Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Self-Improvement Journey

One thing that is essential to our contentment in life is feeling good about ourselves.
Sometimes even though we like ourselves, we may decide there is room for improvement. We may want to lose weight, get organized, work on being a better listener. We just realize there is something we'd like to do better or that would help us to feel better.

I'm a little embarrassed to admit this, but I've been watching a show on VH1 called Tool Academy, where guys whose girlfriends are fed up with them for being bad boyfriends are trying to work on their relationships by becoming more honest, mature and trustworthy. They are working on improving themselves so they can be better men for their girlfriends.

It's kind of a lame show, but it got me thinking about what kind of self-improvement I need to do.

The first step in any self-improvement plan, of course: identify what you need to work on. Then come up with a plan of action, set some goals, and identify the rewards.

Ditch the bad habits.

Make a list of any bad habits you'd like to shake. Old habits may be hard to break, but I have some I sure need to try and get rid of.

Probably my biggest bad habit is that I procrastinate. I am constantly putting things off until the last minute, and I have a couple of 'ongoing' projects that I haven't even touched lately. I'm also frequently late to appointments (I swear this one is hereditary) and I have a tendency to interrupt people when they're speaking.

Do yourself some good.

Whether it's quitting smoking, exercising more or eating healthier, we all could use more wellness in our lives.

One thing I've been hearing other people with MS say is that they've been eating better - cutting out fat and that sort of thing. I always kind of gulp and think about how bad my diet is. I love sweets, and I've never been able to stay off french fries. I know if I eat healthier I'll feel better, but I need more willpower.

Become more _____ (fill in the blank)

I've always struggled with being shy and unassertive. I've gotten better at being more outgoing and assertive as I've gotten older, but I still need to work on both of these things more.

I think we all battle insecurities and want to develop qualities that could help us in different areas of our lives - on the job, in our relationships, and so on. Perhaps we want to be more dedicated, have a more positive attitude, be more patient.

So how can we go about trying to improve ourselves?

There are lots of self-help books out there and programs to help you break habits, like smoking for instance. It really just comes down to discipline - sticking with something. Sometimes we need to get motivated or we need a push. Get friends and family in on the act. Make them hold you accountable.

It all starts with setting goals. I set a baby-step goal to spend an hour each week working on one of the projects I've started. Hopefully my goal will lead to a finished project and a feeling of accomplishment. (If I can just get that stool in the kitchen fixed...)

I already have started to eat healthier. Honestly, food prices aren't going to make it any easier, but that's no excuse. Even just substituting veggie soup is better than having fries.

I had a couple of early appointments last week, and I'm happy to say I woke up early enough, left early enough, and got there on time. (That's huge for me.)

I've also been finding myself striking up conversations more lately. When I go for my treatments, when I am at the grocery, or just recently at an employment center orientation. I feel very good about the fact that I can talk to people so easily now (and I haven't interrupted anyone lately). I just need to keep it up and not crawl back into my shell.

Being able to see some good results from some of my self-improvement goals has really helped me to feel positive and stay motivated.

You can do things to improve yourself, but it's also important to be yourself, and not try to be someone else. I used to not like myself very much, and I thought I had to act differently in order for people to like me more. I eventually found that people really do like me for who I am.

You don't have to make changes to make people like you. Having a positive attitude and liking yourself more really goes a long way.

Now as for the guys on Tool Academy, they really do need to make some changes.


movingdestiny said...

nice.. good to know you're doing better :)

Anonymous said...

Don't be embarrassed about tool academy. I spent part of yesterday reading cartoons with a small child & I took notes at one point, because there was an excellent example presented/lesson to be learned in the story. Genius can come from anywhere. Good for you as far as being open-minded about it. ~Mary

Da Jazzster! said...

habit breaking? uh-hum I need to stop biting my nails..I started a few months ago after my lips felt weird cause i bit them...

YEah u just gave me the wil to consider changing though if i decide to act on it is unlikely but still! the thought is there

Lenore said...

Thanks everyone for all the nice comments:)