Work on yourself more than you do on your job.
– Jim Rohn
I am a huge fan of self improvement because I love to learn and grow. It’s what life is all about.
So, I’ve come up with a huge list of self improvement tips that you can use in your life that I use and love in mine.
The tips are broken up into the eight life categories that I talk about: health, relationships, finances, career, personal/spiritual development, recreation/fun, environment, and service (for more on setting goals with these topics, download my Goal Setting Action Plan).
I quit my six-figure job, took a 50% pay cut, paid off over $100k in student loan debt, and I make $4k+/month blogging. None of this would be possible if it weren’t for focusing on self-improvement. It’s how I got started with everything.
So, here are my best tips for you to get started, too!
100 Self Improvement Tips That Will Make Your Life Better
- Create a meal plan. Planning out your meals ahead of time will help you spend less money and stick your health goals. A great meal plan is the $5 Meal Plan. People love this one!
- Stop eating fried food. Fried food makes you feel awful for ~24 hours (not to mention it lacks nutrients). You’ll feel better if you cut out fried food.
- Don’t go more than 3 days without exercising. Exercising gives you energy, helps relieve stress, and helps you get fit. It’s too hard to squeeze it in every day sometimes, but don’t go more than 3 days without it.
- Eat minimal dairy. If you have a sensitive stomach, try cutting out dairy. For some people this can eliminate digestive problems.
- Cut out one of the following: pop, coffee, alcohol, or sugar. If you could cut all these, then even better (but I would think you are a superhero)!
- Get enough good sleep. This may be 5.5 hours or it may be 8 hours – whatever it is for you, make sure you get it. The quality matters just as much as the time spent sleeping. Sleep allows you to regenerate and gives you greater concentration.
- Focus on building strength more than on being skinny. This will create positive goals that are attainable and healthy for you.
- Make sure you get enough Vitamin C and D. Both of these can impact your health in a positive way if you get enough (and can have the opposite effect if they’re lacking). Check with your doctor which vitamins she recommends.
- Drink enough water every day. A good rule of thumb is to divide your body weight by 2 and that’s how many ounces you should drink.
- Keep track of your annual, routine doctor appointments and don’t miss any. Put a recurring reminder on your calendar for things like dental checkups, skin checks, and physicals so you don’t miss any. Take your preventative care seriously.
- Take fitness classes or hire a personal trainer. If you struggle to get fit, classes or a trainer are great ways to go. Just make sure you can afford it!
- Subscribe to a health blog. Learn about healthy living as a lifestyle practice little by little every day. Here’s a list of 10 of the best health and wellness blogs.
- Be your own best friend. Learning to love yourself will create a centeredness that everyone deserves to experience. You’ll be happier in every area of your life.
- Set relationship goals. You wouldn’t start a business, career, or anything else super important without setting goals, so why skip relationships? Start small and come up with goals together.
- Put as much effort into your relationships as you do into your work. This is hard for type-A, achievement oriented people. However, it’s absolutely necessary. People matter the most. Prioritize your people.
- Give people the benefit of the doubt. If you make this a practice, you’ll be happier. You won’t question people as much, and you’ll find that you’re less judgmental.
- Have family meetings. Discuss how things are going, including your personal goals, financial goals (here’s how you can set up budget meetings), and anything else. It’s good to have a time to check-in with each other.
- Call one friend or family member once a day. It’s important to stay connected to the people most important to you. Instead of feeling overwhelmed by the need to stay in touch, simply call one person you care about every day. This way, over time, you’ll stay in touch with everyone.
- Don’t be a victim. Whatever your circumstances are, take ownership of them. Then, take action. If you feel like your situation is someone else’s fault, you’ll never change it.
- Learn to argue productively. Arguing is part of any healthy relationship. Learn how to do it constructively and respectfully. No name calling or yelling.
- Say sorry the right way. Don’t use “ifs” in your apologies (e.g.: “I’m sorry if I upset you). Address your apology head-on and take responsibility for your actions. Here’s a 4-step guide on how to say I’m sorry the right way.
- Don’t put your partner down in public. This is one of the worst things you can do. It’s disrespectful and harms the relationship.
