decide who you want to be. Without a captain at the wheel, a ship will just capitulate to the sea. So will your life. If you want to become a better person, a more fulfilled person, you need to take action.

The “trick,” if we can call it that, is to be aware of every choice you make, and use it to build yourself into the person you want to become. Because some of our decisions can move us toward who we want to be, while other decisions can move us away from that person. The good news is, when you view every decision as a building block, you know the next decision about who you want to be is just around the corner. We are creating ourselves at every step.

Why Deciding Who You Want to Be Is Awesome

It can be intimidating to realize that every decision contributes to the person you want to be. If you want to become a better person, though, you must constantly bear this in mind. I understand being daunted at first. But there’s something very powerful about radically taking responsibility for your life. When you accept that only you can make decisions to become a better person and build yourself into the kind of person you want to be, you give yourself an enormous amount of power.

Compare this mindset with the default one, in which you view yourself as largely created by external forces. That worldview can be easier — at least it can feel easier — but it’s also far less secure, fun and empowering. Our real power as individuals comes in how we choose to react to those forces. If you lose a job you love, for example, you have a few options. You can choose to stew about it for a week — that can feel very satisfying, natural and easy. Or you can acknowledge the loss and choose to throw your negative energy into finding an even better job. Or you can sit with the feeling as you go on a five-mile run, contemplating your next move.

Either way, your choice is determining the person you are now.

And we’re not just talking about chasing big dreams. This isn’t about turning around from a loss and then, say, deciding to run for Congress. This is about recognizing that however you respond to your life situation — big or small — you are determining the quality of your life tomorrow. Wallow in self-pity, or go for that run. Stew in the disappointment, or take a risk by applying for the job you’ve wanted all along. The possibilities are only limited by our own imagination. “Reasonable” is a lot more ambitious than you think.

Becoming the person you want to be starts with deciding who that is. You can start right now. Here’s how.

Appraising Your Role Models

A great place to begin is to think about men you admire. So turn off your computer and phone, sit down with a piece of paper and a pen and make a list of the men you admire most. You can pick anyone from your grandfather to Bill Gates to Alexander the Great to Indiana Jones. It’s one of those questions that doesn’t have a “wrong” answer. After you have a fairly extensive list, pick five who really stand out for you.

Now pick them apart a little bit. Why do you admire them so much? What qualities of theirs do you want to emulate? Then go further: Ask yourself why you admire these qualities. For example, maybe you admire Bruce Lee because of his skill in martial arts. Great. But why? Is it because of his dedication? Because he can handle himself in a fight? Because he’s strong? Because of the fame he gained from it?

Don’t be afraid to be brutally honest. If you answer what you think the “right” answer is, you’ll miss the beauty of this exercise. Get to the heart of why these men speak to you. In the process, you’ll discover their own motivation and reward for becoming the men they are.

Defining Your Goals

Now you’re getting to the fun part. Defining your goals can — and really should be — one of the most pleasurable activities a person can engage in. There’s something about the process of dreaming about the life you want — coupled with the electric tension of what you need to do to get there — that’s always really excited me.

So fill up an entire page with what you want your life to be like. Don’t censor yourself. Any goal is totally fair game. Again, you’ll be amazed at how many of your “unreasonable” goals are totally attainable.

Then, think about why you want to achieve these goals. For example, you might think you want to be rich, when in fact what you really want is lots of free time (which sometimes doesn’t require money at all). Or perhaps you want prestige, or recognition, or something else that money really can’t buy. Digging a bit deeper into the why of your list gives you a more nuanced understanding of your goals. You’ll probably find at least one of your goals is just a means to some other end.

At the end of this exercise, you’ll have a list of goals you’d like to achieve, along with a more profound understanding of why these goals actually speak to you.

Forming a Plan for Positive Change in Life

Once you have heroes, goals and motivations, you’ve got a much clearer idea of what kind of person you want to be. Now you need an action plan for personal growth and change.

To that end, make another list — your final one. Formulate a daily routine to help you move toward your goals. No matter what they are, articulate what you want to do every single day to move forward. Whether it’s writing a page in your novel, going to the gym, or spending an hour a day growing your side gig, work toward your goals every day.

Again — those tiny decisions today determine your tomorrow. Translate your goals into a set of habits and practices, and the abstract concept of who you want to be will start to take on a day-to-day reality.

Appreciate the Journey

Along the way, document your progress toward becoming the future you. Take ten minutes every night to look back on your day. How did you live up to your goals? Are you honoring the qualities of your role models? Did you achieve the actions you set out to do at the beginning of the day?

Journaling is a great way to keep your eyes on the prize. Perhaps most importantly, it offers the opportunity to praise yourself on a regular basis for the work you’re doing. When you’ve turned what it takes to be the human you want to be into a series of daily tasks, it can be easy to lose sight of progress you’re making. Use your journal to acknowledge that. If it feels right, go ahead and identify opportunities where you could have realistically made more out of your day — but don’t beat yourself up for not being a superhero. Being honest and recognizing your progress is a powerful and organic way to boost your self-awareness and your self-esteem.

