13 Self Improvement Tips
This list of self improvement tips is designed for individuals who have a burning desire to improve themselves. On many occasions, I have found myself in a place where I am desperate for growth, but unaware of what I could be doing to better myself. Should you find yourself in this situation, then these 13 self improvement tips are for you.
Please view these tips as a personal development checklist. Achieve each item one by one.
These self improvement tips comes from 15 years of passion and practice in personal development. I have tried literally hundreds of interventions over the years: some worked, others didn’t, and some were insanely powerful. The tips I have included below are of the latter category.
Looking back at this list, I notice that a theme of discipline and inner strength runs through almost all of these interventions. There is an insight here: the things which benefit us the most require a voluntary burden of hardship. Furthermore, the strength to be able to stay unflinching in hardship is the meta-skill which drives all of the Self-enriching principles.
Whenever I take on a new life coaching client, I encourage them to adopt these strategies and tactics over the first weeks and months of our coaching. In my experience, these tips self improvement tips alone have the power to transform lives – radically.
NoFap is internet meme talk for cutting out the masturbation. It is challenging, but transformative – particularly for men. This self improvement tip has the power to change lives.
Here’s how it works. Libido is raw life energy (in the Jungian sense of the word and not the Freudian). You can look at masturbation as a siphoning off of essential life force. Conversely, to stop masturbation is to let this life force build inside you, and to reap that strength and growth in many areas of your life. I know that all sounds a little esoteric for most Western ears, but I assure you the results are concrete and measurable.
People who practice NoFap report better sex (obviously), more confidence, better results in the gym, more charisma, more sexual attraction from others, and achieving goals with greater ease. I have ‘prescribed’ this self improvement tip to several of my coaching clients who experience various levels of anxiety This has fantastic success rates in reducing anxiety.
I found this video particularly inspiring.
Set your alarm and rise early. Not all hours of the day yield equal productivity, and the early hours of the day are by far more productive than the later ones. When you rise early, you have instantly achieved something which few others are capable of. You have mastered your immediate desire to stay in your warm, cosy bed and triumphantly head into the day hours before your competition. This immediate sense of achievement starts the day with a powerful tone, one which resonates with all your later activities. Knowing that you are ahead of everyone else fills you with pride and a feeling of confidence.
Early sleep somehow seems to be better sleep. I’m not sure if this has ever been scientifically verified, but it is said that each hour of sleep before 12:00pm is more valuable than those in the early morning hours. In my own experience, this seems to be true.
I like to rise at 6:00am. Jocko Willink is famous for his 4:30am raises. Virtually all the top performers I know rise early.
Don’t, however, make the mistake of cutting back on sleep. If you’re going to rise early, you must go to bed early too.
Keep a Daily Fitness Practice
You should aim to exercise every single day. Doing so will embolden your thinking with clarity and positivity, maintain your health, and keep you looking sharp and charismatic. Put in a simple way, exercising every day gives you a ‘glow’.
Understanding precisely how to exercise well is a skill you should cultivate over the years. However, to get you started, I suggest you split your exercise into three sub-disciplines: Strength training; cardiovascular health; mobility and flexibility. I suggest to my coaching clients that they plan a weekly fitness schedule which touches each of those three points. For example, my own training week is split between lifting heavy weights in the gym, sprint training, yoga and swimming.
The steeliness, integrity and strength of will which comes from implementing a daily fitness practice cannot be underestimated. You will add years to your life and find much happiness.
Maintain an Impeccable Diet
Learning the biology and the logistics of feeding one self impeccably is one of the most serious responsibilities every human will ever have. It’s quite simple, if you get your nutrition right, you will feel incredible. If you feel good, you will succeed. In 2018, we have learned much from both modern nutritional science and rediscovering our cultural culinary roots. This has left every human alive today with a body of knowledge greater than any other time for feeding our bodies effectively – so use it!
The consequences of excellent diet are too numerous to list here, but the headline is that you will feel amazing, think clearly and be healthy. Get it wrong, and allow your nutrition to be decided by the blind inertia of society’s default settings, and you will subject yourself to all the truly crippling diseases associated with the Western diet like diabetes, obesity and heart disease.
Learning how to fuel your body effectively is a long journey involving lots of study. Although the basics are easy to understand (eat lots of vegetables, avoid artificial foods) the nuance of optimum nutrition takes much longer to master. Surprisingly, in my coaching sessions, I find the limiting factor for my clients is almost never lack of knowledge or willpower, but rather disorganised food logistics. Therefore, I recommend you master the buying, preparation and storage of food with equal intensity as you spend studying nutrition.
Look to these resources to take this self improvement tip further:
One of the many bounties of Western culture is our understanding of nutritional supplements. Using supplements requires a comparatively small cost of time and money for such a big performance advantage. The foundations of health lay in proper diet and exercise, but effective supplementation provides the next level edge.
