21 Simple Self Improvement Tips - Ideas For Personal Development - Project Hot Mess (2024)

There’s no denying it, working on yourself is the most important work you’ll do in your life. It affects every area of our lives, from how we perform at work, to who we are as a parent (and our confidence and self esteem within everything too). Which is why self improvement is so sought after and self development is no longer something we need to hide.

Whether you have self improvement goals or are looking to simply take the first step in personal development, these self improvement tips are a great way to get started.

1 – Learn A New Skill

“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning, stays young.”

Henry Ford

Life is an accumulation of knowledge. There are so many amazing things out there to learn. How many times have you said to yourself ‘oh I wish I knew how to do that’?

Take some time to learn a new skill.

The ability to learn just about anything is right at our fingertips. Online courses through platforms such as Udemy allow you to learn anything from traditional Indian Cooking, through to how to become a Yoga Instructor, or even neuroscience for parents to help understand their kids development levels.

Spend some time scrolling and you’re bound to find an online course you’ll love that costs less than going out for dinner and that will help with any areas of your life you want to learn more about.

There are also tons of free courses and you can even find a whole bunch of instructional videos on YouTube. I learnt a new hobby (crocheting) by watching YouTube tutorials to help me get the hang of things.

There is so much knowledge out there and so many people willing to share their knowledge with you.

When it comes to learning new skills, taking a class, or just wanting to expand your knowledge – Udemy has what you’re looking for. Be warned, you’ll start scrolling the classes available and reailze all of a sudden you HAVE to learn how to crochet, or cook traditional Indian food, or how to code websites… It’s super addictive and so fun! PLUS you can get cash back with your Rakuten app too!

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2 – Do Something Out Of Your Comfort Zone

“The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.”

Albert Einstein

One self development tip you can do to improve your self esteem and well-being is to spend some time every day doing something out of your comfort zone. This will push you outside your ‘bubble’ and introduce you to new ideas, concepts and ways of living.

It’s important to try something slightly outside your comfort zone so it feels challenging but not too much that it becomes overwhelming or intimidating.

Studies have shown that self-affirmation can help with anxiety around taking on tasks that are outside our comfort zones because self affirmation reminds us that we’re capable of self-control.

The more we do this, the more self esteem and self confidence we build because we come to realise that we’re able to handle things that don’t always go to plan.

You can start with one little thing like taking an alternative route home from work every now and then, or reading a new book (choosing one from a genre that’s slightly outside your usual reading choices), or learning how to cook something new.

3 – Break Your Bad Habits

One self-improvement tip that can have an immediate positive impact on your life is to break those bad habits so they don’t take over and cause self sabotage.

If you’re wanting to improve who you are as a person, self development can’t happen if you’re stuck in a rut of self-sabotage because you’re doing things that don’t align with the person you wish to become.

There are so many bad habits we can fall into and it’s easy to do. If you find yourself constantly self sabotaging by drinking too much, eating junk food or spending way too much time on social media, then it’s time to break your bad habits.

This self improvement tip can take self development to another level because you’re not just finding ways to improve who you are in the long term but also building self esteem, self-confidence and self-belief in the short-term through self discipline.

Rewarding yourself for achieving your self-imposed self improvement goals is another self development tip you can use to help motivate yourself in breaking bad habits so you don’t fall back into old patterns.

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4 – Check In On Your Mental Health

“You can’t keep going on and be crazy. Sometimes you have to stop and take a breath and go, ‘What is this? Who am I? What do I want to do?’ You don’t just wake up one day and know how to live.”

Scarlett Johansson

A self improvement tip that helps with self esteem, self-confidence and self motivation is to check in on your mental health.

You can do this by practicing self care, taking time out for yourself or just taking some time to sit with your thoughts.

Listen to what they’re telling you because self improvement will feel unbalanced if it’s not balanced with self reflection.

Mental health is important for self improvement because self development isn’t possible if you struggle with self esteem, self-confidence or self motivation all the time.

Mental health doesn’t just mean your state of mind but also how well you’re coping living day to day.

Keeping a journal can be helpful in this instance because it helps you self reflect in a way that allows you to make progress by seeing exactly where you are now, while also giving you something to look back on and see how far you’ve come.

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5 – Set Goals (And Create An Action Plan To Achieve Them)

We’ve all heard of setting goals before, and there’s even a study that shows you’re 42% more likely to achieve your goals simply by writing them down every day (how good is that??).