Finally, remember that this journey is ongoing. It never truly ends. If how you spend today determines your tomorrow, then tomorrow determines who you’ll be the following day — and that person might experience real personal growth and change, often in profound and dramatic ways.

That’s terrific, and it only reinforces the ideas in this article. So don’t avoid or lose sight of your own evolution. The point of analyzing your role models, setting goals and developing an action plan isn’t to fight your way to completion. There’s no “end game” in your personal development. The idea that you grow up to a point and then stop is a myth. What we’re talking about here is an open-loop, always-evolving journey toward becoming a happy, healthy, effective person.

So that’s the final piece of this puzzle. In order to experience real personal growth and change, and to become the human you want to be, embrace the fact that you will always be in the process of becoming that person. It’s up to you to join that journey and stick with it. It begins by recognizing that you can grow into the person you want to be. And it continues by always reflecting on who that person is.

How dramatically we can change our results is largely a function of imagination.

In 1960, it was a technological impossibility for man to travel into outer space. However, within 10 years, the first man stepped out onto the surface of the moon. The miraculous process of converting that dream into reality began when one voice challenged the scientific community to do whatever was necessary to see to it that America “places a man on the moon by the end of this decade.” That challenge awakened the spirit of a nation by planting the seed of possible future achievement into the fertile soil of imagination.

Related: ‘What You Think, You Become’

With that one bold challenge, the impossible became a reality.

The same principle applies to every other area of our life.

Can a poor person become wealthy? Of course! The unique combination of desire, planning, effort and perseverance will always work its magic. The question is not whether the formula for success will work, but rather whether the person will work the formula. That is the unknown variable. That is the challenge that confronts us all.

We can all go from wherever we are to wherever we want to be. No dream is impossible provided we first have the courage to believe in it.

Here is how you can do that—13 ways to improve your life:

1. Face your fears.

That’s how you conquer them. Don’t dismiss them; face them. Say, Here’s what I’m afraid of. I wonder what I could do to change that. Face your fears today.

2. Exercise your willpower to change direction.

You don’t have to keep doing what you’ve been doing the last six years if it’s not yielding the benefits you want. Pick a new destination and go that way. Use your willpower to start the process. You don’t have to repeat last year. Clean up the errors. Invest it now in the next year. Watch it make the difference.

3. Admit your mistakes.

Sometimes you have to admit them to others. Here’s one of the best phrases in the English language: “I’m sorry.” Those words could start a whole new relationship. They could start two people going in a whole new direction. Admit your mistakes to yourself. You don’t have to babble about them to everyone in the neighborhood. But it doesn’t hurt you to sit down and have a conversation with yourself and say, There’s no use kidding myself. Here’s where I really am. I’ve got pennies in my pocket and I’ve got nothing in the bank. That’s what I said after a Girl Scout left my door. I had a conversation with myself and I said, I don’t want this to happen anymore.

Related: Ziglar: 3 Things to Do When You Make a Mistake

4. Refine your goals.

Start the process. Set some higher goals. Reach for some higher purpose. Go for something beyond what you thought you could do.

5. Believe in yourself.

You’ve got to believe in the possibilities. You’ve got to believe that tomorrow can be better than today. Believe in yourself. There isn’t a skill you can’t learn; there isn’t a discipline you can’t try; there isn’t a class you can’t take; there isn’t a book you couldn’t read.

6. Ask for wisdom.

Ask for wisdom that creates answers. Ask for wisdom to deal with the challenges for today and tomorrow. Don’t wish it was easier; wish you were better.

7. Conserve your time.

Sometimes we get faked out. Motivational speaker Bill Bailey says the average person says, “I’ve got 20 more years.” But Bill says you’ve got 20 more times. If you go fishing once a year, you’ve only got 20 more times to go fishing, not 20 years. That fakes you out.

8. Invest your profits.

Here’s one of the philosophies that my mentor, Earl Shoaff, gave me: Profits are better than wages. Wages make you a living, profits make you a fortune. Could we start earning profits while we make a living? The answer is yes.

9. Live with intensity

You might as well turn it up a notch or two. Invest more of you in whatever you do. Be a little stronger; be a little wiser. Step up your vitality contribution. Put everything you’ve got into everything you do and then ask for more vitality, more strength and more vigor, more heart and more soul.

10. Find your place.

If you just work at a job, find the best place you can serve well, and sure enough they’ll ask you to occupy a better place. Keep doing a job well; do the very best you can. That’s your best way out.

11. Demand integrity from yourself.

Integrity is like loyalty. You can’t demand it of someone else; you can only demand it of yourself. Be the best example of loyalty and you’ll get loyal followers. Be the best example of integrity and you’ll have people around you who have integrity. Lead the way.

12. Welcome the disciplines.

I can’t give you much better advice than that because disciplines create reality. Disciplines build cities. A well-disciplined activity creates abundance, uniqueness and productivity.

13. Fight for what’s right.

It’s extraordinary to be able to say: “I fought for my kids; I fought for what was right; I fought for good health; I fought to protect my company; I fought for a good career that would bless my family. I fought a good fight.” It’s good to fight the encroachment. Opposites are in conflict and you’re in the middle. If you want something valuable, you’ve got to fight for it.