Be careful here as many supplements are useless, and some supplements are outright dangerous. For example, green tea capsules were reported widely in the mainstream media this year for their toxic effect to the liver. For this reason, I recommend keeping your portfolio of daily supplements few in number and extremely well researched. That said, researching supplements is fun, and there are always exciting new developments to discover.
As of November 2018, this is my own daily list of supplements (there are others that I cycle in and out):
Omega 3 oils (6g / day)
Turmeric (2g / day)
Vitamin D (3,000 iu / day)
Coffee (1-3 cups / day)
Coconut Oil (3 tablespoons / day)
Spirulina (one handful / day)
Broccoli Sprouts (half a jar / day)
Plan Your Day
Those who fail to plan, plan to fail. Take this thinking further, and you will discover that heavy and meticulous planning generally leads to more productive days. Don’t let your energies and industry be blown about in the fickle winds of circumstance; instead, decide where you want to go and make a plan to get there.
“If one does not know to which port one is sailing, no wind is favourable.” – Seneca
There is a semi-magical quality to sitting still in the twilight of the morning, and planning out exactly your day ahead. It’s as if the seriousness of the action affirms to your inner Self and the Universe around you that you are serious about achieving today – and they both respond in kind.
The basic building blocs for daily planning which have worked for my clients and myself are: making a morning to-do list; scheduling your day with a calendar app like Google Calendar; creating a spreadsheet which tracks the metrics most important to your success. If you wish to supercharge that third element, share the spreadsheet with a friend, and tell them what you hope to accomplish each day. You will be shocked at just how motivating it is to have a loved one looking over your shoulder.
I use Google Calendar. It’s free and excellently made.
Most people in the West are unfamiliar with Kambo. It is a frog native to South America which secretes s a poisonous resin. The shamans of the Amazon long ago realised that this medicine has tremendous healing potential – both in body and spirit.
To understand Kambo from a materialist-reductionist standpoint, small holes are burned into the skin, the wax is applied, and for something like 45 minutes you vomit unbelievably hard. The next day, you feel empowered, fresh, solid, capable, happy, lucky, healthy and somehow broken through on some of the inner challenges holding you back.
From a spiritual point of view, though I understand some are understandably put off by this perspective, Kambo has its own consciousness which enters into you through the Kambo ceremony. Kambo works with you to heal unhelpful patterns through the energy body. The vomiting is a material plane parallel to an emotional / energy body catharsis.
Whichever lens you wish to see this ritual through, the results are some of the most powerful I have ever experienced in 15 years of personal development. Kambo has helped me achieve several important and deep breakthroughs and made me a much happier and stronger individual. I suspect I will take one or two of these ceremonies every year for the rest of my life. The benefits have always far outweighed the discomfort for me.
Here is my favourite Kambo practitioner in the UK
Take Periodic Fasts
As far as health interventions go, fasting is right at the top of the list. The health benefits are almost too good to be believed. Fasting reduces the risk of the biggest age related diseases (such as heart disease, stroke, degenerative brain disorders and cancer). Fasting heals our metabolism, reduces inflammation, and slices 0.5kg from us for every day of the fast. Better yet, fasting triggers the body to clean house by recycling the most damaged cells and the most damaged cell parts through processes called apoptosis and autophagy.
Just as the physical body clears out junk during a fast, so too do the mental and emotional worlds clean and heal. My clients who fast often come away with breakthroughs or insight into their life challenges. Fasting is as effective ‘cleanse’ as I know.
Like most of these self improvement tips, fasting is a discipline which improves with time, research and practice. However, I often recommend that my clients start with a 48 hour fast. During the fasting time, just drink water (no tea or supplements, and certainly no food). As you become more experienced with fasting, you may wish to extend that time. I fast four times a year.
Taking responsibility is the foundation on which the whole of your life is built. In our culture, it is so easy to give away responsibility to agents outside of your control, like the government, your family, your genetics, the economy and so on… To do so is to rob yourself of the capacity for action, since you will be forever waiting around for these external agents to do ‘what is right’. Instead, look at everything in your life as up to you. Your health, your income, your social circumstances, your happiness – they are all down to you. With responsibility comes power, and when you decide to take responsibility for the elements of your life, you begin to ask what you might do to improve them, and when you ask that question, you get answers.
When you believe you are responsible for nothing, you attempt to change nothing. You become paralysed.
The problem is that taking responsibility is painful and frightening – particularly for those not practised in it. You suddenly have the discomfort of asking yourself when you have been wrong and broken and corrupted. You have to deal with the crushing blow to the ego you are not perfect and saintly and have been leading yourself into calamity all these years. Resolve to get through this, and you will find strength and the answer to your challenges. Furthermore, you will join the preciously rare ranks of those who have abandoned entitlement and replaced it with a desire to contribute and build.
