10 Ways To Begin Your Self Improvement Journey In 2020
The dawn of a new decade has begun and I hope you feel excited about the arrival of 2020. So there is never a better time to start plotting your course for self-improvement.
Make the decision that you’re going to follow this 10-step plan, so that you can think about the New Year on a positive note.
Be rest assured that the improvements you make will change your life for the better. So without further ado, let`s take a look at 10 ways to begin your self improvement journey in 2020…
Start with Self Care
Self-care to most people seems like a foreign practice. This is because most have been taught to put others first and take care of their own needs last. This way of thinking is backwards, because you can’t help anyone else until you help yourself first right?
We need to begin by letting go. Far too many people do things for others because they feel guilty or obliged to do it. They take on issues or deal with other people’s tasks, that really they don’t want to be doing in the first place.
It’s hard to turn down invitations you don’t want to accept and when you don’t really want to do them. It can even be hard to say no to yourself.
That happens when you have a particular mindset, a sort of mental checklist of what you “should” do. So for 2020, decide that you’re going to say no to anything that you really don’t want to be doing in your life.
It`s okay to miss the big family meetings that only end up with someone angry at someone else. We`ve all been there. Don`t feel guilty by saying no to your coworker who pushes their workload onto you.
Free yourself and say no when you feel you “should” stay late at work to finish something up for the good of the company, even though you’ve been slogging for months and ignoring your own needs.
Putting Yourself First
You have to put what’s best for you first regardless of what else you have to let go of. Making sure that you take care of your physical self is an important part of self-care. This means taking the time to plan healthy meals and snacks, not skipping meals.
Never feel as if you have to rush through your food so you can get back to work or take care of something for someone else.
Taking care of your body with exercise is part of self-care. You don’t need to have a goal to lose weight in order to use exercise in your plan. The benefits of exercising also means it relieves stress and lifts your emotions.
You need it just because it benefits you. Don’t give up sleep to get on the never ending hamster wheel of work or day to day tasks. Your work tasks will be right there anyway the next day, but you’ll feel more prepared mentally and physically to tackle them.
It won’t benefit you in any way to lose sleep in an effort to keep up or get ahead. Instead, do what you can with the time you have and allow that to be good enough for you. Begin factoring in times where you’re off the clock so to speak, both professionally and personally.
Just have some fun. Do something that feeds your soul. Take a trip. Do nothing. Read a book. Go to the movies. Visit a friend. Nurturing yourself, your happiness, is an important part of self-care.
Letting Go of Those Self Defeating Habits
Sometimes people hold onto a habit simply because it’s something they’ve always done or a way they’ve thought for years. An example of this would be wanting to save money and get control of your finances, but consistently blowing your budget on spur of the moment purchases.
You might think one way and even acknowledge out loud that you want change, but then you turn around and give in to actions that sabotage your desires. You know what you’re doing (or not doing) that’s holding you back from having your best life.
It’s a little uncomfortable confronting the worst part about yourself. But if you don’t acknowledge what’s going on, then you won’t be able to change it. Acknowledging that specific self defeating habit is where you begin.
Take time to recognise how it’s preventing you from meeting your goals. For example, if you want to go on a nice holiday but you always seem to spend your holiday fund, then you are sabotaging your goal.
Once you identify what that self defeating habit is, you can move into self improvement by modifying that behaviour. You do this by creating replacement habits. If you have a problem with overspending, then challenge yourself to go one week without buying anything except necessities.
Then add a second week – then a third. Identify any possible obstacles and have a plan to conquer them. If your friends want to go out shopping, suggest a no cost alternative such as getting together to watch a movie at home.
You have the ability to improve anything in your life as long as you are prepared to identify the problem and have a solution ahead of time.
Learn a New Skill
It goes without saying that learning a new skill ultimately betters you as a person. It increases confidence and gives a that feeling you can accomplish whatever you set your mind to. One skill well worth learning can be something like how to better manage your time.
So often people miss the chance to grow as a person as a result of poor time management, usually because their day is just so busy and stretched for time. They often let opportunities that come their way pass by, or immediately dismiss them thinking they can’t juggle anything more into the day.
Learning how to practice kindness is also a good self improvement strategy. It benefits you because it helps reduce stress. It’s important to show kindness to others, however it’s equally important to show it to yourself.
Let yourself be forgiven when you make a mistake rather than giving yourself a hard time. Everybody makes errors or misjudgements in life. It`s normal and it`s ok to accept making mistakes in life can only make you a better person going forward.
Be honest with yourself and try to master this art. When you don’t call out your behaviours that prevent you from improving, then you end up in a rut. If you want to grow, you have to stop procrastinating on anything that you don’t like the thought of facing up to.
Develop Your Leadership Potential
Everyone has leadership potential. Some people are outgoing, strong leaders while others lead quietly. You want to develop your leadership potential as part of your self improvement – not necessarily because you want to go into leadership, but for the benefit it will bring to you.
One benefit of developing your leadership potential is that you can use the strength it brings to improve your life. This will help you evaluate what your strengths are, recognise your weaknesses and how to make both work for you.
Self improvement in leadership will help you command your life and this always leads to the ability to take whatever action steps are necessary to be a better you. Developing this kind of self improvement helps you stick to your values and gives you the discipline to achieve success.
Furthermore, it also empowers and inspires you. An additional benefit of this type of self improvement is that it boosts self belief in your ability to make the necessary changes that maybe needed in your life on an ongoing basis.
Boundaries are the limits people set for themselves to live their lives. They’re based on what you’re not willing to put up with in a situation or with another person. Setting a boundary means you set constraints on what’s acceptable.
These constraints can refer to what you’ll accept for your emotional or physical self. When you have a boundary, it feels a lot like self care – because it is. You recognise that your need to be whole and healthy is equally as necessary as what others may need.