Related: John C. Maxwell: It Only Takes 6 Steps to Change Your Life

3 Ways To Not Let The Pressure Get The Best Of You

Everyone has had that talk in the mirror. “Ok, you really have to get yourself together (fill in name here)!” In the fast paced world that we live in, no one stops to take a break to smell the roses anymore and we all feel the consequences.

We are constantly in autopilot from the time we wake up in the morning until the time we lay down for bed.

Whether its that 8 a.m. class or you have that dead end job that you love so much something is always seeming to take up your time that you could be using otherwise.

This list is designed to help you get back some of that time and to help you use it to become a better you.

1. Wake up an hour early

This is one that many successful people like Bill Gates, Oprah, Mark Zuckerberg and many others live by.

Waking up an hour earlier gives you that Me-Time that we all need from time to time. Some people use it to meditate while others use it to prepare themselves for the hectic day.

Whatever you do with your extra hour is up to you but one thing I know is that you’ll thank yourself for it.

2. Plan out your day and keep a to-do list

Planning out your day provides you with a roadmap for the day ahead and provides a little more structure in an otherwise crazy world.

Your to-do list is essential as well as long as you prioritize your list.

Have you ever had a day that kinda seemed like you were doing more and more and you were feeling more out of control of the day?

Have you had a day that seemed like there was nothing in the world to do?

Your action plan and to-do list will be there as a GPS to help you find your way through all the calamity and waste to help you save your most valuable resource: your time.

“Success is never getting to the bottom of your to-do list.” – Marissa Mayer

3. Plan time to analyze and evaluate your past and future actions

This should be done with the time you saved from your day plan and to-do list.

Taking out time to really get yourself together is one of the most important things you could do throughout your day.

When doing this you should self reflect and you should really be honest with yourself. Look to see what you have done to create the most pleasurable effects as well as the ones most unpleasurable effects.

This will help you spot where you are sabotaging yourself and your day.

This shouldn’t take more than 15-30 minutes, well unless you have done a lot of sabotaging.

4. Surround yourself with successful people

Remember the old saying: “Surround yourself with whom you want to become and you will become them.” Well that saying has some truth in it.

Ever wonder why successful people don’t have a lot of friends and the friends they do have are successful too?

Turns out that if you begin to hang out with people more successful than you then you will too begin to become more successful.

This isn’t magic or some scientific fact its from mere human contact and conversation.

If you and your successful friends are talking and they are telling you about their latest power moves and you don’t have any to talk about, the conversation will be short lived with you.

So have something to bring to the conversation and it will make you a better person.

5. Talk about ideas instead of people

This is another one that most successful people live by.

If you think about it all businesses, products, and inventions were created from the exchange of ideas between two or more successful people.

With that being said, if you spend most of your time talking about what the Joneses are up to or what Carl did yesterday no ideas are being exchanged and nothing is created, well except for resentment for the Joneses and Carl.

Talking about your ideas will refine and strengthen them.

This is essential on your path to becoming a better you.

“Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

6. Read something about a recent happening in your field of interest everyday

We have the world wide web at our fingertips and yet only a portion of us actually take advantage of it.

Whether its the bi-weekly and monthly magazines that you receive, the daily newspaper, or just surfing the web you should take time to read up on the latest happenings in your chosen field.

The world is changing at a very fast pace and once you’re behind it will be hard to get back in the know.

So impress your peers and higher ups with the knowledge you have on the recent changes in your field.

Besides it’ll make a better you.

7. Smile

Accepting stress in the world is second nature to us and its nothing to smile about.

New research provides us with the health and overall benefits of smiling and this gets interesting.

Smiling actually acts as an all natural stress reliever and it may help with your quest for a longer life.

Feeling down? Smiling will also boost your mood.

Smiling is contagious and your smile will brighten other people’s day.

Next time you’re feeling down smile because it will help in creating a better environment and a better you.

8. Volunteer

Giving some of your spare time for something better is a rewarding experience.

Whether its donating food to your local food bank or helping around your local businesses it will be much appreciated I guarantee it.

Volunteering has a two part benefit to you :
  • It will provide you with something to put on your resume for college or a job and they take volunteering seriously.
  • It can help you foster relationships with the business owners and people you volunteer for.
  • It will provide you with a good reference for your next job or venture.

9. Find a mentor

Having a mentor is one of the best ways to become a better you.

Having someone who has already gone through what you are trying to do is a great way to get inside information.

Questions to ask a mentor would include:
  • What do you think you could have done differently and why?
  • What are some things you would recommend for an aspiring (fill in profession)?

Use these answers to help you through your process and use them to guide future decisions.

10. Set a goal and work towards it

Last but not least on your journey to becoming a better you, make sure to set some short and long term goals.

Nothing is more important than having goals and dreams in life but actually working towards them.

We all have fallen in to the old New Years Resolution trap and we never actually do what we say we are going to do.

Studies show that more than 50 percent of people who create a New Years Resolution will fail to complete it within 5 months.

You don’t want to become that person, so set some goals and work toward them and oh yeah by the way don’t forget to become a better you.

