40 Eye-opening Opportunities For Self-improvement At Home
They say that life is a journey – but many of the most important journeys actually take place within our own minds. Indeed, self-improvement is one of the most fulfilling things that you can do, whether that means learning new things, pursuing new experiences or simply reflecting more deeply on how you live your life. From fitness to fun and from planning to playing an instrument, we can always keep making ourselves better. Here are 40 roads to self-improvement that you can follow from your own home.
40. Develop positive language
If we start to think in positive terms then good things really do follow – and what we concentrate on most can become reality. When someone asks how you are, tell them you're good and not just okay. And rather than dwelling on problems, think about the active steps that you can take to address them.
39. Diversify your reading habits
Everyone has habits – whether it's reading a particular website or the works of a particular author. But every so often, try to mix things up and look at something different. For example, you might check out the coverage of a news story from an alternative political angle; or if you only read non-fiction, then get a recommendation for a great novel and give it a go. It'll give you a new perspective, if nothing else – but it might also give you a real creative boost.
38. Manage your time
Make the most of every second by putting together a plan to determine what tasks you'd like to complete by the end of the day. Set realistic, achievable targets and do your best to hit them. Don't let time dominate you; take charge and it's amazing just how much more you can accomplish.
37. Live in the present
It's not always easy to focus on the here and now – perhaps you have some vague grand plans in mind or you just feel crushed by uncertainty. Set small goals, take precautions against negative events and put the past behind you. That way you can live in the present, with confidence that you're in control of your life and heading in the right direction.
36. The joy of self-reflection
Ask yourself each evening, “What did I achieve today?” And, “How can I improve on this tomorrow and the next day?” Reflecting on what you've achieved, and what you want to achieve, can give you a better sense of what's happening around you – and help you with setting more realistic targets if you're pushing yourself too hard.
35. Make time for yourself
Try and slow down a little and make time for yourself. If you don't look after yourself, there's only so much that you can do to help anyone else. This includes taking care o your mental as well as your physical well-being. Getting poor sleep, for example, is a fast-track to reducing your energy levels and your output.
34. Get exercise
It's important to stay active for both your mind and for your body. But that doesn't necessarily mean going out; you might be able to buy a stationary bike or a walker, for example, or another piece of exercise equipment for your home. Failing that, you can do press-ups and crunches in almost any environment. Building some exercise into your routine can't help but make you feel better about your day.
33. Switch off from work
Digital technology makes it harder than ever for people to call it a day and stop working when the hours are up. However, it's important to try to live a healthy, balanced lifestyle. Set rules and make clear boundaries; and switch off when you need to take time for yourself or your family.
32. Cut down on TV time
Sitting down and zoning out in front of the TV is the easiest thing in the world. However, channel surfing is hardly going to make you happy. Consider mixing up your routine and playing a game or engaging in a social activity with your companions; or reading a book or taking up a creative pursuit if you're alone.
31. Put an end to procrastination
Getting things done can often be hard, but your chores aren't going to go away on their own. When it comes to particularly large or important jobs, get them done first, followed by more run-of-the-mill tasks, which will likely be less problematic if left incomplete and which can be broken up into smaller units. Being able to tick major items off your to-do list will likely be a huge relief.
30. Smile more
It can be easier said than done on the most difficult of days, but smiling will help you feel good about yourself and the world around you. Soon, you won't just be acting positive but really thinking positive. A genuine smile can send out good energy and it can actually give other people a real lift. After all, a good attitude is almost as important as anything else in life.
29. Get tidy
It's amazing just how much clutter we allow to build up around us over time – so try and unclutter your home and surroundings whenever you can. When you have a tidy mindset, it's surprising just how much better it can make you feel, so keep your vicinity tidy and you'll feel a genuine mental benefit. Plus, you'll be able to find everything you need that little bit more easily.
28. Ditch negativity
Wherever possible try to get rid of negative thoughts and remove yourself from negative situations. If you have acquaintances who always leave you feeling down or you pursue activities that create unhappiness or conflict in your life then consider whether you can reduce their hold on you. Doing so will likely cut out further negatives and create more space for positive thought.
27. Practice karma
Helping others can be extremely rewarding. If you're able to, try to go above and beyond to assist people – whether that means giving directions to someone on the street or passing on an act of kindness to a stranger, and doing so with no expectation of receiving anything in return. A little thoughtfulness can go a long way, after all.
26. Cut down on social media usage
Social media might theoretically help you connect with people, but all too often it's just a medium for watching others without communicating with them at all. Try to use these platforms for positive purposes and to drive real connections and communication; and avoid arguing with strangers whose opinions you have little chance of changing. Most importantly, don't get obsessed with how many people like and share your posts – relationships are about quality, not quantity.
25. Embrace failure
Everyone experiences disappointments in life. Instead of dwelling on the negative, though, consider what you've learnt and how it has set you on a path for better things; and be confident, because failure isn't an end, it's a new beginning. The only real mistake is to fail to learn from the past.
24. Focus on your relationships
When thinking about your life, it's worth considering your priorities. As Barack Obama movingly said at a memorial for the victims of the Tucson, Arizon shooting, “In the fleeting time we have on this Earth, what matters is not wealth, or status, or power, or fame but rather, how well we have loved and what small part we have played in making the lives of other people better.”
23. Do something
Sometimes you can be trapped by indecision. The key to break out of it is to do something – anything! Give yourself a countdown from ten to one and you'll jump into action. And it doesn't matter what you do – whether it's a kind deed or the first item on your to-do list. The key thing is to get moving, and things will follow from there.