But, what a lot of people fail to do is that next step… creating an action plan to achieve their goals.

Once you’ve set your goal, work out the steps you need to take in order to make your dream a reality.

Break your large goal down into smaller, simpler steps, so it doesn’t seem so overwhelming and you can take small steps each day in order to make it happen.

For example, if your goal is to save $5000 to go on a vacation, then your steps would include:

  • setting up a savings account for that goal
  • determining when you want that goal to be achieved and how much you need to save each week in order to achieve the goal
  • redoing your budget to see if there are areas you can save
  • calling your insurance company and utilities companies asking for a better deal
  • decluttering your home and selling items on Facebook to boost savings
  • asking your boss for extra hours at work
  • starting a side hustle
  • setting up an automatic debit to put your dedicated savings amount into your vacation account each week

While the goal of saving $5000 on it’s own seemed overwhelming, when broken down into smaller tasks, and smaller action steps, it is easier to take one small step at a time towards your goal.

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6 – Try New Things

Trying something new is self improvement in action every time we do it.

When we try something new, especially when we’re doing it because we want to and not just because we feel like we have to, self esteem and self-confidence are boosted because we’re achieving self development by pushing ourselves out of our comfort zone.

Whether you start as simple as ordering a different style coffee or trying a new restaurant, or if you want to go a bit bigger and try a new skill or go somewhere new on a trip, each time you try something new, you will learn more about yourself.

7 – Take A Break From Social Media

We’ve all felt, from time to time, that we may be spending a little too much time on social media (usually when we get our weekly summary from Apple telling us exactly how many hours we spent scrolling).

Most of us also wish we had more hours in the day to do what we want to do. But with the average user spending around 2.5hrs on social media each day, it makes you wonder what else you could actually be doing in that time.

Not to mention the health effects and mental health effects of social media.

Taking a break from social media, even if it’s just for a few days, can help reset your approach and disconnect from your phone.

8 – Get Clear On Your Personal Goals

We often create goals around money and our careers, but have you set yourself some personal goals too? Things you’d like to achieve for yourself?

Get clear on your personal goals and the steps you need to make it happen (then start working on it!).

Whether you create a vision board for yourself, write your goals down each day or saw them to yourself as positive affirmations, keeping track of your goals each day keeps them at the forefront of your mind and makes you far more likely to take steps each day to achieve your goals.

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9 – Reframe Your Mind With A Positive Attitude

There was one little trick I was taught that made a whole world of difference to the way I approach things and it is as simple as changing a few words when we speak.

Instead of saying “I have to (insert task here)” you simply say “I get to (insert task here)”.

For example, instead of saying “I have to go and buy groceries” you can say “I get to go and buy groceries”.

I know it sounds really simple and can feel a little weird to say but it really does make a huge difference to being able to reframe everything you do with a positive mind.

10 – Be Your Own Best Friend

We are so hard on ourselves for so many things, and often speak about ourselves in ways that are less than favorable. BUT… we would never speak that way about our best friends.

Start to be your own best friend. Do things YOU want to do, speak kindly of yourself, and put yourself first. You’ll be amazed at what a difference loving yourself makes.

11 – Fuel Your Body

While it might be a great idea to start a healthy diet, the reality is, setting a goal for a crash diet is never going to stick. Instead, start with small steps such as having one healthy meal a day to fuel your body.

When we look at food as fuel as opposed to a treat or as something that is ‘good’ or ‘bad’ then we naturally make better health choices.

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12 – Read Daily

Science shows that reading is linked to our structural brain development, can help people empathise and understand emotion better, and may even be able to assist in fighting off Alzheimers and retain cognitive function.

And that’s not even taking into account the immense amount of information we can learn from reading (there are so many books that have literally changed my life).

As much as I love self-help books (and books about finance), it’s also important to expand your reading repertoire and read from a wide range of different sources and styles.

Try reading fiction if you usually read non-fiction, try fantasy if you usually read romantic classics. Try something new and you might find something else to love.

13 – Get Better Sleep

Most of us aren’t getting enough sleep, and even more aren’t getting enough restful and rejuvenating sleep.

Create a sleep routine to help you get a good night’s sleep that includes dedicated wind down time, low lighting, and no screen time, to allow your body to kick into sleep mode.

