As we move into the New Year, many of us spend time reflecting on what we’ve learned over the past year, and pondering about all that we want to accomplish, experience, and manifest in the upcoming year.
For many people, a New Year is the perfect time start afresh. That’s why New Year’s Resolutions have become a widely-accepted tradition for millions of people. Whether your goal for 2014 is to get healthy and fit, or to learn how to reduce the levels of stress and anxiety in your life, featured here are 4 easy-to-follow steps that can help you on your journey of self improvement.
4 Steps To Self Improvement
Regardless of which New Year’s Resolution you want to focus on this year, every goal you set for yourself starts with an intention you think about in your mind.
Evaluating your priorities (by making lists), creating a personal strategic plan for the next 12-months (which can include detailed fiscal responsibility, such as budgeting and income-generation ideas, or more broad planning, like writing down your vision for what you want to accomplish or do within a certain time period), and getting your home and office space organized are three important self improvement steps that you can do on a mental level.
By re-focusing your attention on things that matter (or in the words of psychologist Richard Dyer, Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff), and becoming more organized and self-disciplined actually help you de-stress in the long-run, minimize the anxiety that comes with procrastination, and assist you in becoming more productive and effective.
How we feel affects our ability to stay calm and centered (especially in times of turmoil). That’s why it’s critically important to our emotional well-being that we learn how to eliminate ’emotional baggage’ from our lives (whether that be toxic people or harmful behavioral patterns). Our emotions are our responses to thought patterns; beware what you perpetually think about.
Ask yourself how often you allow yourself to affected by other people’s behaviors, attitudes, and words. An important aspect to creating and sustaining emotional balance and peace is to remember that, while we cannot change others, we can only change ourselves. That’s why it’s also important to learn the art of forgiveness. This does not mean excusing other people’s ‘bad behavior’, it means coming from a more compassionate place. A wonderful quote to remember is, “if you knew everything about everyone, you’d forgive everyone for everything.” Forgiveness helps you heal, release your anger, and let go of any resentment.
Learning to calm the emotions, feeling centered and at peace, and letting go of any un-beneficial feelings is an important step toward self improvement. And by focusing on the blessings of each day, you increase your happiness and overall feeling of contentment with your life.
Being healthy and staying active have scientifically proven to help increase longevity, overall happiness and contentment with one’s life, and eliminating harmful toxins from our systems.
By focusing on eating healthful foods, such as vegetables, fruits, lean protein sources (like grilled chicken or steamed fish), whole grains, and fiber, we give our bodies the vital nutrients it needs to stay healthy. In addition, eating a well-balanced, nutrient-rich diet helps minimize the risk of developing diseases or ailments, and also boost your immune system.
Spending time engaging in physical activities like cardiovascular improvement (walking, biking, dancing, etc.), muscle-building, and stress relief activities (such as yoga or Pilates) help you connect with and work on your body. The old saying goes, ‘your body is your temple’. By taking care of your physical body is equally important in the on-going process of self improvement.
Whether you belong to a particular religion and regularly attend a spiritual service, or you feel connected with the Universe by taking a walk through nature, developing a spiritual practice has been known to help people cope with challenging situations, gain greater clarity and inner wisdom, and help them feel more ‘connected’ to themselves, other people, and life itself.
If you are a traditional person and find comfort by attending a Church or Synagogue service, then by all means, continue to do so. If, on the other hand, you prefer to meditate by yourself, or learn about New Age forms of spiritual practices (such as Astrology, energy clearing, or Chakra reading), then delve into those forms of spirituality.
Regardless of the path you choose, spirituality is a very personal and individualistic experience that helps you move ahead in your journey of self improvement and personal development.
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