Looking for ideas on how to better yourself?
It’s completely normal to want to improve your life. Every once in a while, we need to be inspired with new ways to make ourselves better.
Money can be one of the more stressful parts of life, and getting more comfortable with money is a great way to become the best version of yourself. However, improving your finances without improving yourself can leave you feeling unsatisfied and unfulfilled.
That’s why it’s important to balance your financial goals with improving yourself in other areas like health, relationships, and education as well.
In this post, you’ll discover how to better yourself and your financial situation.
Here are 40 ways to better yourself – and your finances
1. Set goals
Don’t charge headfirst into some vague attempt at self-improvement.
You might discover, years later, that you became who someone else wanted you to be and not who you wanted to be!
Setting goals helps you measure success and determine whether you’re “improving”– or just “changing.”
2. Create a vision for your ideal week
Sometimes when we sit down to write goals, we come up with incredibly vague ideas, like “get rich” or “have a nice house.”
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These goals aren’t helpful, and it’s even unlikely that they’ll make us happy or better in the end!
To help yourself set goals and vision for your life, try a different exercise.
Picture your ideal week: Monday to Sunday, what are the things you do? Where do you go? What do you do for work? What is your family like? Who are your friends?
3. Get comfortable with your finances
Too many of us get nervous about checking bank balances, tracking spending, and planning for the future.
If you want to become your best self, you’ll have to free yourself from those fears and use your money to thrive.
Get comfortable with your finances. Get in the habit of checking balances and tracking spending.
Educate yourself on investing and retirement. Get to a place where you recognize that money is “just a number” so that you can use that number to build your best life!
4. Pay off your student loan debt
Set a goal to pay off your student loan debt ahead of schedule.
You may have to work some extra hours or pick up a side hustle, but becoming debt-free is a huge emotional and financial relief!
The sooner that you become debt-free, the sooner you can invest in your future and your present.
5. Start a journal
No, it doesn’t have to be a traditional “today I went to the park.”
There are lots of creative ways to use a journal that help you organize your thoughts and give language to your emotions.
Journaling is a valuable mindfulness practice and vital for self-discovery.
If you’re not sure how to start, why not sit down and explore your financial values?
6. Keep learning
Find an audiobook on something that interests you, an online class about contract law, or a popular best-selling novel from a bookstore.
Choose whatever medium of learning you enjoy the most. Don’t listen to the insistence that you “read a book.”
If you like reading, great! Read a book. If you don’t enjoy reading, find a way to learn and introduce yourself to new (and forgotten) information.
7. Play to your strengths
Most of us have been told all throughout life to overcome our fears. We’re supposed to try hard things, spread our wings, and do things outside of our comfort zone.
Too few of us are told to “play to your strengths.”
Here’s the deal: overcoming fears is good.
It helps you grow. Coming to peace with who you are and what you’re good at? Even better.
Be comfortable with who you are and what you’re good at, and do that. Don’t obsess over new things so much that you lose track of your strengths and what makes you talented.
8. Focus on assets, not just income
Once you’ve started chipping down debt with your incredible hustle, turn that negative interest (loan payments) into positive interest (investing).
This is one of the secrets of the wealthy vs. rich.
Financial freedom isn’t about how much money you earn, but how you can make that money work for you. Prioritize stock market investing, real estate rentals, and entrepreneurship.
The fancy car and huge house can wait.
9. Invest in relationships
As most of us learned in high school, you will become who your friends already are.
If you want to make yourself better, surround yourself with the best people. Invest in relationships with people who you look up to. Invite people out to dinner. Be proactive in your friendships.
10. Learn to say “no”
It’s so simple, and we’re so bad at it.
Don’t get pressured into doing things you don’t want to do. If your coworkers are going out for a drink but you really need to finish a report, decline the offer. If someone who drains you asks to go to lunch, say no.
11. Stop daydreaming and take action
Instead of fantasizing about what to do when you win the lottery, find a way to better yourself today.
Daydreaming is useful when it’s an exercise in goal-setting, but can be a waste of time and disconnect us from ourselves when it’s pure fantasy.
Go through this list carefully and pick three things that you can do today instead of daydreaming. A better you requires work and not just fantasy.
12. Develop a skill
It doesn’t have to be a new skill! Dust off an old instrument or tennis racquet and lose yourself in the flow of activity for a while.
13. Use your free time effectively
You don’t have to be productive around the clock, but find ways to be intentional about how you spend your time.
Discover things to do when you’re bored that do not cost a lot of money or can help grow in your career and relationships.
Don’t obsess over efficiency, but make sure that you’re doing the things that really matter to you!
14. Take comedy seriously
In school, you were told to study visual arts, literature, sports, music, and drama. You probably weren’t told to study comedy.