14 – Create A Mission Statement For Yourself

Businesses often have a ‘mission statement’ that is their why, who they are, what they are about. Why don’t we have that too?

What is your why, what drives you and why do you do the things you do? Creating a mission statement can help us focus on what really matters to us.

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15 -Use To-Do Lists

As a massive fan of to do lists, I can say that creating a to do list and using a to do list are two very different things.

Don’t just create a to do list that is a list of things that you hope to get done, these only add stress and anxiety because a) they never get completed and b) because they’re so overwhelming.

Instead create a list of 3 things that MUST get done today, they are your primary focus. Then everything else goes onto a ‘if I have time’ list.

Try this method and see if it helps you be more productive and get more of the important things done.

16 – Move Your Body

You might not want to hear this but it’s one of the most important things you can do for yourself and to help create a healthy lifestyle. You need to engage in some sort of physical activity, every single day.

So many people cringe when they hear this, but it’s so true.

Our bodies were made to move but our society is far more sedentary than ever before!

Find a movement you love, whether it’s walking, or dancing, or moving heavy things around, and do that every day.

17 – Use Positive Affirmations Daily

Positive affirmations are a self-development tool that can be used to help overcome self-sabotaging behaviours and self doubt.

Repeating positive affirmations helps to reprogram the subconscious mind and can bring about positive change in our lives.

Try writing your own affirmations using the present tense and in the first person (e.g. I am happy and healthy and everything is working out for me right now) or use lists of positive affirmations if you need some inspiration.

You can repeat these to yourself at anytime, whether you’re stopped at the traffic lights, while you’re getting ready of a morning, before you go to bed at night, or anytime you feel like you need a little boost.

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18 – Focus On One Area Of Your Life At A Time

“You are what you repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.”


When you’re on a mission to improve yourself and you’ve fallen in love with personal development, it can be difficult to know what to focus on. You start to see so many things you want to change and you’ll want to change them all at once.

But… you’ll make more progress and find things a whole lot easier and less overwhelming if you just focus on one area of your life at a time.

For example, you might want to spend some time focusing on getting control of your finances. Set yourself a timeframe that you’re going to focus on finances only for the next two months (for example), and in that time you’re going to learn everything you can and become more confident in that area.

19 – Spend More Time Around Successful People

Have you ever heard that you’re the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with?

That’s a self-development concept that is absolutely true, and it’s why you should be spending time around other successful people.

By spending more time with those who are already where you want to be, you’ll absorb some of the knowledge they have and hopefully become inspired to take action yourself!

Who do you spend the most amount of time with?

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20 – Learn How To Eliminate Negative Thoughts

This is one of those skills that you wish you were taught earlier in life because it can make such a massive impact on so many areas of your life.

The practice of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) has been used for years to help people with mental health conditions such as anxiety, depression, and PTSD. However, it’s also possible for CBT to be beneficial to helping people deal with stressful situations in their professional life and personal life, even without the presence of mental health concerns.

While it is often used by psychologists to assist with talk therapy, there are a wide range of online courses and books to help you learn the skills of CBT on your own.

In short, CBT is about identifying negative thoughts, bringing yourself back to the present moment, and reframing that thought in a positive way.

When you notice a negative thought or inaccurate thought, you can ask yourself if this is based on fact, or if it is a negative emotion reaction, and if so, start to identify the trigger.

Once you start to know what your triggers are, the next time you are faced with a negative thought, you’ll know how to navigate the thought process in a much better way and be able to bring your mind to focus on the positive things rather than the negative.

CBT has been shown to have such a positive impact in so many ways that it is a skill worth learning for anyone to help with almost any situation in life.

21 – Be Kind To Yourself

As you move through life, you realize your personal growth journey is always continuing. It’s not a destination, it’s the trip! You’re always learning, and as such, you should be kind to yourself.

Remind yourself that you are capable of amazing things, and some days are going to be full on and adventurous and productive, and others are going to be spent binge watching Netflix and that’s totally okay.

As you spend time on self improvement and self development, remember that the most important thing you can do is to be kind to yourself, be gentle with yourself, and take it step by step.

Remember, it’s the small changes that make the biggest difference.

Use these self-improvement ideas to create good habits and create the best version of you. What little things can you add into your daily life to create a positive change and help you create a better version of yourself?

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