30 Ways How to Improve Your Life, Get Results, Be Happier
You want to improve the quality of your life continuously.
You want to get results in your professional life and devote time to family and friends. I have put together a list of 30 ways you can improve your life one way or the other.
For example, give yourself credit for the things you have already accomplished in your life. Take the time to really appreciate how far you have come in the areas where others only dabble.
You can improve your life in 3 main categories. First, you have to get ready, then you need to be effective, and after that, you enjoy the results and celebrate.
Set yourself up for success
In this category, there are the actions that help you be in top shape for the tasks you need to complete. Develop the regular habits that get you performing at your peak mentally and physically.
Then make that peak even higher.
Here you find the actions that let you get results in your work and interacting with people close to you. Be more effective in everyday tasks and get more out of the time you put in.
Spend the time you free up to get even better, or just relax and enjoy.
Enjoy the results
What’s the point of putting in all the effort to improve yourself if you do not enjoy the results and celebrate?
Taking time off will increase your happiness and overall well-being. Less stress is one of the most important things about how to improve your life.
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
Sometimes you want to avoid the problems.
Talk to people and figure things out. When you have a problem and do not communicate, then the other side will come up with the reasons. These reasons are often wrong and make the situation worse in their minds.
When you forget to send the report you promised, don’t avoid the topic! Apologize and agree to do what you have to. Communication will defuse the situation, reduce your anxiety, and mental load.
Find out why it’s important to talk to people.
Walking is the best thing you can do to your mental and physical health.
We, humans, are hunters and gatherers our brains have evolved to walk and take in new information. When you walk, you do what is natural, and it has enormous health benefits.
One thing you can do is to take a short walk just before you need to exert a lot of mental effort. Or you may consider walking meetings like Steve Jobs and other creative thinkers.
Walking gets your mind to work in an active state, and you will be more effective.
Watch the video about all the benefits of daily walking habit.
All truly great thoughts are conceived by walking. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche
The social activities that you have to participate in might become overwhelming at times.
People are social animals, and being part of the larger group is important. But socializing taxes your mental energy. You need to take some alone time to replenish your willpower.
When you are in a situation where you have to listen to many people, maybe you have to come up with ideas and present your case to your peers. Working at your mental maximum is exhausting.
You need breaks! A little alone time will help you cope with the pressures you have to face every day.
Take a look at how you can take some time off just for yourself.
Take a break and be grateful for your accomplishments, the people, and the things you have in your life.
When you express gratitude for the things you have, you will be happier and more content with your life. Research has shown that gratitude improves your life satisfaction, well-being, sleep, and many more aspects of your life.
One of the best ways to bring gratitude into your daily routine is a gratitude journal. Take a few minutes after you wake up or before you go to sleep to write down 3 things that you are grateful for.
Expressing gratitude to yourself and others is a simple habit that can hugely improve the quality of your life.
Read more about how gratitude can change you for the better.
Help others! Strangers, co-workers, friends, and family. One small act of kindness every day. Go out of your way and help others in unexpected ways.
Helping others brings satisfaction to your life and makes the other person’s life easier. When you build a habit of helping others, you will also be more liked, increase your network, and get more opportunities coming your way.
Pick up trash when no one is watching. Fix a small annoyance that has been broken forever:
- a squeaky door or
- a loose screw,
- send someone a postcard,
- leave a positive comment on a blog or social media site.
Kindness breeds kindness, and by helping others, you make them better, too.
Here’s a long list of things you can do to build a kindness habit.
Improve Your Life #6: Consider the Point of View of Others
Before you form an opinion, make sure you fully understand the arguments of your opponent.
Expand your world-view by getting to know why your friends have those peculiar beliefs. Looking at the world in a way that is not in your comfort zone lets you expand your knowledge and makes you a better thinker.
When you understand why someone is pro-gun or anti-abortion, then you have some common ground for the discussion. If you want to change someone’s opinion, then you have to know their arguments better than they do.
When you understand the other side’s arguments, then you may be able to change them. You don’t have to! You can simply accept the there are different perspectives in the world and you are now richer for seeing things through their eyes.
Find out about emotional intelligence and empathy that a different perspective can bring you.
One person’s craziness is another person’s reality. ~ Tim Burton
Improve Your Life #7: Give Yourself Some Credit
You are awesome! You mastered reading! Tell yourself you did well!
Many people see the accomplishments they have achieved in life as something that everyone can do. But they do not! Be kind to yourself, and you will reach higher goals in the future.
Maybe you got yourself off the couch for the first time in a month and walked 20 minutes? Every step is a good thing. Baby steps.