22. Practice acceptance
An important lesson to learn is that you can't change everything, even with the best will in the world. Don't beat yourself up and get anxious about the things that you don't have power over – and particularly so when they don't truly affect your life. Accepting the world as it is will make your life far less stressful. And if you do want to change the world, consider the small steps that you need to take to work towards a clear goal.
21. Overcome your fears
Whether you have a phobia of public speaking or of looking under the couch, your fears can prevent you from growing. In short, you can't move forward. Start to be bolder; recognizing and overcoming your fears can unlock new opportunities and potential and enable you to live a fuller life.
20. Venture out of your comfort zone
You know what you like and you know what you're comfortable with. However, if you stick with that, you'll never push yourself or try new things. So – do more; and be aware of whether you might be stuck in a rut when it comes to relationships, habits or routines.
19. Keep learning
No matter how small or whether it be by reading, listening or researching, make a conscious effort to learn something new every day. Keep a record if you like, and follow themes and topics as your life progresses. You might seek to learn new work skills, for example – or you might pursue a hobby or a new language.
18. Music therapy
On a daily basis, listen to a particular piece of positive music or an upbeat song that inspires you. When you need to reach for additional strength, keep it in the background of your mind and allow it to lift you up. Create the soundtrack to your success!
17. Take up cooking
Cooking can nurture the soul and add a vital skill to your life. If you're reluctant cook then being able to put together a good square meal can be hugely fulfilling; and if you're a pro, then it can be plenty of fun adding new dishes to your repertoire. Either way, you'll have the opportunity to learn something new – and if inspiration is needed, there are almost unlimited recipes online.
16. Gardening for glory
If you have a yard then take some time to get your hands in the soil. Plant a few things, nurture and notice how they grow and change over time. It'll do your mental health the power of good and help you to appreciate the natural things around you.
15. Cut out bad habits
Attempting to change bad habits is never easy – so set yourself targets and be realistic about when and why you indulge. If you want to avoid snacking at home, then stay out of the kitchen; if you're a social smoker, then take yourself out of situations where you might be tempted. If you work at it, you'll see your bad habits fade away over time.
14. Setting goals
Think about what you really want to achieve in life. Set some realistic but tough goals and commit to working towards them – whether that means pursuing professional qualifications or spending more time with your family. You could even keep a diary tracing your daily steps to success. Having something to work towards will keep you on your toes and remind you that you're in control of your life.
13. Think about what makes you happy
It can be very easy to get caught up in the flow of things and to miss the big picture. Think about what makes you happy – whether it's painting, windsurfing or spending time with your kids. Consider whether this takes up an appropriate space in your life, or whether you could take more steps to follow your passions.
12. Get up earlier
Getting good sleep is very important. If you got up a little earlier, however, and scheduled your time more precisely, could you fit in an extra activity at the start of your day? Seizing opportunities like this can reveal that you have far more time and freedom than you thought.
11. Write a professional growth plan
Your job is only one part of your life – but it's an important part. Think about what your ambitions are and what you'll need to put in to get the desired result out. Would a change of roles, companies or locations put your career on the track that you want? And does this path match your broader life objectives? Being consciously aware of this is all-important.
10. Invest in yourself
Putting money aside can be tough, but if you're able to create a rainy day fund then it'll mean that you don't have to make sacrifices – of time, energy or ambition – if the worst comes to the worst. That said, you can also do a cost-benefit analysis of self-improvement projects; if spending money will put you on a better path, then it might definitely be worth it.
9. Keep a journal
Why not keep a journal where you can record your achievements and career goals and the results that you've achieved? This might also include your ambitions; or it could be an inspirational record of how your life has improved. It's great to be able to reflect on how your hopes and plans have changed and to see what you've achieved over time.
8. Control your energy
Vow not to waste your time, money and energy on things that don't make you happy. Perhaps most importantly of all, try to leave worrying behind. It's good to learn to deal with things head-on and to solve problems quickly so you can put them behind you for good.
7. Learn an instrument
Whether you've never played an instrument before or you've let the habit slide, taking up music can be a hugely satisfying hobby. It demands a little dedication and commitment, but with practice you'll soon be pulling off perfect melodies. What's more, it's a great way to connect with others.
6. Take up yoga
Yoga is great exercise for the mind and for the body, while incorporating meditation and thoughtful states. What's more, you may also see increased flexibility and improvements to your breathing and energy levels. And the only equipment that you need is a mat.
5. Find a mentor
A great way to accelerate your learning is by connecting with a mentor. Reach out to individuals in the fields that you're interested in and ask specific, targeted questions and suggest how you might be able to help them in return. It might just be the start of a great relationship.
4. Consider apps
There's an app for almost anything you can think of – whether it's exercising, learning a skill or simply meditating. If you want to engage with a new pursuit, have a look at whether there are apps that might be able to assist you. You might be surprised at what a difference technology can make with helping you to set goals and to stick to your targets.
3. Write yourself a letter
What are your objectives in life? What advice would you give yourself when you were 15? Make a note of where you see yourself and repeat the process once a year – or every five years. You'll have a fascinating record to look back on, recording how your perspective on life has changed over time.
2. Stick to a schedule
Having a plan is one thing, but having a schedule is another. Set time limits for tasks and see if you can hit them. If simple chores are taking too long, you should ask whether you're underestimating them or whether there might be ways that they can be completed more quickly.
1. Get comfortable with yourself
It can be tempting to fill a silence with noise, whether it's from a record or the TV. However, it's important to be alone with your thoughts sometimes, even if only for a short while. It presents time for you to think with clarity about the things that are important in life. You'll become aware of so much more around you and you'll learn to process things much more clearly.