September is National Self Improvement Month (NSIM)! The Think Dirty team wants to support you in achieving all your dreams and living your best life. To help you on your journey of self-improvement, here are some tips and tricks to get there.
Personal Growth Goal Setting
If you have no idea where to start with your personal growth, try goal setting. The process of setting goals can help focus your energy and improve success. Goal setting can be intimidating! To simplify the process, try using the S.M.A.R.T method. This stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-Based.
Let’s break this down, vague goals are less attainable than smaller more specific goals. Measurable means you can check your progress toward reaching the goal and define when to achieve the goal. Setting an attainable goal is key to ensuring you stay motivated and do not get discouraged. Relevant goals need to make sense with your life and your trajectory. It is not helpful to set a goal entirely outside the scope of where you want to be going. Finally time-based, having a clear deadline to achieve the goal helps you stay on track and prevents procrastination.
An example that does not meet these criteria is “I want to be successful in a career”. This goal is vague, has no clear timeline, and does not have a clear measurement to evaluate completion.
An example of a S.M.A.R.T goal is “I want to receive a promotion to a management position within the next 6 months by surpassing the sales targets set for me.”
Visualize The Goal
Once you have picked a goal it can still feel impossible to get started. We love the idea of having a place to write down your goals and creatively represent them. Having a visualization of your goals is a good way to remind yourself of what targets you establish and want to achieve. By having it written down, you can always go back and check it as well. If writing is not your thing, try an inspiration board to keep you motivated.
If your goal is long-term, it is helpful to break it down into smaller steps that feel more manageable. What are some things you can do in the short term that will help you achieve your long-term goal? For example, working towards saving up for a car can be broken down into setting aside a certain amount each month. These smaller goals will help you have a sense of accomplishment after completing each step, while still working towards the larger goal.
After all that mental work, all that’s left to do is start! Taking things one day at a time can help build up eventually to the larger picture.
Mind, Body, and Voice
Now that we have personal growth set up, let’s focus on your physical growth. Here we divide it into three different categories: body, mind, and voice.
Routines: Sleep, Food, & Exercise
Everyone has heard of these next points. But the truth is, the science behind these tips does not lie. For example, getting enough sleep is crucial to one’s physical growth. Sleep deprivation is linked to lower vigilant attention and brain function, as well as can increase the risk of mental health problems such as stress, depression, and anxiety. Not eating well can lead to impaired brain function and poor health outcomes.
The best way to improve your body’s growth is to establish routines and pay attention to what your body needs. That means having a regular sleep schedule, eating properly, and exercising at least 150 minutes a week. Sleep, food, and exercise do more than just take care of your physical body. They are crucial for taking care of your mental state. All three are key to maintaining good mental health and, can help in coping with mental illness. This leads us to our next area of physical growth- the mind.
Next let’s talk about something just as important as your body, the mind!
Kind Self Talk
Our first tip is important to mental health. Pay attention to the tone of your thoughts. Are they oftentimes negative? Do you tend to spiral into a negative train of thought? These kinds of thinking can lead to a negative attitude on life, and our actions being negatively interpreted. By paying attention to the tone of your thoughts, you can often avoid these negative spirals, and have a healthier outlook on your life. Let’s be clear, we are not saying that being positive is all it takes to prevent or treat mental illness. Negative self-talk and catastrophizing contribute to anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues. Breaking those cycles is a key coping mechanism to help you function better in your day-to-day life.
Learn To Adapt
Our second tip is to learn to be adaptable and embrace change. Some of us may not be ‘go with the flow’ people and that is ok. Flexibility in both body and mind, however, can help you lead a healthy and less stressful lifestyle. That also means listening to others who may have different thinking styles, opinions, and desires, and learning from them, even if you don’t agree with theirs.
Skip The Comparisons
Our third tip is to stop comparing yourself to others. It is important to remember that everyone grows and develops at their own pace. You also can never know what is going on in someone’s life and what circumstances have led them to where they are. When comparing yourself to others who are excelling more, you end up doubting your ability.
Now that the body and mind are covered, let’s discuss using your voice. Our categorization of voice is how you talk to yourself and those around you. This part is just as crucial as your body and your mind because if you cannot talk about these things, how are you going to improve?
Learn To Say No
The first tip we have is learning how to say no. Finding the strength to say no is a means of taking care of yourself through setting boundaries. As you progress through your journey of personal growth you will find it easier to say no when you are uncomfortable or unable to deliver on a promise.
Embrace Failure & Learn
The second tip is to learn to embrace failure and admit your mistakes. This means being comfortable acknowledging your shortcomings and evaluating how you can grow from them. Using your failures as a means of growth is important, but learning to humbly admit failure to others will demonstrate your integrity and willingness to learn. Every successful person has a trail of failures behind them that they have learned from.
Find Support & New Perspectives
Finally, our third tip is to reach out to others for guidance and support. While it may be difficult, talking to others can help you deal with tough situations. It can help put things in a different perspective and may spark unique solutions. Simply speaking with someone can also help you acknowledge your strengths and help build your confidence to face the situation on your own. Be sure to return the favor and use your unique knowledge to help others.
Here’s a quick summary of the tips we recommend for self improve:
- S.M.A.R.T. Goals
- Visualize The Goal
- Take Baby Steps With The Goal
- Routines: Sleep, Food, & Exercise
- Kind Self Talk
- Learn To Adapt
- Skip The Comparisons
- Learn To Say No
- Embrace Failure & Learn
- Find Support & New Perspectives
The next thing is to simply take these tips and slowly implement them into your life! If you want to read more, here are some articles our team has written on coping:
- The Hard Truth About Anxiety In The Time of Corona
- Think Dirty Coping Toolbox: Moodboards + Playlists
National Self Improvement Month: 10 Tips To Improve Yourself was originally published in Think Dirty on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.