Attempting self-improvement without intentionality is a bit like hoping to earn a promotion before you’ve even applied for any jobs. Stewarding your life to the point where you can thrive demands a focus on change intended to cultivate good self-care habits with a structure that can endure.
The most important ingredient is the drive to change, but it’s also import to seek out informational resources and productivity tools tools to arm yourself for the challenge. We are fortunate enough to live in a time and place with easy access to entire subcultures and communities dedicated to discovering the most efficient paths for self-improvement, so not utilizing them is essentially going out of your way to make a hard task more difficult than necessary.
Structure Your Leisure
Effective leisure has been positively linked to mental health, as blocking out periods for rejuvenation is vital for making your intended lifestyle changes sustainable. Structured leisure might sound like an oxymoron, but it might not sound so silly with the realization that millions of people spend their free time mindlessly on social media and end up more emotionally drained than when they started.
Time is precious and can be easily wasted. Try to make goals regarding your leisure and use it on activities that aren’t just mindless, but actually make you feel good. Not that you can’t be spontaneous, but it’s important to make sure that whatever you spend your time on is somethings you still enjoy. There certainly is a major difference between using your free time on a whim to learn about fantasy football and wasting it by getting sidetracked reading social media comment sections. Setting clear intentions for your leisure is a safeguard for your overall happiness and avoids that Sunday night feeling of “what did I even do with my weekend.”
Structure Your Health
The mouth feeds the brain and the brain feeds your whole life. Eating poorly has an insidious trickle-down effect that can sabotage energy levels, mental alertness, and by extension all your attempts to improve other areas of your life. Be sure to research the specific nutritional needs of your body and identify the bad and good eating habits you have. Strengthen or create the good habits and prune away the bad habits. Use apps to track your nutritional intake and find a plan that is sustainable for you, and always remember that the end goal is to reach a good place. It’s important that you reach a place where your health allows you to thrive in the other areas of your life rather than serving as a limiting factor around what you can and cannot eat. Healthy food is fuel for your body, but also for your achievements.
Structure Your Goals
Consider what you want to accomplish in life. That’s certainly a big question and will require significant thought. For manageability, chop goals into different categories. Short-term goals for immediate targets, medium-term goals for the near future, and long-term goals for large changes. Don’t try to do too much too soon, as realistic goals are needed to avoid becoming overwhelmed and feeling as though you’re never making any progress.
Prioritize your goals in this same fashion. Which goals would you feel regret about not finishing a decade from now? If you wouldn’t feel regret over not accomplishing some, perhaps your energy would be better spent elsewhere. After prioritization and pruning, commit to focusing on some of the goals and revisit them frequently to gauge your process and revise your expectations.
Though structure is a beneficial tool, self-improvement is inherently an organic process and may thrust you along unexpected paths. Be open to revision of your structure when necessary when prompted by future self-discovery and circumstances.