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We’re All A Work in Progress

How to be happy on your quest for self-improvement

  • By Moreah Vestan, YourTango
  • February 13, 2014

happy woman snow

We all have idiosyncrasies. Sometimes they even keep us from being the ideal partner, parent, co-worker or friend. Most of us know (or think we know) what we could or should do to improve ourselves. Some of you have made changes while others are working on making changes. Either way, the journey to self-improvement isn't always easy and can at times be bumpy. Read on to learn how you can stay happy and motivated while you work towards improving yourself and your life. These tips worked for me and I hope they work for you, too. 

1) Take Action Or Let It Go
My greatest pull or push is a sentence that hit me strongly when I was reading “Be Yourself: Everyone Else is Taken.” It was discussing inner and outer conflicts and said "Do something about it, or let it go." Of course, that's not a new concept. The serenity prayer urges us to know what we can or can't change and the have the wisdom to know the difference. But I've taped "Do something about it, or let it go" on my desktop computer. And literally, in the past three weeks it's been there, whenever I've felt frustrated or overextended or torn and have read the sentence, I have taken action or let it go. And that feels good!

2) Connect With Encouraging Friends 
I talk to friends who know I have thousands of emails in my inbox, and who suggest I not sweat it unless it's getting in my way (since suggestions of deleting all but the past month's have not worked). Now I do move emails into my Nonviolent Communication, Personal Growth, Writing or Singles folders (and several more) when I get 10 or 20 stacked up in the inbox. Part of me agrees — I don't owe myself or anyone else a certain maximum of emails anywhere! And when I look at my priorities: my Managing Difficult Conversations workshops, my coaching (, my writing (P&P), and my relationships — I know I'd rather spend time on them than weeding out emails. So I suggest you have a friend or two who's on your side to converse with when you need an outside perspective. If you feel more peaceful when you hear their encouragement, connect with them when support keeps you on track.

3) Keep A Gratitude List
And add to it every day. Okay, three times a week if that's easier. If you value the phone calls, hugs, good food, new learnings, Facebook friends, accomplishments at work, outings, concerts, TV shows, times with friends, etc., you certainly get to be happy with yourself as you improve. Start it today and make a note to check in with your contentment level a week or month from now.

4) Check In With Yourself 
Set a timer for each hour or so when you're focused on work or another important part of your life. When you hear it, check in with yourself. Ask "What am I happy about this last hour or two?" Answer it aloud, or write it down if that's an easier way to remember all the little and big things that contribute to your contentment. 

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Tagged in: Inspiration, Live, YourTango