Comedy teaches us to make ourselves and others laugh–one of the most valuable skills for dealing with stress, making friends and enjoying our own company.
Take comedy seriously, find comedians you like, and become a “student of the game.”
15. Ask for a raise at work
Asking for a raise can not only increase your income but also provide you with opportunities to learn new skills and gain additional life experience as well. Do your research on how much you’re worth and how to ask for a raise, then go for it!
16. Practice self-care
You could write this entry yourself.
You’ve heard it all. Wake up earlier, eat better, practice yoga and meditation, put your phone down, etc….
The truth is, self-care is what works for you. One of the best ways to better yourself is to learn the five or six practices that will detox you from stress and keep you going for the long hours that you want to put in.
Find your own self-care practices and use it as a toolkit for life.
17. Choose quality over quantity
This is one of the common misconceptions about frugal living.
It’s not always about spending as little money as possible. There are times when it makes sense to spend a little extra money for a higher-quality item that will last longer.
If you love coffee, invest in your coffee. If you love clothes, splurge a little. Save money where you can but give yourself the freedom to choose quality where it counts.
18. Ask for help
Wow, most of us are really bad at this one.
Independence does not mean that you’re a lone wolf John Wayne who doesn’t communicate emotions.
Independence means freedom. You can be independent, responsible, and still lean on your friends in appropriate ways.
Ask for help at work when you feel overwhelmed or don’t understand something. Ask for help from friends when you’re having a lonely weekend. Get help in the store and at the restaurant.
19. Cut things out of your life
In the race for the latest and greatest, sometimes we aren’t good at throwing things away.
Old objects, old habits, and old music sometimes needs to go to make room for the new stuff. Trying the latest fashion trend or the latest diet routine is great, but stopping an outdated fashion trend or unhelpful diet routine is great too.
Remember that there are two ways to grow: adding good things to your life, and cutting bad things out of your life.
20. Build your credit score
You don’t need to have the highest credit score possible, but your credit score is important.
Improve your credit score by paying down balances and using autopay to make timely payments.
Having a good credit score can save you tens of thousands of dollars over your lifetime by helping you qualify for the best interest rates.
21. Google the basic stuff
How much do you know about the things you do and use every day? Maybe not much.
Do you know how your computer works? Familiarize yourself with the things that you encounter every day instead of the stat lines of sports teams three states over.
22. Gamify your groceries and food bills
Many of us know about how much we spend on groceries per week, but we don’t really know how we hit that magic number.
Start saving a few receipts and study the data. During the month of May, I recorded how much I spent on each food, whether it was groceries or restaurants, with other people or on my own.
Find ways to maximize nutrition and flavor while cutting down on the bill. If you save even $5 a week, that comes out to $250 a year! If you value it, use the extra money to enjoy eating out more often.
23. Commit to being “loose and colorful”
Find personal mottos that define seasons of your life.
The personal motto should be something you want to embody for that season, like “loose and colorful” or “fortune favors the bold.”
When you give language to your goals and ideas, you can repeat them to yourself throughout the day or put them on a corkboard for inspiration.
24. Study the greats
Find the critically-acclaimed music you’ve never heard and the top rated movies you’ve never seen.
Make a list, and start immersing yourself in great art. It will make you a better conversationalist, and you’ll be more aware of the big influences in each industry.
Don’t make the mistake of not recognizing a remake or a cover!
25. Travel new routes
How well do you know your city?
Intentionally travel new roads and new streets to keep your sense of direction sharp. You’ll be surprised at the new ideas and opportunities that spring up from taking new routes.
Traveling new roads not only helps you get to know your city, but it also develops you as the kind of person who takes new roads.
Who doesn’t want to feel adventurous and spontaneous?
26. Start saving more money
There are plenty of reasons to save money. Everybody should have an emergency fund, even if you can only save $500 or $1000.
You’ll give yourself the peace of mind to know that when that laptop or phone finally breaks, you’ll be able to get a new one without gashing your budget.
27. Try some new apps
Stay up-to-date with the startup world by browsing the top charts and downloading a few apps each week!
You’ll stay dialed into the possibilities of tech and might find your next productivity or networking kick.
If you don’t like the app, just delete it immediately and move on. This is a great way to improve your sense of culture and business while laying in bed!
28. Become mindful of what really energizes you
Most of us think we know what we like.
But if we really pay attention, we’ll notice that many patterns in our life seem enjoyable at the moment but don’t really contribute to our long-term happiness. Start noticing what makes you really happy and what is just a quick hit of entertainment.
Find your fire, not your flash. People who are great at bettering themselves are great at reading themselves. Know yourself, and know what energizes you.
29. Reorganize your living space
Changing your physical space can change the way you think about your life.