30 Challenges For 30 Days (That Will Make You A Better Person)

If you are one of those people who is constantly working on their self-improvement, try this 30-day challenge project! Choose one of the challenges below that are designed to help make you a ‘Better You’.

We all have room for growth, so why not start today. And the best bit is you can customize your own challenge!

Orange = Hard Level

Yellow = Intermediate Level

Green = Easy Level

But no matter which difficulty level you choose, all of these really can make a massive difference in your life!

Create daily white space in your calendar for 30 days.

A lot of us think that we should put as many things on our calendar as possible, and if there is blank space, it must be filled up.

But actually, it is good to have a bit of completely free time every day.

When you make your life too organized and full of to-do lists, anxiety happens. Allow yourself to set aside some time to just “stop” and relax.

Set a “no expectation” rule for 30 days.

You’d be surprised by how much of our anger and disappointment comes from other people or events not living up to our expectations.

So try to open your mind to new possibilities! Don’t plan that trip abroad so much, go easy on your ideal partner “list” etc.

Also, ask yourself what expectations you have for yourself? It is good to have dreams and goals but don’t go over the top. Be kind to yourself! You are doing your best, so stop obsessing over your mistakes.

Take a 20-minute walk each day.

Walking is simply great for your health. It helps you lose weight, gives you more energy and helps to clear your mind.

So if you find you’re stuck in your car in traffic most of the time, find time to go for a short walk every day. Even if it is during your lunch break!

Compliment someone each day.

The power of random daily compliments is underrated!

This little act of kindness can make someone’s day. It also gives you a reason to smile and focus on something good for a second. Plus, it’s a great way to build trust and start conversations with strangers.

And finally, what goes around, comes around! 😉

Take one photo a day.

Make a little 30-day photo diary. Create a folder on your phone or your computer and save the photos in there.

But the rule is that only 1 photo can go in it per day. We are used to posting so much meaningless stuff on social media, that it will be good to try and pick just one moment a day that is photo worthy.

It works the other way round, too. Sometimes you may think there is nothing good or interesting happening in your life at all. This challenge will make you look for little happy moments harder, trust me, there is always something.

After 30 days have a look at your photo collection to see how amazing your life actually is.

Write down 3 things you are grateful for every day.

Start a gratitude diary and every evening before going to sleep jot down three things you are thankful for. These can be the tiniest things, like good weather or getting a compliment from someone.

Avoid toxic people for 30 days.

OK, this may sound like it shouldn’t be in the “easy” section. Of course, sometimes you will just have to face negative people and there will be no way around it.

But the idea is that you will make a conscious effort to avoid them. And will try to stay away from arguments and drama.

Try to avoid negative affirmations for 30 days.

Again, the goal of this challenge is for you to develop a habit of using words with contractions less.

Try to flip the sentences to focus on the positive rather than the negative.

For example, instead of saying “I probably won’t be able to do this”, say “I will try my best to do this”.

This will teach your brain to look for opportunities and to see the good in every situation.

Smile back at children who smile at you.

Have you ever noticed how when little children smile and wave at you, you feel uncomfortable and turn away?

They are just spreading positive energy that you so often don’t get enough of. So don’t frown and look away, smile back!

In fact, try to smile more yourself. It can make all the difference in the world.

Listen to music for the mood you want to be in, instead of the mood you’re already in.

It is interesting how we usually listen to sad songs when we are sad, even though listening to something upbeat could have actually cheered us up a little bit.

Make a playlist of happy songs and listen to them whenever you are starting to feel sad or lonely.

It is important to catch a bad mood early and make sure it doesn’t get worse.

Throw away one (new) thing every day.

This will do so much good for you. Both for the physical space around you and the mental space in your head.

Start with little things, that are just trash, like your actual trash from your kitchen, or old receipts and tissues in your pockets.

Then, move on to things you know you have to go through, but couldn’t make yourself to. This includes items like old documents in your drawer and duplicate photos. Then, sort out clothes you haven’t worn for the last 5 years and probably never will. Of course, consider donating these to charity rather than throwing away, but this still counts as getting rid of them.

And finally, find the strength to throw away those little keepsakes that connect you to negative things from your past and keep you from moving forward.

Here is a list of 150+ things you can get rid of to get you started.

Write for 10 minutes in a journal every day.

Buy a notepad and write about your day in it. This may sound like something only teenage girls do, but actually, journaling is an extremely powerful mindfulness exercise.

Putting your thoughts and feelings on paper will help you get you in touch with your internal world, reduce stress and solve problems more effectively.

Plus, this way you can keep track of your personal achievements. After 30 days re-read your journal to see how far you’ve come.

Finish reading a (good) book in 30 days.

This isn’t as easy as it sounds. How many books have you started reading but never finished? Or finished half a year later? Or even just bought and never opened them at all?

To avoid this, set yourself a goal to actually finish it in 30 days this time. Read at your own pace. You can either do 10 minutes every day before going to bed or a couple of hours during a rainy weekend.

Make sure to choose something that will help your personal growth as well. We have a list of 10 LOA books that we recommend here. But you can choose anything that you find motivational and inspirational.

Take 10 minutes every day to practice self-care.

