Self-Improvement: The Basics

I read a lot of articles: I read about leadership, project management, freelance writing, DIY home projects, how to be a successful person when you’re an introvert, self-awareness and self-improvement, just to name a few.

The challenge for me is that while I’m often inspired by or gain insight from these articles, I also forget about a lot of them. I don’t take the time or commit to practices to remember their tips, tricks, or inspiration to help me improve or gain new skills and awareness. It’s so easy to fall back onto old habits and old outlooks that I’m just used to, but that aren’t doing me any good.

There are definitely ways to conquer this: I’ve tried about a dozen times to focus on two or three “improvements” for a week at a time, drawing my awareness to things that are as simple as maintaining eye contact when talking to coworkers, or as difficult (for an introvert) as asking them for feedback, or asking them questions that will help me to work and communicate with them better. I’ve also been making a conscious effort not to complain too much at work, which is such an easy trap to fall into and doesn’t do anyone any good.

I recently identified (in all of my Recovering-Perfectionist-Learning) that I don’t like to commit to two or three “improvements” because they seem too basic. In my absurd standards for myself I think that I ought to have achieved these basic steps already, and then I move on to another step that I’m just not ready for because I don’t have the right foundation.

In my commitment to improve myself and achieve my goals and dreams, I have to learn to be okay with starting with the basics. I have to commit to a single aspect of learning and stick to it. I need to stop holding myself to such a high standard of perfection that I could never measure up even if I tried, and start embracing the fact that perfection is a work in progress and that failure is just as important as success. It’s okay if people see me failing, because they also see me trying.

I also have to remind myself constantly that the few things that I have actually committed to have been so fulfilling, even when they haven’t gone smoothly. I often forget how good it feels to stick with something and commit because I’m so afraid of falling behind in other aspects of my life, it’s time to take a deep breath and commit to learning and improvement, no matter how messy and imperfect it may be.

How have you found ways to accomplish your goals and stick with new habits and ideas? I’d love to hear from you!

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