Steps to becoming a better person
Life is a constant exercise in self-improvement. We understand that we want to be better, but have no clear definition of what better means and that is part of the process. Becoming a better person means changing habits, taking some risks and thinking differently in the future. An extraordinary life is all about daily, continuous improvements in the areas that matter most.
Becoming a better person in your own eyes is a whole-life project, and thus you should focus your step-by-step efforts on multiple areas of your existence. Since you likely know innately which qualities you consider good, growing as an individual is simply a matter of making an effort to do good whenever possible.
Respect should be a key element of your efforts. When you acknowledge that all people are deserving of compassion, consideration, and dignity, you are naturally more apt to treat them in the manner you yourself wish to be treated. You will intuitively become a more active listener, universally helpful, and truthful.
Going the extra mile in all you do can also facilitate evolution. Approaching your everyday duties with an upbeat attitude and positive expectations can help you make the world a brighter, more cheerful place. Finally, coming to terms with your values and then abiding by them will enable you to introduce a new degree of integrity and dignity into your life.
Ways to make the most of yourself
As you endeavor to develop yourself further, you can take pride not only in your successes, but also in the fact that you are cultivating consciousness within yourself through your choices, actions, and behaviors. While you may never feel you have reached the pinnacles of awareness you hope to achieve, you can make the most of this creative process of transformation. Becoming a better person is your choice and is a natural progression in your journey of self-awareness.
If you want to continue to grow as a person, here are 25 ways to make the most of yourself.
But firstly, commit yourself to growth and be growth-oriented. The more you grow, the better you become.
- Cultivate gratitude
Be grateful for the good things you have, because not everyone gets to have them. For the bad things you have as well, because they strengthen your character and make you appreciate everything so much more.
You have probably heard it a million times, but keeping a gratitude journal of what you are thankful for can have a big effect on your mindset. Research has shown that incorporating gratitude into your daily life can help ward off stress, improve sleep, and cultivate more positive social relationships.
- Compliment yourself
Every morning before you go on with your daily routine, take a couple of minutes to give yourself a compliment. Whether you compliment your outfit, haircut, or how you recently completed a task using your unique skill sets, giving yourself a little emotional boost will make you happy. And, when you’re happy with yourself, that emotion can be contagious to those around you. Inspirational speaker Tony Robbins has a mantra he says aloud to himself most days to put him in a peak performance state.
- Don’t make excuses and don’t complain
Blaming your spouse, boss, or clients is fruitless and won’t get you very far. Instead of pointing fingers and making excuses about why you aren’t happy or successful in your personal or professional life, own your mistakes and learn from them. When you do this, you will become a better person. When I personally started living up to my mistakes and downfalls, my life turned itself around.
Complaining generates all this negative energy that makes you no different than an energy vampire. While it’s okay to vent every once in a while, be conscious of the times when you do that. Cut down on the time you spend complaining and think about what you can do about the situation instead.
- Let go of anger
Letting go of anger is easier said than done. While anger is a perfectly normal emotion, you can’t let it fester. When this happens, you may make unwise decisions, and more important, it may affect your health. Research suggests pent up anger can cause digestive problems, difficulty sleeping, and even heart disease.
To help you let go of anger, write your feelings down, pray or meditate, or begin to manage your thoughts.
- Greet everyone you meet
Whether you nod or smile to strangers passing by or say “good morning” to everyone who enters the office or the bus driver, make an effort to acknowledge those around you when you see them.
In doing so, you’ll notice might find yourself feeling more present and connected to those around you, even if you don’t have a close relationship with them.
- Practice random acts of kindness
Always look out for opportunities where you can help others. Don’t get caught up in your own space — instead, look outwards and see if there’s anything you can do for others. Being kind to others can help give you a sense of purpose and make you feel less isolated.
Try doing something nice for someone at random. Even the simplest things, like helping someone carry his/her belongings, is very much appreciated by others.
You will notice your mood lift a little when you do good for the sheer joy of it – simply counting acts of kindness for one week can boost happiness and gratitude.
- Practice forgiveness
Holding on to regret, pain, and resentment hurts others. But it also hurts you. When you feel any of these emotions, it affects your mood and how you treat everyone, including yourself. Harbouring unforgiveness breads negative thoughts.
If for no other reason than for yourself, forgive to untether yourself from the negative experiences of the past. Take time to meditate, and give thanks for the wisdom and knowledge gained from your suffering. Practice the mantra, “I forgive you and I release you.”
Beyond embracing forgiveness inside you, reach out to the person you had grievances with in the past. This is not going to be easy, but it’ll bring you a huge step forward in your growth. Decide to let it go and make a plan to never go to bed angry.
- Be honest and direct
To lie is to shrink into a lesser self. To tell the truth would be take a step up in your growth. One of my best important values is truth.
How would you feel if a loved one or business partner lied to you? Chances are you would see that as a violation of your trust. If you want to be a better person in either your personal or professional life, you should always tell the truth and state as clearly as possible what you are trying to convey. Learn to articulate your thoughts, feelings, and ideas in an open and honest manner.
- Be helpful
Whether giving up your seat to an elderly person on the subway, assisting a co-worker on a project, or carrying in the groceries when your spouse comes back from the store, being helpful is one of the easiest and most effective ways to practice becoming a better person. I find that the more I help others, the better I feel about myself and everyone around me.