We all often get caught up in our daily chores so much that we don’t leave any time for practicing self-care.

So for the next 30 days try doing more of what makes you happy. Start with identifying all the activities that make you feel better and make a list of them and include as many as possible.

Then put them on your calendar and start doing them every day. Don’t forget to check in with yourself regularly to make sure you are actually doing things that make you feel good.

Here are 64 ideas for self-care that you may find useful.

Meditate for 5-15 minutes every day.

If you’re feeling like you can’t quieten your thoughts and are constantly stressed because of that, try meditation.

It’s not that hard, and if you are thinking that it always involves sitting in an uncomfortable lotus position. Relax, you can sit in a chair, lie down on a bed or even walk around.

Plus, there are plenty of free guided meditations out there that can help you get more benefits in less time. If you are interested, you can read more about brainwave audios for meditation here.

Go to bed at the same time every day (and wake up at the same time).

Getting a good night’s sleep is so very important. But unfortunately, many people don’t have an evening routine and end up feeling tired and stressed.

Think about what time you need to wake up to have a rush free morning. Count 7-9 hours (depending on how much sleep you personally need) back from that and decide that’s the time you are now going to bed every day.

Start getting ready for sleep 20 minutes before that by shutting down the computer screen and taking a nice hot shower.

Do one random act of kindness every day.

This is your chance to spread positivity and maybe even make someone’s entire day.

It’s easier than you think, there are hundreds of little things you can do every day. Compliments and donations are always a good way to go.

And here are some other ideas, just to get you started:

  • Befriend that lonely person in your company or group of friends.
  • Let the person who seems to be in a rush move in front of you.
  • Let people merge-in during traffic.
  • Say thank you – a lot – to the bus driver, the barista, the grocery store cashiers etc. Everyone works hard and would love to hear that you appreciate it.
  • Offer to help your friend move/unpack.
  • Help someone whose car has broken down.

Make an effort to stay in touch or reconnect with old friends every day.

Think of all the friends you have drifted apart (or are drifting apart) from. Send them a random message and maybe suggest to meet and catch up. Good people are hard to come by, so make an effort to keep the ones you have in your life.

By the way, this includes saying hi to your neighbors when you see them instead of pretending to be listening to music. Maybe even ask them how they are and have a little chat. After all, you do basically live together.

Cook for the week ahead every Sunday.

Not just for the obvious health benefits, but also because it will save you a lot of time. And you won’t stress out anymore because your to-do list is already full and there is still cooking to do in the evening.

Try it, your life will definitely become easier and more organized.

Add a new detail to your dream board every day.

The secret of effective visualization is making it as strong and vibrant and detailed as you can.

So this is your chance to really work on your dream board. Choose one big goal and then drill down to the level of detail.

Add one new thing to your dream board every day to make the final result as specific as possible.

Talk to one stranger each day.

Yes, we are moving on to the harder ones. And for many, talking to strangers probably sounds like an impossible task.

Even if you don’t have social anxiety, talking to someone new is never easy.

But it is one of the easiest ways to meet new people, start relationships, find new job opportunities and just open yourself to new possibilities.

So for the next 30 days make yourself chat with one stranger per day. The conversation can literally be as short as “Hi. Is this seat taken?”, “No, it’s not”, “Great, thank you”.

Because you never know, you might end up having a long, interesting chat with that person. Just don’t overthink it and stay friendly.

Re-evaluate one long-held belief.

Questioning your beliefs is a great way to rid yourself of the mindset that is holding you back in life.

The hardest part here is probably actually recognizing which beliefs are limiting.

It can be something as simple as not trying a new sport because you think you won’t enjoy it. But you could end up loving it, joining your local team, making lots of new friends and maybe even meeting your soulmate.

Of course, other limiting beliefs can be more complex. To discover what they are and how to get rid of them, try the online program called ‘Origins‘. It works wonders for shattering negative beliefs about money, love, and success. And opens your mind to a new and exciting life. !

Try a new hobby for 30 days.

Following from the previous point about trying new things, why don’t you pick up a new hobby and commit to it for 30 days.

This is especially great for those who are getting bored with their daily routine. It’ll break up your typical day and add a bit of excitement.

Plus, new hobbies push you out of your comfort zone and as we all know that is where the opportunity for growth is.

But it isn’t just about new skills. It is also about getting to know new people. When you try something new, you’re bound to meet new people. And they may end up playing a huge role in your life.

Media-fast for 30 days.

Also called a ‘Digital Detox‘. Don’t watch any tv when you get back home from work and don’t spend any time on Facebook.

Limit yourself to only using your phone for necessities.

Stop the information overload and try living simply. You will be amazed how much free time you have left! Free time that you can spend on something much more productive.

And you will also notice your mood improve because a lot of the things we watch on tv or read in our newsfeed just annoy or upset us anyway.

Ditch one bad habit you have.

No one knows you better than you do. So you should be the one to decide which one bad habit is ruining your life and then try to ditch it.

It can be swearing, drinking, procrastinating, eating junk food and so on.

It is time to face this problem, whatever it is.

Of course, there is also a chance that you feel like something is holding you back, but you honestly don’t know what it is.

