If there’s one thing that 2020 has taught us, it’s that we should all be trying to be the best version of ourselves. Self-improvement isn’t easy, but it might be a little easier than you think. Just taking some small steps to make incremental changes to your daily routines and habits can lead to dramatic transformations. The entire notion of personal growth can be challenging to embrace and daunting to contemplate. However, by starting small, you could burst into 2021 ready to be the best version of you that you can possibly be. Don’t let 2021 be another year of stagnation, and take your first steps to a year of self-improvement.


1. Have Goals

It’s been proven by researchers again and again that having a clear goal in mind makes it much easier to achieve those goals. Start by setting small, daily goals. As you get used to the new habit, start looking ahead. Weekly and monthly goals will tend to be larger and more impactful, while annual goals give you something to work towards over the course of an entire year. Goals will help you grow, so start thinking about what it is that you want to achieve.


2. Start Moving

We all know whether or not we do enough exercise, and some people struggle to get moving. Committing to more physical movement in 2021 doesn’t mean that you have to start lifting weights and sticking to a diet of chicken and rice. Any form of movement, be it a dance class, mountain hikes, or even just a brisk walk around a local park, will all be of benefit. Start as small as you need to, but start moving more.


3. Quit Smoking

Needless to say that if you smoke, it’s time to start thinking about quitting. Smoking causes a ridiculous amount of harm to our bodies, and it’s not just the health effects that worry people. Other issues can affect you more than you think, with smokers having to have a lot more care paid to their teeth. For smokers that are scared of the dentist, being able to smile comfortably is often a problem. Are you scared to death of getting dental work? Then it’s time to quit smoking, and then find a dentist used to treating patients with a fear of the dentist’s surgery.


4. Forgive Yourself

Do you ever lie awake at night needlessly pondering your past mistakes, the blunders, the moments of idiocy? We all tend to dwell on the past when we’re trying to move forward, and it can be very limiting when it comes to feeling worthy of being better. Own your mistakes. Acknowledge that you made them, and then forgive yourself for making them. You are not the same person you were then and have learned. Start moving forwards, and don’t let your past control your future.


5. Digital Detox

There’s a good chance that you spend too much time in the day staring at a screen of some kind. Social media alone takes up way too much of our attention, but work emails and playing games into the night can all be attention grabbers that distract from relaxation. Schedule specific times of the day where you put down your phone, turn off your laptop and keep the TV turned off. Instead, talk to the people you live with, read a book or magazine, start a new hobby, or cook an amazing (and healthy) meal. Take a break from the digital: it will all still be there when you log back in.


6. Invest in You

There are ways to invest your cash in 2021, but one area that you shouldn’t overlook is investing in yourself. There are lots of ways to do this. You could spend money on a new suit so that you look more professional in job interviews, buy a better range of skincare products that make you look and feel better about yourself, or invest both time and money and sign up for a new course that will teach you something new. Boost your confidence and transform your prospects.


7. Get Yourself a Side Hustle

It’s easier than ever to start a business, and almost everyone has at least one business idea that they’d like to trial. You don’t need a business degree or huge amounts of money to start a business these days, and almost anyone with an idea and an internet connection can start selling or creating something. Start thinking more seriously about that side hustle you’ve been pondering, and make some notes that will form the basis of your business plan. You could be making sales before you know it.


8. Money Management

Taking control of your money is hard, especially when we let our bad habits control our shopping lists. No matter how much your income adds up to and how much you have leftover after paying your rent and bills, any money that is left needs to be managed well. Luckily, this isn’t something that you have to learn to do all by yourself. There are now countless apps and websites that can help you take control of your spending and manage your money much more efficiently. This time next year could see you with savings in the bank and a future that is much less stressful financially.


9. Learn to Cook

You don’t need to be working in a 5-star restaurant to be able to hammer out a few healthy, filling meals. Learning to cook is one of the most liberating skills to pick up, and you can start as small and as simple as you like. Looking online will find you an almost infinite number of recipe pages and YouTube guides to cooking. The more control that you take over your cooking, the more you’ll be able to control your food budget, and you’ll be getting healthier food as opposed to regular takeaways.


When it comes to self-improvement, small changes can be just as useful as those big leaps of faith. Take your time to get used to the idea of improving yourself and start thinking about the specific aspects of yourself that could do with some improvement. By the end of 2021, you could be a healthier, happier, and more optimistic version of yourself.

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