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Last Updated on November 27, 2020

Why Constant Self-Improvement May Be Bad Sometimes

Why Constant Self-Improvement May Be Bad Sometimes
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Our ability to grow into more than what we currently are is truly one of the defining traits of human existence. It is the foundation of most of our ambitions, dreams, and drives. Without it, the human race would never make significant steps forward. Learning how to engage in constant self-improvement and personal development is something that has enabled us to take ourselves and the entire human race to higher levels.

However, as with any activity, it can be overdone. There are downsides when you engage in too much personal development and constant self-improvement. That is what we’re going to discuss today—how constant self-improvement can, at times, harm us.

Where Does Our Need for Self-Improvement Come From?

Although self-improvement and personal development, in general, are excellent things to seek out in our lives, when overdone, they can begin to take a negative toll.

Think about why the vast majority of people engage in personal development. It’s often because they feel as though they aren’t currently enough, or that they could be more, or that something is wrong with them.

Whatever your reason is, it’s important to retain positive feelings towards yourself. This is because constant self-improvement can sometimes reinforce the idea that there are many things wrong with us or that we’re not good enough, so we need to force ourselves to improve.

And if you’re continually trying to improve simply because you believe something is wrong with you or because you’re not good enough, you may begin taking yourself down a negative road.

There is a massive difference between being realistic about yourself and saying, “I am not good at this particular thing, but I can get better if I keep trying” and saying “I need to get good at this thing because otherwise, I have no value.”

So, keep an eye on your mindset throughout this process. Because, yes, self-improvement is good in moderation while constant self-improvement can at times reinforce some negative mindsets.

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Don’t let your insecurities come into play, at least not too significantly. Don’t start saying things like, “when I accomplish this, then I’ll be good enough to have real value.” Those are dangerous phrases to include in your self-take in regards to your mental health.

This type of harsh and overly critical self-evaluation can form the foundation for many negative emotions and personal issues that we develop in our lives.

Don’t allow yourself to eventually dislike the person you see in the mirror because you’re constantly not meeting the increasingly higher standards that you’re setting for yourself. The scary part of constant self-improvement is that many of us do, at one point or another, fall into this trap.

You Always Have Potential

Here is something that I want you to take to heart.

When you begin to feel yourself falling into the trap of constant self-improvement because you’re not enough, repeat the phrase, “I may not be good enough, but I have the potential to get myself to where it is that I want to be.”

You should never feel unworthy. You always have value. You are always capable.

Remember that any change you want to make in your life is voluntary. You are in control of how your life goes. Very few changes we make to our lives are mandatory.

So, stop being overly harsh on yourself. Remember that we are human, and 100% of humans have flaws and make mistakes.

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It’s important here to make sure that engaging in constant self-improvement isn’t preventing you from accepting yourself.

It’s important to retain your self-care practices as that self-acceptance is one of the most valuable personal traits you can ever develop on your path to self-improvement.

Don’t Set Unrealistic Ideals and Live Your Own Life

Another trap you can find in a lot of personal development books is setting massive goals—the “if your dreams don’t scare you, then they aren’t big enough” mentalities.

For some of us, this might be okay. However, if you constantly set massive goals, live up to unrealistic standards, and have unachievable expectations for yourself, chances are eventually your drive is not only going to fade, but it’s going to turn negative.

Don’t get into the trap of trying to lead an unattainable lifestyle. Because that is where constant self-improvement can get dangerous because inevitably, we will fall short of the mark.

That being said, don’t let anybody tell you what’s realistic and what isn’t. You have to take the time to reflect on what a realistically achievable and positive life means to you.

Don’t go out and try to live the ideals that some book or motivational speaker told you to do. They are paid to say those things—to say what is popular because that’s how they build audiences.

You need to live YOUR ideals, not theirs.

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Practice the Attitude of Gratitude

Here is something else that I’ve noticed in a lot of people who don’t fully understand personal development. When they are engaging in constant self-improvement because they believe there is something better out there, they get selfish, and obviously, that’s not a good thing.

Don’t let this practice devalue the amazing things that you’ve already done and accomplished with your life.

