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Finding joy in life can be challenging, especially when facing obstacles and difficult situations. It is important to remember that we will be in various seasons in our lives. There will be times when we feel like we could not ask for more, and there will also be times when we will feel like there’s never enough.
Having faith gives us hope that we can overcome any situation. As mentioned in the previous episode, our self-awareness helps us discover what matters most to help us uncover the experiences that bring us lasting joy and satisfaction. This also helps us find out the areas we need to improve ourselves. In this episode, we will explore how we can develop healthy self-improvement habits to appreciate life better.
What is Self-Improvement?
Self-improvement is making positive changes to one’s life to become the best version of oneself. It entails a wide range of activities, from exercising and eating healthy to setting goals, developing healthy habits, improving relationships with others and finding ways to be more productive. Self-improvement also involves taking joy in each day by appreciating all life offers.
Finding joy in life through self-improvement can take many forms. For example, it could involve learning new skills or hobbies that bring you pleasure and satisfaction, such as photography or woodworking. Or it can be breaking bad habits like smoking or drinking excessively; or devoting time and energy to fostering meaningful relationships with friends, family members and colleagues. Whatever your choice, self-improvement can help you find genuine happiness and contentment in your everyday life.
What is a habit?
A habit is any behaviour that a person regularly completes—whether conscious or not. Habits are essential for self-improvement, as they can provide structure and motivation to achieve your desired goals. When you create positive habits, your life has the potential to become more meaningful and rewarding.
Creating new habits takes time and effort, but that doesn’t mean it has to be complicated. It’s possible to craft simple routines into your daily life that can significantly brighten your outlook on the world. Engaging in activities like meditation, exercise, or journaling can help foster a sense of contentment—and even excitement—about life. Incorporating these self-improvement habits will naturally make you happier and more fulfilled daily.
13 Self-improvement habits to bring greater appreciation in life
Adjust activities to wake up early.
I’ve just recently been a morning person. And that’s because I have always had a late schedule for my work-at-home job. But as a parent of a toddler and a working student, I find it challenging to get things done that require studying/thinking when my daughter is already awake. My brain retains reading more in the morning than when I read late at night when I’m already too tired.
Plan your day the night before.
Planning your day the night before is a great way to ensure you maximize your time available. It allows you to outline exactly what tasks need to be accomplished and when. This can help increase productivity by allowing you to focus on one task at a time rather than trying to manage multiple tasks simultaneously. Planning your day ahead will also help reduce stress levels, ensuring that you have everything under control no matter how busy your day may be. (Mitchell, Colleen, 2019)
I want you to know that the intention is to implement a habit you already have with a new one you would like to do. (James Clear, 2018). For example, while having your coffee in the morning, you add a new habit of meditating for 10-15 mins. Another example is listening to an audiobook as soon as you start washing the dishes.
Replace bad habits with good ones.
Often, we are aware of the things we do automatically that lead us to make bad decisions. When we know how to identify these bad habits, we can think of ways to replace them with better ones. For example, for some reason, I always browse the Facebook marketplace even though we don’t need anything. Hence, I will replace this by working on social media engagement instead for my podcast.
One way to develop this habit is to take time each day to journal about at least one thing you’re thankful for. This could be something big or small – from celebrating joyful moments with family and friends to enjoying a hot cup of coffee in the morning. Writing down what you’re grateful for helps put your mind in an optimistic frame of view and allows you to appreciate even the most minor blessings life has given you.
As parents, sometimes we tend to put our aspirations aside or put a small value on the skills we possess because we’re too busy parenting. However, acknowledging our abilities outside of being a mom helps us bring more joy into our life. Think about the things you are already good at and use them. For example, if you are good at drawing or singing, enjoy these talents and even teach them to your kids.
Set S.M.A.R.T. goals.
S.M.A.R.T. Goal setting does not only apply to corporate venues. We can also use it in our day-to-day lives, which stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. For example, if you want to start a side hustle as an Etsy seller, you need to decide on specific items you want to sell. You need to set a very achievable goal to make sure this side hustle is something you can commit to and finish. Then, you can measure your success by researching how much you will make for a particular period.
Celebrate small wins.
Celebrating these small victories helps to motivate us and keep us on track with our self-improvement goals. Taking a moment to appreciate our successes, no matter how small they may seem, creates an emotional boost that will help drive us forward. This can be as simple as rewarding ourselves with a coffee date with a friend or a low-spend guilty pleasure after completing a task or achieving something we have been striving for. Not only does this give us something tangible to look forward to, but it also helps create positive associations with accomplishing our goals.
Self-affirmation is the practice of reinforcing positive thoughts and beliefs about yourself. It can help boost your confidence, reduce stress, and build resilience. Self-affirmations are personalized statements that acknowledge your strengths or characteristics. You can do this as mantras throughout the day to remind yourself of how amazing you are. Or you have to create visual cues such as sticky notes placed around your house with encouraging words written on them. Whatever form they take, these affirmations serve as powerful reminders that promote feelings of self-respect and empowerment, ultimately bringing more joy when practiced regularly.
Read at least 10 minutes a day.
Developing a daily reading habit can be one of the best self-improvement habits to find joy in life. Reading stimulates our minds and helps us learn, grow and think differently. Taking the time each day to read for at least 10 minutes can positively impact our lives.
Reading has been linked to improving cognitive health (Chang YH, Wu IC, Hsiung CA, 2021), boosting creativity and developing a deeper understanding of ourselves and the world. It’s an activity that allows us to escape from reality for a while and explore different perspectives. We can become more compassionate, insightful and wise people with greater self-awareness through books.
Science has shown that reading is one of the most effective ways to reduce stress levels in adults and children.
Invest time in self-improvement resources.
Spend time on self-directed learning to improve your skills and skills that interest you. You can find valuable free training or masterclass from sites like LinkedIn and Coursera. Upon completion, some of these materials come with certification that you can add to your LinkedIn profile or your resume. There are also lots of educational videos for self-growth on YouTube.
Build habits that align with your values.
A clear understanding of your values is essential for building habits that can help you achieve the life you want. These habits become more meaningful when focused on and connected to a value or belief system. They provide a sense of purpose and direction, making staying motivated throughout the process easier.
It’s ok not to be perfect! Nobody is perfect, so don’t be hard on yourself if you make a mistake or don’t accomplish something. We all have flaws and things we could improve on. Still, it’s important to remember that we are all human, and imperfections are perfectly normal. Be kind to yourself and show compassion; you’re worth it!
Conclusion: Managing habits help improve the standard of our lives
The journey of self-improvement can be long and complex, but the rewards are well worth it. After exploring the various habits that promote joy, satisfaction and appreciation for life, it is clear that a combination of daily routines and intentional lifestyle choices can immensely impact our happiness levels.
From practicing mindfulness to learning to appreciate the present moment, we can each take steps toward cultivating gratitude and contentment. Finding joy in life is achievable when we develop healthy self-improvement habits.
Clear, James (2018). How to Build New Habits by Taking Advantage of Old Ones. James Clear (2018, October 16). Retrieved January 6, 2023, from https://jamesclear.com/habit-stacking
Mitchell, Colleen (2019). The Benefits of Planning Your Day the Night Before. Colleen Mitchel April 04, 2019. Inspired Forward. Retrieved January 7, 2023 from https://www.inspiredforward.com/planning-your-day-night-before/
Chang, Y. H., Wu, I. C., & Hsiung, C. A. (2021). Reading activity prevents long-term decline in cognitive function in older people: evidence from a 14-year longitudinal study. International psychogeriatrics, 33(1), 63–74. https://doi.org/10.1017/S1041610220000812This post was proofread by Grammarly