Each month of the year is dedicated to a mundane or meaningful purpose, whether it’s national soup month in January or breast cancer awareness in October, there’s an incentive for every month.
September is dedicated to many things, from sourdough to sewing, but the most notable is self-improvement.
Self-improvement September does have a nice ring to it, but what does that even mean?
Self-improvement is self-assessed and self-standardized, so there’s no right or wrong way to approach the tradition.
The month-long practice occurs in the midst of the change from summer to fall, which is another reason to work on yourself or simply let negative energy fall to the ground, like autumn leaves.
But self-improvement is not one-size-fits-all.
Self-improvement September could simply be an excuse to get back to fulfilling your New Year’s resolutions before the year ends. Or it could be a reason to declutter your house, find a new hobby, reevaluate your priorities, or reduce your screen time and connect with nature.
Maybe all of this feels overwhelming. And maybe you don’t even know where to begin.
Don’t worry – I’ve got your back. Here are some ideas and steps for self-improvement:
- Start with a goal
- You can’t expect to change all of your habits overnight and you can’t set unrealistic expectations for yourself either. Start small – do the one thing you’ve been putting off for way too long. Dig deeper – find the thing that’s keeping you from reaching your full potential. Find it and set a goal to eliminate it from your life, whether that’s a friend, family, or even a job.
- Find something new
- If you have this nagging feeling that something is missing in your life, get out of your comfort zone and go try something new! Tired of eating the same thing every week? Implement one new recipe a week until you’ve found enough meals to create a rotating menu. Tired of feeling overwhelmed? Carve out time in your schedule for meditation and self-care. Struggling with self-doubt and imposter syndrome? Write daily affirmations and speak them into existence each morning when you awake to face the day.
- Rid yourself of things that no longer serve you
- We all have that one person or that one thing that isn’t always in our best interest, yet we refuse to let them go. Use this month as a catalyst to remove yourself from those harmful situations. We can’t move forward with dead weight holding us back.
- Look inward
- In order to self-improve, one must be self-aware – aware of strengths, weaknesses, hardships, and successes. Don’t know how to do this? Try journaling or finding a therapist to talk through things with. Have honest conversations with peers. Don’t take things personally, or as a slight to your character, but as a tool to grow from the things that don’t serve you.
- Find resources
- Just like self-improvement isn’t one-size-fits-all, resources aren’t either. For some, a resource may be checking out a self-help book at the public library. For others, this may be taking medication, making a doctor’s appointment, or calling a friend. Whatever your needs may be, it’s okay to ask for help. It’s also important to recognize when you’re in need of help.
- Be compassionate
- As you embark on this journey of self-improvement and self-discovery, be kind to yourself in the face of failure and defeat. It takes courage to actively seek growth. Acknowledge that courage and be gracious to yourself and to others. You may be growing, but others may be stagnant, and you can’t control them. But you can control how you react to them and how they affect you.
Like all new experiences in life, things won’t always go as planned. You may not reach goals, you may not grow as instantaneously as you might’ve hoped, you may exceed all of your wildest expectations. Whatever the case may be, the most important thing is that you tried.
You set a goal, you tried something new, you let something go. These are all wonderful accomplishments, and you should celebrate every small win – in the month of September and every month after.
Maleigh Crespo is a junior English writing major, journalism minor on the education track at Loyola University New Orleans. She has been writing for as long as she can remember and couldn't see herself doing anything else. When she’s not writing, she can be found blasting Taylor Swift, online shopping, or feeding the squirrels in Audubon Park. You can reach her at email@example.com.