3 hacks for self-improvement

Shortcuts to becoming the person you want to be and living the life you want to live

Self-improvement is no joke. It takes time and there is always something to work on.

I’ve been obsessed with self-improvement for a loooong time, so I’ve had plenty of time to learn how to hack it. I love when I find short cuts that help me increase my growth rate. I’m always wanting to improve on many things so being able to do so quickly is pretty awesome.

Here are three hacks that have helped me grow rapidly:

1. When in doubt, ask “what would future-improved-version-of-me do in this situation?”

Do that thing. The moment you start thinking like the person you want to become, and doing the things future-you would do, you start being that person.

I used to always stress about weekend plans. I needed to know exactly how I was spending my time and would get anxious if nothing was planned. So just last weekend, I woke up and asked myself, “how would future-Shireen spend her time today?”

Because I know future-me is active, relationship-oriented, and goes with the flow, I knew she would likely get outdoors, spend some time with family or friends, and be open-minded about where the day takes her. So I leaned into these feelings.

That Saturday, I ended up getting an awesome balcony workout in, a much-needed catch up session with a friend, and a spontaneous 2-hour laugh session with my husband.

By doing the things future-me would do, I’m actively learning what it takes and how much better life feels. The latter keeps me motivated and as a result, I develop them into habits and accelerate my growth.

2. Set your “identities”

If you have no idea what future-you would do, you probably aren’t clear on your vision for future-you. That’s okay. It’s good to know where your starting point is.

If you’re starting here, try:

  • Identifying and writing about your “Identities”

    Ask yourself:

    How do I want to feel when I wake up every day?

    How do I want to experience my career?

    How do I want to feel mentally and physically?

    How do I want my relationships to feel?

    How do I want my (insert anything you want to improve) to feel?

  • Imagining that person in your mind.

    How do they feel holistically?

    What might their habits look like?

    How might they go about their daily life?

    Who might they surround themselves with?

  • Asking yourself what might prevent you from feeling these feelings and being this future-you. Think about your environment, habits, mindset, etc.

    For example, one of my goals last year was to wake up every day feeling STOKED. Like “can’t wait to get out of bed and experience life” excited.

    But when I checked in on what would prevent me from feeling this way, I recognized that I was battling anxiety almost every morning.

    I focused on identifying why I wasn’t waking up excited in the mornings, and learned it was because my mornings would be jam packed with calls. I experimented with other morning routines, and within ONE WEEK, my morning anxiety was gone. And then a few weeks later, I began waking up feeling STOKED. Viola, I had evolved!

Every 3 months or so, I look back at the Identities I wrote about in my journal. I’m surprised by how often I feel aligned with them, as if I had those identities all along. When I’m feeling the things I wished I would feel, I know I’ve evolved. And it’s time for me to set new identities.

This process never fails me. Try it out and let me know how it feels for you.

3. Demand positive peer pressure

We’ve all heard of the common saying, “You are who you surround yourself with.” Positive peer pressure are the influences that you want in your life to speed up your self-improvement rate.

I turned 28 a few days ago and was reflecting on the type of influences I want in my life over the next 2 years.

It got me thinking about the types of people that I intentionally sought out over the last 10 years. I shared this reflection in a thread recently:

For the next two years, I’m looking to surround myself with people who will influence me to be:

  • Healthy.

    I want to be physically and mentally stronger. I’ve already scheduled weekly hangouts with the healthiest people I know!

  • Thoughtful.

    This has always been a focus but I’m becoming more intentional about reaching out to people who think critically about things, ask lots of questions, and are committed to thinking better.

  • Curious.

    Spending more time with people who are inquisitive and always learning!

  • Creative.

    I’m identifying environments and communities where people are expressing different types of creativity.

  • Serious about growing exponentially in holistic ways.

    I’m bringing up conversations with people I meet around coaching, therapy, holistic growth to identify folks that are committed to holistic exponential growth in ways I might align with.

Hope this inspires you to identify the types of influences you want in your life. Once you do, go find them. This is arguably the most high leverage thing you can do.

Ask your friends for recommendations. Post on social media. Get intentional about finding these people. I promise they’re out there.

And if one of your identities or influences is related to becoming a better learner and thinker, you know I’m ready to chat! Email me anytime. And even if it’s not, I’m still one email away for any thoughts. :)

Keep learning,

Shireen