Hey self-improvement junkie! Out on a new mission again? What self-improvement goals are you pursuing this time? Are you learning a new language? Are you trying to be more present with your relationships? Or perhaps you are looking to achieve a healthy work-life balance? (Or if believing in yourself is your top goal, follow the bold steps we discussed here.)
More than we care to admit, our society has become so transfixed with self-improvement. We have become obsessed with success and the need to build on top of previous achievements – it has become quite exhausting. With our preoccupation with self-improvement goals, we “self-improve” to the point of putting our health and well-being at risk.
Now, don’t get me wrong. There’s nothing wrong with having self-improvement goals. Who would not want to elevate their game? (Read our compelling article on finding your true passion in 2020 to help you with that.) But I am sure you’ve heard this before – too much of anything is counterproductive. Thus, it is critical to learn how to pause and balance things out. So how do we curb our self-imposed obligation to improve ourselves consistently? Don’t compromise self-care over self-improvement.
5 Out-of-the Ordinary Bold Steps for Self-care
Here are five bold and unusual steps for self-care:
- Do nothing, be bored. One of the self-improvement goals that we usually set for ourselves is to make good use of our time. When we say “good,” we mean doing something worthwhile – like reading a book, listening to podcasts, and pursuing a hobby. Being always under a barrage of stimuli and information can be damaging to our well-being. Essentially, our mind requires quiet moments to synthesize and process stimuli. Without ample time to sit still, we begin to feel exhausted and worn-out. We tie these loose ends inside our heads by doing nothing. Do yourself a favor, stare out a window, or sit at a quiet nook and do nothing.
- Enjoy things when they are good. We rarely stop to appreciate the good things in life. Why? Because we are always rushing to cross-out the next item off our to-do list. However, there is a far menacing reason why we cannot seem to stop and enjoy things when they are good. It all boils down to fear – the fear that when we let our guards down, things are going to go haywire and good things will be taken away from us. You have to break free from this mindset. Enjoy the good things that you have right now. You deserve them.
- Give in to your guilty pleasures. Self-improvement goals usually involve things or activities that we can be proud of – like sticking to your daily calorie count or reading at least one book per week. Guilty pleasures are branded “guilty” because they don’t contribute to your self-improvement goals, and we feel bad after doing them. However, giving in to your guilty pleasures once in a while is good for stress relief. Sure, that extra ice cream scoop will upset your daily calorie count; binge-watching Friends will take away some of your reading time. But remember this: you’re allowed to use our “time-out” card from time to time.
- Recognize the beauty of repeat experiences. Trying new things and experiences are often included in most people’s self-improvement goals. However, we miss out on the other layers of experiences if we only try them once. For instance, when traveling, a crammed itinerary stops you from fully appreciating the local sights, sounds, and tastes of a destination. Repeat the experience, go back – you will be surprised by the new things you can discover from the same experience.
- Embrace regrets – recognize that you feel bad or sorry for your mistakes. Along with these mistakes are regrets and disappointments, often directed at ourselves for failing to make the right choices. Many self-improvement goals involve overcoming these disappointments by setting aside regrets and disappointments. However, in the process, suppressed regrets may be harmful in the long run. Making mistakes is part of being human. Accept regrets with sincerity and openness – it is a process of forgiving yourself.
Final Note on Self-improvement and Self-care
While frequently interchanged, self-improvement and self-care are two different yet overlapping concepts. Self-care is a restorative and healing practice that helps us take care of our overall well-being and happiness. Self-improvement, on the other hand, is the step we take to develop and advance our status. The focus can be on our health, career, relationships, and finances. Essentially, our self-improvement goals are aimed at enhancing the different areas of our life.
The overlap between self-care and self-improvement occurs when self-improvement goals are not realized when we fail to take care of ourselves. It can be difficult for a person who is in poor health or in a gloomy state to advance his or her self-improvement goals. Take care of yourself first. Self-improvement will follow.