September is Self-Improvement Month; a time to improve yourself, set new goals, and eliminate the negative things in your life that are holding you back. One of the best investments that you can make in your life is to invest in improving yourself physically, spiritually, and mentally. Self-improvement could be any set of steps or actions (minor or major) that you take with an aim of making yourself better than you were before.
If you’re unsure of where to start, here are a few practical ways of improvement to consider:
- Pick up a new hobby
- Sit in on a seminar or workshop
- Start your days earlier
- Incorporate exercise into your daily routine
- Do something out of your comfort zone, often
- Quit a bad habit
SMART tips for setting goals
If your aspirations are ill-defined or ambiguous, you’re more likely to become delayed -or even completely derailed- when encountering an unexpected situation. To help prevent either from happening, one of the most recommended tips for setting goals is to make sure any goal you set is SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely). These five aspects are not in order of importance and should be carefully considered individually before moving forward:
Specific: Run through the “who, what, where, when, and why” of your goal. It can be helpful to write these points in a planner or journal so you can reference them again.
Measurable: In order to know whether you’ve accomplished your goal or not, you’ll need to determine how you’ll know. Don’t forget to consider ways you can measure your progress along the way.
Attainable: Some of your goals may be loftier than others but in order for it to be considered attainable, you must actually believe that you can achieve it. This belief in yourself is what fuels your excitement and motivation to keep going.
Realistic: If it’s not realistic you won’t be motivated to take action. This means that the areas outside of your control (e.g., time, space, other people)
Timely: Whether your goal is short or long term, make sure you have a clear idea of what your anticipated timeframe and/or deadline is.