For many of us, just thinking about the idea of “self-improvement” makes us want to cringe. Self-improvement feels like a difficult thing to do and it can be even harder sometimes just to admit to the fact that we need some self-improvement TLC.
Looking at yourself with harsh, honest, and critical eyes doesn’t always leave us with a warm fuzzy feeling. It forces us to look at our strengths and weaknesses and find areas that need improvement or that have room for growth.
We want to improve and grow and experience new challenges, we just don’t always want to commit to the steps it might take to get there.
Working on ourselves just feels like… well, more work. It doesn’t feel like fun. It can be difficult to see the value of something that is so unknown.
Will it help me if I work towards these other goals?
Will it help me if I try to improve in this area?
We have no way of knowing.
So, how do you get past that uncomfortable feeling and identify when you need to start working towards self-improvement?
To do this, I thought it would be helpful to start by identifying some of the warning signs that can be good indicators of when we need to spend some time working on ourselves.
You’re Angrier than Usual
One indicator is when we often find ourselves feeling angry more often than usual. And sometimes, it doesn’t take much to trigger us. We can be fine one moment, and fuming the next.
When you aren’t succeeding or making progress in your life, it can start to take its toll on you. Many people, when they’ve hit that point of really needing to make a change, notice increased anger which can also take a toll on their career and their relationships.
To give you an example of how someone might realize they’re feeling angrier than usual, I want to share a story with you….
Fuming Over a Piece of Tape
The other day a friend was telling me how he and his fiance got into a huge argument just over a box with a piece of colored tape on it. They were in the middle of packing up for a move and that in itself can be stressful, let alone packing up to move to another country as they were preparing to do.
She wanted him to remove a colored piece of tape that was on the box he was packing. The tape was a type of color code system used during their last move. He felt that removing the tape was unnecessary and refused to do it. She became outraged at his insubordinate behavior. She’s a store manager by day, so if we look at it from her perspective, you might be able to imagine how she felt when she asked her fiance to do something simple and he refused. It probably felt very similar to interacting with an employee that was being difficult.
From his perspective, the tape was inconsequential and made no impact on their current move since it was simply on some of the boxes from before. The color-code wasn’t being used this time around, so why take the time to remove the tape from the box before him or any of the others? With so much left to do before the move, he felt removing the tape was a waste of time.
They both felt they were right, and they both were right. They just had different perspectives that clashed at that time. However, looking at the situation in retrospect, they could see how silly the argument was.
As they say, hindsight is 20/20. We all have been in silly arguments like this one. We all can relate to times when we looked back and thought to ourselves, “Wow, where did THAT come from.” At the time that it’s happening, we can’t see with that level of insight.
If you find yourself getting incredibly angry at the slightest things, it might be time to work on yourself and make some improvements.
You’re More Easily Frustrated
Another indicator that some self-improvement work is needed is when we find ourselves simply getting frustrated more easily.
If you find yourself always feeling on edge or highly frustrated at every little thing, you might be itching for a change in your life. If you’ve noticed that just about everything people do around you pisses you off, you seem to blow up over the slightest and littlest things, and that you just seem uncharacteristically highly frustrated, this is likely and indicator that something is amiss and needs attention.
Chances are you’re really frustrated at yourself and where you are in your life. You’re starting to project your feelings of frustration over the little things that you’d ordinarily overlook. A good way to start heading down the right path is to identify the biggest causes of your frustrations. They might indicate where your problem areas are.
Feeling Frustrated Over the Simple Stuff
Just yesterday, my daughter was telling me that her dad, my ex-husband, got frustrated because of a mandatory work meeting of hers that was scheduled for 8:30am this past Saturday. Now, keep in mind, that I listen to everything that she says, but also take it with a grain of salt. She is a teenager and sometimes a teenager’s perception of things is much different than that of an adult. But the story here is what I wish to share.
She had told her dad about the meeting a week prior so that he would have plenty of notice. She’s learned that springing things last minute on parents doesn’t go over very smoothly. But as she reminded her Dad of the meeting Friday night or Saturday morning (I’m not sure which and the distinction would have impacted the outcome), he became frustrated with her for being so “irresponsible and not giving enough notice.” That is as my daughter explained it. The meeting ended up being canceled last minute due to weather, but the point is that she had given him a heads up a week prior, which she felt was plenty of notice, and reminded him again closer to the actual event, and yet he still got frustrated.
Now, I’m not taking sides here. I’m not judging or placing fault or pointing fingers. I don’t feel anything of the sort. I’m simply using this as an example of a situation we can all relate to.