We have all done something that we can be proud of. Maybe these are small things. Perhaps many others have reached similar goals before you. Doesn’t matter. Give yourself credit for the things you have done.
Here’s why it’s important to give yourself credit.
Improve Your Life #8: Wake Up Early
Waking up early gives you uninterrupted time to go through your morning ritual and increases productivity. Of course, you have to create a morning ritual that works for you.
First, what is early? In this context, I would say that early is before 6AM. Waking up at 6 or earlier allows you to spend an hour or even two before the world wakes up. During the first hours of your day, you should do the things that are most important to you.
I get up between 5 and 6. The first thing I work on is my writing and editing. After that, I create or update presentations for my seminars. When the clock hits 9, then I have already 2 or 3 hours of work done on the most important projects I have. If I can’t do anything else on that day, it’s still a win.
Focusing on the most important tasks just after you wake up and have the most willpower gets you incredible results.
It may take a little bit of time to change your sleeping habits, but it’s worth it. Try waking up early for 30 days.
Improve Your Life #9: Look for the Best in Bad Situations
No matter how you prepare yourself, there will come a time when the shit hits the fan. When that happens, keep calm and learn.
When you focus on the positive side of things, you will have a sunnier outlook on life. You will have less stress, and you will recover quicker. With an open and positive mindset, you are ready for whatever comes your way.
Let’s say you have a fender bender and have to wait for the cops to arrive. Assume it’s your fault, what can you change in your behavior to stay out of similar situations in the future.
Always look at your actions first. If you caused the problem, then you can fix it. You can apologize and promise to be more careful next time. If the event was out of your control, then learn to moderate your feelings and how to avoid similar situations in the future.
Take a look at the 4-step process to deal with unexpected negative events.
Improve Your Life #10: Change Negative Self Talk
Don’t belittle yourself. Talking to yourself in a negative way will lower our performance and general well-being.
You notice when someone is mean to you or people close to you. This may be a boss or a co-worker or a random person on the street. Putting down others is mostly not accepted as good behavior. But many people do it to themselves all the time.
Don’t tell yourself you are stupid when you misplaced your keys. Tell yourself to be more attentive next time. Don’t say “I will never achieve that goal,” say “I will take this next step” instead.
When others talk to us in a negative way, we feel bad, and our performance degrades. Don’t talk to yourself that way.
Find out what steps you can take to avoid negative self-talk and what techniques work best.
Improve Your Life #11: Take a Day Off
Sometimes it’s important to take time off and get away from it all.
You have to deal with people and situations all the time. Everybody is trying to get a piece of you. Every now and then you need to step out of the rat race and indulge yourself. Take a day or just a few hours to be alone. Find a place where you don’t have to consider what the people around you say or do. Where, for a short period, you can let go.
Book a stay in a day spa or go somewhere for a weekend. Alone. Focus on your needs. The time alone doesn’t mean that you have to skip work. Find a location where you can do some deep work for hours without interruption.
Alone time lets you accumulate the energy you need to put up with the demands that life puts on you every day.
Take a look at the activities you can include in your alone time.
Improve Your Life #12: Write Down Your Goals
Get clear what you want in your life. Write down your goals and prioritize what you are working on.
You may want to achieve dozens of goals in your life:
- professional accomplishments,
- improved family life,
- spiritual, and
- entertainment goals.
If your goals are just a vague notion in your head, then you feel constant anxiety as there’s no clear direction. Without clear goals, you also fail to measure the progress you make.
When you think that you should make more money, then it’s not a goal but a hazy notion. Make it a concrete goal. I want to earn an additional 500 dollars every month. When you have an exercise goal, then it shouldn’t be, I want to be a faster runner. Instead, set a goal to run 5k in 25 minutes.
When you give your brain some real data in the form of a measurable goal, then you will start häving ideas on how to reach that goal. 500 dollars a month is just 100 per week and 15 dollars per day. What can you do for 15 dollars per day?
Specific goals help you power through the hard parts. You will have increased persistence, and the likelihood of reaching your goals increases.
Also, read about why you need to set goals high.
Improve Your Life #13: Write A Thank You Letter
Thank you for reading this blog post. I hope it helps you improve your life, save time, and be more productive.
Write a thank you letter or just a note to the person who did something for you. Big or small, doesn’t matter.
The purely selfish reason for expressing gratitude and saying thank you is that it will make your life happier. But it doesn’t end there it will also make other people’s lives better. And you may even start a happiness cascade that spreads outward from you.
You can thank your teachers for inspiring you. You can thank your colleagues for helping you out when you got overwhelmed. You can thank people close to you so that they know that you appreciate them in your life.
