There’s always something we need to be doing, or somewhere we need to be going. Our days are split into different unavoidable tasks -- school time, work time, friend time, and (hopefully) rest time. We are constantly making efforts to improve our knowledge, improve our job performances, and improve our relationships. In our eyes, in the midst of all these competing priorities, there is never really a perfect time to work on ourselves... but that’s where September as “Self-Improvement Month” comes into play.
For all who are not familiar, the month-long observation is designed to promote bettering areas in one’s life that could use it. The fact that there is even a holiday to recognize the need for personal development is proof of its necessity and significance (side note -- September also happens to be National Chicken Month, for any poultry enthusiasts out there). Keep in mind that Self-Improvement Month is not a time to magnify shortcomings, but rather to focus on aspects of your life like your character, health, and happiness and make them be where you want them to be.
When thinking of areas to improve, there’s bound to be the big ones: eating better, exercising more, comparing less. Definitely check off those boxes and more if they are important to you. We’d also like to share some additional focuses that may not be the first that come to mind. Here are 4 mantras, one for each week of the month, that you can work on not only in September but the whole year round.
Be Ready For Now.
“Don’t wait for Fridays” is a saying that everyone should acknowledge. It rejects the idea of holding back until the “right time” -- there is a noticeable tendency to push back enjoyment because we think we need occasions to have it. Perfect moments are few and far between, and life can be pretty special even on a Monday morning. Buy that outfit even though you don’t have a party to wear it to. Make that shrimp pasta dish you pinned even though you won’t have company over for dinner. Don’t sell yourself short by waiting for weekends or vacations (#treatyoself anyone?).
Appreciate Your Real Friends*.
Go beyond just planning “catch-up” coffee dates and actually check in with your friends. Get deep because there are very few people in the world you care enough for to do so. Personally, my friends and I have actually gone around in a circle and told each other the top qualities we have that make us love each other -- super cheesy, but hearing what they have to say will make you feel great! In return, they will appreciate you even more for how you recognize all they do for you! (*Do yourself a favor and unfollow/unfriend people on social media that you don’t truly care about. Cleanses are good for you. My advice when deciding who to unfollow: if you randomly bumped into the person at the mall, would you stop and have a conversation with them? If not, remove from your social media.)
Stop Over-extending Yourself.
Everyone has a limited amount of time, energy, and love. No matter how kind and open-hearted of a person you are, you need to be selective in who you spend yourself with. You can’t give 100% to any one thing when you have too many pressing commitments. Just don’t let any aspect of your life take over the other; balance is the key word here when thinking of ways to improve your everyday.
Be Your Own Advocate.
Self-help author Christine Arylo once said, “Be nice to yourself. It’s hard to be happy when someone is mean to you all the time.” We tend to be overly critical of ourselves, from analyzing our appearances to our abilities. We even tend to forgive others for mistakes faster than we can forgive ourselves. This Self-Improvement Month should be an opportunity to take the time to be kind to yourself.
To quote Dr. Seuss, “Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.” September’s Self-Improvement Month is not simply about acknowledging faults, but also all about coming into yourself. Take this month to focus on personal growth, because, though it takes time and consideration, you are well worth it!