Whether you’re preparing to implement a list of New Year’s resolutions or just deciding to live a better life that delivers more in terms of personal satisfaction, there are many different ways you can choose to be a better person from here on out.
Sometimes the changes that you make will mainly benefit you. Usually, when you improve yourself, it helps to have a positive impact on those around you. There are some areas of your life you probably know you can improve on.
For example, if you’re constantly struggling with debt, then you already know you need to fix your finances. However, sometimes you don’t even know that you need help in other areas of your life.
But once you start making small changes to improve your life as a whole, you suddenly realize that it was necessary to your mental and sometimes physical well-being. Not all changes are tangible in nature.
For example, when you go to the bank and are able to withdraw more cash, that’s something that you can prove to yourself at any time. Other changes are mental or spiritual in nature.
You may learn how to appreciate the little things in life more. But it will be harder for you to recognize if you’re doing that because there’s no physical reflection of that self-improvement.
Instead, you will have to periodically analyze how you’re feeling compared to what you felt before you were making changes. You will probably notice that your stress level decreases, that you sleep better at night, and that those around you are happier, as are you.
Learn the Art of Appreciation
If you look around on social media throughout the day, you will see people complaining about the littlest things. From how hot or cold their fast food was – or the fact that it took two minutes longer than it should have, to the tone of someone’s voice or another minor inconvenience they were faced with that day.
It may sound like no big deal, but it was important enough for them to go out of their way to post about it and share it with others. This often riles up other individuals and gets them to share their own feelings about things that have irritated them that day.
Meanwhile, there are people reading these posts who are going through serious issues at home, such as domestic abuse, extreme financial struggles, death or severe health issues, etc.
If you want to be a better person, you need to start appreciating what you do have in life, rather than focusing on what you don’t or on what has gone wrong. It’s okay to experience feelings of frustration once in a while.
But if your entire day is built around a feeling of irritability, then you have some changes to make. Practice starting and ending each day with a focus on what you are grateful for.
You can either think of these thoughts or journal them. You can even discuss it with your family if you’d like, which helps spread feelings of positivity to others. After doing this for a while, you will begin to feel lighter and more easy-going on autopilot, rather than having to work hard to feel appreciative.
Change How You Speak to Yourself and Others
Have you ever noticed that you tend to beat yourself up? Not physically, but mentally and verbally – the words that come out of your mouth or reside in your head that are negative about yourself.
You may be the kind of person who is your own worst enemy, calling yourself stupid or fat. If anyone else were as toxic to you as you are to yourself, you would ban them from your life immediately.
Why, then, is it okay for you to continue engaging in this toxic behavior? If you want to better yourself in the coming months and years, learn how to be kind to yourself, be more forgiving when you make an error, and lift yourself up rather than tearing yourself down in the moments when you need the most support.
It’s not just how you talk to yourself, either. You need to take stock of how you talk to others. Whether it’s the string of words coming out of your mouth or the tone with which you say them, if you are a negative influence in the life of other people, you need to turn that around immediately.
There are many people who excuse this type of bad behavior by saying they’ve had a bad day or are under a lot of stress. So their words and tone of voice are those which tend to take it out on other people, including their spouse, coworkers, children, and others.
Begin to practice how you respond in moments where you are stressed. You might want to start by taking a deep breath before you begin to speak so that you have a few seconds to formulate your thoughts and make sure they are not mean-spirited.
Always consider what the other person will be seeing and hearing when you speak to them. If you need to, step away from the interaction and return only when you can engage with them politely and calmly.
You don’t want to be the person everyone is setting boundaries with because you are deemed to be so negative and hostile. It’s better if you’re recognized as a calming influence.
Cultivate Patience in All that You Do
The world today is very fast-paced. From the way we get ready in the morning before work to the chaotic commute in traffic – the way we rush through projects because we are overburdened, hurrying home, and everything else makes it difficult for us to stop and enjoy the life we are living.
Because we are in a constant state of chaos, we often react with very little patience. Have you ever noticed that you felt guilty after someone came to you and you bit their head off without meaning to?
