Becoming the best version of yourself is a noble goal, but is it possible to be the “best” version?
Maybe a more realistic goal is to better yourself in some small way every day. Since life is constantly changing, you must be adaptable enough to shift your mindsets and actions accordingly.
As soon as you think you've got it all figured out, life throws you a curveball that challenges your best self or what you believed it to be. These events can leave you humbled, questioning everything you thought about yourself.
That's why your evolution never stops — or at least it shouldn't. Life's curveballs are lessons that can help you grow to the next phase in that evolution.
Bettering yourself is a continuous journey throughout your life, and setting aside some time every day to self-reflect allows you to grow and improve yourself.
Why shouldn't it be enjoyable, though? Self-improvement is something you'll be working at for the rest of your life. Might as well make the process as rewarding as possible.
- What does it mean to better yourself?
- 25 Ways to Better Yourself
- 1. Make the commitment.
- 2. Give yourself compliments.
- 3. Embrace your uniqueness.
- 4. Let go of anger and resentment.
- 5. Honor your boundaries.
- 6. Be coachable, and keep learning.
- 7. Be meticulous and strive for excellence.
- 8. Show personal responsibility.
- 9. Read regularly.
- 10. Declutter your spaces.
- 11. Learn to meditate.
- 12. Practice mindful journaling.
- 13. Create a weekly exercise routine.
- 14. Address your fears.
- 15. Face your finances.
- 16. Learn a new skill.
- 17. Develop a hobby.
- 18. Listen to more music.
- 19. Repair damaged or neglected relationships.
- 20. Stand up for social justice.
- 21. Strive to do more.
- 22. Be a leader.
- 23. Ask for feedback.
- 24. Practice gratitude.
- 25. Live with a purpose.
What does it mean to better yourself?
The answer to this question is personal and subjective. What might be considered “better” to one person might not be relevant to another.
For example, perhaps giving more of your time and energy to causes that you're passionate about makes you a better person in your eyes.
But this choice doesn't necessarily align with everyone's values or beliefs about what being “better” means.
Someone else may view bettering themselves as learning to accept help from others or allowing themselves more time for self-care.
No matter what your starting point is, some guidelines apply to all of us on how to be better. These guidelines include:
It is equally as important to identify what bettering yourself is not. Being a better person is not about:
If you ever find yourself thinking, “I want to be a better person,” here are some strategies for your personal growth. Let's explore some of the ways you can continuously improve yourself.
25 Ways to Better Yourself
1. Make the commitment.
One of the essential ways to improve yourself is to commit to the process.
You can't be afraid of self-reflection or bury your head in the sand when your worldview gets upended.
You have to commit to bettering yourself, which means letting go of excuses. Commit to owning your mistakes and learning from your perceived failures.
2. Give yourself compliments.
. Start your day on an optimistic note, and work to foster a positive mindset about your day.
It can be as simple as complimenting yourself on how to put together you look or something more substantial, like finishing a project or meeting a goal using your unique set of skills.
3. Embrace your uniqueness.
Be true to yourself and don't try to be someone you are not. Sometimes it's hard to be yourself when you're not sure who that “self” really is. And when you're working on improving yourself, you may not believe there's anything unique about you that's worth embracing.
If you're not sure, spend some time finding out. Define your life priorities, beliefs, values, and lifestyle. Tune in to your natural and authentic personality — the one that is underneath any efforts at pretension or fear.
When you embrace who you are, you align yourself with your beliefs and values, create your own identity, cultivate courage, set and maintain boundaries, and find focus and direction.
4. Let go of anger and resentment.
Internal negative energy is a massive impediment to personal development, so take action to deal with it. You can't let feelings of anger fester if you want to make progress on becoming a better person. Doing so may influence you to make bad decisions and could negatively impact your health.
If you are ruminating about something or someone who has caused you pain, then one of the most important things you can do for your betterment is releasing those thoughts and feelings.
Write down your feelings in a journal to help process them and release any anger. Practice meditation for a few minutes a day to learn how to manage intrusive, negative thoughts.
5. Honor your boundaries.
How do you feel when someone lies to you? It probably takes a toll on your trust for that person.
What do you do when a friend takes advantage of your time, or your boss puts more on your plate than you can handle?
Part of becoming a better person means defining your boundaries and communicating them directly and confidently.
Learn how to articulate your beliefs, feelings, and boundaries in a kind but direct and honest way. If you don't, you'll soon be coping with the resentments and negative feelings I mentioned in point #3.
6. Be coachable, and keep learning.
Making yourself better involves learning from other people no matter what their background is.
Don't shut down opportunities to learn because you think that you already know enough. Allow yourself to be open to learning and look for possible mentors and coaches who can guide you.
Before you can be a good leader, you have to be a good follower. Before you can be a good partner, you need to learn what a good partnership or marriage is.
Seek out people and information that can further your self-awareness and knowledge. Never assume that you know all there is to know on any topic or endeavor.
