How To Better Yourself – 23 Challenges That Will Change Your Life

Learning how to better yourself is something we can all work on. Even small adjustments and improvements can have long-lasting effects on your life. Improving yourself can change your financial situation, your relationships, your self-esteem, your health, and more. But, learning how to better yourself can feel like a very difficult thing if your life…

Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Last Updated: January 26, 2024

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how to better yourselfLearning how to better yourself is something we can all work on. Even small adjustments and improvements can have long-lasting effects on your life.

Improving yourself can change your financial situation, your relationships, your self-esteem, your health, and more.

But, learning how to better yourself can feel like a very difficult thing if your life isn’t going the way you want.

Are you wondering how can I improve myself everyday?

Maybe you had a different plan but things don’t seem to be going your way. Maybe you just want a change because anything is better than how things are currently going.

Each of those things can leave you feeling overwhelmed, stressed, or like everyone is doing better than you. Those feelings can be hard to escape, but my goal is that you’ll find at least one thing on this list that will start to change your mood and your life for the better.

No matter how you’re feeling, I do believe that everyone is in charge of their own destiny.

If you feel that things are not going the way you want them to go, then change it! 

Trust me, I know it can be hard – focusing on how to better yourself can be one of the biggest challenges you face. You may fail sometimes, but you’ll never improve your life if you don’t start trying. 

Instead of looking at how to improve yourself everyday as one big and overwhelming challenge, there are lots of smaller challenges and ways to better yourself that will start to change how you see yourself and how you see the world around you. 

Despite your fears, challenges can change the way you think because they open you up to new ideas that you may have never experienced or realized before. By making yourself “uncomfortable” or putting yourself in a position that you are not used to, you will truly learn how to feel better about yourself.

I know that the ideas on this list below will look like a lot and can be overwhelming. You don’t need to work on everything, and especially not all at once. Simply choose one or some of the ways to better yourself and go from there.

Living a better life starts with small steps and changes – just start with something small on this list of challenges. Get out of your comfort zone a little and see how it feels to succeed.

As you keep working on how to better yourself, you’ll start to see your life changing around you.

Content related to how to better yourself:

How to better yourself


1. Be thankful for what you have.

The next time something negative is bringing you down, I suggest you try to remember all of the good things that you already have in your life. You already live a great life, and to live life to the fullest, you just need to remember that.

This is the power of positive thinking at its best, and it’s one of the best ways of how to better yourself. 

You can be thankful for your family, friends, your job, a past experience, opportunities, and more.

Thinking about everything you are thankful for can make something negative seem very trivial. You may even laugh at yourself for being so negative!

Challenge: Once a day, or whenever you’re feeling down, think about all of the things you are thankful for. You can even write each of them down on little pieces of paper and put them in a jar to read at a later time.


2. Travel to a random place.

There are many wonderful places in the world. Traveling to a random place can help improve your confidence, open you up to new experiences, and may even make you a little uncomfortable. These are all things that will help you reevaluate what you may want to do in life.

You don’t have to go far from home to explore and have new experiences. Traveling to a random place can even be done in your own state or a nearby one – I bet there are lots of things close to you that you haven’t even tried yet.

Challenge: For your next vacation, why don’t you throw a coin on a map and see where it lands?


3. Don’t be afraid of what other people think.

If you want to live life on your own terms, then stop caring what other people think of you and your life. 

This can be one of the hardest challenges if you want to learn how to better yourself, and I know because I used to really care about what other people thought of me. It took me a long time to gain the confidence to let go of that, and now I couldn’t be happier. This has really helped me learn how to live a great life.

You shouldn’t let the opinions of others affect you, drag you down, control you, and so on. Like I always say, “Who cares what others think!?”

The only person who should get to tell you what kind of life to live is you.

Challenge: The next time you start worrying about what someone else might think of you, stop and ask yourself, “What will happen if they are judging me?” Unless you’re doing something illegal, nothing will happen. This can be hard to practice, but you are slowly retraining yourself.


4. Take a risk.

Have you ever thought about doing something particularly risky so that you could live life to the fullest but you were too afraid to go for it? Doing something risky every so often can get your heart beating and your adrenaline rushing. If you want to learn how to better yourself, this can really make you feel alive and like you are in charge of your life.

This is something that I am trying to get much better at because I realize that fear might be holding me back from being able to live life to the fullest.

Now is the time to get over our fears and take more risks!

Challenge: Next time you are faced with a risk, think about the pros and cons instead of automatically turning the idea down.


5. Say yes.

When you want to learn how to feel better about yourself, you may also be hiding from everyone and feeling like you are stuck. In this case, you may want to try branching out and saying yes more often. Saying yes can open you up to more situations, more challenges in life, and so on.

It’s easy to avoid new situations when you’re feeling stuck, but trying something new can show you that there are so many exciting or fun things around you.

Challenge: Next time someone asks you to do something (that is legal, of course), say yes, no matter what.


6. Say no.

I know I just told you to say yes to new things, but always saying yes to everything is an easy way to spread yourself out too thin. You might feel like you never have a minute to yourself, that you’re ready to pull your hair out, or that you don’t have enough time to do the things you want/need to do.

