Feeling stuck? The good news is that your next steps will bridge the gap between where you are now and where you want to be. With effort and grit, you can improve your life.
Sustainable change is about focusing on what you can do every day to get closer to where you want to be. If you're ready to become the best version of yourself, here’s what you'll need to know:
- The Power Of Habits
- Getting Started With Change
- How To Improve Your Life In 30 Days
- Aiming For True Life Satisfaction
Quick fixes are good, but lasting change is even better.
The Power Of Habits
Simple habits can increase your productivity, boost happiness, and help you live a fuller life. Let's dive into what these habits are, how they can improve your life, and how you can cultivate them:
Habits are learned automatic responses that account for up to 45% of your daily activities. You put little thought into habits, making them so powerful. Habits free up valuable mental energy, and you can trust them to help you keep up with important tasks, even in stressful situations.
How to form new habits
Your life is the sum of your habits. To improve it, switch out habits that no longer serve you for new ones that get you closer to the life you envision. Creating new patterns and letting go of those keeping you stuck can be broken down into three steps.
- Decide to change
- Initiate the new behavior
- Repeat the behavior until it becomes a habit
Forming new habits can take anywhere between 18 and 254 days. To set yourself up for success, start by making your habits as simple as possible. Instead of trying to create new patterns from scratch, use action prompts.
Action prompts are activities that are already part of your daily life that can prompt you to initiate new behaviors. For example, switching off your alarm clock can be an action prompt to get out of bed and do some deep breathing. The drive or commute to work can also prompt you to listen to an audiobook or podcast.
Getting Started With Change
Now that you know the science behind long-term change let's look at how you can start.
Identifying what's keeping you stuck is the first step to improving your life. Is fear holding you back? Are you entertaining toxic relationships? Getting to the root cause of your frustration will help you determine what needs to change.
Get in touch with your inner self and write down what areas of your life you want to change. Then, for every change, determine a reasonable way to make that happen. For example, if you're feeling lonely, a reasonable plan would be to start engaging in more social activities.
If you'd like to take a problem-solving approach, list your most frustrating problems and develop actionable solutions. If you feel your spending is becoming a problem, devise a budget and stick to it.
Set realistic goals
When you've figured out the what, the next step is to figure out the how. Goals help you filter out all the noise and focus on what matters. But they're only effective if they're realistic. Unrealistic goals kill your self-confidence and lower your motivation levels. So focus on setting realistic, achievable goals.
To lower the risk of getting overwhelmed, consider breaking your goals into small steps. If you'd like to read more, don't suddenly set a goal like reading an entire book over a week. Start small by setting a goal to read one page a day.
Similarly, if you plan to engage in more social activities, set a goal like joining an activity that interests you once a week. Don't just fill up your calendar—you'll burn out and be less enthusiastic about giving it another go.
Once you have identified a few areas of concern, you've got to take action. Change can be overwhelming, so take small, simple steps in the right direction. Prioritizing your goals is a great place to start.
Figure out which three goals would bring you the most satisfaction right now. If you're taking the problem-solving approach, pick a few of your most pressing problems. The next step is to look at your daily schedule and figure out how to slot in the behaviors that will help you meet your goals.
Remember, linking new behaviors to existing routines is a powerful way to aid habit formation. So, if you're set on reading more, read a page or two from a book while you enjoy your morning cup of coffee.
A positive attitude increases the likelihood of success. If you let your inner critic convince you that you are a hopeless failure, you won't feel motivated to take action. You shape your reality through your thoughts and intentions, so set aside a few minutes at the start of your day to reflect on what you'd like to achieve.
Give yourself a pep talk and stay focused on the things that push you closer to achieving your goals. To help you stay on track, visualize success. Whenever you feel like giving up, remind yourself why you started.
Stop comparing yourself to others
Comparison can quickly turn into a way to criticize yourself. If all you can see is that your life doesn't measure up, hopelessness and depression can set in. Constantly comparing yourself to others can rob you of the opportunity to celebrate the good things that are happening in your own life.
Instead of fixating on other people, turn your attention to your own personal growth. Acknowledge and celebrate your achievements. Whenever you accomplish something you are proud of, write it down and return to it when you feel hopeless.
When you focus on your shortcomings, you lose confidence in yourself. Low self-esteem can undermine your self-improvement efforts, so practice self-acceptance. Self-acceptance means choosing to value yourself.
Instead of dwelling on your flaws, it's best to accept yourself as you are. Not only is this liberating, but it’s also incredibly motivating. You’ll start to appreciate your own qualities, giving you the confidence to work on your personal development.
