Why I really dislike self improvement

Be happy with yourself today

I really dislike the term ‘self improvement’.

The very term is negative in that it assumes that your current state is somewhere less than ideal and that something is missing or wrong. What’s wrong with me? Absolutely nothing and you may be very happy with where you are in your life – you’re one of the lucky ones.

Here’s one definition I found:  ‘Self improvement is the continuous struggle to better ourselves by transcending our weaknesses and limitations.’ Heavy duty negativity there, who wants to face up to that?

‘Self improvement’ for me conjures an image of a sharp dressed presenter with a big smile yelling out to an audience to jump up and down and ‘take it beyond level 10 people!’ This is like fairy floss – looks colourful, tastes great but has very little substance and leaves you feeling a little sick if you have too much. Great for entertainment but it doesn’t change anything in the long term.

So be happy with yourself today and if you wish set goals of personal growth and learning for the future. Life time learning is a fantastic skill and allows us to remain open to new ideas as we progress through our life. Here’s six ways to make it happen:

1. Walk the Talk

It’s easy to spend time reading and talking about making changes to our lives. All the books in the world won’t help unless we’re prepared to take action towards our goals. Books can give us inspiration but the real test is whether we can take that first step and follow through.

2. Discipline/regularity

Personal growth and learning is not something that we can do once a week when we feel like it and it does require a discipline and regularity. Discipline may bring to mind negative connotations but the discipline here is the motivation to continue doing the right things – towards our goals. After a while regularity becomes a habit, a part of our life that we enjoy.

3. Where’s your focus?

Personal growth doesn’t mean we become selfish or focus exclusively on ourselves. It’s a paradox of personal growth that real progress comes when we focus less on our ego and opens ourselves to others. And we may just learn something along the way!

4. Vision and Goals

One of the first requirements of personal growth is that we must have a goal to aim for. Even if our goals are very modest it’s important to have something to measure our progress. Much has been written on goal setting but it can be as easy as writing down 3 or 4 things that you want to do or achieve and start working towards them.

5. Inspiration from Others

Seek the company of like minded people. There is great power in association, when we mix with people who have achieved what we want in their own lives it’s easier to make it happen in ours. It’s amazing what we can achieve when we can see the results in others. What’s important is the inspiration and encouragement we receive so be careful who you share your vision with.

6. The Power of Happiness

Real personal growth requires a more holistic approach than merely understanding the concept as an intellectual exercise. We need to make our goals achievable and celebrate the wins along the way. When we’re happy we can easily make progress. If we’re under pressure and frustrated everything becomes difficult. The feeling of accomplishment gives us power and should be enjoyed and will spur us on for more.


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