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Last Updated on June 26, 2020

How Do I Change for the Better? 11 Little Things to Start Doing

How Do I Change for the Better? 11 Little Things to Start Doing

Look around you – how many people do you think are actually happy with the way their lives have shaped up? Chances are very few of them.

Most of us are filled with regrets and angst. We wish we did things differently. If we could go back in time and change our actions or reactions, we would. But the truth is, what’s gone is gone.

What you have is the present moment and the good news is that it is never too late to change. After all, we hold the reins of our life and have the power to change its course.

So, stop complaining and asking, “how do I change for the better?” because it is time to act. Here are 11 little things to start doing today and become a better version of yourself:

1. Train Your Brain to Be Optimistic

Everything that life throws at us is not in our control. The only thing we can control are our thoughts, attitude and reactions. Would you rather be cynical about the world or adopt a positive mindset and live a more peaceful life instead?

Being optimistic is not as easy as it sounds. It requires practice and a lot of mental conditioning but it sure is a step forward towards a happier you.

So, stop feeding your brain with all the pointless, negative self-talk and replace them with these positive affirmations instead. Start a gratitude journal too, it’ll help.

In this imperfect world we live in, the least you can do is have hope and believe that the best will happen.

2. Focus on What’s Working

Ask people what’s not working in their lives and they can go volumes; but ask them what they are grateful for and they will pause to think.

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“How do I change for the better by doing this?”, you ask? Well, there is a lot of change you can bring about by just changing your perspective. When we focus on the negatives and obsess over what is not going right, we miss out on everything we need to be grateful for. This just adds to the stress and hinders growth.

Try focusing on what’s going right for a change and you will realize how you end up attracting more of it.

3. Take Ownership

When things don’t go as planned, we are quick to blame the situation, our surroundings and even ourselves but how does that change anything?

Holding on to failures and resorting to blame games are futile. When you take ownership of your actions, you realize that it is so much easier to let go and move on. You are able to look beyond ‘failures’ and overcome them to start the next chapter.

By taking ownership and responsibility, you feel empowered to bring about a positive change in your life – it motivates you and encourages you to push yourself and act on the situation rather than sulking or indulging in self-pity.

Take a look at this article and learn to take responsibility of what happen to you: Recognizing the Distinction Between Blame and Responsibility

4. Be Open to Learning

We are constantly evolving and there should never be an end to learning. From your career and social life to relationships – having a flexible and open mindset is essential to thrive in every aspect of your life.

A close-minded person can never grow because they act from a place of arrogance and superiority. They build barriers around them and have a one-track thought process.

On the other hand, being lifelong learners opens you up to so many possibilities, it makes life exciting and lets you look beyond your preconceived notions. You look at situations objectively, are not afraid to challenge your thoughts and show your vulnerable side.

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Here’s How to Train Your Brain to Crave Lifelong Learning (And Why It’s Good).

5. Live Your Own Life

Most of our problems arise when we compare our lives to those around us without realizing how baseless these comparisons are.

Everyone has a unique journey, and no one is better off than the other. Comparing your life to other people’s makes you anxious and stressed.

Accept where you are in life, embrace the imperfections and focus on your life because the grass is greener where it is better taken care of. Instead of competing with your peers, compete with yourself and strive to grow and become better with every passing day.

This article will help you focus on yourself instead of always comparing yourself to others: The More We Compare, the More We Lose Ourselves

6. Build a Strong Relationship with Yourself

Being a better person isn’t just about being good to other people, it’s about being good to yourself first.

Work towards building a strong relationship with yourself. If that foundation is strong, you tend to be a more secure person and don’t let other people’s thoughts become your life’s reality.

Practice self-care, learn to put your needs first and accept yourself the way you are. Nobody is perfect but perfection should never be the goal. Treat yourself as work-in-progress and learn along the way. The only thing that matters is growth and self-improvement, no matter how old you are.

This article will inspire you how to love yourself more: How to Love Yourself, Even if No One Else Does

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7. Treat People with Respect

We have all heard the phrase, “treat others the way you want to be treated”.

Treating people with respect and empathizing with them sows the seeds of a healthy relationship. You surround yourself with positive people who genuinely love and respect you and that certainly is a blooming environment to be in.