- Stop negative thoughts about other people when you begin to think them. This practice can become a habit, and when it does, you’ll get out of a negative mindset. You’ll be happier and less judgmental, too.
- Commit to playing with your kids regularly. It’s not enough to provide for them financially. They need your time (and quality time at that).
- Prioritize your kids over your work. This is hard for the breadwinner of the family, but it’s worth it. Your regrets at the end of your life will be about people – not work. Prioritize your people.
- Check your financial accounts daily. This habit will keep you informed on the reality of your financial situation. It’s a simple action that can pay off big.
- Spend less than you make. This rule is so simple, but so hard to follow for so many people. If you live by this rule, you have a shot at building an extraordinary financial future. Learn how to start a budget to get started.
- Save a 3-6 month emergency fund. Because emergencies happen to everyone and having cash will lessen the stress. Learn how to save an emergency fund that actually lasts.
- Check your credit reports annually. This will help you know whether your identity has been compromised and what your credit score is. I put this on my calendar to do every January, which helps keep it as a habit. Here’s a step by step guide that walks you through how to check your credit reports.
- Get out of debt. Debt holds you back from options. It requires you to be a “slave to the lender” as they say. Learn how to get out of debt and stay out.
- Pay off your credit cards in full every month. If you don’t, you’ll be paying interest that compounds over time. You can build credit by paying off your credit card in full every month.
- Make more money. If you have an income problem (meaning you don’t make enough money to cover your expenses and reach your financial goals), then find ways to make more money. Here are my best resources for learning how to make more money:
- Pay yourself first. You’re always going to find ways to spend your money, even with pay increases. To make sure you’re saving, auto-deposit money into a savings account immediately when you’re paid. Learn how to automate your savings.
- Put more financial margin in your budget. Find ways to cut spending and make more money so you have more money left at the end of the month as a buffer. Remember, it’s better to want than to owe.
- Spend money on experiences (not things). Research shows spending on experiences results in being happier. You will remember the experience you had and not the stuff you bought.
- Save for retirement. If you want to retire one day, you need to plan for it. The earlier you start, the more you benefit from compounding interest. Read my Retirement Blog Posts to get started.
- Hire a financial advisor if you can afford it. Having the right professional manage your money can give you an advantage and help you succeed financially. But make sure you hire the right advisor for you. Here’s a list of 15 questions you should ask your financial advisor.
- Do work that fulfills you. This will make every day fly by. You’ll be happier and content with your life. Don’t give up until you find it.
- Quit your job if you hate it. Life is too short to spend it doing something you hate. That’s why I quit practicing law to become a financial planner and blogger. I couldn’t be happier!
- Find ways to work from home. There are so many ways you can make money from home. If you can with your full time job, that’s great. If you can’t, then find other ways to increase your income streams. Here’s a list of work from home posts on my blog:
- Get a mentor. A mentor is a professional coach of sorts. Having someone you trust who is doing what you want to be doing can pay off big time.
- Dress for the job you want. It pays to be well dressed for the job you want. People will see you in that roll. This advice is worth so much if you actually do it.
- Remember that likeability matters to work. There are studies that show likeability is one of the most significant factors in getting hired and promoted. Make an effort to fit in with the culture.
- Take constructive feedback positively. This can help you grow and become better at your job.
- Give praise to people you work with. Doing this publicly will make people feel appreciated, and they’ll like you more for it, too.
- Focus on increasing the skills you’re good at and outsourcing what you’re bad at. You’ll get more done, enjoy what you’re doing more, and find more down time if you do this. Don’t waste time focusing on what you’re bad at. Get someone else to do it who is good at it.
- Develop leadership skills. Learning how to be a good leader will prepare you for your career and for life. Here’s a post about the 12 leadership habits every good leader has.
- Read books about career development. Enhance your skills by reading about career development. This will help you excel faster because you will grow faster. Here’s a look at my recommended book list.
- Use Dream Year to create a year, month, and weekly plan for yourself. This is my goal-setting workbook that shows you how to get anything you want in life. I created this so you can learn how to be happy and success while pursuing your #1 goal. There are a ton of templates and workbooks for you to use to get the results you want in your life.