- Listen to others
Listening to people and giving everyone a voice is one of the greatest things you can do. The ability to listen is quite underrated in our society today. Many people are good at talking, but not listening. For today, make a point to listen to what others around you are saying. Ask questions. Clarify their answers. You may discover new things you didn’t know before.
Being a good listener can change your life in a positive manner.
- Act locally
It may not seem like a big deal, but supporting a local cause, donating clothes, or buying from local farmers’ markets or businesses are simple ways you can help your specific region. You may not be able to save the world, but you very well could make a difference in your neck of the woods. Get to know and care about your community.
- Always be polite
How much effort does it take to say, “Thank you,” or to hold the elevator door open for someone? Not much at all. However, these acts of kindness can make someone’s day. There’s no need to be rude or abrasive. Be polite to your fellow humans — everyone has feelings, even if sometimes it may not seem that way.
I have decided a few years ago that the way someone else behaves is not going to determine my behavior.
- Be moral
Do what’s right over what’s wrong. The question of “what’s right” can be subjective depending on your upbringing, but universal values include equality of humans, gender equality, freedom of speech, freedom of choice, etc. Think about how you can follow a lifestyle that inflicts less pain to other living beings.
- Be open to change
Whether trying a new restaurant, traveling to an unknown part of the world, or doing something that has always scared you, you should always be open to change. This allows you to grow because you experience something new. It helps you be high functioning and self-confident if you are not wary of change.
- Be respectful
How would you feel if you had just cleaned your home and someone came in and tracked mud everywhere? You’d probably be a little ticked that they hadn’t taken off their shoes. Take this mentality and apply it to everyday life. For example, don’t toss your trash or cigarette butts on the floor of public restrooms or sidewalks just because someone else will clean it up. Be respectful of others’ time, thoughts, ideas, lifestyles, feelings, work, and everything else. You don’t have to agree with any of it, but people have a right to their opinions and yours is not necessarily correct.
- Educate yourself
If you don’t understand why one country is invading another, take the time to educate yourself on the current event. Ask a person intimately connected with the event for his or her thoughts. Remember, we’re all interconnected, and being aware of different cultures, different people, and what their lives are like can make you a more well-rounded individual. This will also help you understand points of view different from your own.
- Be kind to yourself
You will never speak to anyone more than you speak to yourself in your head. Be kind to yourself, remember to be a good friend to yourself, accept that you are doing your best, be mindful of what you need and give it to yourself, and surround yourself with people who honour, love and cherish you for who you are.
- Work on your negative traits
Are there any traits that you dislike about yourself? Identify them, and then work on them one by one. It can be challenging to try to overhaul your character at once. On the other hand, if you work on addressing one negative trait at a time, it’s a lot more manageable and achievable.
- Find a role model and be a role model
Having a role model gives us a concrete image of who we want to become. The best way to be a better person is to be a role model to others. How can you be an inspirational guide to others? Live by example. In being a role model, remember it’s not about making yourself into someone you’re not. It’s about living true to your ideal self.
- Be altruistic
- Always have the best intentions for others – go for the highest good in everything you do, every decision you make, every path you take, and every thought you have.
- Volunteer for a cause you believe in. Not everything has to be measured in money. I spend hours every day writing the best content and giving it away for free, without asking anything back in return from the readers. With volunteer work, you may be giving your labour for free, but this is time spent that is filled with meaning. Don’t underestimate the kind of difference you can make in others’ lives with just a few hours of work.
- Save the environment. Our world is being wasted away, day after day, and the modern society is inflicting huge amounts of damage on it with pollution, plastic waste, and more. What can you do to protect our home?
- Be humble
People who are arrogant tend to suffer from an inferiority complex, which is why they feel the need to parade their accomplishments. Learn to be humble. There is no need to talk about what you have achieved — if they are really good, the results will speak for themselves.
- Be open-minded
Be ready to accept different beliefs, attitudes, personalities, cultures, practices, rituals, lifestyles, habits, races, nationalities, diets, as for everyone is different. No one thing is right – it’s just a matter of what works best for the individual.
- Smile and laugh often
How often do you smile a day? Smiling is something we don’t do enough. Whether you are out on the streets or at work, it’s more common to see people with indifferent expressions and hard frowns than smiles. The next time you see someone, even a stranger, smile at him/her. You will be surprised how many people will return the smile. Even if they don’t, trust that they have been warmed by your smile.
As they say, laughter is the best medicine. Learn to laugh at the jokes people make, at the obstacles you are facing, at the mistakes you are making, and at the mystery that is life.
- Be patient and peaceful
I can say with certainty that is my biggest struggle. Patience is the ability to endure a long wait calmly or deal with annoying problems without frustration – it is accompanied with peacefulness and a calm nature.
Learn to be present and live in the moment instead. Impatience breeds anxiety, patience brings calmness.
Where you have a choice, go for peace over violence. The latter solves nothing, but creates more pain. The former is the start to a healing journey.
- Be wise
Being wise means having the power of discerning and judging properly as to what is true or right – possessing discernment, judgment, or discretion. Practice good judgment by exposing yourself to different contexts, considering different perspectives, gathering as much information as you can, weighing out different possibilities. The more experience you gain, the more you learn, and the wiser you will become.
We can take small steps, keeping our own concept of growth in mind rather than allowing others to direct the course of our journey. And we should accept that becoming a better person doesn’t happen overnight, but it is possible. Believe in yourself and know that it is possible.
Remember, the moment you accept total responsibility for everything in your life is the moment you claim the power to change anything in your life.