Self-Improvement

Start living a happier, more fulfilling life by making small changes and taking meaningful strides toward a better you

Start living a happier, more fulfilling life by making small changes and taking meaningful strides toward a better you

  • You can work toward self-improvement by making small changes each day.
  • A few actionable tips include practicing gratitude, logging out of social media, exercising, and saying some positive affirmations in the mirror.
  • To further your self-improvement mission, set out to adopt a more positive sense of being—always look for the silver lining and tell yourself it’ll be okay.
  • Also, ensure you stay grounded through life: don’t forget your values, but put them at the forefront of everything you do.
  • Finally, be intentional in every action and always live life with a purpose.

I know what you’re thinking: Of course I want to better my life, but I don’t know where to start. I’m too caught up in work and all of my other responsibilities. Here’s the thing. You don’t have to change your entire routine or take a significant chunk of time out of your day to start bettering yourself. You can do so gradually by making small changes that will make for a better day every day. Here are a few examples of things you can add to your daily routine to increase life satisfaction, as recommended by Jacob Kountz, a marriage and family therapist trainee and clinic manager of CSU Bakersfield:

  • Surround yourself with nature by sitting on the grass at a nearby park.
  • Drink a glass of water first thing in the morning.
  • Write down 5 things you are grateful for in a journal.
  • Give a hug to a friend who makes you feel warm.
  • Close any media apps that would give you access to negative information.
  • Take time to write down what your life vision is for your future and make small actionable steps to get there.
  • Take a brisk walk for 30 minutes a day if you have the time.
  • Breathe with your stomach (not with your chest).
  • Say a few good things about yourself in front of the mirror
  • Laugh, and laugh often.

Implementing any of the above is a great step in the right direction. However, it isn’t always easy to turn these activities into healthy habits, especially if you’re having a tough time tapping into some positivity and determination. To further your self-improvement efforts, try the following tips recommended by Kountz:

    1) Change your self-talk.

    “When you wake up tomorrow morning, verbally say, ‘I am peaceful and at ease.’ Or, perhaps come up with your own if you didn’t like that one. Whatever you think can shift your mindset, even if it’s just a little bit. Every new change does matter. Furthermore, reframing is a powerful tool to use whenever you are feeling dissatisfied with your day or a moment from your day. For example, a car running out of gas could also mean you’re going to make a new friend today (e.g., the tow truck driver). It might feel odd at first, but with practice you can make new patterns of thinking.”

    2) Stay grounded.

    “Sometimes as we go through the ebbs and flows of life, we forget our values and morals. This is not to say we forget who we are, but what I mean here is that we forget our ‘why’ when we perform a task. Try taking at least 5 minutes each day to review what you value in life and ask if it connects with your morals. Ask yourself: what is my ‘why’ today?”

    3) Be intentional.

    “When is the last time you slowed down? Honestly, this can feel like a hard task because we’ve been speeding for the last decade in life. It’s a wonderful feeling when stepping back for a moment and making decisions with intention rather than just saying ‘yes’ all the time. It’s empowering!”

    4) Live life with a purpose.

    “I cannot tell you how dramatically different it is when I see someone living life versus someone living life with a purpose. Earlier, I said to ask yourself: what is my ‘why’? And that’s a great step into a direction of hope. But, for the long term, it’s good to ask yourself what makes you feel purposeful. What are the things that do make you get up in the morning and want to live? Remind yourself daily and those small changes will feel so meaningful.”