The road to self-improvement seems to be a continuous, mystical act in our lives. It’s almost as if we’re never exactly sure if we’re doing the right thing, at the right time, but we keep going in hopes that we guide ourselves in the right direction. And then next thing we know, we’re a completely different person from who we were last month, last year… Almost unidentifiable. Who was that individual? Why did they say those things? Why did they hang out with those people? These questions seem to appear in my head as I look through old photographs, old conversations, and all of which is reminiscent that comes my way. I suppose it boils down to slowly developed, small increments — our precious, overlooked hours, and the gradual evolution of self. One of my main goals in life is to become the best woman I can be. I know for certain that I still have a very long way to go, but I do try to carry my day-to-day life as a genuine, kind, caring, thoughtful person. Perhaps it was the lack of these people in my adolescent years which has shaped me into such a huge heart, or simply my innate character — I’m not certain. Whatever it is, I just want to make my life and other people’s lives as light as possible, whether they require it or not. Here are the 13 foolproof ways to improve your life and become a better person, which in turn, will allow your lovely energy to radiate onto others.
1. Drink more water
Yes, you should be drinking more water. Yes, our bodies are made up of over 70% water. I’m sure you’ve heard it all before, and you can’t stand to hear it again. Well, too bad! Regardless of how you feel about consuming water, I am here to remind you to go get a bottle of water riiiight now! I’ll wait 🙂 Did you know that water is vital for our brain and nervous system functions? This means that if you’re in the slightest bit dehydrated (even by 1%), you’re more likely to have a decrease in reasoning, attention, memory, and language. Stay H20’d to have a better day, every day.
“Take a shower, wash off the day. Drink a glass of water. Make the room dark. Lie down and close your eyes.
Notice the silence. Notice your heart. Still beating. Still fighting. You made it, after all. You made it, another day. And you can make it one more. You’re doing just fine.”
– Charlotte Eriksson
2. Practice and express gratitude
Practicing gratitude is possibly the utmost important virtue we can have. It helps us slow down and reminisce on our journey and the beautiful, helpful souls that have come across our paths to get us to where we are today. Whether it be an appreciation phone call, surprise flowers, or a simple prayer to emit positive energy towards our loved ones, gratitude helps us see the world differently, allowing us to open up and become more vulnerable, which allows others to express their gratitude for our gratitude. Boo yah! Chain reaction!
“This year, mend a quarrel. Seek out a forgotten friend. Dismiss suspicion and replace it with trust. Write a letter. Give a soft answer. Encourage youth. Manifest your loyalty in word and deed. Keep a promise. Forgo a grudge. Forgive an enemy. Apologize. Try to understand. Examine your demands on others. Think first of someone else. Be kind. Be gentle. Laugh a little more. Express your gratitude. Welcome a stranger. Gladden the heart of a child. Take pleasure in the beauty and wonder of the earth. Speak your love and then speak it again.”
– Howard W. Hunter
3. Wake up with the sun
We’ve all heard the saying, “early bird gets the worm”, and it’s unequivocally accurate. In fact, Christopher Randler, a biology professor at the University of Education in Germany reported that those who are morning people are more proactive, which in turn leads to better job opportunities, better job performance, and even allows the individual to become better at minimizing problems.
I also managed to cure my insomnia through falling asleep and waking up to the universe’s natural solar day cycle. It feels so immensely gratifying to wake up and feel the sun gently tugging at you to wake up, by shining on your cheek through the window, and even more gratifying to finish all of which needs to get done by 11am.
“Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up, it knows it must outrun the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning in Africa, a lion wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the slowest gazelle, or it will starve. It doesn’t matter whether you’re the lion or a gazelle-when the sun comes up, you’d better be running.”
– Christopher McDougall, Born to Run
Forgiveness is in our innermost being, hidden behind the self-protecting ego. Ego sometimes dictates us to continue holding a grudge, continue being angry, and convince us that we will never be able to forgive ourselves or the people that have hurt us. This self-blockage ceases us from letting go and moving on, and even hinders our ability to create long-lasting, trusting relationships with the people currently in our lives and any people who will enter our lives in the future. Whatever energy you emit into the world will get sent back to you — It’s just universal law!
And although ego holds a valuable job filtering our thought and reaction process to certain situations and protecting us from harm, we must be careful with going about it the wrong way. Sometimes we become ego alone and forget to drop the heavy weight off of our shoulders. And sometimes(!), a beautiful little light bulb goes off and we choose to wipe the slate clean — Not only for others, but for ourselves too. This doesn’t mean welcoming or allowing negative people back into your life (#8), but an allowance for us to let go, move on, and flourish.