7. Be meticulous and strive for excellence.
Do you pay attention to details in your personal and professional life? Being mindful of details is probably rarer than you think.
Meticulous people put their heart and soul into everything they do, and this dedication consistently results in excellence in any endeavor.
If you are meticulous, you'll automatically be a valuable asset in your personal and professional life.
Being meticulous also means being reliable, trustworthy, and consistent. You strive for excellence in your integrity as well as in your work and deeds.
8. Show personal responsibility.
Learn to manage your problems and life without having to rely on other people.
Of course, you need to rely on others from time to time, but don't expect other people to solve your problems for you. And don't make excuses or blame others when you don't follow through or when things don't go your way.
Command your life by owning your responsibilities and problems. Personal responsibility empowers you to take control of your life and become a more reliable, more confident person.
9. Read regularly.
Make a list of books and audiobooks you want to read that can help you better yourself. Choose at least one book to focus on each month and make it your goal to finish it by the last day.
Choose books (or audiobooks) with the following criteria in mind:
Commit to at least fifteen minutes of reading or listening to a good book every day.
It helps to schedule your reading time for a specific hour and show up for it — just as you would for work or an appointment.
10. Declutter your spaces.
If you feel like a mess on the inside, your surroundings tend to reflect that.
Well, it works both ways (as you've probably also noticed). A cluttered room makes you feel more cluttered on the inside. Something as simple as a grimy, sticky countertop can sour your mood and make you feel unkempt and neglected on the inside.
The solution? Declutter. Cluttered spaces are harder to keep clean and orderly.
And after you've purged your space of things you don't need, use, or love, add some meaningful and inspirational art and decorative accents to it.
11. Learn to meditate.
Think of your brain as a freshly agitated snow globe with its particles swirling and fluttering about. Once you put that snow globe on a flat surface, though, and give it time and stillness, the particles settle, and peace is restored.
And then you shake it up again. But you get the point: meditation is the stillness that allows your mind's errant and innumerable thoughts to settle.
Daily meditation not only gives your brain a much-needed break; it can rewire your brain and decrease the activity associated with anxiety and other negative emotions.
It doesn't mean you'll never be angry or stressed or sad or anxious; negative emotions have their place. But no one benefits from being overrun by them.
Try using an app like Calm, Headspace, or Simple Habit to create a habit of daily meditation. You can make it part of both your morning and nighttime routines or start with one of them and see what a difference this habit can make.
It can start with a micro habit. Commit to at least 5 minutes of meditation each morning or before going to bed (or both times). Schedule it and honor that appointment with yourself.
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12. Practice mindful journaling.
Daily journaling is one of the most powerful habits you can create for yourself.
Julia Cameron recommends the practice of morning pages — “three pages of longhand, stream of consciousness writing” — and calls them the “bedrock tool of creative recovery.” If three journal pages sound like too much to start with, make it just one morning page and fill it with whatever helps you prepare for your day:
13. Create a weekly exercise routine.
Exercise is an area in which micro-habits can be the perfect foundation for a sustainable, lifelong habit. You can start with a small, daily exercise habit, and once it becomes part of your routine, you can add to it.
But keep that micro habit as the anchor for those add-ons and as the minimum daily commitment — one which, ideally, motivates you and makes it easy to do more.
If you're looking for ideas, try starting with any one of the following:
Think of it as your opening act — which you can't help but nail. Anything else will just get you closer to your fitness goals more quickly.
Use reminders (apps, post-it notes, etc.) to help you honor your commitment. It's also a good idea to find an accountability partner to help you stick with your opening act until it becomes a habit.
14. Address your fears.
In some situations, fear can save your life. In this case, we're talking about anxiety — the fears that can be paralyzing and prevent you from being who you want to be.
But what can you do to confront and overcome one of your fears, namely the first one that comes to mind? It could be any of the following (or something else):
You can address these fears with action. Join a Toastmasters group or consider counseling or therapeutic hypnosis. It's critical to find someone who will help you through the process of confronting and overcoming that phobia.
Sometimes it helps to just “rip off the band-aid” and do something that scares you, knowing you'll get through it and learn something valuable.
As Eleanor Roosevelt said, “Do something every day that scares you.” Challenge yourself, and if possible, find an accountability partner so that you can challenge and encourage each other.
15. Face your finances.
It's harder to get far with bettering yourself when you're stressing over money or deeply mired in debt. Unless your personal (and business) finances are already in tip-top shape, this should be a priority.
Aside from spending less than you earn, make it your goal this year to do one or more of the following:
Make this the year your credit score begins to improve. It won't happen overnight, but it won't happen at all unless you start working to make it happen.
16. Learn a new skill.
What skill could you learn that would make your life easier, enable you to help more people, or open the door to a new source of income?
Maybe you want to learn Spanish to help your Spanish-speaking customers or take up carpentry to add those floor-to-ceiling bookcases to your family room finally.
