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How To Be a Better Person: 12 Small Steps

We all strive to be good people — but it’s often easy to get stuck in negative habits and patterns, particularly when it comes to our day-to-day routines. Becoming a better person is often a matter of changing the little things we do daily, not making sweeping lifestyle shifts. Entrepreneurs, family heads, and everyone else could benefit from learning how to improve their well-being.

If you’re unsure how to become a better person but still want to make an effort, read on. We’ll break down 12 steps you can take to improve your life by 1% each and every day.

1. Practice Self-Care

First and foremost, try to practice self-care every day. This is an inherent part of personal growth, and it’s an important aspect of taking care of your mental health. By practicing self-care, like enjoying your favorite hobbies, writing in your journal, spending time with loved ones, practicing positive self-talk, and avoiding negative emotions in people, you’ll bolster your personal development and ensure that you live your best life.

Being a better person means more than doing things for other people. It means taking care of yourself first to be the best possible version of yourself and a role model to others.

2. Be a Good Listener

Next, practice listening to other human beings you meet, especially family members. When you have a conversation with someone, don’t wait for your turn to speak or rebut what they have to say. Instead, open your mind and allow their opinions to exist independently of your judgment.

Being an active listener can help you make friends and become known as a good person. It helps people feel heard and listened to. This advice can affect every relationship you have, from acquaintanceships to friendships to romantic relationships.

3. Set Achievable Personal Goals

Set goals to become a better person every day, no matter how small or large they might be. Life is a journey, and you should pursue your goals and dreams with vigor and ambition to make the most of your time on Earth.

By setting achievable personal goals, you’ll curate a drive and energy in your heart that others will be able to see and appreciate. More importantly, if your goals are good or positive, you’ll do good things for the world and help to improve it.

4. Step Outside Your Comfort Zone

Your comfort zone is just that: comfortable. But to become a better person, you need to step outside your comfort zone from time to time.

Try a new food. Learn a new skill. Go to a new place for vacation instead of the same place you’ve been to a dozen times.

Stepping outside your comfort zone helps you be a better person by opening your mind and preventing bias from taking hold. 

Furthermore, stepping outside your comfort zone helps you understand other people better. This ties into the above tip of being a good listener. When you have more experiences to draw on, you can be a more generous, forgiving individual and won’t be as quick to judge others for their lifestyles or opinions.

5. Keep an Open Mind

That advice ties into this next tip: always keep an open mind. Don’t assume that you know everything, and try your best not to give your opinion when it isn’t needed.

Instead, remember that people see and experience things differently from you. In the Western world, a wide variety of lifestyles, opinions, and habits are permissible. It’s all part of the freedom that we universally value.

Keeping an open mind means not decrying or bad-mouthing people who do things differently from the way you do them. When you keep an open mind, you accept people for who they are, which may lead to new friendships, a bigger family, and other major improvements to your life. Plus, keeping an open mind greatly supports those who need it most.

6. Let Go of Grudges and Practice Forgiveness

It’s important to practice forgiveness whenever someone has done you wrong. It’s okay to feel anger, but you need to control your anger, let go of grudges, and forgive people who do bad things or make mistakes.

Forgiveness is an important element of mental health; the more you fixate on the mistakes people make, the angrier and more bitter you’ll become. By practicing forgiveness, you’ll feel better about the everyday world and cultivate a forgiving attitude in the people around you.

7. Express Feelings Respectfully

Part of being good is knowing how to express your feelings respectfully. That doesn’t mean you can’t feel anything, nor that you can’t feel any negative emotions like anger, grief, or sadness.

However, you need to be mature about your emotions, which can affect others and not just yourself. Practice expressing your feelings calmly, maturely, and with control. This will help you maintain a better hold on your feelings and serve as an important example for others in an emotional, intense situation.

If you maintain control of your feelings, the odds are that others in the same situation will also do so. All it takes is one person trying to be better to start a positive feedback loop of improvement in an entire group.

8. Perform Random Acts of Kindness

Random acts of kindness, like buying a stranger’s coffee, giving someone a ride to the airport, and picking up trash off the street even when no one is looking, all have a positive compounding effect on the world.

If we all perform random acts of kindness, we’ll all become better people and make the Earth better than when we arrived. Don’t turn away when life presents you with an opportunity to do something kind for another person. Take full advantage of it and allow the positivity of the moment to improve your outlook and mindset.

9. Practice Mindfulness

Speaking of mindset, you may indeed benefit from practicing mindfulness regularly. By practicing mindfulness, you concentrate your awareness and energy on the present moment, focusing on what you can feel, hear, see, and smell.

Practicing mindfulness is a good way to get yourself out of your own head, preventing rumination or brooding on darker topics. By being mindful, you’ll also be better equipped to help people with their problems and to be a good listener, as described earlier. Practicing mindfulness is an important part of self-care so you can be grateful for the things you have instead of yearning for the things you don’t.

10. Be Grateful

In fact, you should strive to be grateful all the time and in everything that you do. Gratitude is an important part of mental health and overall self-care. The more grateful you are for the things you already have and the experiences you already know, the more grateful you’ll be for future things that come into your life.

Gratitude is the antidote to jealousy and bitterness. Even if things get tough, take a few minutes in the morning and evening to consciously be grateful for the things in your life, and you’ll go to bed feeling better than you did before.

11. Follow the “Golden Rule”

The so-called Golden Rule is thus: treat others how you want to be treated. This is a great rule of thumb if you aren’t ever sure how to act in a specific situation or how you should treat another person, particularly a stranger.

By following the Golden Rule, you’ll do unto your neighbors as you would want to be done to you in a bad spot. For example, offer it if someone asks for help in an emergency. You’d want their support in a similar situation, after all.

12. Be Authentic

Strive to be authentic in everything you do. Be yourself, no matter what. Don’t act differently, fake your personality, or try to be someone you aren’t. This disservice your spirit and may cause others not to value you as you deserve to be valued.

When you’re authentic and honest about what you like, what you do, and who you are, you might feel better every day and broadcast that positive energy to everyone you meet.

Summary

In the end, being a better person means turning your life upside down or making big changes. It’s about making little, meaningful changes in how you interact with people and think about things. Follow the 12 steps above, and you’ll become a better person in no time.

1AND1’s other guides and resources can also help on your self-improvement journey. Check them out today!

Sources:

Self-Talk Definition: 6 Ways to Practice Positive Self-Talk Daily – 2022 | MasterClass

Mindfulness Definition | What Is Mindfulness | University of Berkeley

The Golden Rule | Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy

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