Personal development cannot start until you take responsibility.
May your mantra be, “I’m responsible, I’m responsible…”
Meditation has been gaining popularity in the West over the past few decades. It’s another one of those whole body interventions which have lists of benefits too good to be true, but are indeed true. Some of the noteworthy benefits of meditation include: promoting inner calm; reducing anxiety; preventing and healing a range of common diseases; lengthening attention span; improving mood.
There are many meditation varieties out there, and no doubt lots of them work fantastically well for different people in different contexts. The discipline which has been of most use to me is called Vipassana meditation. The essence of this practice is to sit comfortably, follow the breath with your awareness, and whenever the mind drifts away to the past or future or mental chatter bring it gently back to the breath. Just like chess, the rules are quick to understand, but the game takes a lifetime to master. If you are looking to begin a meditation practice, there are many excellent resources on the web that can get you started.
I recommend a daily meditation practice. Something like 20 minutes works for many. Don’t be afraid to go for longer if you wish to develop your meditation further.
Here is a link to a great podcast describing meditation.
This gives you an overview of Vipassana Meditation.
Knowledge is power. The most profound truths are often hidden in cliches, and this is true here. To live well, we must understand the universe we live in, and there is a great body of work we can study to help us do this. Whatever your goals are in life, they can be accelerated through education. Since knowledge has never been so vast, we might assume that the power to gain is at its largest too.
“He who cannot draw on three thousand years is living from hand to mouth.” Goethe
The problem is that for most of us the miserable tyranny of the school system robbed us of the joy of education. Through bullying, ritual humiliation and a relentless campaign of unbearable boredom, schools often left a bitter taste in our mouths surrounding education. After such torment, most came to resent education, and are left robbed of it for a lifetime. The school system in our culture is a truly unworthy custodian of this magnificent and empowering discipline. I urge you to claim education, once again, for yourself.
This might sound a little brazen, but in my experience I am yet to find an educational institution which can teach me even remotely as fast as rigorous self-study. For all their money and prestige, academic institutions are habitually bloated and irrelevant. The fantastic news here is that self-study is almost free, and you get to decide the course in accordance with your passions or goals. It just takes a little discipline.
Find out where your passions are and which skills you most need to grow as a person, then set aside a certain time each day to study in those areas. I aim for 90 minutes of study each day, for example.
Master Your Sleep
Natural selection abhors a vacuum. As such, any activity which we spend one third of our life engaged in would not have made it through the evolutionary filter to 2018 unless its function was utterly critical. Your sleep is critical.
The research is quite conclusive, for virtually every last member of our species, things start to deteriorate when daily sleep falls below seven hours. Your mood, thinking capacity and bodily health suffer greatly. Conversely, when you reach your optimum sleep level which for most will be 8 – 9 hours (and even longer for some) you reap great benefits in the aforementioned elements. Since sleep deprivation is common in our culture, achieving optimal sleep presents a low hanging fruit of advantage over your competition. Whether you wish to be healthier, richer or happier, optimum sleep will do it.
Since you will invest so many hours every day into your sleep, you should make sure to get the most from it. Avoid meals or bright lights before bed. Invest generously in a well engineered mattress, mattress topper, duvet, pillows and duvet cover. When the cost is divided by the total hours of use, buying expensive bed gear might be the most frugal investment you can make.
This podcast episode will tell you everything you need to know about sleep science.
Cultivate a Beautiful Environment
“As above, so below; as within, so without.” – Hermetic Axiom
There is a theory of living things which states that they are fractal or holographic in nature – meaning that the patterns you observe in one level of analysis can be seen across all levels of analysis. The same ratios and rhythms and patterns you see in a tree’s leaf can also be seen in the branches or roots or cells. Humans are the same. How you do one thing is how you do everything.
If this theory is true, then we should observe that people with beautiful inner natures will tend to construct beautiful surroundings. The people with chaotic or depressed inner worlds will construct the same in their material world. And this seems to generally be true. But here’s the cool thing, you can also create harmony and beauty in your environment in order to create that same principle across other layers of your Self. Since our culture focusses so heavily on the material world, this can be an easy vector for a Westerner to accomplish inner work, as he is working though a level of analysis he understands well.
My final self improvement tip to you is to cultivate beauty and order across every level of analysis of your life – especially in your physical environment. This man has a particularly elegant way of expressing this. Forge beauty in your material world, and you will find it in your inner world too.
I find minimalism to be a useful philosophy to create beauty.
If you would like one-to-one guidance on your own personal development, contact me here.