“I don’t know if I continue, even today, always liking myself. But what I learned to do many years ago was to forgive myself. It is very important for every human being to forgive herself or himself because if you live, you will make mistakes – it is inevitable. But once you do and you see the mistake, then you forgive yourself and say, ‘Well, if I’d known better I’d have done better,’ that’s all. So you say to people who you think you may have injured, ‘I’m sorry,’ and then you say to yourself, ‘I’m sorry.’ If we all hold on to the mistake, we can’t see our own glory in the mirror because we have the mistake between our faces and the mirror; we can’t see what we’re capable of being. You can ask forgiveness of others, but in the end the real forgiveness is in one’s own self. I think that young men and women are so caught by the way they see themselves. Now mind you. When a larger society sees them as unattractive, as threats, as too black or too white or too poor or too fat or too thin or too sexual or too asexual, that’s rough. But you can overcome that. The real difficulty is to overcome how you think about yourself. If we don’t have that we never grow, we never learn, and sure as hell we should never teach.”
– Maya Angelou
A clean, organized space will also create a clean, organized head space as well. Less is truly more, and once you pinpoint and recognize the necessary, you will not allow any of which doesn’t belong. This includes junk in both your physical surroundings and your mental core. Don’t know where or how to start? Here are the first 3 steps to take to become a minimalist.
“Remember, the things with which we choose to surround ourselves tell our story. Let’s hope it’s not “I choose to live in the past,” or “I can’t finish the projects I start.” Instead, let’s aim for something like, “I live lightly and gracefully, with only the objects I find functional or beautiful.”
– Francine Jay, The Joy of Less
6. Know when to speak up + know when to stay quiet
We all come across disrespect in our lives, whether it be from our family members, coworkers, and perhaps even friends. Some of these comments can be expressed unknowingly or mistakenly, and some, sadly, out of an absence of a moral compass.
However, not everything deserves a reaction. (Unfortunately?) sometimes you have to accept people for the way they are, and not go into combat with them every single time they express their intolerance or ignorance. You have to listen to your gut and figure out whether speaking up will actually influence the rude individual to change or become a better person, or if it will only spark an unproductive, snappy retort.
In conclusion, speak up when necessary — Whether it be for yourself, or injustice around you, but understand that in some situations, it’s better to leave people to do the same lame sh*t they always do.
“Standing up for yourself doesn’t always involve verbal confrontation. Sometimes it’s about not wasting energy on people who are negative.”
– Sherry Argov
This simple act of journaling has the ability to change your life by providing you with clarity and organization, which in turn, aids you in manifesting your dreams and desires, while also allowing negative emotions to pass through without them feeling like a permanent obstacle. Your innermost thoughts should be released via handwriting. Using a computer to type out your inner workings can be a quick, helpful tool, but it can actually disconnect you from your own emotions, as technology obstructs us from the full cycle of creative release. You didn’t write it down, your computer did it for you! Don’t just be the guide, be the driver too! 🙂
“Write poorly. Suck. Write Awful. Terribly. Frightfully. Don’t care. Turn off the inner editor. Let yourself write. Let it flow. Let yourself fail. […] Writing is like anything else. You won’t get good at it immediately. It’s a craft. You have to keep getting better. […] Write with abandon and it may end up being really really good.”
– Colleen Hoover
8. Eliminate negative energies
Your space is sacred. You need to be fiercely territorial with yourself. Do not allow negative energies and individuals envelop your space. At the end of the day, your space, your wellbeing, is all you have. You have one short life to live, don’t spend it being drained or hating your existence because of other people’s energy. Continuing a low frequency relationship is detrimental to your growth, your health, and is crushing to your spirit.
“Here’s something they don’t teach you in high school – Life is too short to waste it on trying to make things work. Stop trying to fit into a pair of jeans you bought 5 years ago; give them to a charity. Stop trying to make yourself listen to classical music; Mozart is just not your thing. Stop trying to like celery, no one likes it. It’s all a huge grown-up conspiracy. And most importantly, for the love of god, stop trying to stick around hoping people will ‘become’. He will not become kinder to you; she will not become funnier; they will not become warmer. Stop trying to change people. Either accept them and love them for who they are, or just let go and say your goodbyes. There just isn’t enough time.”
– Marina V., findingwordsforthoughts.tumblr.com
9. Pay attention
Pay attention to all of the beautiful happenings around you. Notice people’s facial expressions, gestures, quirks. Notice how beautiful the tree in your backyard sounds when its branches sway on a rainy evening. Notice how the flavour of a ripe tomato explodes in your mouth when you take a bite. Notice how your lover’s pupils dilate when you talk about something you’re passionate about. Romanticize all of your moments. Embrace the details. Life is so very fleeting. Try not to miss too much of it.
“Show up for your own life, he said. Don’t pass your days in a stupor, content to swallow whatever watery ideas modern society may bottle-feed you through the media, satisfied to slumber through life in an instant-gratification sugar coma. The most extraordinary gift you’ve been given is your own humanity, which is about consciousness, so honor that consciousness.
