Did you know that September is designated as Self-Improvement Month? This is the month to take some time to improve yourself, and set achievable goals to help you along the path to becoming your best self. There are lots of books, videos, online classes, and seminars you can take to improve various aspects of your life, and you could spend thousands of dollars on learning different methods, techniques, and activities to bring about self-transformation. But, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to make a big difference, and you don’t need to accomplish a total makeover in 30 days. If you want to start going to a gym but can’t afford a membership or aren’t sure which gym suits your needs the best, look for local gyms offering free weekly passes, and line up four different trials. This will not only give you four weeks of versatility in reaching your fitness goals, but it won’t cost you a dime and you can find out which gym is the best for you.
All you need to do is choose an area of your life you want to improve, such as fitness, and set a reasonable goal to achieve by the end of the month. You don’t need to join a gym, buy a lot of expensive equipment, or obtain an entirely new wardrobe. Your goal can be something as simple as taking a walk every day for 30 days straight, or exercising for 30 minutes a day, five days a week for the month of September. Your “exercise” can be anything you want it to be, like taking your dog to the dog park and playing, dancing with your partner, swimming, playing with your children, walking around your neighborhood, or engaging in a game of basketball with your teen. Choose activities you enjoy doing and you will be more likely to stick with your plan and achieve your goal.
Perhaps your self-improvement goal has to do with getting a better handle on your finances. Your activity for the month could be simply keeping a receipt every time you make a purchase, and reviewing where your money went at the end of the month. This can be extremely valuable in setting realistic budget categories, and can help tremendously if your larger goal is to begin living within your means. By starting in September and adjusting categories as necessary in subsequent months, you can have a solid financial plan in place by the end of the year, and you may even discover places you can cut back and begin putting money aside in savings.
If you have a goal that seems too big to accomplish in a month, try breaking it down into smaller weekly or even daily goals. For instance, if you want to save $400 by the end of the month, break that down into four weekly goals of saving $100. If that is still too big to wrap your mind around, break it down even further, to daily goals of $15 (this will actually give you $105 each week). Everyone can find a way to save $15 a day! It can be as simple as skipping a lunch out, making coffee at home instead of spending money on a fancy coffeehouse concoction, or carpooling, using public transportation, riding a bike, or walking to work. The last two could even be incorporated into a fitness goal for the month, killing two birds with one stone.
Maybe your self-improvement goal for the month involves giving to others. You can take one week to gather unused items around the house for donation to a local charity, another week to volunteering for a community improvement project, a third week to donating your time to doing household projects or yard work for an elderly neighbor or church member, and a fourth week helping out a coworker who has a need, or mentoring a young person.
The great thing about all of these self-improvement goals is that once you get started, you’ll probably find yourself experiencing not only a sense of accomplishment, but the inspiration to keep the habit going into the next month, and the next. Before you know it, you’ll hardly recognize yourself!