Sure, there is always more out there. You could be the more productive, smartest, and most efficient person that this world has ever seen and live that way for 100 years, and there would still be more out there when you die at the end of your life.

Don’t get so caught up “trying to get more” that you forget to appreciate the things you already have.

Don’t fall for the trap that just because your life or a situation isn’t perfect right now that means that it can never be fixed or improved and that you should abandon it entirely for something else.

Don’t become obsessed with the mentality that your life always has to be perfect and that you always need more because if you live that way, inevitably you’re going to end up disappointed.

It was Victor Frankl, psychiatrist and best-selling author of Man’s Search For Meaning who suggested that success should never be our sole goal, instead, he believes that:

“Don’t aim at success—the more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue.”

The Takeaway

If you want to engage in constant self-improvement, then be my guest. But be careful.

Make sure you never begin to adopt the mindset that you’re doing it to fix yourself or because you’re broken. Remember, you’ve done a lot of amazing things already and you’re simply looking to improve on some of the accomplishments you’ve already achieved.

Also, remember to be realistic. No matter how hard you try, you’re not going to be good at everything. But just because you aren’t good at something right now doesn’t mean that you don’t have the potential to get good at it.

And more than anything, remember that you need to accept yourself. Never let this constant self-improvement lower your opinion of yourself. You’re doing this so you can be more impactful in your everyday life and so that you can develop a stronger understanding of yourself.

Best of luck!

More About Proper Self-Improvement

Featured photo credit: Christina @ wocintechchat.com via unsplash.com

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Mark Lynch

Featured Life-Balance, & Personal Development Author

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Last Updated on July 21, 2021

What Is SWOT Analysis? 5 Ways It Accelerates Your Self-Improvement

What Is SWOT Analysis? 5 Ways It Accelerates Your Self-Improvement
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If I told you that there was one activity that you could do frequently that would dramatically accelerate your rate of self-improvement, would you do it?

SWOT Analysis may very well be the solution to your problems of feeling lost, unproductive, worried about the future, and the general struggle that inevitably arises on the road to personal development. It is quick to carry out, reliable in terms of changing your perspective, and effective in getting you the results that you desire.

So what exactly is this SWOT Analysis? You will find everything you need to know about it below as well as how to do it and all of the amazing benefits that it will bring to your life.

What Is SWOT Analysis?

SWOT Analysis is a business term that has steadily made its way over into the world of personal development due to its effectiveness in getting things to improve — whether that be a company or, more recently, a person.

S.W.O.T. is an anagram that stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. When assessing these four key pillars in life, it gives a very good picture of which direction you should be heading in and even highlights some of the best ways to do it.

All in all, it is a great way to reflect on past actions and to decide on the best way to move forward.

How to Do a SWOT Analysis

Carrying out a SWOT Analysis is relatively simple. The best way is to take out a pen and paper and write down four columns: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. From there, you can begin to fill out each one and apply it to whatever situation you find yourself in.

If you are considering expanding your enterprise, you might want to write down the current strengths and weaknesses of your business as well as the opportunities that you could possibly move into and the threats that you might need to minimize.

If you are an individual looking to improve yourself, you can carry out a SWOT Analysis either on the micro or macro level. A micro example would be focusing on one specific area of life. For example, you could write down your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats when it comes to dating, productivity, or changing your job.

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You can also take it to the macro level. You might simply write down your current strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats across all areas of life — or simply the areas that you want to focus on for now.

SWOT Analysis is very easy to do and is excellent for the bigger picture stuff. Here is a rough template with a few questions across various areas of life that you can use for your own personal development purposes:

Strengths

What professional qualifications do I have that make me stand out from everybody else?

What do I exceed at where most people are either average or below average?

What achievements have I been awarded?

What struggles have I overcome in the past that give me hope for the future?

Weaknesses

Where do I fall short where others seem to excel?

What bad habits do I have?

What thoughts tend to hold me back?

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Opportunities

Is there any significant advancement happening or about to happen that I can take advantage of?

Is there a new position in a company that maximizes my skillset?

Is there a gap in the market that I could potentially fill?

