Self-improvement can take many forms, ranging from the physical and health-conscious to the intellectual and educational. It’s a highly subjective matter, rooted in values handed down from our parents and the self-image we continually create as we grow. It is an intrinsically optimistic pursuit because it’s about hope; hope for a bright future and the promise of new achievements. Sometimes, self-improvement has to do with wanting to emulate someone we admire, a mentor or personal hero. Whatever the reason, the desire to grow shapes our focus and our wishes. It’s one way of imagining a better future for ourselves and working to become a more well-rounded person.
Music is one of the most personally enriching self-improvement pursuits. It boosts self-confidence, teaches self-discipline and opens new avenues of social growth. And you can pick and choose from a long list of instruments to learn. If you’re looking to add more music to your life, learning to play a stringed instrument is a good option. Shop around for deals on smaller options such as guitars or ukuleles - you’ll likely find that they’re readily available and affordable (and practical: they’re a lot easier to carry around than a piano or harp). If you don’t know where to start, doing a quick online search may help. For instance, Equipboard lists the top 5 ukuleles (and terminology, types of ukuleles, and tips for tuning the instrument), and reassures that “you can easily get a useable instrument for under $200”.
Fitness and physical well-being
The desire to shed weight and become more trim and fit leads many people to pursue a more healthful lifestyle, marked by regular exercise and a better diet. A gym membership or workout equipment might top the wishlist of someone wanting to turn over a new leaf. There are many options available, from free weights and kettlebells to a full home gymnasium with a rowing or elliptical workout machine.
Many people work physical self-improvement into their daily routines, checking their progress with innovative tracking devices such as a pedometer or Fitbit, which tracks the number of steps you take over a given period (this can also be done with phone apps or through Web-based programs). If improving your appearance is a priority item, there are many options available through plastic surgery, or bariatric and other forms of weight-loss surgery, though this can be an expensive approach to self-improvement.
Broadening your mind
People who wish to grow intellectually and learn more about the world around them are sometimes put off assuming that they’ll have to invest in an expensive education or spend a lot of time reading. These days, most universities and colleges offer courses online, or schedule onsite night and weekend courses designed to fit the lifestyles of people who want to pursue a secondary education while they work. The Internet has made it easier to broaden your intellectual horizons in your own time and at your own pace. If you’ve always wanted to learn a new language, there’s been an explosion in do-it-yourself language programs and applications that are fun and easy to use.
Rosetta Stone is a popular approach for many people who find its innovative, intuitive approach to language instruction an engaging and refreshing alternative to old forms of rote learning. Duolingo is a free online program that allows you to pair words and images in an easy-to-use course you can pursue at your leisure. It also tracks your progress and points out areas for improvement.
The great thing about self-improvement is it encourages you to try something you’ve always wanted to do but thought you couldn’t. As you grow older, you might find that you have the time after all to learn something new, or begin that weight program. It just takes a little courage, commitment and curiosity to see how far it can take you.