Maybe your child walked into your home office to ask you a question while you were trying to brainstorm something, and you ended up yelling at them for interrupting you. Or have you ever engaged in road rage, even to a minor degree, if someone cut you off or made a mistake while driving?
A little patience goes a long way in helping you live a more satisfying life. Instead of letting all of the little things get to you, such as interruptions or mistakes, you will be able to brush them off easily and go about your day with a happy demeanor.
This doesn’t mean you have to let everyone walk all over you. Whenever you do encounter someone who has made a mistake, you can patiently guide them on how things should be done without engaging in a knee-jerk reaction that sends tempers flaring and causes your blood pressure to skyrocket due to the stress involved.
Engage in Ample Self-Care to Support Yourself Each Day
Because our lives are so hectic, whether you are a corporate CEO or a work-at-home mom, you need to routinely take care of yourself from head to toe, and inside out. That means you are nurturing both your physical self as well as your mental health so that you can face each day in a way that doesn’t drain you or cause stress.
Every person is different in terms of what self-care means to them. For some, it may mean using some money they set aside for a relaxing massage. For others, it may be as simple as taking a hot bath every night.
Some may need the kind of downtime that allows them to veg out in front of the TV and watch a show or binge-watch a few episodes on Netflix. Whatever you need most, and whatever makes you feel whole again, it’s what you need to do each and every day.
Don’t put it off so that you have neglected your self-care for a month or more. You may have good intentions to eventually do something for yourself, but it needs to be frequent and routine rather than a rarity.
You also can’t expect other people to provide self-care for you. For example, some people wait for someone to gift them a massage or bath spa basket with Epsom salts and a candle.
Even if you are on a budget, you can slowly set aside some money so that you have enough to do something small and generous for yourself. Self-care includes everything from fueling your body correctly to getting good sleep, making sure you exercise and protecting your mental state.
Even if you can only afford to devote 10 minutes a day to engage in self-care, it’s better than not doing anything at all. Even sitting down to relax and close your eyes for a few moments of inner peace is a form of self-care.
Stop Allowing Yourself to Make Excuses
Shame is a feeling that no one wants to experience. Some people were raised in an environment where they suffered shame at the hands of their parents or teachers. So as adults, they try to avoid this feeling whenever possible.
However, you know when you are not doing everything that you’re supposed to do. Even though we know the truth, we begin to make excuses about why we didn’t get something crossed off our to-do list.
We may be telling other people or we may be silently making excuses in our head so that we allow ourselves to get away with more. Instead of making excuses, take away the shame that you feel for things you may not have achieved and be proactive in making sure that you get everything done that you want to accomplish each day.
That starts with protecting your schedule so that you aren’t overburdening yourself. Once you have a schedule that is doable, you will be far less likely to fail at completing your tasks.
This will lead to a feeling of pride rather than shame, and you will eliminate your excuses once and for all. If, however, your schedule is doable, yet you have slacked off and been lazy, you need to learn how to stop making excuses and instead admit your faults so that you can fix them.
Figure out why things aren’t getting done. It may be an issue of time, but it may also be a lack of knowledge, disinterest, interruptions, or something else. Until you are honest about the situation, you won’t be able to fix it.
Start Treating Your Body the Way It Deserves to Be Treated
Think about how old are you right now. Your body has gotten you through all of these years, whether it’s 20 or 80. You may have overcome health issues, or at least been able to tolerate them to this point.
You may have given birth to children that you have raised. You may not have encountered any type of physical obstacles. And yet, your body is often abused by you in terms of how it deserves to be treated.
You need to be thankful each and every day for the body that you have. No matter what its flaws are in this moment, it is supporting you the best way it can. But this is a two-way street.
You have to support it right back. There are several ways that you can go about this, and these will help you improve many areas of your life. The three major things that can help you take care of your body are sleep, nutrition, and exercise.
But besides those top three lifestyle changes, you also want to do things such as ensuring you don’t let stress spiral out of control, visiting the doctor annually for preventative measures, and watching for changes in terms of your skin, mobility, and other things.
