When we all look back on 2020, it could be the one year in our lives where extreme circumstances try to define us.
This year has also shown us all that we have opportunities to better ourselves in unique ways. We can care more for one another, offer some understanding to those who seek equality or justice, and feel the pain of past and present economic circumstances.
One of the essential skills that guys can develop in 2020 to better themselves is to learn how to disagree while avoiding a disagreeable attitude. Having a different opinion doesn’t require offensive or derogatory behavior and certainly doesn’t need to lead to violent riots which leave everybody worse off, just to get the point across.
That’s one step toward self-improvement. Here are a few additional ideas that can help you start turning the world into a better place.
The 7 Self-Improvement Activities: Best Ways to Become a Better Version of Yourself
1. Find a moment of tolerance during a disagreement
Wearing masks (or deciding not to do so) has become a political statement for many people. Some individuals have legitimate medical reasons for not wearing a face covering. Instead of jumping to conclusions about why someone has or has not chosen to follow this protocol, try greeting them with a friendly wave instead.
You can walk by someone on the street who has made a different set of choices without the event turning into a confrontation. If you feel uncomfortable with the situation, try to move yourself a few steps away. That decision helps to get rid of the tension you might feel.
Here’s what you can do: If you feel frustration starting to build, consciously take a deep breath. Count to four while inhaling, then do the same while letting it out (this is a navy seals technique which helps them to say relaxed whilst under pressure). Then do it one more time. This process gives your body and brain more oxygen to keeping the muscles relaxed, allowing your brain cells to function properly, while you contemplate how to respond in healthy ways.
2. Focus on doing the right thing whenever you can
People are struggling globally right now because of the economic circumstances 2020 brought us all. Families that never thought about food insecurity or having money to pay the rent or mortgage are suddenly wondering about their future. Add in the feelings of injustice, the pain of grief, and the uncertainty that some law enforcement feels, and you have a recipe for anger to explode.
Doing the right thing isn’t always easy. It can be challenging to lift others up when there are personal costs to pay with that action. Our natural tendency is to protect ourselves and our family first. You may not be able to change the entire world, but you can alter one person’s circumstances.
Here’s what you can do: Making better, more positive choices is a habit all guys can develop. Start by focusing on what you hope to create. Then define what you believe are the strengths that you bring to that situation. Be distinctive with your thoughts: is your approach from fear or love? Use your existing resources to do the best that you can while maintaining an open mind.
3. Don’t get down on yourself for making a mistake
It would be fair to say that 2020 isn’t an easy time for most people. Instead of focusing on self-improvement, you might be more concerned about eating crisps on the couch while watching a funny show. There are times when it feels like the only choice that we can make is to shut the rest of the world out so that we can cope with what is going on.
Mistakes get amplified in this chaotic environment. Instead of lowering your head in failure, keep your chin up! Look for learning opportunities. Right now, you have an incredible opportunity to explore new actions, ideas, and feelings. Embrace persistence.
Here’s what you can do: The path to self-forgiveness starts by acknowledging your mistakes verbally. Have a conversation with that inner critic that won’t let things go. Have clear expectations about what you want for the future. Try imagining what you might tell someone in a similar situation if they came to you for advice, then put those words into practice.
4. Be respectful of how people change
Isolation can alter a person’s perspective dramatically. After a couple of months of being stuck at home, extraverts can transition to being introverts. Your friends who used to hang out every weekend are now shut-ins who prefer their company alone. One of the best ways that you can work to improve yourself in 2020 is to be respectful of how others are feeling.
Some people might enjoy a social event at your home, but they may want to bring their own food and beverages instead. Old friends might find it comforting to stay six feet or more away from you during a conversation. There is no right or wrong answer here – if you’re willing to put the other people in your life first.
Here’s what you can do: Listen. By taking the time to affirm someone, you give evidence to that individual that they are essential in your life. Being kind, thankful, and polite seems like common sense, but it is not always easy to offer those attributes during a disagreement. Even if you don’t receive the same in return, how you show respect tells the world something about who you are. Keep walking that path.
5. Learn how to treasure the time you have with loved ones
The depth of your closest relationships may be growing because of the circumstances 2020 brought to the world. We have learned a painful lesson in the idea that tomorrow is never a guarantee. That means each day we have is an opportunity to treasure the moments you get to spend with the people you love.
Guys express love in several different ways. Some men like to provide gifts, build things, or bring home enough income to keep everyone comfortable. Others take a creative approach, writing poems, or creating art. Love can be as simple as sitting on the couch to talk when you’d rather play video games.
Here’s what you do: Try to enjoy more of these moments. Take five minutes each morning to think about the best memories from the previous day. When you get home after work or before going to bed, create a plan to show the people you love how much you care for them.
6. Be constructive with your extra time
It can be helpful to get into a positive routine where you make one thing better each day. What you choose to improve is entirely up to you.
Does your home need some repairs? Try to tackle at least one project per week.
Could your spouse use some time to talk about their concerns? When you make time to listen to the people you love, you’re helping them to find a place of balance.
Some people start a new hobby with their loved ones. You might try to find a new show to watch. Whatever it is that you like to do by yourself or with others, expand that opportunity somehow.
Here’s what you do: Reserve 60 minutes during a weekend or a day off to implement your new hobby. Coordinate your schedule with everyone in the family to get a maximum level of participation. Then try something new each week! You can have everyone get a chance to pick what they’d like to experience so that no one feels left out.
7. Reach out to someone if you are alone
Are you still in isolation because of the circumstances that 2020 brought to the world? You don’t need to shoulder that burden alone. Guys who want to be the best version of themselves understand when it is necessary to reach out for help.
People can email, text, call, or connect on social media. A friendly wave from across the street can change someone’s world. When you feel lonely and have no connections, you can dial the Crisis Text Line at 741741 to connect with someone.
Here’s what you do: Post the contact information of the important people in your life in meaningful places around your home. Add their number and email address to your phone, along with whatever emergency numbers or text lines you feel could be helpful. Choose to take this step immediately if you feel lonely. People are out there who care for you!
Self-improvement is a journey that we all should embrace each day. Commit to at least one of these activities for the remainder of 2020 to start pushing forward on your unique path. We cannot predict what will happen, but we do have control over the choices we make. We wish you nothing but the best in your journey of self-improvement and fulfilment.