Always Room for Improvement

I know I’ve already used the quote that “The only person you should try to be better than is the person you were yesterday,” but let me take it a different route this time around. I’m not going to use it to say that you shouldn’t compare yourself to other people.

Instead, I’ll say that it should be everyone’s goal to improve every day. If I went up to a random person on the street and asked them what they were working to change about themselves today, I wish everybody would have an answer. I would say that most people would probably respond with something, but I’m not sure they would be truthful in their response.

Right now, I am the happiest I’ve been in a very long time. I’ve mentioned that. It’s because when I didn’t read and write I hated that I didn’t feel motivated to do it, so I found the motivation to do it. I was giving attention to things that made me unhappy, so I stopped putting so much of my time in those things. I used to think I was spending too much of my time playing video games, so I filled up my school and work schedule so I physically could not do it. But now that I’ve broken all those bad habits, I can move on. I can start trying to improve other aspects of my life that bring me negativity.

There are two easy ways to go about improving things about yourself, but before I get into them, let me say this. New Year’s Resolutions really aren’t the way to do it. A lot of people try to promise themselves they will change too much about them all at once and then give up and say “next year”. I would say either don’t bother or give yourself smaller goals.

So, you can either improve by gradual acclimation, or by suddenly stopping the bad habit altogether, which people call ‘cold turkey”. From my experience these have varying degrees of success depending on both the situation and the person. For example, if your dream job requires you to quit smoking before you start, you’d probably find it a lot easier to suddenly stop than if you just simply wanted to change yourself. Going cold turkey needs a powerful drive, I would say. Sheer willpower is hard to muster without aid, so this method is circumstantial.

Gradual acclimation, though, is a lot easier. I drink tea. A lot. Probably on average three or four cups a day. But a while back I used to put over two tablespoons in each cup, which, in my opinion, is way too much. So, I just slowly started giving myself a little bit less in each cup until, months later, two tablespoons tasted extremely sweet to me. I would say it’s a much easier change to make because depending on how gradual you make it and what the thing is, you may not even notice, but the end result can be a big jump when you look back. But even that isn’t fool proof. While it doesn’t require so much willpower, it can be easy to slip back to the old ways and tell yourself it is just the once just to see how much you’ve changed. But once you open that gate back up you can ruin all the progress you’ve made. I’ve run into this trap quite a few times.

But my point is that there is always something to change about yourself. It may not be a big thing, but that just makes it that much easier to fix. I’ve “finished” fixing the fact that I don’t read or write, because I’ve finally gotten into the habit of enjoying both, so I don’t worry about it. So now I can spend time consciously avoiding other things because I don’t have to put attention into this anymore. If all goes well, I’ll start changing other things about myself once my attention is freed up in doing so.

So, I’d recommend taking conscious action to change things about yourself that you don’t like. And by that I’m referring to things you consider problems about you. Don’t worry about anyone else. Take on the little issues first just to prove to yourself that changes can be made. Maybe you put too much sugar in your tea. Maybe you’re always tired when you wake up or you can’t fall asleep when you need to. Work on small things to improve your daily happiness.

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