January 1 is a popular time to evaluate our lives and think about the areas we want to improve before the new year ends. We think of broad goals: lose weight, get a new job, eat better, learn a new language, etc. But for many of us, September and October can also be a catalyst for change and renewed focus on self-improvement.
Perhaps we remember our own back-to-school days, when we began the new school year with enthusiasm and commitment to make this year the best one yet! You don't need to be a young student to harness that enthusiasm and invest in creating a better you, and a better life. Here are some ways to invest in yourself during Self-Improvement month and beyond:
Improve Your Finances
We don't always need a raise to improve our financial state. Simply better management of our current funds can help tremendously. If you often find yourself stressed about money, a few ideas for improving your financial state include:
- Create or increase your emergency fund.
- Review your investment portfolio and meet with a financial planner to make sure you are saving enough for retirement.
- Review your spending over the last six months, then create a budget.
Improve Your Health
After the holidays, nearly everyone says they want to lose weight. Get a jump on the holidays now by improving your diet and increasing exercise. Then when the office holiday party rolls around, or your neighbor brings by a platter of freshly baked Christmas cookies, you can enjoy them guilt-free. Some ideas to get you started:
- Start a food journal to track what you eat and how much. After a week or so, review your journal. If you want to see changes on the scale or your waistline, evaluate the choices you made and identify opportunities for improvement (maybe less fast food, or fit in more veggies).
- Try a calorie counting app or use an exercise tracker.
- When is the last time you had a physical? How about an eye exam, or a visit to the dentist? Call your doctors' offices to set up any past due appointments.
Improve Job Skills
No matter where you are in your career, chances are, you still have something to learn. Consider where you would like to be five or ten years down the road. What skills will you need that you don't possess now or that you need to improve upon? Maybe you need to improve "soft skills," like networking, communication skills, or public speaking. Or perhaps you should learn a new software or programming language.
Read A Book
Perhaps there is an area of your life you would like to see improved, but you just don't know how or where to start. Maybe you want to change careers, start a business, or build better relationships. There are thousands of books available that can help you improve nearly any area of your life. Challenge yourself to read one self-improvement book this month. A few recent bestsellers include The Self-Improvement Journey: Becoming the Best Version of Yourself, by Ryan Dieudonne, or The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business, by Charles Duhigg. Classics on this topic include Dale Carnegie's How to Win Friends and Influence People, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, by Stephen Covey, and Good to Great, by Jim Collins.
For more resources and help with finding your next job, visit the Career Advice section of our blog.
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- Self-Improvement: How Failure Can Lead to Success
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