If this is the case, take this free 60 seconds online test to get a personalized report on what is stopping you from living the life you want.

Read the report and go from there.

The point is, there is always something that can be done, you can change your life.

Be the “Yes Man”.

Ok, you don’t have to go to the same extremes as Jim Carrey in the film, but do try to say “yes” more often, especially when you feel it might do you good.

Your friend offered to go out next weekend, but you’re feeling lazy? Say yes and go anyway, you might end up having a great time and meeting someone interesting.

Saying “yes” more often will really boost your potential.

Listen to yourself for the next 30 days and notice when you are saying “no” to fresh ideas or chances to make unexpected discoveries. Say “yes” instead.

Try new food, different music, going to a movie you’d normally avoid. Or even dress and behave differently for a little while.

Get a professional qualification.

If you feel like your career may be stagnating, this is a great challenge for you.

There is always scope for learning. So even if there is no opportunity to learn new skills through your work, you can still find a way to develop them.

Find a short professional training course related to your field and pass it.

You need to take ownership of your career and its continuing development.

Don’t lie for 30 days.

This is quite the challenge because it also includes stopping lying to yourself.

But it does help you get to know yourself better and makes life easier in general.

Do something that scares you every day.

Doing something that scares you isn’t easy at all, but it will help you push your boundaries in the future, make you more productive and prepare you to grasp opportunities when they arise.

So for the next 30 days look for ways to step out of your comfort zone.

Write your little achievements down, so that you can have a record of how far you’ve come.

Don’t complain for 30 days.

This is a great way to create a more positive life by eliminating negative statements. You will become more self-aware, more mindful and a happier person in general.

Start by tracking what you complain about and how often!

You may be doing it without even noticing it. And chances are you are complaining about the same things to the same people. So you just need to realize that you are doing it, that is the first step.

The second step is to force yourself to stop as soon as you start complaining. Or better yet, not let the negative words leave your mouth at all.

And if there is something serious you absolutely have to complain about, turn the complaint into looking for a solution. Don’t just say what the problem is, also brainstorm what can be done about it.

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16 Small Ways You Can Improve Your Life in Less than 30 Minutes

Improving your life doesn’t have to be about making one big gesture. Instead, it’s something you can constantly work on—and it typically comes down to the small things you do every day.

I understand that no one has all the time in the world to think about self-improvement and personal development when there’s work and family and bills to pay, so let’s start with just 30 minutes a week.

Yup, that’s all—now I bet you’re listening.

What I’m asking is that you try one (or two, or five, or all) of these activities and see if they help you become a better “you,” whether that means increasing your confidence, reducing your stress, creating deeper relationships, or becoming a healthier individual.

1. Achieve Mindfulness

I’m sure you’re so sick of hearing that you should “totally try meditation,” especially from your (recently) yoga-crazed mother. But mindfulness is a lot more realistic to achieve than the kind of meditation you hear about because it doesn’t require years of practice and a yoga mat. And, it only takes 30 minutes (or less!) sitting right at your desk.

Wanna give it a shot? Here’s exactly how to do it.

2. Develop a Consistent Morning Routine

Muse Career Coach Adrian J. Hopkins suggests that the key to having a productive day, and saving yourself time in the morning, is “breaking down every task into small steps, then scheduling everything by starting from the end of the day and working backward.” This means you know exactly what activity you’ll do when from the moment you wake up.

Sounds a bit overwhelming, yes, but the reason it works is because you don’t waste any time trying to decide on things—spending 10 minutes picking out an outfit, spending 15 minutes deciding if you want to go on a run. This way, you limit yourself to small minute increments so that you’ll always be out the house exactly on time.

3. Develop a Consistent Bedtime Routine

A happy, healthy morning starts with a killer bedtime routine. There’s no perfect answer for making your own, but the important thing is to make one and stick to it.

For example, every evening I shower, make my lunch for the next day, and spend 10 or so minutes doing something that relaxes me in bed, whether that’s scrolling through social media, reading 15 pages of a book, or talking to my parents on the phone. It’s not always like this, but the consistency helps me fall asleep better and feel prepared to conquer the day ahead.

Muse writer Kat Moon has five great bedtime routines you should definitely try—each will only take you five minutes.

4. Re-Do Your Bedroom for a Better Night’s Sleep

Especially when you’re busy or stressed, it can be hard to get your best sleep every night, even with an awesome routine. Instead, try creating a space where you’ll always feel good going to bed by trying out these seven quick DIY projects.

5. Find an Energizing Midday Activity That’s Good for You

You probably saw it coming, but just as important as setting a schedule for your mornings and evenings is also having an activity that is guaranteed to bring you out of the worst midday slumps.

Muse writer Lily Herman suggests developing these five habits, or, if you’re a coffee addict, consider these better alternatives to help you recharge.

6. Make Your Lunch (and Dinner)

Making your meals every day not only guarantees you have control over your health, but it’s also cheaper and a great way to learn a new skill or experiment with your cooking abilities.

Plus, you get to boast to co-workers when they ask where you got the food. And for some brag-worthy recipes, check out these 52 lunches, or, for the lazy, these quick office snack ideas.

