The end of a year is for many of us a good opportunity to review what happened in our lives. We rejoice in what we have achieved, face our failures and set new goals. Many times one of them is to get better at something we already do well. But perhaps this is not as simple as it sounds for many of us.
Let’s take school performance for example. It is easier to get from 70 to 90 but not as easy to go from 90 to 98 or 100. It is relatively easy to learn to communicate in a foreign language but it is much more difficult to argue or write scientific texts.
However difficult it may seem, there are some basic principles that if followed, one can improve in every area of one’s life and at a rapid pace.
1. The first step is to assess the area or areas of your life that you feel need improvement and then prioritize your goals. And this is because if one tries to achieve many things at the same time there is a risk of losing one’s goal and one’s efforts will be scattered and one will get tired without results.
Suppose someone decides to improve at his job. It is very important before deciding on any change, to observe and record his habits. At what pace does he complete projects at work, how much time does he need, how is the way of working different from a colleague whom he considers effective? Are there perhaps some tools or apps that would help him that he doesn’t know about? What change would make his job better or easier? What behaviors and habits seem to bring him closer to his goal and which ones move him further away?
In this phase, one could also consult people in his environment whom he trusts and ask for their help, in order to better assess his capabilities and weaknesses and improve them. Of course, this does not mean that one will get to the point of being critical of oneself or that one will only focus on what one is not doing effectively, nor that one will begin to compare oneself with others and feel lacking. Let us not forget that the person who decides to improve has already taken a step that some others may never take in their lives.
2. Once one has decided what needs to change, it will help to focus on the process by which that change will be achieved. He needs to realize that the road to success consists of many small steps, which one must take steadily and consistently. Rushing can bring frustration and hinder the achievement of goals.
In this phase it is important to “know thyself” well, especially one’s strengths and weaknesses. For example, if someone works more efficiently at certain times of the day, it would help them to do the most demanding part of their work at those times, or if they are easily distracted, it would be good to remove anything that could distract them. There are many time management techniques and strategies like the Pomodoro technique that could help a great deal.
3. Education is also very important if one wants to improve. So, if one needs to improve their skills or knowledge in order to become more effective in their work, the path of education has a lot to offer. There are plenty of resources on the internet, courses are available on any subject imaginable, and experts who can help anyone improve in their field. And while it can often take time and a great deal of effort to learn something new, long-term thinking can be just what you need to get your job done faster and more efficiently.
In summary, with awareness, observation, goal-setting, and education, one can become better in all areas of one’s life – as long as one really wants it.
Stavroula Tsoutsa is a Certified Holistic Professional Life Coach, ICF ACC, Certified Heartmath Coach/Mentor and Trainer, and Certified Points of You Practitioner.