2016 was all right, but you want 2017 to be better. I don’t blame you at all. As human beings, we are constantly evolving and searching for more. What is “more” to you? Do you want to say goodbye to jealousy for good? Do you want to be more helpful? We all have things about our personalities on which we’d like to work. As the saying goes, ain’t no time like the present. You can become a better person in 2017—you just have to put in the time and work to do so.
This is how to become a better person in 2017.
1. Connect with who you are now
Spend more time alone! If you’re always around people, you’ll be too occupied to ever listen to your inner voice. Be still and listen. Practice silence. A friend of mine went to a retreat, where no one was allowed to talk for the entire weekend. Do you think something like that would be easy for you? I know I love talking. You don’t have to swear off contact for days on end to experience communion with yourself—although I have heard great things about the practice. You could simply schedule alone time during the day and focus on your breathing. If you want to become a better person, try not to combat your thoughts or feelings. Accept them for what they are—thoughts and feelings—and direct your attention back to your breathing. That is your anchor.
Read more on how to love yourself better here.
2. Define what good means to you
What does being a good person mean to you? Do you have unrealistic expectations? You’re probably doing much better than you think. In my opinion, if being a good person meant never feeling disappointment or anger, then this ideal would be unreachable for most. Even babies have off days! Become a better person by finding out what exactly that means to you. Write down the qualities you’d like to embody, and why. Write down one concrete action to accompany each quality. Try to do more of those things. How would you like to feel every day? Write down things that inspire those feelings. Add more of those things into your everyday life.
3. Do random acts of kindness
Help someone without being asked to do so. Buy a friend lunch. Give someone a ride home. Perhaps, you can tell yourself to do one selfless act a day or a week. Don’t make it a point to let the world know you’re out there being “nice.” You don’t want to do it for praises. The focus should be on making someone else feel good. You’ll become a better person. They’ll have a brighter day. It truly is a win-win.
4. Put your needs first
Sometimes, we do so much for others that we neglect ourselves. Picture having homework to do and ditching your responsibilities to help someone else with their homework. Lifting someone up shouldn’t result in you being stressed out and miserable. Flight attendants say it best: “Secure your mask before helping others with theirs.” You can not truly help someone if you’re gasping for air and about to unravel at the seams. In order to become a better person, you have to feel good. You can’t feel good if you’re exhausted and feel like the people around you are taking you for granted.
5. But don’t be selfish
Don’t focus on yourself so much to the point that you forget about the people around you. As in any relationship, there is give-and-take. Make sure that each party feels honored by the relationship. Listen to your friend talk about her problems. Offer some advice if she asks for it. Compromise. Make the first move and call. Don’t simply think, “Well, she’s not calling me, either.” If you care about someone, reach out. Who knows? That person may be going through a rough time. Express your grievances. Focus on actions and how they make you feel, instead of branding the person in question a bad friend/person.
6. Eat better
Eat your greens! Make sure you take care of your physical body, too. Drink lots of water, stretch and try to move your body. You don’t necessarily have to hit the gym every day. But, you can put on some music and dance, or go for a walk. Get yourself an accountability partner…and hold each other accountable. Food is what gives your body energy. You want to top off with good fuel.
I hope these tips helped. Do tell: Do you want to become a better person? What do you want to do differently going forward?