Most of us want to be a better person—whether at home, in the office, or just when we’re out running errands. The problem is where exactly do you start?
I realized a couple years ago that I was a jerk at times to people I worked with and to people I feel I couldn’t get any value out of. Over the past couple years I’ve become a much better person by working on myself.
Here are some of the things I’ve been implementing into my daily routine to become a better person on a daily basis.
1. Think Before You Speak
Words can carry a lot of weight. Think about the first time your significant other told you that he or she loved you. How awesome did that feel? However, words can also be hurtful. Have you ever told an inappropriate joke or called someone a bleeping-bleep? You probably felt pretty lousy afterward.
Always take the couple extra seconds to think about the impact of your words before you say them out loud.
2. Embrace Change
Change helps us grow as individuals. Instead of resisting change, you should be open to trying new things, even if they scare you. For example, you may be nervous about trying that new Thai restaurant in town, but you might discover your new favorite restaurant.
Besides embracing change, you should also advocate for positive change. You could start a food drive or recycling program at the office, which would both make your community a better place.
3. Be Grateful
According to research, those who have gratitude journals are more optimistic and feel better about their lives. Additionally, those who discuss gratitude are less envious of wealthier people, are more willing to help others, and can prevent health concerns like coronary artery disease.
4. Do the Right Thing
As an adult, you should definitely know the difference between right and wrong. Let’s say you don’t clean up after your dog after taking it for a walk. You don’t need someone to remind you that you should clean up the mess. You know that it’s your responsibility and that it’s not fair to leave it there for someone else to step in.
5. Use Your Strengths
Remember, your skills and talents are a gift. Don’t let them go to waste. If you know how to play the guitar, then share it with others. It will bring joy to you and the people in your life.
6. Address Your Weaknesses
At the same time, you also should be aware of your weaknesses. It’s another way that helps us grow as individuals. Take the time to make a list of your weaknesses and set goals to work on them.
I am a hard person to deal with. I realize this. Learn to admit and address your weaknesses and then find ways to make them better.
7. Take Care of Yourself
Exercise. Eat healthy. Get enough sleep. You’ve heard that advice a thousand times before. But taking care of yourself is one of the best ways to make yourself a better person. For example, how can you go outside and play with your kids when you always feel lethargic? How can you be more productive at work when you’re exhausted? Not only will you be happier and more productive, your loved ones and colleagues will also appreciate it.
8. Be a Hero
That doesn’t mean that you have to put on a pair of tights and cape. It means helping an elderly neighbor with the groceries. Opening doors for others. Buying a cup of coffee for the person in front of you when her card gets declined. Listening to a friend when his relationship just ended.
9. Pay Attention to Others
Doesn’t it feel great when someone asks how your day went? Try and do the same for others. Even if you have to jot down reminders in your calendar, it can make all the difference in the world to someone when you follow up with them on important events.
10. Stop Being Wasteful
Just because you can have five plates of food at an all-you-can-eat buffet doesn’t mean that you have to—waste is a problem for the food service industry. You can also reduce water usage by taking shorter showers and create less trash by recycling. And, don’t forget that unplugging devices when not in use can save electricity. During your part, no matter how small it may seem, can be really important for the environment.
11. Be Curious
Evidence, shared via The Huffington Post, found that curiosity can help strengthen relationships, keep your brain stimulated, lessen anxiety, keep you happy, and help you learn—even uninteresting subjects.
12. Forgive Yourself and Others
Humans make mistakes—even when it’s you who makes the mistake. And sometimes those mistakes really sting. However, instead of devoting your energy holding onto that mistake or feeling guilty, forgive that individual—or yourself—and focus on the future. Remember, revenge isn’t good for your health, and the best revenge is your is success and happiness.
13. Don’t Be Impatient
When we get impatient, we get aggravated and may do something we’ll regret. Ask yourself, how do you feel if you yelled at your child or a colleague because you’re in a rush to get out the door in the morning or finish a project? By practicing patience you’ll not only make better decisions, you’ll feel better about yourself every day.
14. Be Yourself
When you’re authentic, you’ll be more focused, build courage, establish your own identity, and be able to define your values and beliefs.
15. Stop Pointing Fingers
I’ll never forget a grade school teacher telling the class, “When you point one finger, there are three fingers pointing back to you.” We all face obstacles in life, but you can’t use that as an excuse to hold you back or to grow as person.
In the words of author and motivational speaker Jack Canfield:
“Remember, you and you alone are responsible for maintaining your energy. Give up blaming, complaining and excuse making, and keep taking action in the direction of your goals—however mundane or lofty they may be.”
Part of life is growing and becoming a better person—each and every day. What steps are you working on to improve your life?
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Photo of happy man courtesy of Shutterstock.