How to Make Self-Improvements That Last
Self-improvement refers to a quest to transform one’s character, knowledge, and status through their own efforts. This improvement starts with the ability to change your life and self-awareness. Self-improvement takes place over the course of the person’s entire life, and it involves both formal and informal activities. As a process, growth involves a framework for setting goals, strategies for achieving the goals, assessment of progress, and a feedback system. Here’s how to make lasting self-improvements so you can continue to progress through life.
Self-respect is the ultimate commitment to embrace who you were meant to be. Unlike the failed social theory of self-esteem, self-respect does not mean giving yourself unconditional respect and appreciation. Rather, self-respect involves recognizing your abilities and weaknesses; it involves keeping promises to yourself and others; it means living up to your obligations and your potential. A healthy sense of self-respect ensures life is filled with purpose and meaning--if not necessarily ease and comfort. With self-respect, you create feelings of hope optimism, because you are not fated to be as you have been.
We are all habitual beings. But when our habits turn destructive, we need to look for ways to change our behaviors. Habit change has three frameworks—including reminder, routine, and reward. Reminder refers to the trigger that starts the behavior of an individual. Routine is the action taken. Reward relates to the benefits one gains in doing the act.
In matters of addiction recovery, treatments for addiction focus on changing addictive behaviors and replacing those behaviors with constructive habits. For example, Recovery Resource Group works with their patients to identify triggers and provide healthy coping strategies for dealing with potential stressors. Similarly, as you look for ways to break negative habits in your life, look to replace negative behaviors with actions that make you feel good and reduce stress.
Setting goals means thinking about your future, realizing achievable goals, and working towards fulfilling them within a certain period. Goals can be long term or short term. The process is specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time conscious— in other words, goal setting should be S.M.A.R.T. The primary benefit of setting goals happens once you achieve them. By achieving goals, you effectively increase self-confidence as you recognize your own abilities and competence.
Self-improvement involves embracing life beyond your comfort zone, which means you may be opening yourself up to failure—but you’re also opening yourself up to success. Failure enhances learning and growth. It also initiates trying out new ideas and working towards them. Failure and embarrassment are tools for both success and self-improvement.
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