Writing it out and sending it to people who are important to you improves your life and those around you. A physical letter on a paper in an envelope would be perfect. A postcard is also a great option. But if you don’t know the address or are not sure about the deliverability, send a simple email.
Take a look whom you could thank with a thank you letter.
There is always, always, always something to be thankful for. ~ Anonymous
Self-Improvement #14: Truly Listen
Do you want to better understand people and be more empathetic? Pay attention to what they are saying and how they behave when talking to you.
Many people do not listen to their conversation partner. I have caught myself in the act of thinking about what I will say next instead of focusing on the content and delivery of what’s being said. Listen deeply and make an effort to understand the point of view of your conversation partner.
When someone is talking to you, and you think about your answer, then you may miss the deeper reasons why the other person has a specific opinion. Without understanding, there’s a much lower chance of reaching an agreement.
Think about listening to an instrumental piece of music or birdsong. There are no words; you listen to the sound of music trying to understand the emotion and the details of what you hear. Do the same thing when people are talking to you.
However, the conversation doesn’t have to be confrontational to benefit for truly listening to your partner. Showing genuine interest and seeking to understand the viewpoints makes you much more likable.
Listen to what others have to say without the distraction of your own thoughts. You will get better results in a negotiation situation, and your friends will become friendlier.
Find out the benefits you get when you truly listen to someone.
Self-Improvement #15: Let It Go
You don’t have to win every fight. Pick the battles that are important and let others go.
There are really important things:
- your work,
- your family and friends,
- and your community.
These are the things worth fighting for. But then there are countless small things you don’t really have to worry about. Ignore the little annoyances and reduce the stress you have in your life.
In traffic, you can let the aggressive driver cut in front of you. Let it go as it didn’t change anything important in your life even if you are in a hurry.
Sometimes you are the problem! You want everything to be perfect; you want to do something better than the last time, you push and push without giving yourself a break. Constant pressure is unsustainable. For example, I once started to increase the length of my working days. I wanted every new day to be a record. I tried to get a new personal best every week. It led to 11 plus hour workdays.
Letting it go when it doesn’t matter will help you have a more relaxed attitude towards everything in your life. Sometimes deciding to let go ensures that you won’t freak out even when this happens outside of your control.
Take a look at what things you can let go of.
Self-Improvement #16: Smile!
Smiling a lot is something that will improve all aspects of your life.
Smiling makes you more likable, and studies have shown that you become healthier and recover faster from illnesses. Simply forcing your smile will improve your mood. When others like you, then your social network grows, and you will get more opportunities to improve your life. On the other side, a larger support network helps you get through hard times.
One way to smile more is to become a funnier person. You may think that you don’t have a funny bone in your body, but like everything else, being funny is a habit. Practice! Read jokes, what standups on Youtube. Read a funny book — The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy for example.
More smiling equals a better life quality. Put 10 minutes of humor on your daily schedule.
It’s totally in your hands, find out what you can do to smile more.
Improve Your Life #17: Stop Watching TV
Do you think you should watch more TV? Yes? OK, then this is not for you.
TV is entertainment. Even the most serious news is entertainment. There is nothing you will miss if you don’t watch TV every day. No TV doesn’t mean that you will never watch another moving image on the screen. Stop daily TV-habit, but you can watch specific, very important pieces. These come around only a few times a year.
Americans spend 4 hours every day watching TV. More than 100 billion hours every year. It only took 100 million hours to create Wikipedia. Maybe it’s time to get some of that time back and do something productive instead.
TV is not an effective news source. News is turning your brain into garbage. TV is there to show you ads. Find reliable written news sources and stick to those as infrequently as possible.
Learning every day will keep you sharp and happy for life.
There will be no boring days when you can learn something new. You can learn exciting thins about how the physical world works. When you have more knowledge, you can make more connections and come up with new ideas.
Maybe you are interested in people? Find out what makes them tick. Learn psychology and motivation to understand the people in your life better. Learn about negotiation and sales to improve your career and make your kids eat vegetables.
Find something that seems fun and give it a try. It only takes 20 hours to get the basics of a skill. Sure, you shouldn’t practice neurosurgery after 20 hours of experimenting, but in many other areas, you can get a taste if it’s something you want to continue.
Learning fills your life with excitement and new experiences. Take some time every day to expand your mind.
Find out how you can get pretty good with 20 hours of practice.
Improve Your Life #19: Celebrate!
Celebrate everything, small steps, and important victories.
People are often buried in their work. Obliterating milestone, after milestone. Grinding with no pause. Giving it your all will eventually wear you out. When you reach a small goal in your work or personal life, take a step back and celebrate.
