Kelley Vargo by Kelley Vargo

Self-improvement—whether it’s in the area of fitness, nutrition, relationships, work or personal well-being—can be tough, requiring effort, energy and engagement. The payoff is worth it, though, because taking the time to invest in oneself will lead to a more fulfilled, happier life. Knowing where to start with self-improvement can be overwhelming, but you can simplify the process with these five tips. 

1. Set goals.

To improve in an area of life, it is important to clearly define what needs improved. Goal-setting requires introspection and making time to sit down and think about what exactly is desired and what steps are required to achieve the desired outcome. A common practice is to set SMART goals—ones that are specific, measurable, action-oriented, realistic and time-bound. Setting a smart goal provides a tangible outcome to work toward. For example, if your goal is to exercise more, you can create a SMART goal by saying you jog for 20 minutes, four days a week for the next three weeks. After a goal is set, the next step is to write it down and make it visible. 

2. Keep a journal.

Life happens and it is difficult to always be on point and on target. Keeping a journal is a great way to provide reinforcement for your goals, track your progress and identify any barriers you might be experiencing. From recording the amount of weight used during a strength-training session to introspective thoughts at the end of the day, a journal is a useful tool for growth. It also can provide motivation to stick to your plan.

3. Find the silver lining.

This is especially important for the setbacks and detours on the road to self-improvement. There is a lesson—a value—in everything, although sometimes it can be difficult to find. Whether it’s something as small as sleeping through a workout session or as large as experiencing a life-changing event, something valuable can come from each situation to teach us more about ourselves. Perspective is a choice, and a positive or negative perspective can completely change a situation. Try to stick with the positive and grow from any bumps along the way.

4. Do one thing.

On the road to self-improvement, much time can be spent in the chaos of the mind, ruminating and contemplating which step to take next. Sign up for a meal plan or follow one you found online? Go for a run or a bike ride? Take the new job or stay with the one you are in? Whatever the decision may be, the key is to take action, even if it is just one thing. Taking action is the key to making anything happen.

5. Trust the process.

Self-improvement takes time, patience and compassion. It is important to embrace and experience the journey as well as the end goal. There will be setbacks, roadblocks and detours, but bouncing back and staying the course is the key. Use your goals, journal and the silver lining to continue moving toward self-improvement. Stick to doing one thing and trust in the process. 

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