- Find a way to express gratitude daily. This is one small way to be happier every day. It can change your perspective to a positive mindset, which will carry over into all aspects of your life.
- Stop being a perfectionist. It gets in the way of your happiness (and it annoys other people)!
- Get comfortable saying “no”. If you don’t, other people will decide the course of your life. Instead, say “no” to what you don’t want to do, so you can have room for what you do want to do.
- Work through past issues with a therapist. If you have past issues to work on, take care of them now. They will only get worse if they’re unresolved.
- Forgive regularly. When you forgive, you set yourself free from resentment and pain. It’s not about the other person. It’s about you.
- See the world with a glass half full mentality. You can learn to train yourself how to be happier and have a positive attitude. The book The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor can help you learn how to do this.
- Be an abundance thinker (not a scarcity thinker). Abundance thinkers welcome competition, default to trust, and are optimistic about the future. Scarcity thinkers fear competition, assume mistrust, and are negative about the future.
- Listen to podcasts during your commute. One great way to learn while you’re wasting time is during your commute. I am obsessed with The Life Coach Podcast for self improvement. Start at episode 1 and go forward. It’s life changing.
- Evaluate your experiences. You don’t learn from your experiences. You learn from evaluating your experiences. So, evaluate yours to change and learn.
- Start a blog about something you love. Blogging is a great way to focus on personal development. It’s the way I have, and I can’t imagine my life about it. Blogging is a platform you can use to learn about any subject.
- Stay motivated. Like Zig Ziglar said, “People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.” Here’s 6 podcast episodes for motivation that I’m obsessed with.
- Implement supportive habits. It’s not enough to rely on motivation. You need to implement habits into your life. Learn how to implement better habits into your life.
- Limit your TV to less than 30 minutes / day on average. TV is such a time suck and it’s completely passive. Instead of watching TV, evaluate a better use of your time that aligns with your values.
- Start meditating. Meditation can be one of the most useful ways to relieve stress and find inner-contentment. It also helps with anxiety. Feeling stressed? Try a meditation app to get started.
- Get out of your comfort zone. Personal development means growing as a person. And the only way you’ll grow is from new experiences, which often require you to get out of your comfort zone. The more you get use to this, the easier it becomes.
- Have faith in something bigger than you. Believing in God or another higher power can make your life more meaningful. Decide what you believe in and commit to that.
- Go to church. Or wherever suits your fancy! J Just get around people who believe in something like you do. It’s good for your soul.
- Know what you want from your life. If you don’t know what you want, you’ll wander somewhere you may not like. To avoid this, set visions in each life category (more on visions here) so you know where you’re headed.
- Set goals. Goals will help you create a roadmap of how to get where you want to go. Learn how to set goals to get started using the SMART method.
- Create a mission statement for your life (or one area of your life). Using a mission statement can help you focus on your number one priority. This helps make decision-making easier.
- Have a go-to activity to get you out of a funk. Whatever works for you – do that. Whether it’s going for a run, taking a nap, painting, etc. Find an activity you do that helps you clear your mind.
- At the end of the year reflect on the prior year by going through your calendar. Something I learned from 15 Invaluable Laws Of Growth by John Maxwell and have been doing for years. It helps you prioritize your time and money by looking at what you did the year before.
- Journal regularly. Journaling is a way to express your thoughts in writing. It will bring you clarity in a deep way. A side effect of journaling is documenting life events, too. I am obsessed with the Five Minute Journal and The Productivity Planner – I use both every day. Find what works for you. Here’s a look at a review of 8 journals and planners to get started.
- Read at least one book a month. Reading will help you grow and develop. Reading is where you can excel with self-education. Here’s a look at my reading list.
- Wake up early. You can benefit from starting a morning routine every day. Push your alarm clock time back one minute every day until you’re waking up early enough to do your morning routine.
- Create a morning routine that you do before work. If you prioritize going what’s important to you before you start work, the day won’t escape you and you’ll actually do these things. Examples include journaling, working out, praying, etc. Here’s a post that will teach you how to create a better morning routine.