7. Then Eat it Away From Your Desk

Muse writer Kat Boogaard learned many valuable lessons after bravely eating lunch away from her desk. For one thing, taking a break is just good for you. But, she also realized the importance of practicing work-life balance all day, rather than just after work was over. By giving yourself that time off during office hours, you’re already one step closer to a healthier, well-balanced life.

8. Watch a TED Talk

TED Talks are like a mini-lecture. They just might teach you more about yourself, or inspire you to innovate and carry out that dream you’ve always thought about. Plus, they’re only about 20 minutes—watch one while getting ready for work in the morning, or during your lunch break, or when you’re sitting in a waiting room for a super-quick knowledge boost.

9. Listen to a Podcast

Similarly, podcasts are a great on-the-go news source. And a lot of the time they’re just what you need to unwind without completely wasting away in front of the TV (not that I have anything against relaxing that way). I’m a big fan of tackling one podcast during my commute—half of it on the way to work, half on the way back, and the stories always bring out some real emotions. (For reference, my favorites are This American Life and You’re the Expert.)

10. Do a Bunch of Little Productive Tasks

I challenge you to set aside 30 minutes and do all those nitty-gritty tasks you’ve been meaning to do, all at once. First, this prevents you from multitasking later on when emails are rushing in while you’re trying to do your work. Second, it forces you to tackle those things that make you cringe—things that, once they’re done, will make your life a heck of a lot easier.

Not sure what chores I mean? I’ll help you out—here’s a to-do list of 21 useful things you can do in five minutes, then, if those don’t do it for you, here are nine other productive things you can complete in 15 minutes.

11. Get to Know Yourself

What better way to improve your life than by learning all about your strengths and weaknesses and honing in on your best self. To get started, here are 14 free personality test you can take in the next half hour.

12. Treat Yourself

How long has it been since you treated yourself to a relaxing massage or a manicure? Well, maybe this is your week to do it. Was there a game you’ve been meaning to download and play? Or, a cool new lunch spot? You deserve it, so go get it (just don’t overdo your 30 minutes of leisure, especially on the job).

13. Revisit Your Goals

You probably made some New Year’s resolutions or set monthly goals for yourself (whether on paper or in the back of your mind). Have you followed through on any of them? Are there ones you can get rid of, or alter? Do you feel confident in achieving all of them? Take some time this week to reflect positively on how far you’ve come, and think about where you want to be—and maybe write down the steps you need to take to get there.

14. Connect With an Old Friend or New Co-worker

If it’s been a while since you’ve seen or talked to someone, reach out and let them know you’re thinking about them. Maybe even try it the old-fashioned way—sending a physical letter! There’s no doubt snail mail makes anyone’s day. (Isn’t it the worst when you open your mailbox to nothing?)

Or, if you haven’t had a chance to meet a colleague in another department at the office, or a new co-worker who just joined last week, consider meeting up for lunch or coffee. You’ll make a work friend (or, eventually a work wife or husband), and, even better, you’ll build up your network.

(Bonus: Studies show that hanging around good people leads to better lifestyle choices!)

15. Clean Your Closet

By “closet” I could also mean your desk, your office, your bedroom, or even your kitchen cabinets or dishes. Cleaning is stress-relieving, and actually a form of mindful meditation, according to some studies. So, kill two birds with one stone by reorganizing your space and practicing positive self-awareness.

16. Get Outside

Notice how I didn’t say “go to the gym” or “go for a run.” Because, yes, exercise is great. But for most people, including myself, it’s a lot easier said than done.

So, I have another option for you—go outside. Walk around, sit in the park and read, or go for a leisurely bike ride. Just being outdoors is good for you in so many ways. It improves creativity, helps us age better, makes us happier, and, it might actually make you want to work out more (science says so!).

Don’t you feel better already? Try out these simple tips and see if you can start to develop better habits—the goal being you’ll be healthier and happier a lot more often than just 30 minutes a week.

Photo of happy woman courtesy of Hero Images/Getty Images.

16 Ways to Become a Better Person

Set the goal of being a little bit better today than you were yesterday.

Make the commitment to be better each day by having better thoughts, making better choices, and taking better actions. The better person you are, the better people, life situations, and opportunities you will attract into your life. Below you’ll find 16 ways to become a better person.

1. Pick Yourself. Whatever it is that you want to accomplish or achieve, stop waiting for somebody else to pick you. Instead, pick yourself. Here are four examples:

  • If you want to be a writer, stop waiting for a publishing house to accept your manuscript. Instead, publish it yourself.
  • If you want to make more money, stop waiting for your company to raise your salary. Instead, create an additional source of income in your spare time.
  • If you want a better education, stop waiting for people working in a college admissions office to accept you. Instead, create your own curriculum and learn what you need from books, seminars, and online courses.
  • If you want to be an actor but you’re not being cast in any movies, write your own script and give yourself the starring role (think Matt Damon and Ben Affleck in “Goodwill Hunting”)

2. Start a Business. Starting a business will do all of the following for you:

  • It will teach you to generate ideas, test those ideas, and execute them.
  • It will give you problem-solving skills.
  • It will teach you marketing and selling skills.

