Emotional and Mental

Choose To Be Better With These 4 Self-Improvement Rules

In a few months, many of us will write a list of resolutions for the new year. But why wait till then? Let's start now to make self-improvement changes in our personal lives. 

To make strides, it helps to know the difference between desired change and needed change. When we desire something, it’s usually something that’s nice to have but doesn’t always lead to behavior change. Despite that, desiring something can still be a motivator. Needs are typically things necessary for survival (such as food and water). To support self-improvement change, the simple fact that we truly want a change for ourselves may help us feel motivated to work for it. 

What Does Self-Improvement Mean?

If you Google “self-improvement,” you’ll find Merriam-Webster’s definition: “the act or process of improving oneself by one's own actions.” You’ll also see myriad resources, including guides and various articles on the topic. It may be overwhelming and leave you wondering what your first step should be. Best Care EAP has you covered. Below are four easy rules to follow to make the most of your self-improvement efforts.

Keep it simple. Take a few minutes to write down your habits that have potential for modification. Choose one that’s doable with the potential for a positive impact. For instance, if you buy lunch at work every day and want to break that (expensive) habit, you may consider packing your lunch from home. An effective way to approach this change is to set aside time on Sunday to prepare lunches for the upcoming week. Keep it simple and efficient by preparing five identical lunches so you start a new habit.

Know your “why.” Let’s say your self-improvement focus is to start lifting weights. Ask yourself why you want to lift. Is it to improve bone density? To build strength? Change body composition? Knowing your “why” will remind you of how important this change is so you’re more apt to stick to the new routine.

Ease into it and be patient. When starting something new, are you someone who goes all out for the first few days then loses interest? You’re not alone.

“It’s human nature to go full force into something new and lose energy or interest after a short time,” said Kim Hurst, a training consultant with Best Care EAP. “The best way to go about change is to think about it as simply making an adjustment. For instance, say to yourself, ‘I’m going to adjust my daily routine to make time to read a novel I’ve been wanting to read for 30 minutes every day.’” 

Consistent repetition over time helps build habits.

“The new habit becomes ingrained into our daily behavior if we can stick with it,” Hurst said.
Starting something new is exciting, but newness wears off, especially if what we’re doing becomes mundane or we’re not seeing results. If this happens, be patient and go back to your “why.”

Get it done. Stop thinking about it or making excuses – just get it done. 
“You’ve identified the one thing you want to improve upon, you know your ‘why,’ you know to ease into it, and now it’s time to execute,” Hurst said. “There’s no secret formula or silver bullet. You roll up your sleeves and make it happen.”

You Got This!

Ideas of being better at something, improving on a skill or even starting something new are enticing and exciting. Incorporating efforts into an existing routine means adapting to change, and that requires consistent, deliberate work. Maybe now is the right time to give your self-improvement efforts a go and choose to make a change. You got this!

Best Care EAP counselors are here to support your health and well-being. If you or someone you know can benefit from visiting with a mental health counselor, contact us by phone at (402) 354-8000 or (800) 801-4182, or by using our contact form.

About the Author

Lisa Dempsey serves on the Best Care Employee Assistance Program Sales and Marketing team as the coordinator of communications/promotions.

She works closely with clients to create promotional materials and helps generate content for the Best Care EAP website.

Dempsey enjoys learning about health topics by interviewing health care professionals. She also likes working collaboratively on ad campaigns and being involved at events within the community.

See more articles from Lisa Dempsey
Lisa Dempsey