Are you someone who likes to grow? Do you constantly seek self-improvement through any means necessary?
There is always something about ourselves we can improve on. The human potential is limitless, so it’s impossible to reach a point of no growth.
Whenever we think we are good, we can be even better.
As a passionate advocate of growth, I’m continuously looking for ways to self-improve. I’ve compiled 42 of my best tips, which might be helpful in your personal growth journey. Some of them are simple steps which you can engage in immediately. Some are bigger steps which takes conscious effort to act on.
1. Read Every Day
Books are concentrated sources of wisdom. The more books you read, the more wisdom you expose yourself to.
When you’re reading a book every day, you will feed your brain with more and more knowledge.
Here’re 5 great books to read for self-improvement:
2. Learn a New Language
As a Singaporean Chinese, my main languages are English, Mandarin, and Hokkien (a Chinese dialect). Out of interest, I took up language courses in the past few years, such as Japanese and Bahasa Indonesian.
I realized learning a language is a whole new skill altogether, and the process of opening yourself up to a new language and culture is a mind-opening experience.
3. Pick up a New Hobby
Beyond just your usual favorite hobbies, is there something new you can pick up? Is there a new sport you can learn?
Your new hobby can also be a recreational hobby. For example, you can try pottery, Italian cooking, dancing, wine appreciation, web design, etc.
Learning something new requires you to stretch yourself in different aspects, whether physically, mentally or emotionally.
Here’re 20 hobbies to get you some new ideas: 20 Productive Hobbies That Will Make You Smarter and Happier
4. Take up a New Course
Courses are a great way to gain new knowledge and skills for self-improvement. It doesn’t have to be a long-term course; seminars, workshops, and online courses serve their purpose, too.
5. Create an Inspirational Room
Your environment sets the mood and tone for you. If you are living in an inspirational environment, you are going to be inspired every day.
If there’s a room in your house that looks messy or dull, take it to the next level by putting on a new coat of paint, buying a few nice paintings for the walls, or investing in some comfortable furniture to make it a space that will always feel welcoming and inspiring.
6. Overcome Your Fears
Whether it’s the fear of uncertainty, fear of public speaking, or fear of risk, all your fears keep you in the same position and prevent you from improving your life.
Recognize that your fears reflect areas where you can grow as they act as a compass pointing at areas that need attention.
7. Level up Your Skills
If you have played video games before, you’ll know the concept of leveling up—gaining experience so you can be better and stronger.
As a blogger, I’m constantly leveling up my writing skills. As a speaker, I’m constantly leveling up my public engagement abilities. What skills can you level up?
8. Wake up Early
Waking up early has been acknowledged by many to improve your productivity and your quality of life.
When you wake up early, you’ll have time to dedicate to self-improvement before everyone else is up. You’ll add extra time to your day, soak up the morning tranquility, and absorb the early-morning sunlight that will help your brain switch into its active mode.
Not sure how to wake up early and feel energetic? These ideas will help: How to Get Motivated and Be Happy Every Day When You Wake Up
9. Have a Weekly Exercise Routine
A better you starts with being in better shape through physical activity. I personally make it a point to jog at least 3 times a week, at least 30 minutes each time.
Try to mix it up by doing different exercises each day to prevent boredom and muscle strain.
10. Start Your Life Handbook
A life handbook is a book that contains the essentials on how you can live your life to the fullest, such as your purpose, your values, and your goals. You can think of it as a manual for how to live your best life through consistent self-improvement.
I started my life handbook in 2007, and it’s been a crucial enabler in my progress.
11. Write a Letter to Your Future Self
Where do you see yourself 5 years from now? What kind of person will you be after you learn how to improve yourself?
Write a letter to your future self and seal it. Make a date in your calendar to open it 1-5 years from now. Then, start working to become the person you want to open that letter.
12. Get out of Your Comfort Zone
Real growth comes with hard work and sweat. Being too comfortable doesn’t help us grow; it makes us stagnate.
Identify where your comfort zone lines are and how you can begin to step out of them little by little. Go hiking on a trail you’ve never been to, make a dish you’ve never tried, or say yes next time a friend asks you to go out when you’d normally say no.
