The Beginner's Guide to Self-improvement

Jordan Tarver
September 2, 2020

Self-improvement is simply working on improving at least one area of your life, including your mindset, knowledge, character, or more tangible aspects like your career, relationships, finances, or health. Focusing on self-improvement can offer you new opportunities, increase your self-esteem, and help you become the best version of yourself. 

Self-improvement is a never-ending journey; however, with a few tips, such as creating a plan and setting SMART goals, you can take advantage of the opportunity to live your best life.

What Is Self-improvement?

Self-improvement is the conscious effort of improving one or many areas of your life. This typically ranges and is unique to each individual; however, some common areas include internal aspects, like your mindset and character, and external areas, including your career, relationships, finances, and health. Regardless of what you're pursuing in your life, focusing on self-improvement is an integral part of your progress and joy. Whether you're new to self-improvement or you've been at it for some years, it's crucial to set an actionable plan that lets you reach your self-improvement goals.

How Can Self-improvement Change My Life?

Now, you may be thinking why the hell you should care about self-improvement. Before you push it to the wayside, let me tell you this: If you don't focus on improving your life, you will never move past where you are now. Not convinced? Here are three ways self-improvement can change your life:

  1. Offer you new opportunities: When you improve any area of your life, you create room for new opportunities, whether that be financial security, a healthier mind, body, and soul, or even lucrative career opportunities. Wherever you choose to improve, you're bound to see an incredible return on your time investment.
  2. Boost your self-esteem and self-confidence: As you make strides to improve your life, you feel, well, damn good. Your self-esteem and self-confidence will rise to new levels and take you to higher places. Buckle up for the ride.
  3. Help you become the best version of yourself: Regardless of improving on internal or external areas of your life, any improvement will compound into you becoming the best version of yourself. The positive work you do in the areas you choose will allow you to live as your most authentic self.

I get it, sometimes self-improvement sounds like some sort of fallacy. But let me just set the record straight; I started focusing on self-improvement four years ago, and I don't know where I would be without it. It has completely shifted my perspective on life, allowed me to discover my true authentic self, and motivated me to teach people like you about this topic with the goal of helping others live the life they deserve. Still with me? Thank goodness, let's keep diving in.

Areas of Life You Can Improve

The tough part of anyone's self-improvement journey is the fact that there are infinite areas you can choose to work on. These areas of improvement will likely vary from person to person because not any one individual is the same; we all have different things we want to make better. However, there are a common areas of life you can improve, like your career or relationships, which we will dive


First and foremost, your heath should always be your top priority. Without a healthy life, you're not setting yourself up for success or yielding yourself the best opportunity to improve the other areas we'll cover in a moment. How are you treating yourself? What are you putting into your body? Are you focusing on exercising or moving daily? Drinking enough water? These are just a few things you can ask yourself when you want to improve your overall health.


Building a bulletproof mindset is my bread and butter. Without a healthy mindset and positive perspective on life, you're pushing away a refreshing wave of self-confidence, enthusiasm, and opportunities. I've done a great deal of work on my mindset during my own journey of self-improvement and self-discovery. Here are a few things I recommend to everyone I meet who is looking to work on their mindset:

  • Sacrifice your time for meditation
  • Journal daily
  • Focus on positive self-talk
  • Practice gratitude
  • Look for positivity in negative situations
  • Be kind to yourself and others


Career is a large pond, because for some that could mean starting your own business and for others it could just mean getting that next promotion. Whatever career looks like in your life, you can always strive to improve in your workplace. For instance, you can spend time learning a new skill, working with a mentor to improve both your strengths and weaknesses, or you can simply focus on being less distracted while working to increase your productivity (which may even end up resulting in that job promotion).


For me, relationships are the foundation to life. The people you know will be there to support you, to motivate you, and to even look for new opportunities you may want to jump on. There are many different kinds of relationships in life—family, friends, coworkers, signifiant other, and mentors.

When looking to improve your relationships, ask yourself some questions. How can I show up more for others? Am I doing my best at caring for them and showing love? What are some actions I can take today to deepen those bonds?


Money isn't for everyone. And what I mean by that is some people are motivated by the cash in their bank and some aren't. If you want to get better with your money, start looking for ways to give yourself financial freedom. How can you reduce your debt? What can you do differently to not live paycheck to paycheck? Are there systems and specific bank accounts you can setup so you can become more financially secure?

Self-improvement Tips

So great, now you know how and where you can improve your life, but you still feel a little lost. Don't worry, I've been there. Here are four tips that can support your personal development journey.

1. Create a Plan

Every successful attempt, whether you're chasing a goal or working to improve your life, starts with a plan. Get clarity on what you want to work on, look for the tools you need to make it happen, take action, and track your progress. The easiest way to create a plan you'll actually follow through with? SMART goals.

2. Set SMART Goals

SMART is an acronym and tool you can use when setting goals. It stands for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-based. SMART goals help you create a clear plan and roadmap to achieving your goals, such as improving an area of your life. Here are some tips you can use when thinking through SMART goals:

  • Specific: Create specific and narrow goals.
  • Measurable: Identify what results will show you're making progress.
  • Attainable: Set goals you can accomplish within a specific time period.
  • Relevant: Make goals that align with your life and long-term vision.
  • Time-based: Choose a realistic end-date to motivate you to complete your goal.

3. Learn From Others

You are not on this road alone; there are several other people before you who've explored self-improvement. Use the people around you and those who inspire you as a resource. Study their process, ask questions, and learn of their mistakes. Learning from others is a handy way to mastering your journey more easily.

4. Use Apps to Help You On Your Journey

We live in an age of technology, and there are several apps out there to help you become a better person. While this isn't required, if you're looking for additional resources, it can prove beneficial. Here are some common apps I've used which can help you improve your life:

  • Headspace (meditation)
  • Calm (meditation)
  • Carb Manager (food tracker)
  • Strava (fitness)
  • Google Keep (note taking)
  • WHOOP (sleep and performance tracker; WHOOP Strap required)

Best Self-improvement Books

Bottom Line

You should always be looking for ways to improve your life, whether that's your mindset or tangible aspects like your career or relationships. Focusing on self-improvement doesn't need to become a stressful task; see it as an effort to become the best version of yourself and live the life you deserve.


Jordan Tarver is a lead editor at Forbes, a keynote speaker, and the bestselling author of You Deserve This Sh!t.
He’s transformed over 30,000 lives through his book, amassed more than 200,000 devoted followers, and garnered over 60 million views online. Jordan is on a mission to empower people and organizations to unlock exponential growth and expansive possibilities.

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