How to Become a Better Person: A 7-Step Guide
Everyone makes mistakes, but sometimes, when you reflect on what you have accomplished, how you have behaved and what you have to show for it, you think: I should be better.
The good news is that it is never too late to change. If you are hell-bent on becoming a better person - whatever that might mean to you - you can always gain the skills necessary to do so. Here is a step-by-step guide for improving yourself in every way, so you feel better about who you are.
List Your Fears, Weaknesses and Shortcomings
To begin, sit down with a pen and paper and start listing all the things you are afraid of. Then, list the things you are bad at, and try to figure out why. You shouldn’t rush through this process; you should give yourself a week or more to ruminate on all the ways you aren’t your best.
This seems counter-intuitive. Why would you start your journey to becoming better by cutting yourself down? In truth, listing these so-called flaws is the only way you can improve yourself because it allows you to see where you are deficient. Furthermore, not only should you complete your own inventory of fears, weaknesses and shortcomings, but you should also ask close friends and family members to perform the same inventory for you. If you approach this practice with the right mindset, the items they return to you won’t be hurtful; they will help you on your path to self-improvement.
Make Your Goals Achievable
Next, you should look at these assembled lists and start developing goals to make yourself better.
However, not just any goals will do. For example, if you find that you are weak in the area of generosity - i.e. you rarely give of yourself to benefit others - your goal shouldn’t be “to be more charitable.” Rather, you need to be SMART with your goals:
- S: specific, significant, stretching
- M: measurable, meaningful, motivational
- A: attainable, action-oriented, agreed-upon
- R: relevant, reasonable, rewarding, results-oriented
- T: time-bound, tangible, trackable
Therefore, a better goal for improving generosity might be “to donate 6 percent of your income to a local charity by this time next year.”
Take Care of Yourself
You’ll never stick to your overarching goal of bettering yourself if you don’t feel your best.
Thus, you need to ensure you are healthy - mentally and physically. You might take the time to schedule a doctor’s appointment to undergo a physical. Adults who do this often learn that they need to pay closer attention to their cholesterol or that their blood pressure is too high.
You might also acquire a physical trainer or nutritionist, who can more effectively guide you toward your fitness goals.
If necessary, you should also pay a visit to a counselor or therapist, who can address any underlying mental disorders that require treatment or medication. Once you have your health sorted, you will be better equipped to enhancing yourself.
Get a New Job
Many people aren’t good people because they aren’t happy at work.
Career dissatisfaction can arise from a variety of issues, from insufficient pay and benefits to boring or tedious everyday tasks. If you find yourself dreading going to work - even dreading going to sleep because you’ll have to wake up and go to work - it is probably well past time for a new job.
Before you start applying to similar employers, you should consider whether you are unhappy with your current position or whether you are unhappy on your current career track. If it’s the latter, you might want to return to school to become qualified in a career that better suits your passions - and a career that makes you feel like a good person. For instance, you could look at CACREP-accredited online programs, which will prepare you for a career in counseling, or you could go into some sort of non-profit work. Regardless of the path you choose, you should ensure the job you find makes you feel excited to work.
One of the easiest ways to become a better person is to become a whiz at communication.
Poor communication causes problems, which in turn cause stress and anguish in you and those around you. There are a few big communication mistakes you can avoid making to improve everyone’s experience, such as failing to explain your feelings or failing to pay attention to your tone and body language.
You can practice improving your communication skills anytime and everywhere; there is no excuse for being a bad communicator if you want to call yourself a good person.
Think About Other People
You are focused on improving yourself - and that means thinking more about other people.
Good people aren’t self-centered; they are outward-facing, paying attention to others’ thoughts and feelings. The best sort of people devote some of their resources, be that time, energy, money or material goods, to others, perhaps by volunteering or donating to charities or else by helping friends, family and strangers.
Even when you are tired, stressed, sick or otherwise disinclined to put others before yourself, you should at least factor their comfort and happiness into your behavior. That way, people will always think of you as good.
See our pages on Emotional Intelligence for more.
Finally, the first time you hear someone call you “good” shouldn’t be the last time you think about trying to be better.
Self-improvement is a constant struggle; there is no finish line or summit that tells you when you are done. One good action does not a good person make, so you need to strive to be good in the majority of your behaviors to earn a positive reputation. Fortunately, doing good does eventually transform into being good. If you are actively good for long enough, you will likely find that goodness becomes a habit that you can’t live without.
Further Reading from Skills You Need
Learn how to set yourself effective personal goals and find the motivation you need to achieve them. This is the essence of personal development, a set of skills designed to help you reach your full potential, at work, in study and in your personal life.
The second edition of or bestselling eBook is ideal for anyone who wants to improve their skills and learning potential, and it is full of easy-to-follow, practical information.
About the Author
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