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Self Improvement

Every year about this time at work. I have the privilege to sit down with my team members and do performance appraisals and set new goals for the year. It’s a time when we look back on all the things we have accomplished and laugh at all the bloopers we made. It’s also a time to reflect on what things we would like to work on in the coming year. And so for my post this time around I thought I would talk about the importance of self improvement.

In this day and age, with all the chaos that life brings, it’s all too easy to say: “I just don’t have time today. I’ll get to it tomorrow.” And soon enough a week or so has gone by.  So let’s all make a pledge to just get it done. But first off, what should we do? Well I think that is really up to you, but I will go ahead and share some things that I am doing and maybe they will help to get the juices flowing and help you kick start your journey.

Recently I have finally put my health as a priority. We all know that we should stay in shape and eat right but sadly we are convinced we don’t have time to do it.. At their core, our bodies are a biological machine. Year after year if we neglect our bodies or make bad choices, it will come back to haunt us. So find a way that you can get that activity in. I recommend finding something that you enjoy doing or learn something new. I have also found that doing the activity with someone else adds a layer of commitment and can also be fun.

Another great self improvement tactic/idea/option is to read more. There is so much wisdom and experience out there and books are a great way to stay up on what is going on in your industry. I also listen to TED talks and other podcasts. A great way to get them in is to listen to them on your ride to and from work.

Another idea is to take up a new hobby. I am sure that if you look deep down there is something you have always wanted to do or learn. Well do it! This is your life and you should live to the fullest. Learn the piano, hike that mountain, knit that sweater, ultimately enjoy what you do.

An often overlooked area in our lives is taking time to just relax. I mean just to sit and let your brain take a break. Meditation, yoga, or even just laying in a field and looking up at the clouds. Allow yourself time to just let you mind relax and wonder. All too often we tax our brains to the brink of a mental break down. I have a friend who likes to go out into nature for a weekend every month and just enjoy the area and get away from it all. He says it helps him center and stay on track.

Finally, a great way to help improve yourself is to give back to your community. I have always found that I get more out than I give. Find a local cause that means something to you and share your talents and time with them. Helping out the members of your community is very rewarding and there is no better feeling in the world than knowing that you made a difference.

Self improvement is, in my opinion, crucial to being well rounded and living a full life. I encourage you to stop putting it off and get to it. In the comments below leave a suggestion or an experience you have had that has made a difference in your life.

Steve leads the Learning & Professional Development team, with over a decade of Instructional Design and professional development experience in higher education at Northern Arizona University.

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