Find it hard to respect people you dislike? This may change your mind: Could You Still Show Respect to Someone You Dislike? Would You?

8. Learn to Forgive

Forgiving people for their mistakes is a tough job and doesn’t come easy to anyone.

How do you let go and forgive someone for wronging you? It takes immense effort and courage to do so but it is important because if not for that, you will just be holding on too much anger and hurt which is impacts your mental health.

So, set yourself free and learn to forgive – you will be glad you did. Here’s how: How to Forgive and Live a Happy Life Again (A Step-By-Step Guide)

9. Lead a Healthy Life

A healthy mind and healthy body make a happy and better you.

Be mindful of what you’re eating, your sleeping habits and exercising. Adopting a healthy lifestyle leads to better productivity, lesser stress and adds discipline to your life.

Start leading a healthy lifestyle with these good habits: 74 Healthy Habits That Will Drastically Improve Every Aspect of Your Life

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10. Set Healthy Boundaries

Not everyone around us is a well-wisher. There are some people who are nothing but a source of negativity. Don’t feel guilty about keeping them out of your life.

Self-care is of utmost importance and setting healthy boundaries with toxic people lets you protect yourself.

Remember – it is not your duty to make it work with everyone. If there is someone who is making you feel terrible or unhappy, you are better off walking away from that relationship.

If you find yourself hanging out with toxic people, it’s best to distance yourself from them: 10 Toxic Persons You Should Just Get Rid Of

11. Don’t Take Life Too Seriously

Many of us take life too seriously – we get bogged down by failures, we consider rejections to be the end of the world, we beat ourselves over our mistakes and we get too caught up in the drudgery of everyday life.

Thirty or forty years down the line, how will it feel to look back and see that you lived a life of sadness, fear and regret?

Don’t give rise to such a situation. Seize the day and enjoy the present moment because these days won’t come back.

Here’re 34 Ways To Live in the Moment And Grow in the Moment.

Final Thoughts

The fact that you’re asking “how do I change for the better” is the first step to steer your life in the positive direction. So, make these small changes in your attitude, perception and habits and you will be surprised to see how the road ahead clears out for you.

Life is what you make of it – the choice is in your hands.

More Tips to Help You Change Your Life

Featured photo credit: Nicolai Berntsen via unsplash.com

More by this author

Adela Belin

Writes about motivation, mental health, personal development and shares stories inspired by her personal journey.

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Last Updated on October 22, 2020

The Pros and Cons of Being Self-Critical (And How to Strike a Balance)

The Pros and Cons of Being Self-Critical (And How to Strike a Balance)

It is easy to hear the term “self-critical” and be immediately put off. After all, it’s difficult to be our own critics. However, utilizing self-criticism means taking a more self-aware path to ensure that you aren’t overlooking any possible areas of self-improvement.

Self-criticism affects your self-esteem and can be a useful tool to identify patterns of weakness that you can look to eradicate by adapting your behavior.

Self-Criticism Vs Self-Deprecation

In exploring the idea of self-criticism, one has to first consider what it means for the individual. It’s important to remember that there is a significant difference between being self-critical and being self-deprecating.

Self-deprecation is the act of putting oneself down, sometimes in an attempt to be humorous, but oftentimes out of a place of doubt and insecurity[1].

Self-deprecation erodes one’s confidence. It isn’t something to use lightly, as your own self-talk will play a part in defining your existence and how you are perceived, and, more importantly, in how you perceive yourself.

At the same time, you can’t take yourself so seriously that you are unable to make light of your mistakes as you pursue self-improvement. There is, of course, a balance to be struck, and both self-criticism and self-deprecation can be utilized in moderation.

Learning the difference between the two is the key to pursuing a productive life that will allow your successes to compound and your failures to be reduced. While self-deprecation can highlight flaws in your approach to life, self-criticism is more concerned with addressing those flaws and then acting to correct them.

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Self-Criticism: A Roadmap for Positive Change

Self-evaluation as a tool can open your eyes to the problematic behaviors that are derailing your goals. By identifying those behaviors, you can identify the steps to become the best version of yourself.

“Your thoughts affect how you feel and how you behave. The way you think has the power to become a self-fulfilling prophecy.” -Amy Morin[2]

This idea underlines the importance of not allowing self-criticism to blur into the realm of self-deprecating behavior. That will only work against you as you are attempting to constructively analyze your own behavior.

