How to Improve Your Life in 8 Steps

UPDATED: May 22, 2023
PUBLISHED: September 5, 2017

“To be excellent we cannot simply think or feel excellent, we must act excellently.” —Aristotle

Improving your life and well-being isn’t something that happens through hopes and flukes. It happens through tenacity and consistency.

Related: 43 Ways to Improve Yourself in Just 10 Minutes​

Your success, happiness and dreams will happen through the quality of your actions and an abundance mindset. Start with these eight steps, and you’ll begin to construct and see an improved version of yourself.

1. Establish a vision.

“The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision.” —Helen Keller

Whether it’s a fitness, business or relationship goal, establishing a vision is key. Your vision serves as your compass and prevents you from getting lost on the path to your ultimate goal. A vision forces you to be specific about what you’re going after, and once you have it, it becomes part of your identity and propels you into action each day.

As you’re establishing a vision, set aside some time to do the “Perfect Day” exercise. Ask yourself these questions and give yourself time to think through the answers.

  • How do I want every day to look?
  • How do I want to feel each day?
  • Whom am I spending my days with?
  • What kind of work am I doing?
  • How do I want to make people feel after being around me?

2. Commit to showing up.

Motivation comes and goes like the clouds passing through our days. It’s not a dependable resource to propel you into action each day. To develop your talent and upgrade your well-being, you have to show up every day, no matter the circumstances.

As the Japanese proverb reminds us, “Vision without action is a dream. Action without vision is a nightmare.” Let your vision serve as your compass while your actions propel you to become a better version of yourself.

At the beginning, it’s understandable to feel a little apprehensive about the journey; fear is normal. But taking giant leaps of action and risk isn’t necessary. Tiny steps and small moments of courage are the only requirements.

Make that call, pitch your idea, ask for that raise, post that first video, ask that tough question, do that first workout, and make that first healthy breakfast. This is how remarkability begins.

All great achievements start with one small action.

3. Don’t try to do it alone.

No one succeeds in this world alone. Players have coaches. Singers have producers and co-writers.

Having support allows you to have someone to be accountable with, to get an unbiased perspective on the development and pursuit of your goals. No one gets immunity from the fear, doubt and uncertainty that pursuing new endeavors presents. It’s pivotal to have a support network to catch you whenever you begin to slip back into your old habits and play small.

Make it a goal today to think of three people who can provide support and accountability for your new journey

4. Embrace the pain, adversity and fear.

Fear is a natural part of life and it’s actually good in certain circumstances. Fear is nothing more than your body trying to protect you. As you’re pursuing a better version of yourself, acknowledge your fear and tell it thanks but no thanks.

Adversity and small failures are nothing but feedback and information for you to use as you proceed along your journey. It’s OK to have butterflies while doing unfamiliar things. But remember, all you need is those 20 seconds of courage to take the leap forward and grow.

5. Play for something bigger than yourself.

“What’s your goal?” I often ask my clients.

“To lose weight,” they might respond.

That’s great, but it’s only scratching the surface. Dig deeper into why you want to pursue your goals.

If you go deeper with your goals and motivation, you’ll see that it’s more layered than you realized. Tapping into this deeper level of motivation for why you want this thing builds endurance. It cements the goal in your mind and your heart. It keeps you on track when distractions will attempt to veer you off course.

6. Learn every day.

When you quit learning, you are left behind. Adopt a student mentality and develop a growth mindset where you’re always becoming better at your craft. One of the most common traits between successful people is their habit of continuous learning.

7. Find time for daily exercise.

Tony Robbins says “motion creates emotion.” The type of exercising doesn’t matter as much as the consistency of doing the habit does.

Your health is the head of an octopus and the tentacles are the other facets of life. Without the head being in an optimal state, the rest of those tentacles aren’t going to operate and function properly. And then you won’t show up as the best version of yourself every day.

8. Reflect, acknowledge and appreciate your current accomplishments.

Ambition is a double-edged sword. On one end, it motivates you to pursue your goals. On the other end, you never feel good enough or that progress is happening because you’re so fixated on the result, which feels so far away.

Try tracking your progress on a daily basis. This allows you to see daily growth for what’s working and what isn’t. After all, what gets measured gets improved.

Journaling is one of the best ways to manifest success, happiness and growth in all facets of your life. Journaling provides clarity over your objectives while also improving your mindfulness, happiness and self-confidence. Writing down three things you’re grateful for each day can teach your brain to look for positive opportunities and shift into an optimist mindset.

Related: 6 Mindset Shifts That Will Improve Your Life

Julian Hayes

Julian Hayes II is the founder of The Art of Fitness & Life. He is an author, health and wellness consultant, and speaker operating at the nexus of creativity, health and business. His mission is to help you integrate health and wellness into a life you love while increasing your energy, productivity and performance at work. His book, Body Architect, is a real-world guide designed to help you create a life you love while creating a body you love.