13. Put Someone up to a Challenge
Competition is one of the best ways to grow and aid in self-improvement. Set a challenge (weight loss, exercise, financial challenge, etc.) and compete with an interested friend to see who achieves the target first.
Through the process, both of you will gain more than if you were to set off on the target alone.
14. Identify Your Blind Spots
Scientifically, blind spots refer to areas our eyes are not capable of seeing. In personal development terms, blind spots are things about ourselves we are unaware of. Discovering our blind spots helps us discover our areas of improvement.
One exercise I use to discover my blind spots is to identify all the things/events/people that trigger me in a day—trigger meaning making me feel annoyed, frustrated, or angry. These represent my blind spots.
Once I know these triggers, I can identify ways to improve them or overcome them.
15. Ask for Feedback
As much as we try to improve, we will always have blind spots. Asking for feedback gives you an additional perspective as you learn how to improve yourself.
Some people to approach are friends, family, colleagues, a boss, or even acquaintances, since they will have no preset bias and can give their feedback objectively.
16. Stay Focused With To-Do Lists
Starting your day with a list of tasks you want to complete will help you stay focused. In comparison, the days when you don’t do this can end up being chaotic or unproductive. You may forget certain tasks or end up running out of time since you haven’t created a plan to tackle each item.
17. Set Big, Hairy, Audacious Goals (BHAGs)
I’m a big fan of setting BHAGs. BHAGs stretch you beyond your normal capacity since they are big and audacious—you wouldn’t think of attempting them normally.
What are BHAGs you can embark on that will make you feel good about yourself once you complete them? Set them, and start working on them.
18. Acknowledge Your Flaws
Everyone has flaws, but what’s most important is to understand them, acknowledge them, and address them through self-improvement practices.
What do you think are your flaws? What are the flaws you can work on now? How do you want to address them?
Remember to do this with a sense of self-love. Do not look at your flaws through a self-critical or mean-spirited light. This is about finding areas you feel you can improve upon, not finding things that are wrong with you.
19. Get Into Action
The best way to learn and improve is to take action. What is something you have been meaning to do? How can you take action on it immediately?
20. Learn From People Who Inspire You
Think about people you admire, people who inspire you. These people reflect certain qualities you want to have for yourself as you learn how to improve yourself.
What are the qualities in them you want to have for yourself? How can you acquire these qualities?
21. Quit a Bad Habit
Are there any bad habits you can work on eliminating? This can include oversleeping, smoking, drinking, or procrastinating.
Here’s some great advice from Lifehack’s CEO on hacking your habit loop to break bad habits and build good ones: How to Break a Habit and Hack the Habit Loop
22. Cultivate a New Habit
Some good habits to cultivate include reading books, waking up early, exercising, reading a new personal development article a day, and meditating.
Are there any other new habits you can cultivate for more self-improvement?
23. Avoid Negative People
As Jim Rohn says,
“You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with”.
Wherever we go, there are bound to be negative people. Don’t spend too much of your time around them if you feel they drag you down.
24. Learn to Deal With Difficult People
There are times when there are difficult people you can’t avoid, such as at your workplace, or when the person is part of your inner circle of contacts.
Learn how to deal with them as you’re learning how to improve yourself. These people management skills will go a long way in working with people in the future.
25. Learn From Your Friends
Everyone has amazing qualities in them. It’s up to us how we want to tap into them.
With all the friends who surround you, they are going to have things you can learn from.
Try thinking of a good friend right now. Think about just one quality they have that you want to adopt. How can you learn from them and adopt this skill for yourself?
26. Start a Journal
Journaling is a great way to gain more self-awareness. As you write, clarify your thought process and read what you wrote from an outsider’s perspective. This will help you gain more personal insight.
27. Start a Blog About Personal Development
To help others grow, you need to first be walking the talk of self-improvement. There are expectations of you, both from yourself and from others, which you have to uphold.
28. Get a Mentor or Coach
There’s no faster way to improve than to have someone help you achieve your goals.
