Self-improvement can seem like a craze, a too-intense obsession by people who want to be better than they are. While some self-improvement schemes are off-the-charts wacky, and the pressure some people feel to self improve is unhealthy, a delicate balance of self-improvement is good for any life.

In the world of living things, something is either growing or withering: it’s seldom in stasis. That’s why you have to accept a plant that’s growing like crazy if you want your plant to be alive at all. Humans are sometimes like that, too. If you feel you might be withering in some areas, perhaps it’s time to start growing again.

Appearance: Our appearance plays a role in our success, whether we’d like it to or not. Being attractive can get you hired, which seems unfair to the rest of us, until we realize we’re not as unattractive as we might think! Our appearance has a lot more to do with the way we treat ourselves and our grooming routine than with our genetics.

We can improve our appearance with a little self care, from invisalign to a more flattering haircut. Even a new wardrobe or better skin care could alter our appearance dramatically. The old adage, “Dress for the job you want,” continues to be relevant.

Less Negativity: Negativity is part of life, since negative things are happening all the time. If we had to be positive 100% of the time, we’d burst. Some people, however, get trapped in a cycle of negativity, and it becomes second-nature to complain, expect the worst, and criticize themselves and other people.

If you’re trapped in negative behavior, it might take work and intention to stop being so harsh with yourself. A less negative existence, however, is healthier for your mindset and self-esteem.

A Better Job: There are a lot of practical things we can do to improve our lives, and a better job is one of them. If your job is sucking the soul out of you, you could get find an Associate Degree in Nursing program and start working in a few years at a nurse’s wage.

Few other jobs offer the short schooling and financial reward of a degree in nursing.

The extra income would help relieve your financial stress, and the length of the degree makes it an option for your near future. Nursing is an excellent option, but, of course, it’s not the only one out there. Do your research and don’t be afraid to investigate the possibilities.

Work You Love: You might be alright financially, but you could still be stuck in a job you hate. When every Monday brings the blues, then you know it’s time to start looking for a better career.

If you can switch to something you love, like working on engines, a program like the one at this automotive & diesel technology college in NY could launch you into a better career. As long as you’re in good financial shape, your salary shouldn’t matter nearly as much as doing what you love every day.

New Experiences: When we stick to the same routine, life can end up growing dull. A new hobby, a unique trip, or a brand new weekly activity, like bar trivia or a book club, can help spice up the ordinary. Your mind may get bored or even rusty if you don’t give it enough new experiences to enjoy, so surf Hawaii, learn how to paint, and make new friends at a local music festival.

New experiences can keep you interested in your life and remind you that you are an interesting person.

Better Community: Humans need social interaction to stay emotionally healthy, so make sure you’re getting the social involvement you need. Community is hard to find, and it takes a lot of work, but there are plenty of other community-seekers out there. Join groups or clubs, make connections, and pursue relationships.

You won’t wake up one morning and suddenly find a good group of friends; instead, you’ll have to pursue the relationships almost like someone who’s dating.

Expect some mild rejection, but keep looking for the great community that’s out there waiting.

More “Yes”: The more timid a life we lead, the fewer experiences we’ll have. While saying, “No,” to every risk and new experience may leave us safer, it can also leave us with fewer successes and less enjoyment.

You don’t have to say, “Yes, ”to every experience that comes along, but saying, “Yes,” a little more often could prove enjoyable and fulfilling. You might take risks you wouldn’t have imagined and in turn gain rewards you wouldn’t have imagined.

More “No”: In the same way that saying, “Yes,” more can be healthy, saying, “No,” more can be healthy, too. A humans, we tend to desire friendship. We want to be liked, and we wanted to be seen as a “good person.” This can lead us to saying, “Yes,” with our mouths when our hearts are saying, “No.”

It’s a personal kind of peer pressure, and it can very unhealthy in the long run. Learning to say, “No”, to outside requests and pressures can help free your life and leave time for you to listen to your own needs.

Therapy: While therapy is often stigmatized (“That’s for crazy people, and I’m not crazy”) everyone should consider seeing a therapist at some point in their life. You may not have a specific issue you want to discuss, but talking about your past and your present in the company of a psychotherapist can be rewarding.

You may find that some of your anxieties lessen, or a particular character flaw becomes more recognizable.

Work/Life Boundaries: Everybody works. Most of us, however, work too much. You can drastically improve your life conditions by limiting your work pressures and strengthening your work/life boundaries. Even if you work set hours, with weekends off, make sure you can’t be reached on your days off.

Don’t check your work email, and make it clear you won’t take calls from the office. If you set your own hours, have rigid office hours and make yourself unavailable at other times. Even a quick email or two gets your mind back into “work” mode, so limit your work life to 40 hours a week.

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