Is there an opportunity that is low-risk (i.e. I can fail fast and decide if I want to keep pursuing it)?

Threats

What competition do I face in a certain area?

What is the most likely thing to throw me off course? Is it me?

If there was an economic downturn, would I be in a position to survive? Could I even turn it into an opportunity?

Benefits of SWOT Analysis for Self-Improvement

Now that you know what it is and how to do it, you may already start to see all of the benefits for your personal growth that can come from a SWOT Analysis. If you haven’t already started to think about how to use it in your own life, here are a few ideas to get you started.

1. It Gives You an Actionable Plan

One of the most obvious benefits of doing a SWOT Analysis is the fact that it gives you an actionable plan. It is rare for someone to actually sit down and write out their strengths and weaknesses as well as the opportunities and threats they are facing, so you will be getting well ahead.

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More importantly, taking the information from all four of these areas allows you to create an effective plan for yourself going forward — whether that be doubling down on your strengths, a plan to overcome your weaknesses, or how to leap at one of the opportunities in your life.

SWOT Analysis is designed specifically to drive actions and decisions — it is not simply a discussion exercise that you put to one side once you are finished with it.[1]

2. It Allows You to Zoom Out

Far too many people are so trapped within their day-to-day activities that they forget to see the big picture. Not being able to see the forest for the trees is one of the things that hold many people back from reaching their full potential.

SWOT Analysis allows you to take a moment of reflection, see the big picture, and then to make an informed decision about what your everyday tasks and activities are going to be, rather than the other way around.

It is important to be able to zoom out from time to time to make sure that you are on track with whatever your objectives are in each area of life. SWOT Analysis is the best way to do just that.

3. It Helps You Recognize New Aspects and Patterns

One of the unique things about SWOT Analysis is that it manages to combine different areas of your life and lets you see patterns, opportunities, and much more that you wouldn’t have otherwise seen.

An example would be the combination of your strengths and your opportunities. When you look at both of these side-by-side, you get a good idea about where the crossovers are, and, as a result, you get a clear picture of what opportunities are worth pursuing based on your strengths.

Another example would be looking at your strengths and threats next to one another. When you have a decent idea about what your strengths are in a certain situation, you can start to see how those strengths might come in handy when it comes to mitigating certain threats that you might face.

The truth is, any combination across SWOT Analysis creates a unique perspective that will be extremely useful for your own self-improvement.

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4. It Minimizes Risk

Branching out from the previous point, a SWOT Analysis is carried out to help minimize risk [2]. Although this is primarily a benefit from a company’s standpoint, it can also be helpful from an individual’s perspective as well.

On a personal level, risk can come in a variety of forms. It might be an imaginary risk that feels real, like asking your crush out or asking your boss for a raise. It might be an actual risk where you are thinking of expanding your business or entering a new market where you have little experience. Either way, seeing the threats you face as well as the strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities you have allows you to go down the path that minimizes risk and maximizes gain.

5. It Can Marks Stages of Your Path

An interesting way that companies use SWOT Analysis is that they carry it out every month or every quarter in order to reset and recalibrate their destination. It can be used in a similar way by you as well. Just like there are certain times when businesses use them, there are certain times when you should use them.[3]

Every month or every couple of months, take the time to do a SWOT Analysis to see how you are progressing. What strengths have been added? What weaknesses have been discovered? What opportunities have revealed themselves or been lost? What new threats are you facing and which have been removed from the picture?

Not only will carrying out a SWOT Analysis on a frequent basis accelerate your self-improvement by helping you see where you want to go with less distraction, but it is also nice to see how things change and, hopefully, get better.

It is also worth looking back at your SWOT Analysis from the start of the year when you reach the end of the year to see how far you have come.

To Wrap Up

So there you have it. SWOT Analysis might just be the tool and technique that you have been waiting for to truly take the next step in your self-improvement journey. It is practical, easy to carry out, and effective in terms of planning your next moves.

Whether you do it on a consistent basis to ensure that you are moving in the right direction or you only do it when you feel lost, SWOT Analysis will always be right there waiting to help.

Featured photo credit: Kyle Glenn via unsplash.com

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