man holding cell phone to mirror, showing off arm muscle

My Self-Improvement Journey

by Tyler Kish

A lot of the stories I hear nowadays are negative because of the pandemic. I am personally tired of hearing all these negative stories and wanted to share a positive one. I will be talking about the new habits I have formed during the pandemic that have improved my life and share with you how you can do the same thing! I call this, my self-improvement journey.

It was towards the end of summer in 2020 when I decided to stop drinking pop. I chose to do this because I was drinking multiple cans every day, and I knew it was not healthy. At first it was hard, and after a few days I would find myself drinking another can of pop. In order to replace my habit of drinking pop, I replaced it with a habit of drinking water. How I succeeded with this is that I would bring a glass or bottle of water with me wherever I went. Whenever I felt thirsty, the water was right there and that’s what I would drink, rather than pop. After a month or two of doing this, it became natural for me to carry my water around and I was not even thinking about pop. Since I started drinking water, I could tell that I felt more energized, and I was not craving sugar like I used to. This led to me not eating candy that much as I did not want it. Drinking water not only led to me not drinking pop anymore, but it also led to me having a healthier diet.

laptop and notebook on a desk with plants, a baseball, and a bottle of water, in an online class meeting

Starting a new habit to get rid of a bad habit is a great strategy because you give yourself the motivation you need. In this situation, I wanted to stop drinking pop because it is unhealthy. My internal desire to stop drinking pop turned into my motivation to keep on drinking water and allowed me to see results quickly. This was the first habit that I formed because I wanted to. The accomplishment of not giving up on this habit made me look into other good habits to start. I soon decided that I wanted to start working out.

I previously had little experience with working out other than the exercises I did for soccer. I have a whole gym in my basement that I have never touched before I started this habit. It was around October when me and 2 of my friends signed up for Planet Fitness memberships. We would go to the gym at nights at least 4 out of 7 days a week. I looked at it as something for me and my friends to do at night since every other place was closed. I did not get serious about working out until I saw results, and that was about a month in. The results I saw made me feel more confident in my appearance and boosted my enthusiasm for going to the gym. This is when working out turned into a habit for me. The days my friends couldn’t make it to the gym, I found myself working out in my basement, something I never did before. The 2 friends that I would go to the gym with no longer go, but I now have a weekly schedule and work out almost every day. Working out now allows me to enjoy my own music, relieve stress, and feel productive all at the same time.

man holding cell phone up (to mirror) of himself in a basement gym, one arm showing muscles

Doing something new with friends is another great strategy to start a new habit. In my opinion, this strategy is the easiest way to form habits. I noticed that once I see results in doing something, I actually want to do it for myself. Working out is a habit that takes a lot of time for someone to see results and can be discouraging when you see no results after a week or two. In my situation, I saw the first month as just an activity to do with friends while we had nothing better to do. Looking at it like this was not perfect, as we would skip some nights, but it worked because it got me into the gym every week. This eventually led to having me having my own work out schedule and taking it seriously.

After developing two new habits that improved my life, I wanted to start another one. I know that it takes me about a month of trying to do something before it becomes natural. Considering I am a freshman in college and starting my life as an adult, I decided to start the habit of spending my money more sensibly. The first step I took was to educate myself about investing and money management. I decided to invest some of my money in long-term investments so that I have later on in life. I then looked at my digital bank statements to see how much I spent each month. Just by looking at it I realized that there was a lot of money I could have not spent. The thought of having more money in my bank account gave me the motivation to spend less. For the next two months I monitored myself by going over the bank statements and trying to keep the amount of money I spent low. After those two months, I now just think about how much I am spending without having to monitor myself at all. I have caught myself multiple times in a store with something I didn’t need and decided to put it back.

man lounging on bed with laptop

In this situation, I didn’t have a strategy that helped me form the habit other than just making myself do it. I had formed two habits shortly before this one and just knew that I would be able to do it. For each habit that I develop, I become more excited to start a new one because I know I can do it and see results that improve my life. Your own improvement from the habits you have already formed become your motivation to start other habits. I felt proud about myself every time I decided not to buy something I didn’t need and actually enjoyed the process of developing the habit. Once you are able to form your first few habits, it becomes easier for you to start other ones because you know the amount of effort and time it will take for yourself. All it takes is forming your first habit to start a self-improvement journey of your own.

I know that some of you reading this have a habit that you want to start that will improve your life. To start your own self-improvement journey, I will help you guys form whichever habit you want with a GroupMe chat that you can join. Once a few people have joined, I will also be starting a new habit of meditation. In this chat we will help motivate each other to stay on track with our habits and talk about the struggles we may be facing. Being in a group of people is one of the best forms of motivation because you will not want to be the one person that fails at doing their habit that day. It only takes a month or two for people to form habits and do them without having to force themselves. I hope this GroupMe chat allows you to change your life for the better and I encourage you to join!

GroupMe Chat Link:

Even if you do not have a specific habit in mind, I encourage you to join the group. We can discuss what habits you are most interested in forming and which will be best for your first one.

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