When you achieve a small victory, let’s say you managed to complete your daily to-do list by 4PM. Stand up stretch, walk around, and relax. It’s a small win, take 20 minutes, and get back to what you were doing.
Celebrate big wins! When you bring in that huge new client, then take some time to celebrate appropriately. Go out with colleagues and take some time off. Maybe you smashed your marathon personal best by 20 minutes? Have a cake. If you are on a low carb diet, have some sirloin steak and red wine.
Celebrating will replenish your mental reserves and gives you new energy to keep on going. Have a party or something else that makes you feel good.
Take a look at what and how you can celebrate your accomplishments.
20: Sleep More…
Your results depend on the quality of your sleep!
Countless studies show that not getting enough sleep will impair your performance in every field. Sleeping makes you learn better and faster. Not enough sleep will slow down your fat loss and decreases testosterone levels.
Most people need 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night if you don’t get it your results will decline in everything you do.
How much sleep do you regularly get on weekdays? Is it seven or more hours per night? If it’s not, then you need to fix it. You probably have to get up in the morning at a specific time. Take that time and subtract 8 hours. Now take another 30 minutes off. The result is the time you have to get to bed, so there will be some time for falling asleep.
For example, when you need to get up by 7AM, then you have to go to sleep at 10:30PM. No more Youtube or aimless scrolling of Facebook and Instagram.
Go to bed!
Read more about why you need to sleep more.
Sleep is the best meditation. ~ Dalai Lama
Friendship breakups are weird, especially when there’s no beef. You are just not that close anymore.
You thought that you would be BFF, but now you just say “Hi” to avoid the awkwardness.
The most important thing in your life is the people in it.
The size of your network is proportional to your success. The more people you are connected to, the more opportunities you have in your life.
Find out what happened to your classmates or ex-colleagues you spent so much time with. Select the relationships that you want to warm up and ask them for lunch. Or you may have a reunion of the people who have worked with you at company X over the years.
Keeping the relationships fresh will take less time than forming new ones. As you get older people in your life will drift away. Make an effort to keep your network together.
Take some time and for the next 30 days call or email someone you haven’t met for at least a year.
Have one lunch with one old friend every week.
Improve Your Life #22: Self-Affirmations
Self-affirmations may seem like a bunch of new age crap.
But they aren’t!
Research has shown that affirming your values strengthens your willpower. Simple affirmations can reduce your anxiety and improve social behavior for up to 2 months.
You can use self-affirmations as a part of your morning routine. It doesn’t even need time to do it. You can decide to it while brushing teeth, cleaning up, and putting your clothes on. You can get 10 to 15 minutes of self-affirmations if you combine with other activities in the morning.
Use specific self-affirmations to focus on certain areas of your life that you want to improve. You can also instill new values in your thinking with self-affirmations.
Find out how to make your self-affirmations more effective.
Do you want more control over your life?
Maybe you think that you should relax your iron grip on life?
There’s a spectrum from control to chaos, and you probably don’t want to be at either end. Too much control will suck all the fun out of your life. Flirting with chaos may destroy what you have achieved over the years.
First, you have to ask yourself what you want in your life. What are the limiting factors that control your life? Maybe a job that is not satisfying. On the other hand, you may have an area where you have been letting it go for too long, and it’s a mess.
There’s only so much willpower you have. Sure, you can increase your mental toughness over time, but reality happens now. Don’t overdo it. Start fixing small things and relax on in the areas where you can take a step back.
Take a look at how to find the sweet spot between chaos and control.
24: Host a Party
Everybody loves a good party?
Most do! Even if you are an introvert, you love a good party — the one where everything is just exactly as you want it to be.
Parties help us celebrate our wins. Parties are events where we can meet people who are not that close to us. We meet new connections, old friends, and strengthen our relationships and grow our network of weak ties.
But parties with close friends are also moments in life when you can relax and be yourself.
Have a reunion of school, company, or summer camp. Celebrate your birthday and the dates when you have achieved something in your life.
You can have a party to celebrate your anniversary. You can make it a tradition. My inlaws have been married for more than 50 years. Every year since then, they have dinner to celebrate the day. People who come changed over time but the tradition remains.
But, of course, who needs a reason, you can have a party just for fun!
Find out what types of parties you can have.
Do you think you are good at multitasking?
Try this game.
Go ahead; I’ll wait.
Now, do you think you are good at multitasking?
70% of the participants in the multitasking study answered that they are better than average multitaskers.
Nobody is. Of course, some people may be a bit better than others, and there is a person who is the best multitasker in the world. But it does not matter. When they single task they will beat their multitasking selves every time.