If you work from home or in a sedentary job, make sure that you allow your body to get the activity it needs so that it can support you on a daily basis. The longer you sit stagnant, the less it will be able to do when you call upon it to support you in the near future.
Be More Mindful with Everything
Mindfulness is a trendy word that most people have associated with eating. While it’s true that mindful eating can help you avoid binges or weight gain, it’s not the only area of your life that it can improve.
You should be mindful every minute of every day. Mindfulness is simply the art of focusing on whatever you’re doing in that moment. In this day and age, we are often multitasking so that we can try to accomplish more.
But the opposite actually holds true. Most people who multitask achieve far less than those who focus on a task one at a time. Being mindful just means that you are present in that moment.
This can help you cultivate better relationships because people will see that you are tuned into them rather than on your phone or allowing your mind to drift off to other things.
Your children will appreciate it, and your spouse and coworkers will benefit from it, too. This may be a hard habit to break in the very beginning. You may be used to doing two things at once.
Many people often have their phone in hand and are answering emails or scrolling social media while they are trying to have conversations. Try to learn how to do one at a time.
You may initially start out feeling antsy or irritable, but you will eventually learn how to be mindful in every moment, naturally. When you do sit down to the dinner table, take time with your meal and put the fork down between bites.
You want to fully experience and appreciate the texture and flavors of the food you are consuming, rather than scarfing it down instantly. You will naturally begin to eat less using a mindful approach.
Prioritize Sleep So Your Mind and Body Can Function Properly
How would you describe yourself when you are running on fumes with very little sleep? Most people experience irritability, lethargy, and a lack of focus. This is a recipe for disaster.
You don’t want to go through your day feeling as if you are unwinding at every turn. You should feel energetic and positive, capable of handling anything at any time. You want to make sure that you are getting approximately 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night.
First, track how much sleep you actually do get, including interruptions throughout the night. Then, do things that can help you achieve better sleep quality. That may start by having a consistent bedtime and waking time.
Instead of going to bed at 10 PM some nights and 1 AM other nights, go to bed at the same time and wake at the same time so that your body begins to get in a rhythm. You also want to make sure that the quality of your sleep environment is good.
Make sure that you have the temperature set a little lower when you go to bed so that your body can fall asleep easier. If you need white noise, you can get a fan or white noise machine to block out sounds that could wake you up throughout the night.
Make sure that your bedding is soft and comfortable, that your mattress is the correct firmness, and that your pillows support your neck and upper back. If you still have trouble sleeping at night, you may consider taking a low-dose of melatonin periodically to help you train your body how to sleep through the night.
If all else fails, contact your doctor for a sleep study so that they can check to see if you are experiencing anything like sleep apnea or other issues that are keeping you awake. It may be a simple fix that delivers massive relief for your physical and mental health.
Tune Out of Toxic Influences
On a regular basis, chances are, you are intentionally associating yourself with things that tend to result in negative feelings. Sometimes, curiosity gets the best of us and we turn to something toxic, knowing better than to do it, but doing it anyway.
Other times, it’s out of habit. And there are also those we were raised with and just assume are natural. The best thing you can do when it comes to toxic influences is limit or eliminate them as much as possible.
What are some things that are toxic in your life? Some are things that you don’t need to be attached to day after day. For example, staying tuned into a 24/7 news channel is not healthy for your mind or body.
If anything major happens, you will find out from other individuals, or you can check in once per day or a couple of times per week. Social media can also be toxic to many people.
You are forced to see the “best” side of everyone’s life, which is often fake, and it makes you compare your life to theirs, which often causes sadness or jealousy. Not only that, but people tend to behave poorly online, so you are constantly faced with a barrage of bad behavior.
People can also be toxic. It may be your spouse or your parents, a friend or someone else who acts poorly around you in an effort to bring you down. You don’t have to put up with this behavior.
You can set boundaries in place and be protective of yourself in any instance. It may be intimidating at first, but eventually, they will turn to someone else as their victim and you will be free from them once and for all.
Fix Your Finances Once and For All
Financial stress is one of the top things that make people suffer from depression and anxiety. Whether you have enough to cover your monthly bills or not, you can still experience financial upset.