If that sounds like you and you want to learn how to better yourself, it might be time to start saying no to some things. Saying no may allow you to have more time and energy to focus on what you truly want to do in life.

Challenge: Next time someone asks you to do something that you honestly cannot fit into your life, just say no. It’s really that easy.


7. Exercise.

Whenever I’m feeling a little stressed out, tired, or even grumpy, I try to fit in a workout. I know that even a small workout is better than none. It can be a short walk around the block, a bike ride, or hike.

Exercising is great and it can improve your life because it can make you healthier all around. You will feel more confident, your mind will be clearer, you will be able to better cope with stress, and more.

You can work out in whatever way you prefer. I’ve never been the type of person to go to the gym or go for a run, but I do like to go rock climbing and hiking. It’s whatever fits you and your situation best – remember, learning how to better yourself is about challenging yourself in a way that works best for you

Challenge: At least a few times a week, try to get in a good exercise session, even if it’s a 30 minute walk or bike ride. Make this a regular thing and fit it in no matter what.


8. Spend less time watching TV.

I talk about cutting back on TV a lot on Making Sense of Cents because the average person spends too much time watching television, 35 hours in fact!

35 HOURS! Can you imagine what you could do with even half of those hours every week!?

TV can be a big time waster and can be detrimental if you want to learn how to better yourself.

We currently don’t have a TV at all, and it’s been months since we have sat down to watch anything. We’ve been more productive, have spent more time exploring, and more!

Instead of turning on the TV the next time you are bored or looking for something to do, you may want to do something more worthwhile, such as working out, spending time with friends and family, reading a book, and so on.

Our minds are greatly influenced by what we see on TV and on social media. Plus, it can be a huge waste of time.

Challenge: Every so often, try to completely cut out TV for the day or even longer if you prefer.

 Related to how to better yourself by cutting out TV: 59 Things To Do Instead of Watching TV So That You Can Take Your Life Back


9. Spend less time on social media and the internet.

The average person spends many, many hours on social media each week. It can prevent you from finding ways of how to better yourself because social media can cause you to compare yourself to others in a negative way.

Between Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and many others, it’s also quite easy to waste your entire day.

If you find that you are spending too much time on social media and are thinking badly about yourself, you may want to shut down some or all of your social media accounts. You can delete apps from your phone, create a time block so you can’t access your accounts during certain periods of the day, and so on.

For me, I actually deleted Pinterest and Twitter off my phone a few years ago, and it’s been great. I decided to do that with Facebook too, and it’s allowed me to be more present and happier overall.

Challenge: Try deleting one or all social media apps from your phone for just one day. You can always download them again, but you may find yourself not missing them at all.

Related: Why I’m Taking A Social Media Break


10. Have regular family money meetings.

Talking about money and conducting regular budget meetings is an important task for every family and serious relationship to take part in. A family who has regular money talks and budget meetings is more likely to be financially successful and happier than a family who doesn’t.

Regular money meetings can lead to better communication between family members, a more unified financial goal, family members being more involved and motivated, and more. This is how to better yourself for your current and future financial life.

Read more at Family Budget Meetings – Yes, You Need To Have Them.

Challenge:  Set aside 30 minutes this week to talk about a financial issue that you’ve been wanting to address. It could be creating a budget, saving up for something, or just talking about your long-term goals. Remember, go in with an open mind!


11. Think positively.

I say this often and I still believe it. Thinking positively and having a more positive behavior is one of the best ways of how to better yourself because it can completely change your outlook on life. Being positive can give you motivation, it can help you to not waste time on regret, and more.

Challenge: Every time something may bog you down or make you unhappy, try to think of a positive outcome that may come from it. Gratitude practice can change your life!

Related article: Why I Believe Being Positive Can Change Your Financial Situation And Your Life


12. Be kind to others.

Being kind can improve your life because you will feel better about yourself and you will be making others feel better as well. When you are kind to others, you are not just learning how to better yourself, you’re improving the lives of people around you.

Challenge: There are many daily challenges you could do to take part in this, such as:

  • Say hello to every person you walk by today
  • Open doors for others
  • Smile at strangers
  • Help someone with their groceries
  • Volunteer somewhere
  • Have more empathy
  • Have more patience


13. Look for new ways to save more money.

Looking for ways to save more money may allow you to pay off your debt faster, improve your financial habits, help you reach your dreams sooner, and more. If you want to learn how to better yourself and your finances, finding new ways to save will help you feel less stressed out by your finances and help you work towards big money goals.

Plus, there are many, many different ways to save money. You don’t need to sacrifice your favorite things or live an unhappy life in order to save money.

It’s all about being realistic and finding a good balance between saving and spending.

Challenge: Find something on this list to try: 30+ Ways To Save Money Each Month.


14. Learn a new skill.

When I was in school I used to tell myself that I hated learning new things. I was like most teenagers who thought I already knew everything. However, I was completely wrong – there is so much to learn! 

In fact, I’ve been learning how to play chess and Wes and I have spent many hours over the past couple of weeks playing chess together. I finally beat him for the first time, and it felt so good to finally reach that point! Learning how to make jewelry is next on my list.

