Start Self-Improving to Grow Happier

Self-improvement is becoming increasingly important. In this article, we provide readers with tips on how to set goals and achieve them.

There is a reason most New Year’s resolutions fail so quickly; it is because they are just words without any plan behind them. I’ve been successful in only two of my approximately ten New Year’s goals with my past two being to begin working out and to finally start reading more. Alas,  Forbes says, “studies have shown that approximately 80% of New Year’s resolutions fail.”

 

Improvements need to be made in people’s lives. As Americans, we are getting consistently unhappier. The Associated Press states, “Folks in the U.S. are more unhappy today than they’ve been in nearly 50 years.” This is based on a study conducted by the University of Chicago. The way to fix this is through self-improvement. “People are more likely to have a sense of well-being if they set specific goals,” says Science Daily. These are four simple steps on how to conceive and achieve goals.

Step 1: Figuring Out Where Improvements Need to be Made

Throughout this piece, we’ll be using a personal goal of ‘reading more’ as an example that can be followed. I read a lot to begin with but almost all of that came in the form of articles I read on my phone. On top of that, I spent countless hours staring at a screen in school as well as after school. This was far too much screen time and I decided to look for an activity to take my eyes off the screens. This was the improvement that needed to be made in my life. I also wanted to grow my vocabulary and become more educated. Those were important to me. Now there was meaning behind the goal and a reason for me to try to achieve it. Reflection is needed to discover goals. Self-reflection through sitting down for 15 minutes or so and thinking about the positives and negatives in life can make it easier to find a goal. When the negatives are isolated, look for what causes this negativity and form a goal around that. These processes push it beyond just being a phrase.

Step 2: Make A Plan!

How are you going to make this goal a reality? A few words underlined in some journals mean nothing until there is an actual plan of action. The goal should be set up in a positive way. TED says, “Focusing on what you want to bring into your life—not what you want to avoid—will make you more likely to actually pursue it.” For reading, I had done it a lot in the past but stopped because of how unenjoyable school had made it for me. That was my reason for inaction: Not wanting to do it because it doesn’t seem fun. Now, I have to turn that around and frame reading as positive. My goal ended up being: find a book to enjoy, and find time in your day to read at least 5 pages of it. Baby steps. “If you make daily choices that are consistent with your goal over and over again, you will eventually reach it,” says TED. Set concrete dates to complete these goals to hold yourself to a timeframe. This will stop the ‘I’ll do it later’ mentality.

Step 3: Follow The Plan!

This is a pretty amazing plan, but you actually have to follow it. Plaster this plan everywhere. Personally, I put it in a note on my phone that stays on my lock screen at all times. A little note that just says something simple like “go read” and I put it everywhere. You can’t motivate yourself unless you have a will made of pure titanium… you probably don’t. “A staggering 92 percent of people that set […] goals never actually achieve them,” according to Inc. Make this note a little motivator to keep you on track. Give yourself little rewards that create more motivation. “Setting goals and planning rewards can help you: […] get started, keep working, and reach the end […] and reinforce good behavior and build new habits,” says Reed College. Motivation is key; if you’re not motivated you’re not going to do anything.

Step 4: Maintain This Goal!

Amazing, you’ve accomplished a goal. Think of how positive an experience this has been and use that to motivate you to maintain your current goal. Give yourself a pat on the back. You did it. Whatever it is, big or small, it is an accomplishment. This is a modern-day success story for the ages. If you’re really ambitious, let it motivate future goals. Goal setting is imperative to self-improvement. The two go hand in hand, and striving for both creates a happier life. This plan can create happiness. Happiness is an amazing thing, and let us hope the new year is filled with it.