Alright. You know you want to work on yourself. But what does self-improvement actually look like? There are plenty of abstract ideas out there ("Be better than you were yesterday"), but they can be difficult to act upon when you're in the middle of a full and hectic life.

Part of our philosophy for finding fulfillment is that actions trump intentions. Just because you've been meaning to gain an important skill for months and it's been on your to-do list doesn't mean you're progressing. In other words, intentions that aren't acted upon are little more than wishful thinking.

In order to avoid a trap of good intentions and wishful thinking, sometimes you just need small actionable steps to get you started. That's why we've devised this list of five activities you can practice right now to keep you mindful about your health, your career and your true priorities. No more excuses about not having the bandwidth; it's finally time to act!

1. Send a thank-you note.

Think of someone who helped you recently, whether with a major undertaking or with a kind word that helped you through the day. Send them a note, say thanks, and offer your help back. This may not seem like it's about yourself, but nurturing your relationships is an essential part of your personal journey. Not only are you putting good energy out into the world, but you're opening yourself up to someone else's perspective, suggestions and support.

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2. Make a list of the three most important things in your life.

You make enough to-do lists and reminder lists, but how often do you write out your priorities? These three items can be people, communities, goals, principles or anything else. Ultimately, they're the reason you do what you do. We recommend doing this one when you're at your busiest.

3. Take a five-minute walk without your cellphone.

If you feel bad for being unproductive, think of this as a bathroom break. It'll take just as long, but without anything to do or any distractions, you'll allow your body and mind some space to be flexible. We love the health benefits of this, plus it's a great reminder of the connection between your body and your mind

4. Learn a new (digital) language.

Learning a new language is often touted as a way to improve your skill set and add to your talent toolbox. But in today's digital world, coding languages might be just as relevant to understand. And lucky for you, there are many online resources that allow you to learn coding one small lesson at a time. So start today!

5. Make a Pinterest board of your ideal self.

Think about role models, healthy foods, clean laundry, iconic friendships, motivating quotes, yoga poses, smiling faces, and whatever else reminds you of who you aim to be. Sometimes being able to visualize your best self is all you need to stay on track.

Co-written by Amanda Sol Peralta

Photo Credit: Shutterstock


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