Many of my clients approach me to coach them in their goals, and they achieve significantly more results than if they had worked alone.
If you’re looking for a mentor, don’t miss these tips: What to Look for in a Good Mentor
29. Reduce the Time You Spend on Messaging Apps
Having messaging apps open as a default results in a lot of wasted time. This time can be much better spent on other self-improvement activities.
The days when I don’t get on chat, I get a lot more done. I usually disable the auto start-up option in the chat programs and launch them when I do want to chat and really have the time for it.
30. Learn Chess
Chess is a terrific game to learn strategy and hone your brainpower. Not only do you have fun, but you also get to exercise your analytical skills.
31. Stop Watching TV
Many programs and advertisements on TV are meant to distract you instead of empowering or educating you. This time is better spent elsewhere, such as with close friends, doing a hobby you enjoy, or exercising.
32. Start a 30-Day Challenge
Set a goal and give yourself 30 days to achieve this. Your goal can be to stick with a new habit or develop a new hobby.
30 days is just enough time to strategize, plan, get into action, review, and nail the goal.
Meditation helps to calm you and be more conscious while improving your overall mental health. Meditation can also help you sleep better, be more productive, and be kinder to those around you.
Have a go with this 5-minute Guide to Meditation: Anywhere, Anytime.
34. Learn Public Speaking
Interestingly, public speaking is the #1 fear in the world, with #2 being death.
Public speaking can help you learn how to communicate better, present yourself, and engage people. These skills are helpful both personally and professionally, as you’ll do better in meetings and presentations.
35. Network With Experts
These people have achieved their results because they have the right attitude, skill set, and know-how. How better to learn than from the people who have been there and done that as you learn how to improve yourself?
Gain new insights from them on how you can improve and achieve the same results for yourself.
36. Let Go of the Past
Is there any grievance or unhappiness from the past which you have been holding onto? If so, it’s time to let it go as part of your self-improvement.
Holding on to it prevents you from moving on and becoming a better person. Break away from the past, forgive yourself, and move on.
37. Start a Business Venture
Is there anything you have an interest in? Why not turn it into a venture and make money while learning at the same time?
Starting a new venture requires you to be learn business management skills, develop business acumen, and have a competitive edge.
The process of starting and developing my personal development business has equipped me with many skills, such as self-discipline, leadership, organization, and management.
38. Show Kindness to Those Around You
You can never be too kind to someone. Being kind helps us to cultivate other qualities such as compassion, patience, and love.
As you get back to your day after reading this article later on, start exuding more kindness to the people around you, and see how they react.
Also, notice how you feel as you behave kindly to others. Chances are you will feel more optimistic and grateful.
39. Reach out to People Who Dislike You
If you ever stand for something, you are going to get haters.
It’s easy to dislike the people who dislike us; it’s much more challenging to love them back. Being able to forgive, let go, and show love to these people requires magnanimity and an open heart.
Seek a resolution and get closure on past grievances. Even if they refuses to reciprocate, love them all the same. It’s much more liberating than to hate them back.
40. Take a Break
Have you been working too hard? Self-improvement is also about recognizing our need to take a break to walk the longer mile ahead. You can’t be driving a car if it has no fuel.
Scheduling downtime for yourself is important. Take some time off for yourself every week. Relax, rejuvenate, and charge yourself up for what’s up ahead.
41. Read 1 Personal Development Article a Day
Some of my readers make it a point to read at least one personal development article every day, which I think is a great habit.
There are many terrific personal development blogs out there, some of which you can check here.
42. Commit to Your Personal Growth
I can be writing list articles with 10 ways, 25 ways, 42 ways, or even 1,000 ways to improve yourself, but if you have no intention to commit to your personal growth, it doesn’t matter what I write.
You are responsible for your personal growth as you learn how to improve yourself. Make the decision to commit to your personal growth and embrace a lifelong journey of growth and change. Kick off your growth by picking a few of the steps above and working on them.
The results may not be immediate, but I promise that as long as you keep to it, you’ll start seeing positive changes in yourself and your life.