Boundaries are set up to protect your individual space. It means that your opinions don’t change just because someone else thinks differently. An example of this could be a woman who doesn’t want to be around someone who’s always creating family drama, so she stays clear of them.
Another relative thinks that behaviour should not be tolerated and tries to nag or belittle the woman into believing the same way. Having boundaries means saying no when something crosses the line of what’s okay with you.
Also, it could be something such as telling an ex that it’s not okay to keep calling. Or maybe letting people know they can’t just drop in at your home without an invitation. A boundary stops you from being used and it shuts down mistreatment.
If there’s a work colleague who thinks it’s okay to scream at people and you tell him you’re not going to engage in a conversation when that kind of behaviour is present, then you walk away. That’s a healthy boundary.
Sometimes your boundaries may make people uncomfortable, but that’s their issue to overcome. When setting your boundaries, it`s establishing the way that people are allowed to treat you. When you don’t set boundaries, you can get treated in ways that will not be good for you.
It’s human nature to stay in your comfort zone. This can happen in every part of your life. You can reach a certain point with your weight, health, finances, your relationships and you settle in for the long haul because change is risky.
It means you may have to stretch. You may have to reach outside of what feels comfortable to you. Usually when people are challenged to step away from what’s familiar and leave it behind, they begin to backpedal.
You might list dozens of ways why it’s better to stick with what you know than make the leap into the unknown. You may have wanted to lose weight and you’ve wanted it for a while now, but it would mean some major changes to reach that point of self improvement.
So you don’t do it because your partner isn’t on board. Without support, you just don’t see how you could accomplish it anyway – so you don’t make that move. You don’t take that risk.
What you have to realise is that if you put off risk, if you keep on living the way you’ve been living up until this point, then nothing will ever change. Self improvement is about change.
The objective or goal that you’ve put off doing out of fear, weighing the risks and then falling back into your comfort zone is probably the very thing that could change your life and put you on track to realising your dreams.
Procrastination is one of the biggest barriers to self improvement. You say you will start the diet tomorrow. You’ll establish boundaries after the next family vacation. You`re going to change your negative habits when you have more money, time, or a better life situation. So it goes on….
Procrastination is fear really that’s just dressed up. You don’t want to begin a self improvement journey because you fear that you’ll fail. You don’t want to get your hopes up, so you do nothing.
Maybe you’re worried that you’ll become the object of criticism or that you’ll get rejected by people you care about if you change something about yourself. When you give in to procrastination, it means you’re putting success on the back burner.
You might think you’re not making a choice one way or another, but you are. Not making a choice is actually making one. So that thing that you want to improve about yourself?
Stop putting it off. The lack of action on your part is eating away at your self confidence. This is undermining your success and you were meant for more in life than what you’ve allowed yourself to have.
You know why you procrastinate? Because of where your focus is. When you focus on why you can’t change something, or why it might not be working, you see obstacles the size of mountains. When you truly focus on ways to change, this will make your life better and you begin to see possibilities.
Have a Growth Mindset
This is needed to put an end to everything that’s ever held you back from improving your life. With just your mind, you can determine how your day is going to go, how you’re going to feel about the situations you encounter and your overall outlook about your future.
When you have a can’t do mindset, that attitude is never stagnant. It develops and grows until it reaches the point of mental vines that wrap about your self-confidence, your abilities or talents and your desire to change something.
Then you end up feeling stuck just as you are. You begin to believe that change is what works for other people – not you. You can develop a growth mindset by having a purpose for your self improvement.
Change what’s in your ability to change, but also learn to accept the imperfections that you cannot. Be tenacious. Let obstacles or failures be a learning opportunity and not be the end.
Open yourself up to new approaches for achieving success along your journey. Cultivate a positive, can-do attitude.
When you’re mindful, it allows you to see what’s good about you and your life already. Being mindful lets you free yourself from the things that hold you back from where you’ve been.
For example, being mindful can help you recognise that just because your journey of eating healthy didn’t end well in the past, it doesn’t mean that’s your life now. You can free yourself from the hindering thoughts of what used to be.
Being mindful can help you to stop projecting your life on the foundation of what-if, which is what occurs when people look ahead. Tomorrow isn’t here yet – all you have is now.
By living in the present, you open your life up to the opportunities that are right in front of you rather than looking back at mistakes or ahead to what may or may not happen. Mindfulness allows you be fully present.
It lets you tune in to yourself so that you’re conscious of the experience before you. You’ll be more open to your emotions without judgement.
This can help you to work on whatever you choose as part of your self improvement journey without beating yourself up about the strides you think you “should” have made. Instead, you’ll be able to praise yourself for what you’ve accomplished in the moment.
Make Better Choices
A winning way to embark on a self improvement journey is to make better choices. People sometimes make choices without realising they’re making decisions that are going to affect their lives in the long run.
You may have a long history of poor choices in how you’ve tried to take care of yourself, but that doesn’t mean it can’t change in 2020. Start by using both logic and emotion when you make a choice.
Whatever it is you want to do, look at the pros and cons – but then also check in to see how you feel about it. If you have knots in your stomach, that can be a good sign that there are problems with your choice.
That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a wrong decision. It could just mean that you don’t feel ready for that decision. So you have to really tune in to what you’re thinking and feeling each step of your journey.
Don’t let popular opinion sway your choice. Just because something looks good to the masses doesn’t mean it’s good for you. Check to make sure the decision is in line with your beliefs about yourself and life.
Weigh the consequences of your choice, both short and long term. It’s easy to make a decision on the fly, but knowing what’s going to happen in the long run with that choice could sway your mind.
I`d love to read your comments on how you are approaching 2020 and the positive steps you are taking towards self improvement. Please add them in the comments section below…