A child of ours tells us about something that they have to do for school or work or some other responsibility. They’ve shared the information with plenty of warning prior to the scheduled responsibility. We note it and while we may not be thrilled to add it to our list, we appreciate the heads up. The day of the event rolls around, and we may or may not have remembered that the event was on the schedule, even though our child gave us heads up. They remind us and we become frustrated because we have to do something we don’t want to do. We knew about it, but … ugh!
We’ve all been there, right?
Looking From a Different Perspective
As an outsider, what do you think is going on here? Was he really frustrated with her about the meeting she had to go to? He knew about it ahead of time. Was the frustration a true reflection of the circumstances? Or was there something else going on? Something deeper?
The situation clearly triggered something, an emotion, an energetic charge, within him that then took over. The reality of it is that when things like that happen to us, they often have very little to do with the situation at hand.
When I thought about what my daughter had shared, I honestly felt nothing but empathy and compassion for my ex-husband because the reaction to me was a clear indication that something deeper is bothering him. And it could be a lot of things. He may realize it, or he may not. But the indication for some work on inner healing and self-improvement is evident.
Situations like these, where we snap at someone for something little or lash out due to a situation we’re in, are always a good indicator, that something within us needs some attention or some healing.
If this has become a pattern for you, where you find yourself more easily frustrated, it’s time to make a change in your life and work towards self-improvement, which often includes healing.
You’re More Easily Distracted
Another indicator of that self-improvement is needed is when you find yourself easily distracted or when your weeks start to blend together.
If you find yourself constantly turning to social media, television, or other distractions when you should be being productive, chances are it’s time to make a big change in your life. My husband is working on a new video series, that I hope to share with you soon, that’s all about the effects that constant distractions have on our brain and our bodies. It’s a fascinating topic and I can’t wait to share the videos with you when he’s done.
When you stop making the most of your time, you become less selective on how you spend your time. This results in you filling your time with pointless things, leaving you feeling useless and unfulfilled.
This can also be a contributing factor in your weeks seeming to run together. Without major self-improvement goals and milestones, it becomes hard to differentiate the days and weeks from each other. This concept is actually quite terrifying, as life seems to pass you by more quickly.
Distractions are Detrimental to Personal and Intellectual Growth
One school teacher decided to demonstrate how often kids are distracted and how these distractions are significantly hindering their ability to grow intellectually and to focus.
According to the post I saw, a teacher in the U.S. had her students turn their phones on loud, and every time they received a notification they went up and put a tally mark under the correct category.
She included a photo of the large tally sheet (shown above). The sheer number of interruptions was staggering. Cell phones can be toxic to a learning environment. But they are also a way to self-sabotage our own progress. We find ways to be distracted when there are other issues at hand that we may not want to face.
If either of these things (your weeks running together or finding yourself easily distracted) is happening to you, it’s time to make a change and work towards self-improvement.
You’re Not Keeping Personal Promises or Following Through on Commitments
The last indication of the need for self-improvement that I’m going to share with you today is definitely the biggy in terms of detrimental signs. For this one, I’m talking about when you start to fall back on your promises or stop following through on commitments.
This type of behavior can cause you to lose friends, weaken relationships, and even make you start hating yourself. When you fall through on your commitments and/or break promises to those close to you, you lose some of their trust and they may begin to distance themselves from you.
Prolonged promise- and commitment-breaking can cause you to lose friends altogether, to hurt those you love, and can also hurt yourself. When you break promises to yourself or commitments you’ve made, you weaken your self-confidence, your inner-strength, and your pride. Long-term exposure to these lower emotions or energetic vibrations can have serious, detrimental consequences.
If you’ve noticed this is happening more and more in your life, it’s time to start your journey towards self-improvement.
Self Improvement Isn’t Easy, But It’s Worth It
It’s hard to take a hard look at yourself and admit that there’s a problem in need of fixing. The journey to self-improvement is challenging but rewarding, you just have to admit when you need to start it.
And remember too, that self-improvement doesn’t mean you have to do it alone. Find a group or individuals that support your goals, or your challenges and that can help lift you up when you need it.
Find a mentor or an instructor that inspires you. There are so many people with courses online, that are there to help you grow and experience what life has to offer you. It’s okay to seek support to break through barriers, and beliefs and to find support through struggles. The hard part is first admitting that you need to take the journey toward self-improvement and then allowing others to help you get there.
I hope this information has been helpful for you. Please take a moment to share this article with someone else in your life that may benefit from its content as well.