Hey friends. How are you? No but how are you, really? To be honest, I’m exhausted. But that’s because I’m living an entirely different life this week. As I mentioned in an earlier blog post, I’ve been out in San Francisco for the week taking care of my sisters three babes (3 under 6 years old), and while it’s been so much fun and therapeutic (SF is SO beautiful), it’s been really tiring and something my mind and body are so not used to; other than waking up at the same time every day. Though I will say, it really puts your free time into perspective, and I can’t remember the last time I’ve been this productive during those short spurts when it’s just me. So with that being said, I just want to take a moment to pat all of you amazing, superhero women out there who are mothers on the back. Like, truly. I bow down and you are inspiring as hell. It’s tough, and so are you.
Kind of on that same note, I want to talk today about personal growth and being a work in progress. It really freaks me out when I meet people who either seem to have all of their mmm… ducks in a row, we’ll say, and give off the energy that they’ve made it. That they’ve already had all of their life experiences. They’ve peaked and they’re exactly where they need to be. Do you know what I’m talking about? That feels so uncomfortable to me; and while I relish in some contentment and feeling grounded and whole, I’m always, and will always be a work in progress — moving through self improvement and personal development via trial and error.
So in light of that, I thought it would be fun to post a little challenge of sorts. A 30 day challenge, to be exact. Nothing major, just one little thing you can do each day to help grow within the realm of self improvement, and giving yourself ways to improve. The cool part? They can be applied more than once throughout your entire life. Make notes of which ones really resonate with you and your life, the ones that feel good, and keep doing that. Cross things off that maybe didn’t feel good, or aren’t realistic for you and instead felt like wasted time. It’s all good. This is your journey, and while you’ve got to put in the work to make the most of it and maybe go outside of your comfort zone once in a while, its crucial that the things we’re doing and the people we’re surrounding ourselves with uplift and fill us with good vibrations, rather than weigh us down or load on unnecessary pressure or expectations. Simply set a goal to improve your life through simple, daily practices.
Commit to self improvement
The main thing to remember here (and to tell yourself often) is that self improvement doesn’t happen over night, nor will you ever stop working on it — at least, you shouldn’t. Quite honestly, you’ll probably spend a lot of your life working on this – which is amazing. Life is always evolving – things are changing, your lifestyle will change, your surroundings and the people who come in and out of your circle may shift, priorities will fluctuate.. it’s just the way it goes. With that, come new lessons and new growth. In order to stay aligned with ourselves, the practice of self improvement is crucial.
Self Improvement Tips
In order for this to flow, rather than become frustrating when you’ve hit the “error” part of the trial (and you will), you’ve got to be able to forgive yourself — and quickly. There’s no reason you should show anything but love to yourself during times of betterment. It’s commendable that you’re even recognizing that you still have so much more to learn, and so much more room to grow and become a stronger, more aligned version of yourself. So stay focused on the task at hand (see below), and show yourself grace, always.
30 Days Of Self Improvement Challenges
1. Write down your greatest accomplishment to date
Focusing on what you’ve accomplished, especially when it’s so easy to focus on what we haven’t yet done, is a sure fire way to remember that you’re doing amazing and you’ve come so far. Write it on a post it and hang it somewhere in your home where you’ll see it every day, or put it in the notes section of your phone for when you need that loving reminder.
2. Open a notebook and start a free journal
You all know my love for free journaling — it’s so healthy and good for the mind. If you fear that someone could stumble across it, don’t let that stop you from writing what you want to write. You can throw it away or put it in the fire if you’re worried. This is simply to release your mind of cluttered thoughts, and to find your way to your truth. It works, trust me.
3. Drink more water
This is a no brainer, but it does wonders for the body. I can tell a drastic difference when I haven’t had a lot of water. I’m way more sharp and clear when I’m well hydrated, and though I have to go to the bathroom every 10 minutes (kind of annoying!) it’s worth it knowing that I’m ridding myself of toxins. My skin doesn’t hate it, either.