You will get better results when you start to singletask. Work projects, studying for school, playing with your kids. Everything will be better when you focus.
Read about the methods you can use to build a multitasking-free environment.
Be like a postage stamp, stick to one thing until you get there. ~ Josh Billings
Maybe you like fishing; perhaps you are into knitting or competitive dog grooming. Your interests are what make you unique.
The knowledge we gain from our activities leaves a mark on us. In most cases, we meet people who are different from any other group. Creating a list of your interest helps you find areas where you can make your life more enjoyable. Create a list of current interest and then add anything that you have found interesting throughout your life.
For example, I love tea, and I really like marketing. When I combine these two interest, then I can create a business that I love.
Dilbert’s author Scott Adams noted that when you are in the top 25% of a field and combine different fields, then you get a competitive edge. The best opportunities lie in areas where you can combine three or more interests. The intersecting area of three interests is only about 6 percent of the population, and if you add the fourth interest, then you get to the 1% range.
Creating a list of your current and past interests helps you put fun into your day. Combining interesting things with the activities that you have to do makes them more appealing, and you get better results.
Find out how focusing on your hobbies lets you have more fun, be creative, and playful.
People are often afraid to ask for what they want.
The main reason for not asking for what you want is the fear of rejection. What if they say no? Another reason for not asking for what you want is that we don’t want to inconvenience other people with our requests. Research shows that people tend to underestimate 3 times how often they will get a positive answer to their requests.
In extreme cases, people comply with unreasonable requests. For example, in McDonald’s you can walk to a table and ask if the people there would move to another table because you want to sit there. An incredible 50% of people tend to comply. Think about what you can get if you ask for meaningful things.
Always ask! When you don’t as you definitely will not get it. Asking for what you want is one of the most important skills in your life.
Take a look at how you can make your asking more effective.
28: Act Now!
Do it now!
There will always be something that holds you back.
The best time for action was yesterday, and now it’s now.
The action you take doesn’t have to be a huge leap. Take a small step. Every day. Keep consistently doing the things that move you forward. You will build momentum and that, in turn, will keep you going. Develop a habit that whenever you plan something, you take immediate action. The first step should be easy but meaningful.
For example, I wanted to create a video course that takes me more than 200 hours to complete. I procrastinated a lot. I didn’t really start before I created my first few minutes of video. But then adding 5 minutes of video every day became a routine.
One small step after you make a decision is important to get to the results you need. Taking action every day will keep the momentum going. Constant action will also become one of the best habits you can have.
Take something you are working on. Break it into pieces that you can handle with ease. Do those tasks until you complete the project.
Most people fake it!
You see that confident speaker on the stage and think, I would like to be like that.
But you are!
The person on the stage is internally cringing and hoping that nobody notices that he’s faking it.
Smile! Stand up with your shoulders back with an attitude that you own the place. These things are pretty easy to do. The next step is to prepare. When you present something to a larger audience, or have a sales meeting with your client, prepare. Present the material in front of a mirror, or you can present it to your family member. Once, twice… ten times. The more you prepare, the better the result.
When I started to speak at conferences and do seminars, I always rehearsed the material for hours. I even recorded myself to see where I could improve. I did the same thing with business meetings. When I needed to stay firm on the price, I wrote down all the arguments that supported my case and tried to come up with all the potential objections that the client might have.
Smile, take up more space, put on the mask of confidence are something you can train yourself to do. Preparing for important events is a habit you should build.
What can you do next time when you are in a situation where you have to show confidence? Read about the science of self-confidence.
Find something that you want to do.
Start doing it as a hobby!
Figure out where you can find work in this area or how to turn it into a business.
Do it for 10 years.
Be the best in the world.
Maybe you don’t want to be the best in the world? That’s OK, too.
Sometimes it’s hard to find your path, and people around you are not supportive, or they can be even negative, trying to tear you down. Ignore the nay-sayers, Arnold Schwarzenegger put it in his six rules of life. Decide what you want. Take the first step, and then another, and the next one. Build it into a habit.
Learn every day, improve yourself constantly, and keep up the momentum. If you take one small step every day, you will reach the goal you are after and the life you deserve.
Take a look at how you can be more independent, and you pick your own path.
The list above contains some of the best 30-day challenges on how to improve your life. Select one area with the easiest things to improve your life and do it for the next 30 days!
Cover image credit Pexels.
Walking quote image credit Annie Spratt.
Different perspective quote image credit Alexas Fotos.
Sleeping quote image credit super-mapio.
Multitaskin quote image credit Didgeman.
Article image credits in original posts.