Posted By: Kelly Seal Date: 09-18-2017 Comments: 0
Have you fallen behind on your New Year’s resolutions? Don’t worry – September is self-improvement month, and brings another chance to develop some new (healthier) habits.
Self-improvement can be a loaded term. There are so many articles, podcasts, and books addressing our insecurities that we may feel weary about quick advice on how to make lasting changes. The truth is, there is no quick fix. But real change can happen, over time and with dedication. We are all works in progress, and that isn’t something to be ashamed of – we should embrace it, which is why we celebrate self-improvement month.
If you want to achieve something, the most important part is taking that first step. We tend to talk ourselves out of trying something new, so this is the time to test your resolve. You’re the one in charge of your future, so claim it! We have a few ideas that might inspire you.
Start a fitness plan.
Do you want to run a half marathon in January? Do you want to improve your core strength or become more flexible in the next year? Instead of just joining a gym, it’s important to know what you want to achieve (and also what you like doing for exercise!). Spend the money to hire a personal trainer if you know that will get you off the couch. But there are alternatives to spending money if you’re on a tight budget. There are so many tools to help you, from apps to online fitness programs to neighborhood workout groups. The important thing is to set a specific goal so you can plan effectively and truly feel results.
And don’t overlook an important part of starting a fitness plan – know what works for you and what doesn’t. Don’t join a gym if you prefer to be outside! If you need motivation, find a local running group or hiking crew to join so someone holds you accountable. Find a sport or workout that speaks to you.
Finish a project.
How many times have we started something and never finished it because we ran out of time, lost interest, whatever? This happens far too often in our lives. Instead of letting your projects fizzle, aim to feel more gratification in daily life by finishing something you’ve put off, whether it’s a book you’ve wanted to read, a garden you wanted to plant, or a home improvement project or fix you wanted to construct. Now’s the time – set aside a weekend to get it done, and take the time to feel good about the accomplishment!
Sign up for a class to learn something new.
Sometimes, we need a new hobby to help ourselves grow. We get complacent in the routine of our lives, with going to our regular yoga class or Saturday soccer game – but who wants to be bored? Self-improvement month is a great time to push ourselves out of the comfort zone of what we know and into new territory. Maybe you’d love to paint, play tennis or learn Italian but have no idea how to start. Maybe you’re just bored with your current routine and need to mix things up. Sign up for a class and see what happens when you’re challenged to learn something new!
Spend time with your friends, not your phone.
We’re all guilty of texting, messaging and giving too much attention to our relationships on social media – to the point that we get distracted and ignore our friends and family when they are right in front of us! For this month, put the phone down when you are eating meals together. If your friend wants to talk, get together in person instead of texting back and forth. Our relationships are the most important part of our lives – treat them with care and attention. I can’t think of a better way to feed our personal growth than by fostering our relationships.
Forgive yourself and others.
This might not sound like self-improvement talk, but it’s necessary to forgive in order to move forward with your life. When you hold onto anger, blame or regret, you’re only punishing yourself and stalling your own growth. Instead of being trapped in the past – in a cycle of blame and self-destructive behavior, step outside of your emotions for a moment. Think how you would feel if you didn’t have to carry around pain from the past. Now is the time to set down the baggage and feel lighter as you go through your day. Let go of that anger by forgiving yourself or whoever hurt you, and you have even more room to grow.
Acknowledge how far you’ve come.
Self-improvement month is a time to celebrate our accomplishments, too! Maybe you’ve spent the past year working hard on overcoming your fears, moving past a difficult experience, or developing your career. This is the time to acknowledge and celebrate all of the progress! Journaling is a brilliant way to keep track of how far we’ve come – write down everything you’ve accomplished in the last year (and make this an annual habit). Then put the pen down and celebrate!
These are just a few ideas – there are plenty of ways to celebrate self-improvement month. What have you learned over the past year, and how do you want to grow in the next year?