3. Travel the World. When you travel you gain new experiences, you learn about different cultures, and you get to sample different lifestyles. In addition, you get to taste exotic food, listen to different music genres, and see different art forms. At the very least, you’ll be more interesting and have better stories to tell.

4. Do Something Artistic. Take an art class, learn to make pottery, or learn to make jewelry. Making art is a form of self-expression, and it can even be healing. There are few things as rewarding and life affirming as creating something new with your own two hands.

5. Volunteer. True happiness comes from giving and doing for others. Volunteer organizations always need more help. Find a cause that’s close to your heart–child hunger, domestic violence, animal cruelty, and so on–, and volunteer your time and/or your expertise.

6. Develop Your Character. Benjamin Franklin–one of the Founding Fathers of the United States of America–came up with a list of 13 virtues that he wanted to develop. He also devised a method for acquiring these virtues. Here’s what he would do:

  • He would devote a week to each virtue, and observe and monitor his behavior to make sure that it was aligned with that week’s virtue.
  • If he felt that he had committed any faults related to the week’s virtue, he would make a little black mark in a book that he kept with him at all times.
  • His objective was to go through the week without having to make any black marks in his book.

You can follow a similar method to develop your own character. What virtues would you like to develop? How can you observe and monitor your behavior to make sure that you’re adhering to those virtues?

7. Take An Improv Class. Taking an improv class will teach you to think faster and better on your feet. Knowing how to push a conversation forward can help you to score a date, land a job, or close the deal.

In the book “Yes, And: How Improvisation Reverses “No, But” Thinking and Improves Creativity and Collaboration“, the authors–executives from the world’s premier comedy theater and school of improvisation–argue that business is an act of improvisation. They add that the world is a gray place, and having an improv toolkit is important.

The authors also say the following;

  • Improvisation is yoga for your social skills.
  • It teaches you to create something out of nothing.
  • You learn to respond to the unexpected.

8. Master a Game. Mastering a game–such as chess or Go–teaches you strategy, it teaches you to compete, and it teaches you flexibility and adaptability. In addition, you learn to master your emotions–playing chess against a worthy opponent can be mental torture. Also, it teaches you to lose — which is something that you need to know how to do, if you want to win.

9. Master a Sport. Mastering a sport teaches you everything that you learn by mastering a game, but you’re also getting a physical workout. Plus, there’s no shortage of sports you can try.

10. Become More Lovable. The other day I saw the following quote go by on my Twitter stream: “If you want to be loved, be lovable.” The quote was credited to the Roman poet, Ovid. We all want to be loved, so, how do become more lovable? Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Give others genuine praise.
  • Encourage others to go after their dreams.
  • If you must criticize, do so gently and compassionately.
  • Be kind.

11. Learn a Foreign Language. As I wrote in my post “21 Fantastic Tips and Hacks For Learning a Foreign Language“, I speak three languages and am currently learning a fourth. Why would I go through the trouble of learning another language? Because learning languages has many benefits.

Here are some of them:

  • Learning a new language will make you more cultured;
  • It will make you a global citizen;
  • It gives your brain a good workout; and
  • It will give you a sense of accomplishment.

12. Solve a Problem. Once in awhile I’ll watch a show called “Modern Family”. Claire Dunphy–a character in the show–is a soccer mom. In one episode she’s angry because there’s a sports car that keeps speeding through the suburban streets of her neighborhood.

Instead of just complaining about the speeding car, she takes action to solve the problem. In a later episode, she succeeds in getting the local council to install a “Stop Sign” on her street. Is there a problem that you’re constantly complaining about? Stop complaining and start taking steps to solve it.

13. Become a Better Communicator. While everyone knows how to talk, few people have mastered the skill of communicating. In turn, much conflict is caused by miscommunication. Learn to speak clearly and concisely. In addition, learn to become a better listener.

14. Learn How to Learn. Learning how to learn is a meta-skill. It’s about acquiring an approach to learning that will allow to learn any skill that you’re trying to master better and faster. And the more skills you know, the better person you can be.

15. Start a Blog. You can become a better person by starting a blog on a topic that interests you. Why? At the very least, it will encourage you to research and learn more about your topic. In addition, you can create a community of like-minded people who share your interests. You could even get to the point in which you’re recognized as an expert on your topic.

16. Always Be Polite. Yesterday someone contacted me asking if they could publish one of my blog posts on their site. It turns out that they were asking for permission after the fact (they had already published my post). In addition, although they gave me credit for having written the article, they didn’t even link to my site.

I was tempted to send a scathing email demanding that they take my post down, immediately. However, I sent a polite email asking that they “kindly take my post down”. They did take it down, and I felt much better about myself than if I had sent a meanly-worded email.

Be a better person by always being polite.

Conclusion

Every day you have a brand new opportunity to be a better person. Take it. You can get started with the 16 ways to be a better person outlined above. Live your best life by being a better person.

  • How to Sharpen the Saw – Adopting Habits of Renewal (Part 1)
  • How to Start Your Day The Right Way
  • Eight Ways to Build to New Habits and Make Them Stick
  • Seven Things To Stop Doing To Become An Early Riser

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