Auditing is necessary and good. Look at industries across the board and you will find that the most successful companies, people, and products have worked hard to refine their final output. Auditing your life, schedule, clients, contacts, and more will help you to identify the good from the bad.

If you don’t look back on what you’ve done and allow yourself to be self-critical of the areas that created more problems and less results, how will you learn how to avoid those missteps in your future endeavors?

Auditing with critical thoughts will allow you to build your own map to success by targeting behaviors that are ineffective in your pursuit of goals, and it will help you realize the changes that need to take place in order to correct for those inefficiencies.

The Pros of Being Self-Critical

Self-Criticism Opens Your Eyes to Areas of Improvement

In life, you ought to be your biggest fan and instill the confidence in yourself to show the world that you are worthy of the life that you’ve achieved up until now.

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At the same time, however, you need to have the self-awareness to understand that you can feel like a million bucks while still having room for improvement. Learn to be self-critical enough to increase your overall success in the pursuit of your goals.

You can check out this TED Talk with Tasha Eurich to learn more on how to improve your self-awareness:

We all need to look in the mirror at times and work to identify the deficiencies in our own behavior in order to find room for improvement. So many people live their lives in a manner that allows no room for self-reflection and thus are missing out on key opportunities.

For example, many people complain about not having the money to save for retirement, but instead of working to identify a solution, they assume that it cannot be fixed. Some of those individuals might find that if they challenge themselves and open themselves up to criticism, they may find the source of their problem.

Perhaps they don’t have a proper budget in place and are spending more money than they bring in on a week-to-week basis. Being self-critical would help them realize this.

I’d argue that if we all spent more energy evaluating our place in life, how we got there, and where we want to go, it would clear up what is missing from the equation.

Self-Criticism Allows You to Realize Your Potential

By working to analyze your own behaviors and identify areas that need to be improved upon, you will be able to better strive to reach your full potential in life and unlock success.

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Being self-critical will help you to go from where you are now to where you want to be, and it will increase your self-awareness. There are so many positives to be gained by adopting a self-critical attitude.

Read more about self-improvement: 42 Practical Ways to Improve Yourself

The Cons of Being Self-Critical

Self-Criticism Can Overemphasize Negatives

The problems that could arise if one is overly self-critical are not always clear, but there are a few issues that can pop up if you start being too hard on yourself.

If you are self-critical too often and don’t allow space in your own audit of yourself for praise, celebration, and reassurance in your victories, then you may be on a path of negative self-talk and perhaps even depression.

If you are constantly looking for what is wrong with your actions or pursuits while failing to see what you are doing right, then you aren’t utilizing self-criticism properly. While the line is thin, there is definitely a difference between appropriate, foundation-building self-criticism, and over-zealous, confidence-eroding self-deprecation.

Self-Criticism Can Lead to Negative Distortions of Yourself

One struggle I often see in individuals is with their own perception of self. If you have been raised to believe that you are a failure, for example, then you may not have a healthy expectation of yourself.

By being overly self-critical, you might be distorting your own self-image. The key here lies in utilizing the device of self-criticism correctly, which many people often do not do.

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If utilized properly, self-criticism can be a fantastic tool, but if used incorrectly, it can have devastating effects on your own self-worth and confidence.

Final Thoughts

When used properly, self-criticism can be a tool for success.

We must work hard to ensure that we are in fact exercising a constructive analysis of our own behavior and not falling into self-deprecation.

Unfortunately, it seems as though many view the idea of being self-critical with a negative connotation. However, it can be an extremely positive and fruitful exercise if pursued with the right mindset.

It helps tremendously when you have a community of friends and family who also help to uplift you and encourage you as you are pursuing your dreams in life.

In evaluating your own situation and in attempting to constructively self-criticize, you should also take a look at the people you surround yourself with to try and better understand if those individuals are helping you in your aspirations or if they are holding you back as you work to better yourself.

“We are the average of the five people we spend the most time with.” -Jim Rohn[3]

If you work to adopt a healthy version of self-criticism and avoid allowing it to delve into self-deprecation or self-doubt, then it will serve you well as a tool to lend support to your goals and aspirations.

More Tips About Building Self-Esteem

Featured photo credit: Elijah O’Donnell via unsplash.com

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