If you need a physical feel of a “new season,” try moving the furniture around a little bit! It can help you clean, rediscover things you forgot about, and ground you in your environment.
If you need a fresh start, try something simple like changing the way your desk faces or where your kitchen table sits.
30. Try the one-hour challenge
How much of a new project can you accomplish in only one hour?
Maybe it’s a book you’ve been meaning to write, a startup you’ve been kicking around, or a new hobby that’s piqued your interest.
Give yourself one hour and get to work!
You might find that the thing isn’t much fun, and your brain will move on. You also might get lost in the task and do it for three hours!
Allow yourself the freedom to keep going, but make sure you do the task for at least one hour.
31. Pay attention to systems
Notice the things in your life that contribute to your flourishing.
Sure, anyone can have a good night by posting up with the television and a social media scroll, but what are the systems that sustain you?
Join a city sports league, find more time for your hobby, or set up a date night with your partner.
32. Take active steps to minimize distractions
Distractions take longer to recover from than we think that they do.
Find ways of staying in flow by moving your phone out of the way and closing your email tab on your browser.
Also, remember that “distraction” is relative to whatever you’re currently doing!
If you’re on vacation on the weekend, then minimizing distractions means disconnecting from work and enjoying life.
33. Give yourself a fresh start somewhere new
While moving across the country isn’t the cheapest or easiest way to better yourself, you’re guaranteed all sorts of opportunities to develop as a person if you decide to move to a new city.
A fresh start with careers, relationships, and communities can give you the opportunity to learn from your past and change people’s perceptions of you.
34. Find a way to exercise
We all know that exercise is great for us, and we all rarely get enough.
Focus on finding simple ways to work exercise into your overworked schedule, and commit to weekly exercise practices.
If you get bored easily, keep switching it up when practice gets tiring!
35. Start tracking spending
Become a data junkie.
Make an Excel spreadsheet, and start putting in all of your expenses and incomes.
Consciously tracking your spending is a great way to start spending less without even trying, because you become more aware of your spending.
A budget or spending sheet is also a great place to plan for new purchases and dream about the next things you want to buy. Cut down on impulse buying by keeping a list of the things you really want.
Only buy it if it stays on the list for a couple of months!
36. Engage in something that creates deep learning
So much of our lives is a scroll of quick information. We jump from day to day, subject to subject, usually only picking up the vaguest of details.
Find ways to engage in deep learning. Apps like Libby make it possible to be constantly learning without having to spend a dime.
Read a thick, immersive novel: we’re talking Tolstoy’s War and Peace or Marias’ Your Face Tomorrow.
Throw yourself into a valuable new skill, like mastering data analysis with Excel or fixing an old car.
Deep learning is about getting immersion into a new structure of information instead of just allowing surface information to slowly wash over you.
37. Call old friends
It helps you maintain these relationships and it provides valuable time for nostalgic reminiscing.
Calling old friends is a great way to remain attached to your past without losing track of how far you’ve come.
You want to keep getting better, but you also need to remind yourself of who you used to be.
When you feel stuck in your self-growth, call an old friend and you’ll quickly remember how much progress you’ve made!
38. Start a business
Owning a business is one of the main ways that people with generational wealth build their net worth.
When you start a business you’ll be forced to play roles you never imagined for yourself, and you’ll overcome obstacles that you didn’t even know existed!
The hard work of starting a business will grow you in surprising ways–and is a great shortcut to getting comfortable with the subject of money.
39. Try something that you’re “too old” for
Including but not limited to:
- flying a kite
- learning to skateboard
- learning to surf
- sleeping in your car on a road trip
- staying up until 2 am playing video games
Maturity is valuable, but the best adults are the ones who become mature without ever losing that edge of childlike play and sense of wonder.
As you continue to better yourself over your life, remember that becoming better doesn’t mean becoming less fun or losing all sense of play!
Commit to the laughter and ridiculousness that life offers by doing things that you’re supposed to be “too old” to do.
40. Make sleep a priority
If you want to live longer, have more energy, and improve your mood–sleep more.
It’s the last item on this list because for many of us it is both the easiest and hardest way to better ourselves.
We know we need more sleep, but the idea of getting more sleep goes against everything we associate with self-growth.
Becoming better is supposed to be about working hard and having fun, not shutting down. Get sleep. You need it.
Knowing how to better yourself and finding ways to improve your finances often run together.
When you have a better financial life, it can relieve stress and free you up to work on yourself and become the person you always wanted to be.
When you make yourself better, you find that your finances become easier to manage. The better you are, the more content and confident you are, causing you to spend less and save more.
Go back through this list and find three things that speak to you where you’re at.
Write them down and try them out for the next week or so. (Bonus points if you come back and leave a comment on how it went!)
Start making those intentional steps to better yourself and your finances!