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Your Self-Improvement Plan in 7 Simple Steps

Read Time: 6 minutes 

Self-improvement goals can be daunting.

This kind of inner work requires you to be honest about what you'd like to improve and then make consistent lifestyle changes to achieve it—and we humans aren’t often great with consistency. There’s a reason for that!

People give up on lasting self-improvement goals when they’re unsure about how to get from Point A to Point B.

You need to know exactly how you’re getting there and how to do it, with plenty of positive reinforcement on the way.

This month is National Self-Improvement Month, so we created this simple but powerful roadmap to follow so you can finally make those desired changes in your life.

  1. Write It All Down
The reason why the act of writing is so significant is that you are intentionally providing a clear picture of what you want to achieve. Your brain will recognize this as meaningful, and you'll have a physical reminder to look back at.
Let yourself free-write for 15 minutes about what self-improvement changes you find inspiring, challenging, and important.
Why do you feel that way?
What about your overall quality of life will improve when you reach this self-improvement goal?
Let it flow, then get ready to build your plan.
  1. Make a Detailed Plan
Set the overall self-improvement goal, then break it down into goal markers and action items. It’s easier than you think!

You need to define what you want to achieve, how long it will take, and the resources you need for this process. The more detailed your plan, the better your chance of reaching it.
Setting realistic, small, and measurable self-improvement goals is one of the most important steps in changing your lifestyle.
For example, it's not enough to have a single, vague goal like “quit smoking”.
You have to break that goal down into smaller, measurable tasks, or goal markers, so you know when you’ve achieved them. This helps you stay on track and motivated to reach the next marker.
Once you've broken down what needs to be done monthly, weekly, or daily, create an action item list for each day with small tasks that will help bring about the completion of the larger goal over time.
For example, write down:
Goal Marker 1: In the next 14 days, I will cut out one cigarette each day, so that I am smoking 5 instead of 6 per day.

Action Items for Today:
  • Take a walk today instead of smoking my afternoon cigarette
  • Buy hard candy to distract myself with this month
  • Call my friend to tell them I cut back starting today and how I’m feeling about it
  1. Pick an Accountability Partner
This is a great way to create an environment of accountability and responsibility.
You are more likely to follow through with your goals when you know that someone else is expecting those results from you.
Make sure it’s someone trustworthy who wants to see you succeed while offering positive feedback and support.
  1. Pair Your Goal with Another Action
This is a great way to start and follow through with new habits. Add an action to an existing routine that will help you reach your self-improvement goal.
For example, if you want to start drinking water throughout the day, then drinking water should become your first activity in the morning when you brush your teeth or stretch.
It will be easier to remember and do because you are pairing it with an action you already do daily.
  1. Write Down Your Progress
Take three minutes a day, whip out a notebook or your phone, and write down what you did today to reach your self-improvement goals, what changes you are grateful for, or how you’re feeling about the process.
And you don’t need to be an amazing writer; that’s not the point.
You are simply logging your progress so that you stay motivated to continue with your self-improvement journey when you look back.
  1. Set Up a Reward System
This one is the best step: pick something you really want to do or buy, then, when you hit your final goal marker, go out and get it!
Is it going to Greece for a week? A spa day with a loved one? Trying a new restaurant that’s opening up? Getting a new phone? Or having a fun evening out to celebrate your wins?
Whatever it is, use that as a motivation boost, then celebrate!
You can even set up mini rewards along the way for every goal marker you hit if you want extra inspiration.
  1. Be Gentle with Yourself
That adage about just getting back on the horse? It’s true—and everyone can get back up after a setback.
If your progress is slower than you hoped, or you get frustrated or even take a step backward, it’s okay. It’s normal.
It’s completely okay to make a choice that ends up not going the way you’d hoped.
Once you choose to ignore perfectionist tendencies and instead focus that energy on doing the best you can at the moment, you’ll achieve progress in the long run. That’s what really matters.

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