New skills not only help develop and rejuvenate your mind, but they also open up a new world to you, which can lead to opportunities you would never have imagined.
How to begin?
Commit to working on this skill every week, and record your progress in your morning pages, your gratitude list, or your mindfulness journal.
17. Develop a hobby.
Hobbies can make you a more interesting and engaging person. The hobby you choose should be therapeutic and enjoyable — though there might be some tension at first when you're learning how to do it correctly.
If you already know how but are a bit rusty, it might take a few days to get back into it.
There are so many to choose from. You can try something new or fall back on a hobby you once enjoyed but stopped making time for.
You can learn a new hobby or refresh your memory of an old favorite by watching YouTube videos, reading books, or connecting with other hobbyists online.
18. Listen to more music.
Whether you work to music or prefer silence, music has a power that no one can afford to ignore. Several studies have proven the cognitive benefits of playing a musical instrument.
Just listening to music that helps you get into a creative flow state can help you accomplish more work of better quality than before. Other music styles motivate you to get moving and can make exercise or other physically challenging tasks more enjoyable than they otherwise might be.
Relaxing, meditative music can help you prepare for a good night's rest or for an event that would typically make you feel anxious.
Find a way to incorporate music into more of what you do – and allow yourself to notice how each music style affects you.
19. Repair damaged or neglected relationships.
If you haven't had a chance to repair damaged relationships, it's not too late to make it a priority. Rebuild or strengthen relationships that have taken a back seat to other things over the past twelve months (or more).
You may not receive a response to every overture you make, but that's not the point of this exercise. You're not doing this to make people like you; you're doing it because relationships take work, and the most important relationships are worth it.
You're also doing this because choosing to forgive others and to wipe the slate clean frees you from the prison of resentment and helps you become the person you want (and were always meant) to be.
20. Stand up for social justice.
If you see something unfair happening, like racism, bullying, or another injustice, assert yourself and speak up.
It's hard to put yourself out there for criticism or rejection, but do your best to honor your values by helping those who disenfranchised.
Stand up for other people if you see them being unfairly treated or judged. Become the change you want to see.
21. Strive to do more.
Without overwhelming yourself, challenge yourself and stretch beyond your perceived limitations.
When you get tired, push yourself a little bit harder. When your brain struggles with a project, give it a few more minutes before giving up. If your boss asks you to complete a task, do more than he or she asks.
Otherwise, you will never grow or develop your abilities. Push yourself to expand your boundaries to increase your capacity.
22. Be a leader.
When you are a leader, you can inspire other people and bring out the best in them.
You motivate people into action toward a common goal and vision.
Leadership begins in your everyday life as you show others how you conduct yourself and how you live your life.
You don't need to be a gregarious extrovert to be a leader. Quiet, contemplative, and thoughtful people can lead through their ideas and actions too.
23. Ask for feedback.
You may not know if you're improving if you don't seek out and to listen to feedback from others.
Feedback is one of the most effective ways to identify areas in your life that require improvement. Remember that other people can see your blind spots, and many of these people have your best interest at heart.
Seek out trusted friends, family, and mentors who will gently let you know where you need to grow and change.
24. Practice gratitude.
Be thankful for the things you have and recognize the areas in your life where you are blessed. Practicing gratitude is a way of acknowledging and focusing on the good in your life.
This effort will make you happier, more compassionate, and appreciative of even the smallest comforts and conveniences.
Show other people your love and gratitude for who they are and what they do for you, and don't take anything for granted.
We often forget about what other people have done for us and underestimate the value of our connections.
Write a thank-you note to a friend to let her know how much you appreciate her (or him). Spend some time each day reflecting on the good things in your life.
Keep a gratitude journal so you can reflect on everything in your life that is good and beautiful.
25. Live with a purpose.
Find your reason “why.” Why are you here? Why are you doing the work you do? Why do you have family and friends?
What are the more significant, more profound reasons behind the life choices you have made? If you don't know, do the work to figure it out.
Doing this helps you naturally grow into a better person. Pursuing your purpose is a journey that gives your life meaning and substance.
It helps you answer the painful, existential questions that make us feel hopeless and directionless at times.
Choose one or two of these strategies that most resonate with you, and put them into action over the coming weeks.
Keep track of how your actions are making you feel about yourself and how others around you are responding to your efforts at becoming a better person.
Did you find these things to do to better yourself useful?
Life is a continuous exercise in self-improvement when you want to know how to be a good person. I hope the strategies and ways to better yourself that I've outlined here will become part of your life.
All of us struggle with finding our way and improving ourselves, and you can get overwhelmed with all of the changes you think you need to make.
But remember, one small change to make yourself better can lead to substantial positive outcomes. Choose one or two action items on this list and work on them over the next few months. Pay attention to the ways your life improves as a result.
May your commitment and positive mindset inspire you to become a better person every day.