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12 Steps to Becoming a Better Person

It's natural to think that you could be doing more to better yourself. However, being too hard on yourself will not help you grow as a person. In reality, the opposite is true.
The more self-kindness and self-compassion you can cultivate, the more capable you will be of treating those around you with kindness and compassion. Furthermore, helping others may give your life a greater sense of purpose. It may also benefit your physical and emotional health.

Here are some ideas for incorporating self-improvement into your daily routine and getting rid of self-critical thoughts.

You've probably heard it a million times, but keeping a gratitude journal of your blessings can drastically improve your outlook. Practicing thankfulness every day, according to research, can reduce stress, improve sleep quality, and foster happier interpersonal relationships.

If you're stuck on what to be thankful for, Anna Hennings, MA, a mental performance coach in sport psychology, suggests using the acronym GIFT.


In your list of things to be thankful for, search for examples of:

  • Growth: personal growth, like learning a new skill
  • Inspiration: moments or things that inspired you
  • Friends/family: people who enrich your life
  • Tranquility: the small, in-between moments, such as enjoying a cup of coffee or a good book
  • Surprise: the unexpected or a nice favor

Hennings advises including the reason for your gratitude together with the items you're glad for.

Attempt to notice people around you when you see them, suggests psychologist Madeleine Mason Roantree. This can be accomplished in a variety of ways, such as nodding or smiling to passers-by or greeting everyone who enters the workplace.

Even if you don't have a deep relationship with someone, doing so will make you feel more present and connected to those around you.

Even a brief period of electronic abstinence can be beneficial to your health. When you have nothing to do, take a break from your phone for a few hours.

Instead, consider going for a walk to reconnect with your thoughts.

Take a break from your phone, whether for a few hours or for the entire day. As an alternative, go outside to connect with nature or meet up with friends in person. Remember that even a brief break from your phone can help you relax and focus on what makes you happy.

It's easy to become overly critical of your perceived flaws and harsh with yourself. According to Hennings, negative self-talk can reduce our motivation in general.

It can be difficult to find motivation to work on yourself if, for example, you constantly remind yourself that you aren't a good person.

Declare a fact and then be optimistic in order to engage in positive self-talk.


The next time you find yourself feeling incompetent or overwhelmed, try telling yourself:

“I know this change is going to be challenging, but I’ve put a lot of meaningful thought into it and have considered all the options open to me [fact], so I feel confident I am doing the best I can in this moment [optimism].”

Recognizing when you are thinking negatively and consciously choosing to shift your viewpoint are difficult. However, this will become easier with enough practice.

Giving others the benefit of the doubt can help you feel more purposeful and less alone.

Try to be kind to someone you don't know:

  • Give a complete stranger a compliment.
  • Purchase lunch for your coworker.
  • Send a friend a card.
  • Give to someone who is in need.

When you do good purely out of joy, you'll notice a slight improvement in your mood, according to Roantree. Studies show that simply recording acts of kindness for a week can boost gratitude and happiness.

When you're caught up in your busy day, it's simple to eat your food quickly without paying attention to your body.

When you eat mindfully, you can monitor both your physical and emotional health.

Even a simple sandwich deserves to be eaten slowly. Keep an eye out for the different tastes and textures. It's a brief form of meditation that Roantree describes as a straightforward "de-stressor."

If you don't get enough sleep, you might feel grouchy and unproductive all day. Every night, get seven to eight hours of sleep.

To improve the quality of your sleep, try cutting back on your afternoon coffee intake, taking melatonin, or unwinding in a warm bath or shower before bed.

Before you go to sleep, stand in line for the bus, or go to the store, take a moment to focus on your breathing. Even a few minutes a day of deep breathing exercises has been shown to increase our bodies' natural relaxation response and manage stress.


Roantree suggests trying the following technique:

  • As you typically would, inhale.
  • Make sure your exhalation is longer than your inhalation.
  • Continue doing this until you begin to unwind. If you want to count, try inhaling for four counts, holding for seven, and then expelling for eight.

Depending on how you feel about it, a day at home can be both relaxing and stressful.

The following time you have some free time, set a timer for 30 minutes, then finish a few quick housekeeping jobs to make your day better, like:

  • sanitizing the bathroom mirror.
  • putting up that beloved photograph you've been meaning to show.
  • arranging your workspace.

Spend some time relaxing in your newly cleaned environment as a reward for yourself; apply a face mask, for example, in the bathroom.

Others are impacted by holding onto regret, sadness, and hatred. Additionally, it hurts you. Your mood and how you treat everyone, including yourself, will be impacted by any of these feelings.

According to Catherine Jackson, a clinical psychologist and neurotherapist with a license, "holding onto unforgiveness breeds negative thoughts." Make a resolution to let it go and a plan to never go to bed angry.

Manicures and trips to the spa are frequently associated with self-care (which are all great ways to destress). Jackson claims that routine self-care, however, goes far beyond pampering. It's also important to eat healthily and get enough nutrition to support your body and brain, she adds.

In a similar vein, make sure you're engaging in mindful movement or exercise, socializing with others, and relaxing or taking time off for yourself.

It need not take a long time to complete these. Find quick 10- or 20-minute windows of time during the day to make yourself a bowl of fresh fruit or go for a walk outside.

We all have a tendency to think about what has been said to us and replay it repeatedly in our minds. Jackson suggests that instead of taking things personally and being critical of oneself, we should extend empathy and understanding to the other person as well as to ourselves.

Consider all the positive ways you have an impact on others, and make an effort to write down each one in a journal entry each day. Again, elaborate displays are not required for these.

Maybe you held the door open for someone carrying a couple of big suitcases. Or perhaps you started making a fresh pot of coffee when you noticed the supply at work was running low.

Jackson offers this advice if you're still having trouble shifting your mindset: "Tomorrow is a new day, so if you beat yourself up about something today, let yourself off the hook and start fresh tomorrow."


Try to treat yourself the same way you would a loved one. Would you constantly talk down to your best friend if they had an “off” day and dropped the ball on something?

Hopefully not. And you shouldn’t talk to yourself that way, either.

It's typical to become consumed with trying to better oneself. However, the first step to improving yourself is to give yourself the same loving attention you give to others.

This means being kind to yourself when you're having a bad day and being patient with yourself when you don't achieve your goals.

Just a few of the many ways one can better oneself are listed here; keep that in mind. Make an effort to include in your daily life the things that bring you the most joy and nurturing feelings.