You likely have an automatic thank-you response when someone does something for you. How often do you actually feel gratitude towards that person? Practicing daily gratitude is a must when it comes to satisfaction and happiness. There have been many studies about gratitude. Those studies suggest that people who practice gratitude feel several benefits. They are: less negative emotion, feeling better, better sleep, and better self-esteem.
It’s likely something good happens to you at least once a day. Next time it happens, try feeling thankful for it. When nothing good happens, be thankful that nothing bad is happening. If something bad happens, be grateful it’s not worse. An exercise with a little more structure I recommend is writing in gratitude journal. You can download an app or write down one or two things on paper that you are grateful for every day. Remember that the key is to try to actually feel gratitude, not to do or say grateful things.
This next thing is something I don’t see people talking about very often. Yet, it is one of the most crucial things when it comes to self-improvement. Everybody has had moments where they wanted to do something, but didn’t have the will to do it. When motivation fails, you need to have self-discipline to back it up. People high in self-discipline make better decisions for themselves faster and easier.
There are a few things you can do to improve self-discipline. You should know your weaknesses, remove temptations, and then make a clear-cut plan of action. When you have a clear vision of what your goals are, you know exactly when you are straying away from them. You also need to change your mindset and understand that will power is a muscle. It is a skill that you can hone and not something you’re either born with or without.
If you’re like most people, you stand to benefit by being more organized in your life. You can start by organizing your house, and once you do so, it won’t take much upkeep to maintain. It also will make everything very easy to find and when you bring other people over it will be very pleasant to look at. Organization isn’t just about spaces though, it’s also about keeping track of things that you have going on. I recommend keeping a calendar or planner and fill it with all your deadlines and events, along with anything you have to do to prepare for them. This can greatly contribute to success at work or school, and will make you a much more reliable person.
Next up on our list, we should know that being mindful is a useful goal to have. Mindfulness is a mental state. You can achieve it by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment. At the same time, acknowledge and accept your feelings, thoughts, and sensations. It results in a change in your thought processes and changing your perception for the better. Doing so shifts your awareness to where you are, what you’re doing, and how you’re feeling. In turn, you will think less about whatever is causing you anxiety.
Studies have shown several benefits to mindfulness. It reduces stress and depression while improving health, among many other things. To be more mindful, take some time to feel into sensations during daily life. For example: feel your breath, feel the texture of what you’re holding, focus on the taste and smell of food. You could notice the sounds around you without focusing on any particular one. For the dedicated, you can take 15 – 20 minutes out of the day to sit and focus on sensations. While doing so, if your thoughts wander, bring them back to the sensations.
This next one I’ve been working on a lot recently. It’s known as assertiveness. In life, you need to speak up to make sure people meet your needs. As the saying goes “closed mouths don’t get fed”. Increasing assertiveness will impact your life in many positive ways. If you’re assertive in relationships, you’re much more likely to have your needs met. That’s due to your friends, family, and others knowing your needs are now important. Co-workers will have to respect you because they know where your boundaries are. You may even get a raise after you let your boss know in a solid but polite way.
It helps to have self-worth when being assertive because then you will feel as if you deserve to have your needs met. To raise self worth you should find things you like about yourself and learn to love them. Along with the love for yourself, increase the amount that you voice your opinions and needs. It can be difficult but take small steps and you will make great progress over time.
6. Overcoming fears
Up next is something that everyone can improve on. I know it’s easier said than done but we could all benefit from overcoming fears. If you think that a fear is holding you back then you should at least try to get past it. In order to get over a fear, you should start by being aware that you have a fear to begin with. Next, identify exactly what about that is scary to you. After you’ve done all that, one very consistent way to get over that fear is to face it.
Using systematic desensitization is an effective method to do so. Start by facing the fear in a small way, maybe just one aspect of it. After, you let the anxiety disappear and repeat. Then overtime you slowly increase the amount that you face the fear until you eventually become desensitized to it. For example, if your afraid of heights, try entering a tall building, and look out the window from each floor. Start at the ground floor and increase only when you feel comfortable looking down. Fears can stunt your growth in many ways, so it is very important to surpass any that could be holding you back from what you want to do.
Books give you new perspectives and ideas that you can apply to your life. The stories in books will show you the author’s perspective. That will in turn give you the perspective to make better decisions in life. If you aren’t reading a lot you won’t get very far, especially when it comes to self-improvement. While articles are good for information, books go into full detail and delve into the mind of the author. Experts say that you can become more knowledgeable than 90% of your field by reading 4 books about the topic. For me, reading books has had a profound impact on my life, and they continue to change my life for the better to this day. This is why I recommend reading more books, for they always add value to your life.
The last thing that I recommend to you is taking courses. I’ve taken quite a few online courses in my life. Once I finish, I’m more knowledgeable about whatever I was learning about. One site that I’ve found very useful is SkillShare. I currently use their site, and whenever I need to find out more info about something it’s the first place I go. If you aren’t willing to spend money, there are even free YouTube courses you can take. The only caveat is that you get what you pay for. Courses provide a lot of value to your life for very little money. All it takes is a little self-discipline to stick with them and finish. A single course you take may serve you for the rest of your life, and that’s an amazing thing.