PS: it helps to get a water bottle that makes it easy to track how much you’re drinking – like this one.
4. Start listening to podcasts
This year I’ve not only created my own podcast, but I’ve become so invested in the act of listening to an inspiring show every day. Usually it’s first thing in the morning with my coffee, or sometimes it’s in the evening when I’m winding down. Here’s a list of other inspiring podcasts if you’re in need of some recommendations.
5. Learn a new trade
This could be anything from photography to a musical instrument or a creative writing class. No limitations here. For me, I’ve been wanting to try a ceramics class for a long time now. The act of using the wheel and creating house hold goods seems like it would be so therapeutic — so it’s something I’m going to try out. What’s one thing you’ve been wanting to learn?
6. Save up and buy yourself something nice
I do this once and a while, and not only is it an awesome reminder for being mindful with my purchases (rather than impulsively spending which is one of my awful habits I’ve been working to break), but it teaches you to really value your items and to take care of the things you own. Whether it’s a nice bag, a piece of jewelry or a plane ticket to a new city/country, think on what it is you’ve been wanting for yourself, and start saving for that item in particular.
7. Learn how to cook a difficult meal
As of late, cooking has become super relaxing to me. I love pouring some kombucha or a glass of red wine, lighting a candle and listening to some music or a podcast while I tackle a new recipe. Find a cookbook and pick out a recipe that scares you a little. Plan out accordingly and give yourself time to shop for the ingredients. Make it special, take your time, and surprise yourself with your talent in the kitchen. As Chris always tells me: it’s all about going slow and taking your time.
8. Speak your affirmations out loud
It’s such a weird habit to get into, I will admit that, but once you start and you see how much of an impact it has, you won’t want to stop. Each morning when you’re getting ready for the day, just say an affirmation or two in the mirror. Something like, “you are good enough” or even something relating to the comparison game (which is so real), like “you are not how many followers you have (or don’t have).” Whatever works and feels good to you.
9. Rest, do nothing for an entire day
This is something I take super seriously, and have learned to have zero guilt about. I work hard, and sometimes way too long (working for yourself can be difficult when it comes to holding strict “office hours” — so once or twice a week, I’ll allow myself a day where I do nothing. And I mean nothing. I won’t change out of my pajamas, I’ll give myself a little spa day at home, maybe listen to podcast all day, read a book, watch some Netflix, cook a fun meal, whatever feels good to you. And remember this: doing nothing is doing something.
10. Give yourself something to look forward to
My mom, sister and I always talk about how important this is for or soul. We love having something to look forward to (especially when it involves the three of us getting together) This can be anything from a spa appointment, to visiting a friend out of town (whats up, Erin!) or taking a trip to a new country.
11. Write snail mail to friends & family for no reason
I don’t do this often enough, but I try to make time for it at least once a month. Other than postage, this doesn’t have to cost you any money (no need to go out and buy a card) — just grab some paper, heck, even a post-it, and write something loving. Keep it short and sweet or make it a long letter. Your choice. It’s the thought that counts.
12. Donate to charity
I love donating to charity when I’m able, but something worth noting is to do your research. Not all donations are created equal, so be sure that whatever organization you want to give your money to, it’s legit. Even some larger organizations don’t always use donation money in the proper way.
13. Listen to your favorite childhood artist
I know, what? But seriously nothing puts a smile on my face or makes me feel good feelings of nostalgia like rocking out to Backstreet Boys, N’Sync or Robyn while I’m in my car or chillin’ out in my living room. Sometimes I even laugh out loud when I listen to the lyrics. Want some free therapy? Try this. Be young again.
14. Create a mantra
You all know mine: “let that shit go” — which helps me to remember that so many things aren’t worth my energy. If it isn’t serving me, let it go. What’s yours? If you don’t have one, do a bit of digging online and see if something sticks. Pinterest is a great place to start.
15. Clean out your closet + donate what you don’t want
Nothing makes me feel more put together then when my closet is organized and has purpose. I clean out my closet each season (sometimes more than that — it just depends), and it’s one of my favorite practices. Each time I do it, I become more and more sure of my personal style, and it’s always such a great reminder that quality over quantity is real.
