I read a lot of posts, blogs, articles, newspapers, journals, websites in general about goal-setting, progress, time management, self-improvement, tracking, etc. I’ve seen the literally thousands of pages set up like “lists” — “Seven ways to manage your life”, etc. — and rarely do I find them truly useful. Or even worth sharing. It’s not a hard and fast rule, but it’s usually about 90% chaff, and 10% wheat. Or a very rare diamond in the rough.
So when I saw a post last week entitled “42 practical ways to improve yourself” over on LifeHack.Org, I was of course drawn to it but with little expectation that I would find it that great. Instead, I was almost gob-smacked — whoever curated the list (Celestine Chua is the name on the entry, but sometimes they’re curated in groups for LifeHack) did an absolutely fantastic job. Here are my favorites on the list:
- Life handbook (LH #10) / Set big goals (LH #17) / Acknowledge your flaws (LH #18) / Blog or Journal (LH #26 & 27) / Let go of the past (LH #36) / Commit to your personal goals (LH #42): For me, seven of the items on the long list are really part and parcel of my approach to self-improvement quest for this year, and they can be broken down into three pieces:
- Know yourself — flaws, strengths, past, future, warts and all;
- Set goals — some big, some small, but stretch yourself; and,
- Track it — some people write about it, others are into managing lists and progress meters, but basically it’s about tracking to see if you’re doing what you committed to doing;
- Read (LH#1): It is Chua’s number one, but while she has hers as read a book every day, and mostly talking about non-fiction, I think it is equally useful to read regularly and in any form. Tomes, scrolls, articles, cereal boxes — it just keeps the mind engaged, actively interacting with the words in a way normally excluded from other more passive forms of entertainment (like TV/Movies/Music).
- New hobby (LH #3): This would probably be tied for second for me with reading above. Rather than just doing regular hobbies, the new hobby says “I choose to stretch myself”. Sure, it could be something new within an existing hobby (like new style of sewing, new genres, etc.) but it isn’t a “full” stretch in those cases. I also think too that even when you try them, it’s important to stick with it long enough to feel like you gave it a GOOD try, not just whatever tickled your fancy for a week. Maybe you won’t be proficient, but lots of times you don’t enjoy something simply because you’re not good at it — it’s not really a fair test if you don’t give yourself a true chance to achieve some basic mastery before you decide if it is enjoyable;
- Courses (LH #4): For myself, this is a great option, particularly online ones that let me schedule at will (with pros and cons of that of course). But courses are not everyone’s best learning method, particularly if the area they want to learn is more of an active hobby where they learn by doing;
Other ideas that are intriguing to me from the list: creating an inspirational room; overcoming a fear or getting out of comfort zone; writing a letter to your future self; getting a mentor or coach; do a 30-day challenge; and avoiding negative people. There are another 30 or so on the list which is great.
Overall, a great list, nicely curated. So I’m sharing it. 🙂