How To Improve Your Life In 30 Days
Change can be overwhelming, so pacing yourself is important. When you see what a difference 30 days can make, you'll be motivated to keep going. By the time you make it past the 66-day mark, the change will be ingrained. Here are a few things you can do over 30 days to improve your life:
Find one thing you're thankful for
It could be a person or little things like curling up with a good book or indulging in your favorite ice cream. Finding one thing to be grateful for every day can have positive effects on your mood and your general outlook on life.
Life is a lot more manageable when you focus on the present. Accept the past, let it guide you, and let it go. Similarly, stop obsessing about the future and focus on what you need to do right now. If you’re having trouble dealing with intrusive thoughts, consider taking up mindfulness meditation.
Start your day right
Set the tone for a great day by creating a morning routine that lets you do all the things that matter to you. Whether it's grabbing a cup of coffee or getting a workout done, make it a priority, and you'll be ready to face the day ahead.
Maximize your time
Set aside a few minutes every morning to reflect on the most important things to do. You’re less likely to waste time on tasks that don't matter.
To avoid procrastinating, try to do your most important tasks in the morning. By getting the most difficult tasks out of the way in the morning, you’ll achieve more. Avoid multitasking; research proves you aren't getting much done that way.
Create a healthy work-life balance
A healthy work-life balance is crucial for keeping stress levels low. Make time to work hard and set aside time to switch off and do what matters to you. It's easy for your relationship with work to get toxic and affect other areas of your life, so it's essential to set boundaries and stick to them.
Get quality sleep
You should get 7 to 9 hours of sleep daily to reap its benefits. The quality of your sleep is important too. Just one terrible night can affect your problem-solving ability, memory, and attention.
As the bad nights stack up, you're bound to start feeling irritable. Your biological rhythms will take a hit, too, leading to elevated stress levels and changes in appetite.
Establish a nighttime routine that helps you wind down and stick to it. To increase your chances of a restful night’s sleep, try to go to bed at the same time every night.
Regular exercise regulates hormones, lowers blood pressure, and improves heart health. Exercising regularly also increases your energy levels; more energy is precisely what you need to crush your goals.
Being more active also improves your cognitive abilities, making day-to-day challenges more manageable.
Take advantage of the power of physical activity to manage stress and help ward off anxiety and depression. Walking every day can make you feel more relaxed and help improve your mood.
Set a budget and stick to it
Creating a budget can help you monitor how much you spend. With small changes and a bit of discipline, you can improve your financial state over the long and short term.
When you eliminate unnecessary expenses and figure out how to be more responsible with your finances, you experience less stress. You'll also find it easier to meet your financial goals.
Nourish your body and mind
Nourishing your body with the right foods can improve your physical and mental health. Eating healthy has significant benefits, such as boosting your immune system and helping you cope with stress.
You'll also experience greater productivity and alertness levels by sticking to a healthy lifestyle. Preparing healthy meals at home can save you money and give you the confidence boost that comes with learning a new skill.
Avoid substance abuse
Taking better care of your body means avoiding drugs and alcohol to cope with stress. Substance abuse not only affects your health but also affects you mentally. You're more prone to depression if you rely on substances to improve your mood or escape stressors.
Aiming For True Life Satisfaction
Quick fixes are good, but lasting change is even better. True life satisfaction comes from loving the life that you lead. Life satisfaction measures are subjective, meaning you must determine what matters to you and pursue it. Luckily, experts have a few suggestions to help you feel better about your life:
Try new experiences
When you try different things, you challenge yourself in new ways. This adds excitement to your life and gives you a sense of accomplishment. Let's face it; you'll never find your true passions or discover your purpose by staying in your comfort zone.
Give it your all
Try to be fully invested in everything you do. This mindset will transform all areas of your life and lead to greater satisfaction. Giving your best effort also allows you to feel a strong sense of achievement. When you can hold yourself accountable, you become less dependent on external validation. You'll spend less time stressing about people's expectations and more time doing the things that matter to you.
Invest in your relationships
To experience a fuller life, you need quality connections. Meaningful connections have been associated with better overall health and well-being. There's also the added benefit of having a solid support system in times of stress. By improving the relationships in your life, you stand to experience greater life satisfaction.
Seek out more positive interactions
Positive interactions are crucial for maintaining well-being and increasing life satisfaction. They not only help you feel better, but they also help you network and create valuable personal and professional connections.
To encourage more positive interactions, improve your emotional intelligence, and increase your empathy levels. For a more fulfilling personal life, scan your calendar for plans you'd rather skip and replace them with activities that bring you joy or help you achieve your social goals.
Increase your emotional resilience
If you're easily upset by people or situations, and if you struggle with mental health issues, life can be less satisfying. Make it your goal to become a more resilient person. If you're feeling overwhelmed or if you’re uncertain about how to get started, consider speaking to a mental health professional.