This is a guest post by Trevor McDonald.
Is there ever a time when you don’t want to be a better person? Probably not. But a new year offers the perfect time to kick those goals into high gear.
This isn’t to say that you’ve been a bad person, but we all have things we want to improve upon. For example, you may strive to be more patient or empathetic. There are certain goals that everyone can reach for because none of us will ever be perfect.
Knowing that you have room to grow is one of the best characteristics a person can have. If you’ve ever met someone who thinks they do no wrong, you know this to be true.
Self-improvement is an important part of life. It’s also a vital component in keeping relationships strong. Here are some tips:
Tips for Improving Your Health, Mental Clarity and Empathy in 2018
1. Practice yoga.
Yoga is great for the mind, body and soul. It’s a great exercise for anyone at any fitness level. But more than that, a regular yoga practice can also help you manage stress. It’s always helpful to have a healthy outlet for negativity. This way, you’ll be less likely to take frustrations out on others.
Try to practice yoga at least three times a week, and you’ll improve flexibility and reduce stress.
You can practice yoga at home with a fitness DVD or attend class at a studio or gym. You’re practicing yoga to improve yourself, so this should be a lasting commitment. Choose whatever option you think you’ll stick with.
2. Try meditation.
Meditation is the practice of calming and strengthening your mind. It can be a moment of refuge where you can release your stress, anger, and negativity. Most people think of someone who has wronged them as their worst enemy. In fact, you are often your own worst enemy.
Have you ever thought you’re not good enough in some way? We all have a negative soundtrack that plays in our minds.
Meditation can help you quiet those thoughts and change your inner narrative.
To start, you can keep it simple. Sit in a quiet room facing a blank wall. Dim the lights. You don’t want any distractions. Next, take a deep breath in and slowly release. Focus on the exhale. Don’t try to control it. Notice it. As you breathe deeply and heavily, your body will naturally begin to relax.
Notice the way your body feels. Can you feel the weight of your arm as it rests on your thigh? Are your shoulders tense or relaxed? Make an effort to relax every muscle in your body.
Now that you’re relaxed and in position, continue your deep breathing. Notice thoughts as they enter your mind. Here’s the hard part: Don’t follow them. Let them leave as fast as they came. Your goal is to quiet your thoughts, but that may not be possible at first. That’s ok.
Practice meditation every morning, if possible. Over time, you’ll find that you’re less stressed and more in control.
3. Learn something new each day.
This old standby goal can really help you become a more well-rounded person. Whether you’re learning a new skill or how to cope with adversity, you’re on the road to self-improvement.
Think about the areas where you need most improvement. If you’re worried that you don’t have enough skills, maybe take up photography or web design. If you have a fear of failure, find a book or podcast that works on that.
If you’re in a slump and don’t know what to learn, here are some podcasts to get you started:
The Daily Boost (free on Mondays) – 9 minutes of tips and strategies to keep you motivated each day.
Meditation Oasis – Guided meditations, meditation instruction and music for meditation
Happier with Gretchen Rubin – Episodes focused on stress relief and joy
Good Life Project – A movement inspiring everyone to learn, grow and live a better life
The School of Greatness with Lewis Howes – One of the top business and self-development podcasts with guests like Alanis Morissette, Tony Robbins and Jack Canfield.
4. Create something great.
You don’t have to be creative to create. Every one of us has the ability to do great things. Think about your special talents.
What do you have to offer the world? Create a project around that and plan to complete it by the end of the year.
Not only will you feel accomplished, but you’ll also have a greater sense of purpose and worth. If you crochet, maybe you can find an opportunity to volunteer your services to people in need. Say, crocheting blankets for orphans?
Your contribution doesn’t have to be altruistic either. If you’re a musician, this could be the year you start a band. If programming is your thing, maybe you build a helpful app or website.
Whatever you do, find a way to share your gift with the world.
Even when you’re happy with who you are, it’s healthy to strive to become a better person. Continue working on self-improvement and you’ll only improve with age!