Have you ever taken Jiminy Cricket’s advice and wished upon a star for some type of self-improvement? Perhaps you wished you would have better knowledge and understanding of something, have better character traits, or have a higher competency at a particular task. The good news is that your wish may come true, but with a little more faith in yourself rather than the ancient light of a star in the sky.Wishing upon a star or rubbing a lamp may be fun, but we know it is not practical. Instead, we can simply pick one or several options that are verified by scientific studies and personal testimonies. As a unique individual created by a loving God, you will identify with and find easier some types of self-improvement while others may not be a good fit as you look to improve in your chosen area.
The best way to find out what types of self-improvement works for you is to experiment. Treat the exercise like a scientist would and view your results as objectively as possible so you can discover what works for you in your current phase of life.
In considering what self-improvement journey you will begin, or continue to do for that matter, the pointers on the list below will help equip you to start or re-start in the way you will be able to continue.
Self-improvement step 1: set a goal.
Peter Drucker once said, “There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.” This hits the nail on the head. After all, what is the point of trying to be better at something when you only have a vague idea of what that something is?
Goal setting also gives your brain something to work toward. Your subconscious mind is catalyzed after you set a goal the more you reaffirm its efforts the more it will help you progress toward your goal. The goal should be something that you sincerely want to achieve, and also feel like it is within reach.
Even if you feel like you want to reach for the stars, it is useful to work backward from your ambitious endpoint to set smaller milestones that you can incrementally achieve. This will help you build motivation and momentum as you keep your eye on the prize.
Self-improvement step 2: slow but steady.
Like the race between the tortoise and the hare, victory in self-improvement comes slowly by putting one foot in front of the other in the right direction. By implementing one small improvement at a time, we can slow down our trajectory in the wrong direction and re-orientate ourselves. Once we have adapted to a small change, we can introduce another.
Deciding to join the 5 a.m. club to spend time with the Lord and read His word may be too big a change. Breaking this activity up into parts can make it more manageable:
- Go to bed in time to get up early and not feel tired.
- Set out your Bible next to your kettle so you know where everything is when you are feeling half-awake.
- Know your reading schedule.
- Wake up early just two days a week, and increase this one day per week.
Doing this will help you build a habit around everything that goes into being productive so early in the morning.
As you consider self-improvement, ask yourself what is that 1% change you can make in the right direction. The easiest improvement. Then once you have that mastered, move on to the next 1%.
Instead of having to answer to themselves, some people will react better to joining a group of people all doing the same thing. If your goal is to finish a running race, then by joining a running club that meets regularly all you have to do is show up and join the program. You can avoid thinking about deciding running routes, which races to enter, and keeping yourself motivated, all on your own.
Self-improvement step 3: obstacles will come.
If there is one thing you can expect, it is that starting something new will not be smooth sailing. Part of pointing yourself in the right direction and slowly making headway toward your endpoint is to be prepared for whatever tries to stop or slow your progress.
A significant step in preparing for this eventuality is to expect it. A useful exercise to help this process is to write down possible obstacles whenever you think of them, and alongside note a strategy you will look to implement should this obstacle rear its head.
Self-improvement step 4: consider the facts.
A tested way to approach self-improvement is by using factual evidence. We see this in how receive medication. Instead of concoctions of unverified miracle cures we are prescribed products that have passed the stringent tests of regulated research medical trials. By taking medication with proven results we have good reason to expect it to assist us too.
In therapy cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), techniques can be another example of this. Extensive research and evidence showing their effect give practitioners and patients peace of mind when joining a program or type of treatment.
Self-improvement step 5: being accountable.
We are accountable to ourselves, as well as to other people. For example, we are accountable for our personal hygiene in the place we work, and we are accountable before the Lord to walk in a manner worthy of our calling.
In building our quiet time habit by joining the 5 a.m. club we can hold ourselves accountable in several ways: We can strike it off against a calendar, message a friend when we have completed it each day, and remind ourselves each day of what we are doing and the reason for it as part of a prayer of thanks to God.
Self-improvement step 6: celebrating successes.
There are many approaches to maintaining motivation while working toward a goal. One is to celebrate making progress through a type of reward. This can be in the vocal affirmation from a friend whom you share the good news with.
If you are dieting then it can be a non-food reward of some form if you keep to your schedule. Or, if you are improving your mental wellness, then stick to a schedule that includes rewards such as a nature walk after spending time in God’s word.
Self-improvement step 7: take it personally.
The approach you set out for yourself must fit your life and personality, otherwise, you may well not stick to it as it may not be that helpful. As we each have our own approach to self-improvement, as a result of our upbringing, culture, and life experiences, we should be aware of how we feel toward an approach.
If we are those people who love to see things in black and white, then being able to work off a written schedule is helpful.
After a time of working toward smaller goals, assess where you started, and the progress you have to this point. Look at some of the different methods you have used to keep making steady headway and see how they can play a bigger role in helping you reach your goal of self-improvement.
Christian counseling for personal development.
If you’re looking for additional help to better understand self-improvement beyond this article then why not browse our online counselor directory or contact our office to schedule an appointment? We would be honored to walk with you on this journey.
“Start Somewhere”, Courtesy of Katelyn Perry, Unsplash.com, Unsplash+ License; “Snail”, Courtesy of Olivier Piau, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “You Got This”, Courtesy of Sydney Rae, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Jumping on the Beach”, Courtesy of Guille Alvarez, Unsplash.com, CC0 License
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