Use your time to serve others. This is a sure fire way to grow more in love with yourself and to gain perspective for other walks of life. whether you’re volunteering with animals, children, the homeless or the elderly, every bit counts.
17. Declutter your email
Much like my closet, having an inbox set at 0 (always), and having my messages in folders so I’m able to find them quickly is so soothing to me. Clutter of any kind throws me off of my game entirely, and with an inbox — something I check almost every day — this is no different. Here’s a post I wrote all about how to declutter your inbox once and for all (and quickly) should you need some help.
18. Organize your social media
Deactivate what you don’t use (Snapchat and Twitter for me) and make sense of what you do use. (Instagram) While we’re at it, you can delete any apps on your phone that aren’t serving you, either.
19. Go meatless
Once a week, try going meatless for your meals. If you want to go more than one day a week, awesome! This will make your body feel so much lighter. You don’t need to cut it out completely (I definitely don’t!) but even just making that small shift will make a big difference. Check Pinterest for an array of some amazing vegetarian recipes.
20. Bake something
I’m so bad at baking, but there’s something really cozy and comforting about the act of whipping up something sweet. Play some N’Sync while you’re at it — go crazy ;)
21. Turn off your phone for an entire day
For those of you who have little ones or a need to be reachable, I totally get this may not work for you. But if you can swing it, try it. It feels AMAZING. You don’t necessarily have to turn your phone all the way off, either. Airplane mode or the Do Not Disturb feature works just as well.
22. Create a morning routine
This is something I’m still working on, as I haven’t found a new routine since spending more time in northern Michigan at the new house. But when I was at the #tccloft, my morning routine was pretty seamless and it was such a game changer for how the rest of my day went. Do you have one? If not, take note of what feels good in the beginning of your day. From there, try to create a rhythm that implements those things.
23. Create an evening routine
The same applies here!
24. Spend time outside every day
Get one with nature. Go for a walk (or a run), drive with your windows down (and the heat HIGH if it’s winter where you are!) — even if it’s freezing, breathing in the fresh air is so good for the soul. Make time for this every single day, and make no exception.
25. Paint with watercolors
Getting creative (and a little messy) is also so good for you. Not only does it channel childlike behavior (the good kind, haha), it triggers the right side of your brain which is where your inspiration and creativity is kept. With how serious life can be at times and the heaviness in the world, it’s crucial that we make time for play.
26. Learn basic cooking skills
Know how to properly cut an onion, chop a tomato, cook pasta (its actually not as easy as it looks!), or make your own noodles. Learn the basics, and be forever confident in the kitchen.
27. Trade TV for books
While it can be so tempting to binge in front of the TV and watch Netflix, screen time can wreak havoc on our brains and our eyes. Instead, opt for a good book and get lost in a story. Books (much like painting), can also trigger the creative part of your brain, too! Here are some recommendations if you’re interested in reading about slowing down.
28. Say no
Something I firmly believe in, making the space to feel okay about saying no, regardless of the circumstance is so (so) healthy. If it doesn’t feel good in your bones, opt out. Learn to appreciate JOMO (the joy of missing out), and let the guilt fall away.
29. Do something you loved when you were little
Again, kind of like painting or listening to your favorite childhood band, try to find activities that made you so happy when you were younger. For me, that includes riding my bike, going to the zoo (haha), and the planetarium (I LOVE outer space).
30. Figure out your personal style, and consider trying out capsule wardrobes
I touched on this on Wednesday’s post, only because I really believe it makes such a difference in our day to day lives. Choosing what we’re going to wear is something we do every day, sometimes twice a day, so making it an easy, simple process is key. Know your fabrics, know your color palette, know your brands. Once you nail these three things down, not only will it make shopping a more enjoyable (mindful) experience, but you’ll save money, you’ll feel far less overwhelmed each and every day, and your closet will not only look good — it’ll feel good. (you could also consider making a vision board)