- Keep notes in a digital folder. Set up an online account where you can keep notes (I use Evernote). It’s amazing what you’ll discover you want to remember (notes from books, quotes you hear, podcast episodes, etc.).
- Read personal development blogs. To continue to learn and grow, spend time reading up on personal development blogs. Here’s a link to the Personal Development Page on my blog.
- Make time for fun if you’re an overachiever. Fun is necessary to your health and happiness. For the type-A, overachiever, put fun in your schedule. You’ll enjoy life more.
- Cut back on fun if you’re an underachiever. The opposite is true if you tend to spend all your free time having fun. If you are disorganized, haven’t cleaned in a while, or have no idea what your goals are – cut back on the fun and spend time thinking and working on personal development.
- Pursue a hobby that you love – just for fun. This will give you ownership of something you do just for you.
- Find creative ways to have fun experiences without spending a lot of money. Getting creative with your fun on the cheap will push you outside your comfort zone and into new experiences you wouldn’t otherwise have.
- Laugh, be silly, and find your inner child. Play (anything for the joy of doing) has the power to significantly improve everything from your brain power to personal health to relationships to your ability to innovate.
- Get outside and play. The outdoors allows you to explore and take adventures in a way you can’t get otherwise.
- Laugh as much as possible. Laughter is good for the soul. Laughter gives you a jolt of happiness instantly. If you can increase how much you laugh, you can increase your overall happiness.
- Create a vision board for motivation and inspiration. Having your visions and goals in front of you is a great way to stay on track with where you’re headed in life.
- Stay organized. Implement organizational habits that instill organization across all areas of your life, including your home (every room and closet), your office, and anywhere else you spend time. An organized space will help you clear your mind.
- Plan your weeks and weekends ahead of time. Use a calendar (digital or manual) and keep it in the “month view”. This will give you an overarching view of the month so you can plan your week and upcoming weeks ahead of time. I use my gCalendar for this. I use the Productivity Planner for weekly planning.
- Keep a to-do list. Alongside your calendar, keep a list of actions you want to complete. Check off each item as you complete it and add to it as you have more things to get done. Knowing what your priorities are will help you accomplish your goals without getting sidetracked.
- Purge anything you haven’t used or worn in over a year. Go through every item in your closet that you haven’t worn in over a year and yourself if you love that item. If you don’t love it, get rid of it.
- Do your most important task first every day. This will help you accomplish your goals and avoid getting sidetracked by day to day distractions.
- Commit to one cleaning or organizational task per day. Small tasks compounded over time lead to great results. This will keep your house nice and tidy!
- Read The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. This book is a well renowned organizational manual with actionable tips that can change the way your organize forever.
- Practice generosity. Instilling generosity as a way of life can impact the world in a huge way. And as a side effect, you’ll be happier, too.
- Appreciate where you are in life. When you are thankful for your circumstances, you are stronger because you’re not a victim.
- Practice mindfulness. Learn to be present and mindful of the moment. While planning ahead is good, don’t let that detract from being present and centered.
- Create a gratitude jar that you put one note into every week. Expressing thankfulness on a weekly basis will help you be aware of how lucky you are in addition to give you something at the end of the year to look back on. I’m doing this now and it’s really fun!
- Practice gratitude. The more you express how grateful you are, the happier you’ll be. You’ll also attract more positive things into your life. The fastest and easiest way to practice gratitude is with the Five Minute Journal, which is what I use.
- Be a mentor. This is a rewarding way to give back to the younger generations.
- Volunteer and give your time. Giving your time (your most precious resource) is a profound way to give back.
- Commit to donating a specific percent of your income every year. This is the best way I know how to practice consistent financial generosity.
A Final Note!
This post is an epic list of ways you can improve your life. After all, life is about finding contentment where you are while you pursue where you’re going.
This list gets at that. It will help you be happy now while focusing on progress in your life. You’ll be happier and design a life you love (at least that’s how it works for me)!
It’s been the best decision of my life, and I’ve never looked back.
You can create your dream life with a little focus and commitment. 🙂