The first thing you want to do is stop spending more than you’re making. You may need to take small steps to change lifestyle habits, such as making your own coffee rather than getting a daily Starbucks – or packing your lunch instead of eating out every day of the week.
You may have to learn how to say no to your kids for some things that they beg you for. Tally up your debt so that you have a good idea of what you owe to others. In order to experience financial freedom, you can’t be chained to any debt that is holding you back.
Be sure and check your credit score through all three bureaus as well as your FICO score so that you know your starting point on this journey. You can take any approach you like to paying off your debt, including the snowball method where you pay off the lowest at first and apply that minimum payment to the next lowest debt.
You will watch as your credit score begins to rise, but make sure that you don’t charge up more expenses just because you have freed up some of your credit cards. Begin to save up for an emergency and set aside part of your income for savings for your retirement years.
If you want to invest or have funds for your children’s college education, you can talk to a financial professional who can help you arrange for that. Once you have your finances under control, you’ll be living life without unnecessary pressure and concern.
Alter Your Breathing for Many Reasons
Most people don’t realize it, but they go through the day shallow breathing. Taking shallow breaths holds you back emotionally and physically. Deep breathing is simply allowing your body to have a stronger airflow, in through the nose, out through the mouth.
When you engage in deep breathing, which slows the breathing process down, you instantly feel a sense of calm and relaxation. People who are shallow breathers often feel more anxiety and stress.
But deep breathing does more than simply allow you to feel more relaxed. If you are trying to focus on a task at hand, deep breathing can allow you to do that. You are able to make better decisions when you are breathing deeply and slowly.
It’s also been proven to help people who need to alleviate pain naturally. There are even studies that say deep breathing can help with your immune system, digestion, blood pressure, and energy levels.
If you don’t know how to conduct a deep breath that is beneficial to your body, you can watch a YouTube video that shows you, rather than simply explains it. This is something you’ll have to practice over time.
You may want to check in with yourself throughout the day to see what your breathing is like. You may discover that you’ve been shallow breathing while working on a project, and this quick analysis will allow you to reengage with your deep breathing technique and focus better on what you need to accomplish.
Become Organized and Keep Things Tidy
One way you can better your life is by clearing out the clutter in your world. It may be something as simple as a cluttered desk, or it could be an entire home situation that resembles an episode of Hoarders that you need to deal with.
You don’t have to do this all in one day, but you eventually need to start organizing the things around you so that you can find thing easily, toss what is no longer necessary in your life, and live your life in peaceful and beautiful surroundings.
You may want to start with the place you spend most of your day, such as a home office. Or, you may want to begin with a place that is meant to be relaxing, such as your bedroom.
You can also rotate rooms and choose one area of the room to do each week or each day, depending on the amount of time that you have. For example, on Mondays you might declutter a kitchen cabinet, on Tuesdays, clear off your desk, on Wednesdays, organize your nightstand in the bedroom, and so on.
That way, every area of your home begins to see progress a little at a time. Or, you can focus on one room until it is fully organized. There are products and strategic videos that can help you get and stay organized.
Keep in mind that you can also declutter your life digitally by getting rid of files and bookmarks that you no longer need or should not be addicted to, which serve as a distraction.
You can even clear the clutter inside of your head, if you want to engage in something like guided meditation that lets you filter out thoughts that do nothing beneficial for you. You can take part in some arts and crafts, or do some volunteer work to realign your priorities and give back rather than focusing on the chaos in your mind.
Regardless of which areas of life you choose to make improvements in, you can take bite-size steps toward achieving a bigger goal. It takes a lot of courage to admit that things need to be changed, and even more to take those first steps to make it happen.
This entire process of bettering yourself is something that will evolve over time. You may even see certain issues reappear in your life. For example, after working on patience and finding it’s going well, something may occur that brings about added stress in your life and you start to realize you need to work on it again.
This is normal and the next time you have to work on something, it will be easier (and a faster process) because you will have figured out and practiced implementing a strategy that makes your life better in that area.