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Want to improve yourself? Start with these 14 useful tips

We all have a vision of what we want our lives to be: our ideal self, our ideal home, our ideal career.

But for some of us, achieving that vision almost seems to be impossible.

We end up letting everything from small petty issues to giant long-term distractions get in the way until we lose track of everything that we want to achieve.

When you finally realize you’ve fallen off track, the first step is to start being serious about self-improvement.

Here are 14 ways you can start to improve yourself every day:

1) Take a Part of the Day and Just Enjoy It

Life shouldn’t always be about staying on schedule, getting to your next meeting, and checking off your next task.

That’s what burns you out and makes you fall off the productivity wagon. It’s important that you give yourself the allowance to spend a few minutes or hours every day just enjoying life.

Look for those little moments—the sunsets, the laughs, the smiles, the random calls—and really soak them in. That’s what you’re living for: the opportunities to remember why it’s great to be alive.

2) Let Go of the Anger

You have anger. We all do. To someone, somewhere—maybe an old friend, an annoying relative, or maybe even to your partner.

Listen: it’s not worth it. Resentment and anger take up so much mental energy that they hinder your growth and development. Let go of it—forgive and move on.

3) Stay on the Lookout for Negativity

Negativity can seep into your head like the wind. One moment you can be happy with your day, and the next you can start to feel jealousy, self-pity, and resentment.

As soon as you feel those negative thoughts sliding in, learn to step back and ask yourself if you really need them in your life. The answer is almost always no.

Don’t go on social media and compare yourself to others. That will do nothing for your self-esteem. After all, most people are living a fake life on social media.

Ignore all of that and focus on you.

4) You Don’t Need That Attitude

You know what kind of “attitude” we’re talking about. The toxic kind that pushes people away, with its needless negativity and carefree insults.

Drop the attitude and learn to be a bit less cynical. Not only will people like you more, but you’ll be happier just doing it.

5) Make Today Start Last Night

When you’re waking up, groggy and tired and shaking off the sleep, the last thing you want to do is make a mental list of all the things you need to do today.

So you end up wasting your entire morning because you don’t have the right mindset straight out of bed (and who does?).

But if you prepare your to-do list the night before, all your morning brain has to do is follow that list.

6) Love Who You Are

There are many times when we need to be something or someone else to get ahead in life.

But pretending to be something you do not weigh heavily on your soul, and keeping that mask on long-term can even make you forget who you are.

And if you don’t know who you are, then how can you love yourself?

Discover the real you, and hold onto it. It might not always be the best look, but compromising on your true values is never the right choice.

7) Make a Routine

We need our routines. The most productive people out there have routines that guide them from the moment they wake up to the moment they go back to bed.

The more you control your time, the more you can get done; the more you get done, the happier you will be. Control over your life is always great for stability and mental health.

8) Don’t Bury Your Emotions, But Don’t Prioritize Them Either

You need to respect your emotions—if you’re sad, let yourself cry; if you’re upset, let yourself shout.

But remember that your emotions can oftentimes cloud your judgment and confuse what you believe to be fact and fiction.

Just because you feel something doesn’t necessarily mean that feeling is correct.

9) Grow Up

As a kid, we have our parents to step in and say “No more ice cream” or “No more TV”.

But as an adult, we have to learn to say those things to ourselves.

If we don’t grow up and give ourselves rules that we need to follow, our life will fall to pieces.

10) Appreciate Everything

It’s important to stop the clock every now and then, take a step back and look at your life and just say, “Thank you.”

Appreciate everything and everyone you have in your life, and then you can get back to working on achieving more.

11) Work on Reducing Stress

If life is all work, then there’s no time for play.

You need to work on reducing the amount of stress in your life and the fastest way to do that is to laugh, have actual fun (not work fun) and get the sleep you need.

So many people focus on their work and their responsibilities that they forget life is filled with amazing and wonderful things.

We’re all chasing something, but what if the thing you were chasing was fun?

How much better would life be if you were making time to have fun? You can work hard, but you can play hard too. Laughter and fun reduce stress and make life more enjoyable.

12) Reducing Self-Judgment Can Improve Your Life

Let’s start with the obvious problem here: you spend a lot of time cutting yourself down to size and don’t spend enough time saying nice things to yourself.

This is judgment at work. And it’s the worst kind.

You might find this coming out in different ways.

For instance, you might employ self-deprecating humor and make fun of yourself in front of others so they don’t make fun of you.

You might say bad things about yourself so that others think you’re okay with it, but all that kind of behavior does is make you feel worse.

And it’s not actually funny. It’s great to laugh at yourself when you do silly things, but it’s not okay to laugh at yourself or make yourself feel small so that you don’t get hurt by others.

It helps no one. Especially you.

In order to stop doing this to yourself, you want to start paying attention to how you talk to yourself. Do you get down on yourself when things go wrong?

Do you blame yourself for how you feel or for how other people treat you? Are you always telling yourself you’re not smart enough or pretty enough or good enough?

These thoughts might seem harmless but they are reinforcing the notion that you don’t like yourself and if you don’t like yourself, it’s hard to get other people to like you.

13) Reducing the Judgment of Others Can Make You Happier

While you might spend a great deal of time judging yourself, you’re also spending a lot of time judging others.

This means that you’re wasting energy on thinking you know better than other people – about their own lives! That’s judgment!

If you look at someone and think they should drive a nicer car or have a better job or tell their mother-in-law to shove you, you’re declaring to the world that you know what is best for that person.

The irony here is that you don’t even give yourself a break and don’t always know what’s best for you so how can you know what’s best for other people?

Sometimes we judge out of fear and we shoot first before someone has a chance to judge us.

Sometimes we judge people because we’re jealous of them and don’t want them to do well in life if we feel we’re not doing as well as them.

Sometimes we judge people without even realizing it. Sometimes we do it on purpose.

It’s a slippery slope and you might find yourself making fun of someone or calling them out in front of others as a way to make yourself feel better.

None of these works, by the way. But you already knew that.

14) Passion

Finding your passion is not as hard as you think it is. All it takes is a quiet mind and a willingness to pay attention to what you’re good at and what you love to do.

Some people love to do things like sing, but they aren’t any good.

That doesn’t make them any less passionate about it, but it does mean that they probably won’t make the most of their time on this earth if they try to fight against that.

Some people are good at helping people learn about music and they love doing it.

That makes for the perfect passion fit. Try looking at your own life to see if your passion is aligned in what you’re good at and what you love doing.

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Written by Lachlan Brown

I’m Lachlan Brown, the founder, and editor of Hack Spirit. I love writing practical articles that help others live a mindful and better life. I have a graduate degree in Psychology and I’ve spent the last 15 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. If you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Facebook or Twitter.

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