I’ve mentioned it before, but this time at home has really given me a chance to take a step back and re-evaluate my life. A chance to do some self-reflecting and some self-improvement. My 30-day yoga challenge was one incredible journey I took during this time in quarantine. Now, I’m ready to make some more longterm changes to better myself. I’ve narrowed down four key areas that I want to focus on and thought I’d share my self-improvement tips for each.
General Self-Improvement Tips
Before diving into my four key focuses, I knew that it was important to understand how to best follow-through with my intentions. You have to understand the building blocks before you can start building that castle, ya know? So, I’ve set an outline of how I intend to meet my goals and stick with these changes.
- Go easy on yourself. Beating yourself up when you slip or make a mistake won’t make it any better. Understand that no one is perfect and when a slip happens, move on.
- Don’t compare yourself to others. This is about SELF-improvement. < That’s one I know I’ll struggle with.
- Do it for yourself; not for the approval of others.
- Remember why you’ve decided to make these changes in the first place. It can be easy to feel incredibly motivated at the start and then let it taper off. But, writing down the “why” and looking back on it from time to time should help keep that motivation up.
- Find an accountability partner. In a way, by writing this post, I’m asking for anyone in this community to hold me accountable. Other great options: your partner, a bestie, or a family member.
Change #1: Spend More Time Outdoors
Being cooped up inside for days on end (or even too many hours) can truly drive a girl mad. I find my mood to be completely blah on days that I don’t get that vitamin D and fresh air.
Seriously, just this weekend I was having a DAY. Tears kept coming out of nowhere and I was just generally… bummed. I think it’s because I really miss my friends and social outings. After spending all morning moping around, getting frustrated at little things (yep – threw tantrums like a little kid), and randomly crying, I forced myself to head outside. And not just for a quick walk around my block with Trixie. Immediately my mood was lifted and I felt so much calmer.
Moral of the story: get your butt outside each and every single day.
Vitamin D is incredibly important to our well-being. Of course, it’s important to get your vitamin D through your food, but getting it from sunshine is also key. Did you know that vitamin D deficiency can lead to depression (obvs), bone pain, muscle weakness, and fatigue? Read more about it from the Cleveland Clinic.
Oh, and PS: to go along with the obsession with getting into nature, I’ll continue my obsession with SPF. Please take care of your skin, peeps!
Change #2: Eat Meals Away From Screens
In my last relationship, I got into the horrible habit of eating dinner in front of the TV every. single. night. Yikes. Not only is this terrible for a relationship (why can’t you take a bit of time out of your day to really talk to the other person?), it’s terrible as a single gal, too.
Plus, for a while at work, I was eating my lunch and breakfast in front of the computer and working away. That meant I was eating three meals a day while staring at a screen. Ew.
First of all, I need that break from work. I need that time to slow down and reduce my stress. I also crave social interaction when you can bond with someone over food. The best thing to bond over, IMHO.
Not only is it good for your mental wellbeing to eat your meals away from a screen, but it’s actually way better for your digestion and physical health as well.
Eating mindfully (AKA not being distracted by the screen) means that you’ll take more time to appreciate every bite. I intend to be more grateful for each meal (more on that later) and slow down my eating. When you eat slower, you tend to stop when you’re actually full vs. overeating and regretting it an hour later. And did you know that research has shown when you really focus on your meal, it decreases snacking later?
Change #3: Eat More Plant-Based Meals
While we’re on the subject of food, I’ve also set an intention to eat more plant-based throughout the week. Unfortunately, I like my steak and salmon too much to go completely vegan. But, I do intend to make the majority of my meals vegan or vegetarian.
If you follow me on Instagram, then you probably know that I just finished a 10-day reset with Sakara Life (click for a discount!). Part of the reset involved me eating plant-based meals 3x a day for 10 days. I found so many new ways to make a meal out of veggies besides my go-to salads, smoothies, and veggie soup.
Eating plant-based does not mean that I’ll be missing out on protein. Actually, you can get most of the nutrients your body needs without ever eating animal products. But, plant-based diets can reduce the risk of heart disease (something that runs in my family) and diabetes (something I’ve come very close to having in the past). It can also improve your mental functions, help with depression, and generally provide you with a longer lifespan. Read more here and jump on the train to increased veggie-meals with me!
Change #4: Practice Gratitude Daily
The last change I’m putting into place is perhaps the most important. I’m intentionally going to practice gratitude on a daily basis.
To some, that might sound strange. How do you “practice” gratitude? Shouldn’t that just come naturally? Feeling grateful is an in-the-moment type of situation, right? Well, let me tell you. There are so many things to be grateful for in life. Yep, no matter what tough situations you’re going through. And sometimes you have to intentionally feel thankful in order for it to start coming naturally.
Your girl lost her long-term live-with boyfriend, her job, and her side hustle all within six months. She also had some health issues and was rapidly gaining weight. PLUS she was isolated from any friends, family, or really any human interaction for months. But, there was still so much for me to be thankful for. Taking a moment each day to think about these things just increases that feeling of gratitude and happiness. I could’ve had so many worse things going on and taking a step back to put it all into perspective was super important.
This gratitude practice can be tied back into the other self-improvement tips I’ve shared above. By taking the time to be grateful for each meal, you’ll enjoy the taste so much more. By getting out in nature and feeling grateful for the sun, clouds, flowers, or whatever else brings you joy, you’ll instantly lift your mood.
A more concrete way to practice gratitude is to write it down. I’ve created a little journal where I can make note of one thing I’m grateful for each day. It can be something as silly as being grateful for dairy-free ice cream (because, yum!). But, taking the time to write that down will greatly improve your day. Trust me.
Oh, and, make sure you smile more often. This little gratitude practice will also help lift your mood!
Putting The Changes Into Action for Self-Improvement
Now that I’ve made these promises to myself and shared them with you, I have to hold myself accountable (and you can, too!). I intend to put these changes into place immediately and see how much better my quality of life can become.
Plus, I have a feeling these little changes will also help improve my self-confidence (read more tips on that here!).
Tell me, what little changes will you make to improve your life? x