Revere your senses; don’t degrade them with drugs, with depression, with wilful oblivion. Try to notice something new everyday, Eustace said. Pay attention to even the most modest of daily details. Even if you’re not in the woods, be aware at all times. Notice what food tastes like; notice what the detergent aisle in the supermarket smells like and recognize what those hard chemical smells do to your senses; notice what bare feet fell like; pay attention every day to the vital insights that mindfulness can bring. And take care of all things, of every single thing there is – your body, your intellect, your spirit, your neighbours, and this planet. Don’t pollute your soul with apathy or spoil your health with junk food any more than you would deliberately contaminate a clean river with industrial sludge.”
– Elizabeth Gilbert, The Last American Man
10. Unplug from social media
About half a year ago, I made the decision to delete all of my personal social media accounts, and it has been one of the most freeing feelings I have experienced in all of my existence. Admittedly, it seems a little silly for me to say something such as social media made me feel chained, but it did! It was addicting and incredibly time consuming. I’ve been on social media platforms ever since I was a preteen (MSN messenger, anyone?), and I really thought that after so many years, I would feel like I was missing out on so much. To my surprise, I didn’t feel that way at all. In fact, it was probably the easiest deed I have ever done. It’s been liberating to not be glued to my phone mindlessly, and have real one on one contact with the people who are closest to me. Of course, you don’t need to plunge into social media elimination all at once like myself, but perhaps be more mindful of how you use your time on it. If you spend 2 hours cyber-stalking everyday, you would have spent a total of 60 hours a month lurking into other people’s lives — which equates to 720 hours a year. That is an entire month of your life. Can you imagine what else you can do with an extra 60 hours a month?! You can master the piano, learn a new language, AND learn how to bake. Did you also know that social media is directly linked to depression and even makes you stupid? No fun, right?!
And although all of which is left are my business accounts on Facebook and Pinterest, there’s no guarantee that I will be off of other social media platforms forever, but I am definitely happy where I stand with it for now. Now, unplug and get outside for a while, would ya?
“It amazes me that we are all on Twitter and Facebook. By “we” I mean adults. We’re adults, right? But emotionally we’re a culture of seven-year-olds. Have you ever had that moment when are you updating your status and you realize that every status update is just a variation on a single request: “Would someone please acknowledge me?”
– Marc Maron, Attempting Normal
11. Embrace change
Change can be a daunting, difficult task to do and overcome as we don’t always see the glorious ‘new beginning’ on its way during the transition period. It’s always scary and usually unexpected, but what’s life without a little surprise along the way? Would be pretty boring, methinks. Embrace life as it comes, and hey, even embrace some negative emotions along the way as well. You’ll feel so much better rolling with the punches and letting life flow through you rather than against you.
“Some periods of our growth are so confusing that we don’t even recognize that growth is happening. We may feel hostile or angry or weepy and hysterical, or we may feel depressed. It would never occur to us, unless we stumbled on a book or a person who explained to us, that we were in fact in the process of change, of actually becoming larger, spiritually, than we were before. Whenever we grow, we tend to feel it, as a young seed must feel the weight and inertia of the earth as it seeks to break out of its shell on its way to becoming a plant. Often the feeling is anything but pleasant. But what is most unpleasant is the not knowing what is happening. Those long periods when something inside ourselves seems to be waiting, holding its breath, unsure about what the next step should be, eventually become the periods we wait for, for it is in those periods that we realize that we are being prepared for the next phase of our life and that, in all probability, a new level of the personality is about to be revealed.”
– Alice Walker, Living by the Word
12. Learn to laugh at situations that would normally make you angry
Ah yes, laughter is truly the best medicine. You know, sometimes things don’t work out the way we wanted to, or expected to, but instead of throwing a fit and being angry about it, learn to laugh at how funny it is. Sometimes it’s so funny that you and your partner bicker over who hogs the blanket more. It’s so silly! And sometimes it’s funny that someone is smelly. Everyone is really bothered by it, but they seem so happy! Or that you accidentally knock everything over everywhere you go! You’re a big ol’ clums-muffin. Not everything has to be taken as a serious, frustrating issue. Take it easy and live light!
“The whole point of growing up is learning to stay on the laughing side.”
– Lauren Oliver, Before I Fall
13. Go for it
Oh man, if you never take a risk, your life will be a myriad of maybes and what ifs. Think of how satisfying it will be to look back at the end of your life, and exclaim how happy you are you took the chance, you followed your dream, and became who you wanted to be. Your route can change a thousand times over, but if you are persistent and hardworking, the goal will always be there for you to achieve.
“You’re alive, Bod. That means you have infinite potential. You can do anything, make anything, dream anything. If you can change the world, the world will change. Potential. Once you’re dead, it’s gone. Over. You’ve made what you’ve made, dreamed your dream, written your name. You may be buried here, you may even walk. But that potential is finished.”
– Neil Gaiman, The Graveyard Book
What do you do to make yourself and/or others happy? Let me know in the comment section below!
My Favourite Self-Improvement Articles This Week:
A Roadmap to Overcoming Insecurities / zenhabits.net
10 Tips for Practicing Mindfulness Everyday / absoulutelyanna.com
77 Self-Care Ideas for Creatives / fireandwindco.com