September is Self Improvement Month.
As a service member, being the best version of yourself is critical to your command’s success. It’s also the anchor for your own personal fulfillment and happiness.
If you never shy away from a challenge, then there’s no greater time than now to reflect on ways to make yourself better. This month is a perfect opportunity to take steps to improve your mind, abilities, and professional status.
Even if you feel like you have a lot to work on, that’s ok. The best military leaders focus on winning the small battles before the biggest of victories, right? Same goes for personal achievements and improvements.
Ready for a self-improvement makeover?
Read on to learn more about Self Improvement Month and the benefits of working on yourself. We also share 10 self-improvement activities to try this month!
What is Self Improvement?
Self-improvement is a way for you to make yourself better or more knowledgeable. It’s a way to challenge yourself in new ways while working on your personal growth. Learning a new language, working toward advancing your rank, and volunteering are all examples of self-improvement. If you aren’t growing in some way, you’re likely feeling stagnant in life!
Why is Self Improvement Important for Service Members?
In the military, your focus is on the mission and supporting your command through your position. On a personal and professional front, working toward improving yourself can boost your confidence as well as your opportunities in the service. The military experience can be one long lesson in self-improvement if you’re willing to use the resources available to expand yourself professionally and personally.
From going back to school with tuition assistance to taking on extra responsibility for your rank, if you find the time, you can take small steps to improve your life each day.
10 Self Improvement Activities to Try
Self-improvement is an ongoing process. The most successful people in the world are constantly working on personal development and self-improvement.
If you want to do the same, there are a few ways to tackle this in your own life through a variety of activities. With some inspiration, planning, and implementation, you can start self-improvement anytime.
If you’re interested in enhancing your own value, consider trying one of these 10 self-improvement activities:
1. Beat Your Best Time
As long as you’re in the military, you’ll always have a Physical Fitness Assessment (PFA) you’ll need to pass. Make it your personal challenge to beat your “best” time or highest number of reps. It will keep you in shape and training your body in new ways so you don’t get too comfortable with staying at the same level.
2. Spend Time With People Who Inspire You
It’s healthy to spend time with people who know your abilities and challenge you to go beyond your daily grind. Go outside your comfort zone and do activities you normally wouldn’t do. The older you get, the harder it is to break away from your habits, so it’s good to keep yourself constantly challenged.
Some ways to do it:
- Take a remote camping trip
- Go on a strenuous hike
- Train for a 5K
- Plan a trip outside the country
The people you spend the most time with are the ones who will introduce you to new ideas, experiences, and challenges. This same group of people can be an amazing support system who will root for your success in all that you do.
3. Work Toward Your Next Advancement
Whatever your rank may be, working toward your next advancement daily is a smart move. Whether you need to study or qualify for a new area in your job, you’ll impress yourself and your superiors when you continuously work ahead. If you want to get promoted, it won’t happen unless you take the action steps needed to earn that next rank.
Be sure to check out our post on Military Career Advice to Start Using ASAP for some tips on navigating your military career.
Aside from doing good in your community, volunteering is a health booster for those who do it. Not sure where to spend your free time giving back? Check out JustServe.org to find a local organization near you.
Places that often need volunteers include:
- Local hospitals
- Local school districts
- Animal shelters
- Veteran Affairs offices
Research shows the benefits of volunteering are huge, including increasing self-confidence and warding off depression. It also offers a sense of purpose and pride outside of your job scope and everyday activities.
5. Avoid Time-Sucking Activities
When you get home, do you eat dinner while watching television? And then shortly before bed mindlessly scroll through social media before falling asleep? If so, it might be time to reevaluate how you’re spending your free time, especially if you have big goals.
Time-sucking activities include:
- Answering emails
- Online shopping
- Social media
- Saying “yes” to too much
Life goes by fast. If you have a lingering goal you want to achieve that still hasn’t gotten done, then what do you need to remove to make time for it? Everyone has 24 hours in a day, so thinking of how you use yours can be helpful in making what matters a priority.
6. Read Personal Development Books
The self-help and personal development worlds are big business. Check out any bookstore or online book retailer and you’ll find endless titles covering the topic of self -improvement.
Here are a few to get you started:
- The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey
- Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
- The Untethered Soul by Michael A. Singer
- Make Your Bed by Admiral William H. McRaven
- Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis
There are plenty of other options, but these are some of the bestsellers in the personal development/growth category on Amazon. If you don’t like to buy books, spend an afternoon in your local library perusing the self-help section. Don’t see a title you want? Ask a librarian to see if it can be ordered or sent over from another library branch. Audio versions might be available, too, for you to listen to while working out.
7. Challenge Yourself to Take a New Class
Sure, the military life is one big learning experience. But there’s always room to learn and grow in other areas of your life. Mentally, physically, and emotionally, you can always discover new hobbies and passions that ignite a love for learning.
Educational courses to consider include:
- Financial classes
- Art lessons
- Cooking classes
- Dance lessons
- Meditation courses
- United States Services Military Apprenticeship Program
Whether you decide to enroll in a college course, an apprenticeship program, or another local class, you can find new ways to learn outside your work, too. Doing so expands your skills and mind while also opening up the chance for you to meet new people.
8. Focus on What You Can Control
Life in the military can be unpredictable. If you’re a high strung personality, this can make it tough for you to adjust quickly to new changes that pop up. Learn to let go of what’s outside of your control. By focusing on what you can control, it frees you up to give those situations your best efforts.
Here are some ways to let go:
- Ask yourself what you can control
- Check in with your breath
- Think of what you’re grateful for instead
- Write down your worries
This is perhaps one of the hardest areas to grow in, but the relief you’ll feel from knowing you control a lot less than you think can be liberating.
9. Eat Healthier
While it’s not always easy to eat healthy when you’re pulling double shifts, implementing an 80/20 rule is a good place to start. Try eating healthy 80% of the time. The other 20% doesn’t have to be perfect.
Need some reasons to eat healthy?
- Have more energy to do your duty well
- Prevent chronic disease
- Keep your waistline in check for weigh-ins
- Live longer
When you eat healthier, you’ll feel better and your body will be able to keep up with the physical and mental demands of military life a lot easier.
10. Reflect on Your Growth
Most importantly, you’ll need to spend time reflecting on your growth. It helps you to see your progress and where you might need to tweak how you approach certain aspects of life. It puts you in the driver’s seat of your life by helping you realize how you can be more efficient in achieving your goals.
Get Motivated During Self Improvement Month
The beauty of self-improvement is you can start working on yourself at any time.
By doing so during Self Improvement Month, you have some extra motivation and can even have a friend join in. Throughout this month, you can try streamlining your work processes, personal goals, etc. as a starting point.
There’s no wrong way to improve yourself as long as you’re happy with the end results.
By taking these positive steps to realign your life’s vision, you’re working toward the best version of yourself. It’s an investment that takes time, discipline, and a lot of effort. But we bet you’ll find it benefits your military professional service just as much as it helps your personal life.
Go on, start your self-improvement list. There’s no better time than today to create your best self.
What self-improvement activities do you plan to participate in this month? Let us know in the comments below!