Have you ever said you were going to accomplish a goal, make a dream happen, or start a new & improved habit to make you a new & improved you? If you answered in the affirmative you are like everyone. Also, if you haven’t achieved it and think you suck you aren’t alone either. So, what gives? The same old, same old isn’t cutting it. Maybe you need a tactical change in your approach. Here are XX ideas for self-improvement and change. Let’s see if we can kick our booties in gear and make the improvements, live the dream, and be an all-around badass version of yourself. Ready?
Ideas for self-improvement and change
Start with the outcome in mind
Let me start by sharing a little bit of my background, I have taught at the high school and collegiate level so I approach a lot of things by using the strategy of visualizing and thinking about what I want the end-product to be when I assigned a project or unit. What objectives did I want my students to understand and demonstrate a level of mastery of with their outcome. That philosophy can be applied to ourselves as well, what change or improvement in ourselves to we want to show a level of mastery of at the end of the journey.
Psst… some journeys never end, we just make adjustments or raise the bar on ourselves. Double Psst… if you think achieving a goal will ultimately lead to long-term happiness you might want to dig into some of the psychology behind why we cannot always be ‘happy.’
How to figure out what needs changing
One of the first steps on any journey is planning the trip. You need a destination, some snacks, maybe some sights to see along the way, and the actual directions to get to the destination. Well, the same is true for resources or ideas for self-improvement and change.
Personal SWOT analysis
We need to first figure out where we are going, the less vague the better. I think doing a personal SWOT analysis is a great first step, it shows you what you are already good at and what areas need refinement.
Marie Forleo (Everything is Figureoutable, p. 85 Seven-day time tracking), James Clear (Atomic Habits, online habit tracker), and Ryder Carroll (The Bullet Journal Method, p. 272 Habit Tracking) approach them in slightly different ways but tracking our existing habits and daily routines can shed a lot of light on who we are and how we spend our time. Knowing these habits and daily routines can help us to make adjustments or improvements to our daily lives. The minor adjustments can result in big changes over time.
Goal setting and incremental changes
Ready to start making some changes? Well, it requires a little more working than just shouting it out to the good intention gods and goddesses. You need a plan, some points to pause & reflect, and sometimes you need an accountability buddy (or two or team), too.
SMART goals are a great way to lay the foundation for making changes in your life or creating good habits to help you reach a big goal or dream. They have the “where are you going” tied into a strong plan to get there. I won’t put all the details in this post but read my recent post or Joni’s on what they are and how to set some really good ones.
Create a vision board
Visualizing our goals and dreams helps to achieve them so a vision board is a great tool for goal setting and making improvements in ourselves. If you have never created one there are lots of tips, tools, and ideas out there but I personally love Windy Lawson’s approach. I even have mine set on my computer’s background to remind me daily.
Benchmarks, milestones, and reflection
Going back to my trip analogy (heck, a lot of people use trip planning analogies for goal setting), you need some points along the way to enjoy the journey and measure its success. Some people also think you should through out the time-bound part of the SMART goals process, too, (yes, Rachel Hollis, I am looking at you) but I don’t think that is necessary. Yes, sometimes we don’t reach our destination by 5:04 pm like Google Maps says we should have but we still made it further than if we hadn’t started the journey.
That is why setting benchmark and milestones is so important. These points allow us the opportunity to reflect on what we have achieve. They also afford us the opportunity to make adjustments to the process. Maybe we are going to reach the end of the journey sooner than we thought, therefore maybe we need to add in some new points along the way to another destination. Or, maybe your wants and needs change and the journey is taking a detour. Or, maybe some unanticipated roadblocks popped up that we need to work to get around or overcome.
If you don’t take the time to reflect you won’t see how far you have come!
A collection of books to read
As a life-long learner, I love to read and learn new things. Here is a collection of books that I have read that have augmented my experiences in personal & professional life. Each link will take you to a review on it so you can get an idea if it is a good book for you as well.
Atomic Habits || James Clear
Chasing the Bright Side || Jess Ekstrom
Everything is Figureoutable || Marie Forleo
Girl, Stop Apologizing || Rachel Hollis
The Bullet Journal Method || Ryder Carroll
Thinking Like a Strategist || Windy Lawson
Want to get some accountability?
Join us over at The Inspiring Llama if you want some personal accountability. Have some business goals that need an accountability group to support them? Then I highly, highly recommend Windy Lawson’s Her Success MAP group.
Want to talk about any of these resources or have experiences with them? Then drop me a line or comment below!