If you want to figure out how to better yourself, continuing to learn new things can improve your confidence as you work on building a new skill. 

There are so many different things you can learn, including:

  • A new language
  • How to do a craft, like jewelry making, knitting, painting, and more
  • How to cook, like if there are recipes you’ve been wanting to master
  • How to start a blog
  • How to play a new game or sport

And more! 

Challenge: Think of something you’ve been wanting to learn how to do and start researching how you can make that happen.


15. Learn how to make passive income.

Building passive income is something that I’ve been working on for the past several years. I want to continue to bring in an income while being able to focus on other goals of mine, like doing more hiking or biking (which will most likely never generate income). I also want to diversify my income so that I’m not too reliant on one source.

For me, finding passive income sources is great because I can focus more on life instead of just my business, and I can do it while continuing to earn a great income.

Unfortunately, many people think that passive income simply isn’t real, that it must be luck and not work, that you’re a trust fund kid, or something else.

But, that’s not true at all! There are small sources of passive income that hardly take any work at all, like opening a high yield savings account.

Now, there are many other sources of passive income that do take a lot of work to start (it’s not a get rich quick scheme) – there’s probably going to be some effort to get the passive income stream started, and perhaps some effort to maintain it for years to come. 

It can take time or money to start on most passive income ideas, but that investment is worth it.

Here are the reasons why earning passive income is one of the best ways of how to better yourself:

  • You can make money with little work to maintain it. This is a huge positive of passive income! Who wouldn’t want to find an income source that didn’t take much work to maintain?
  • You can diversify your income. You want to diversify your income because one source of income may not last forever, and you may be able to lessen your risk by having multiple income streams.
  • You can do what you love while still making money. This will help you to always have money for your bills and other necessities.
  • You can retire and feel a little more comfortable knowing that you’re still bringing money in.
  • You can start a family, and earning passive income can help you devote more time to your family since you may be able to work less.
  • You can travel extensively and enjoy wherever you are exploring. Passive income can support you while you travel.

Challenge: Make a list of things that you want to do with your life and write down how earning passive income will help you make those goals happen. Finding motivation for a change can be a challenge in itself!

Learn more about how to better yourself with passive income at 12 Passive Income Ideas That Will Let You Enjoy Life More.


16. Increase your credit score.

If your credit score isn’t that great, then it’s important that you start trying to increase it. Your credit score is important because it can affect your interest rates, your ability to get some jobs, whether or not you are approved for a loan, and more.

Fortunately, there are easy things you can do to increase your credit score. You should watch your utilization rate on your credit cards, pay your bills on time, watch the amount of hard inquiries on your credit report, and so on.

Just a few percentage points can mean the difference of hundreds of dollars each month.

That means you can wind up saving THOUSANDS each year just by increasing your credit score. You can check your credit score for free with Credit Sesame.

Challenge: Start simple here and check your credit score if you don’t know what it is. Once you do, find out what’s hurting you and try to make a plan to improve your score.


17. Practice self-care.

Self-care is simply doing something to protect your mental or physical health. It can be something like taking a nice long bath or hot shower, doing yoga, meditating, drinking more water, learning how to not smoke, getting rid of the negative people in your life, etc. It’s spending a little bit of time to put yourself first, which is really what learning how to be a better person is all about.

When you are busy or overwhelmed with other aspects of your life, self-care is one of the last things you think you should do. But, when you take a small break to take care of yourself, the effects can ripple through the rest of your life.

You may find that your stress is reduced, you’re more productive, happier, and more.

Challenge: Find a simple self-care practice that you can start doing today. 


18. Keep a journal.

While I don’t have a journal, I do have this blog, which acts as a journal in a way.

Keeping a journal can help you reflect on your past and lets you check in to see how you’re progressing as you learn how to better yourself. Plus, spilling your heart out every so often is great for the mind and for the soul.

Challenge: Write in a journal once a day, once a week, or whenever you want. Just keep it regular and be completely honest with yourself. Starting a new hobby which may include keeping a gratitude journal can be good too!


19. Cherish moments with loved ones.

You should never take a moment for granted with those you love. Take time to see your family and friends, talk to them on the phone, tell them you love them, and let them know that you are there for them.

Your loved ones offer you some of the most amazing moments we have, and you just never know what may happen to you or them.

This is one of the best ways to better yourself because it feels good for both you and your loved ones.

Challenge: The next time you think about someone you love, send them a text or call them to tell them that you’re thinking of them.


20. Pay off debt.

If you have debt and want to learn how to better yourself, now is the time to make a plan to change your life. Paying off your debt can lessen your stress levels, allow you to put more money towards something else (such as retirement), stop paying interest fees, and more.

Debt might be the thing that has been holding you back from being able to live life to the fullest, so let’s make this the year that you finally start eliminating your debt!

Read more at How To Eliminate Your Debt.

Challenge: This can be hard, especially if you have been avoiding your debt, but look at your total amount of debt. It will feel like you’re pulling the bandaid off so you can start making a plan to pay it off.


21. Sit silently.

When was the last time you just sat down in complete silence with no distractions? For the average person, this is probably a rare occurrence.

Sitting silently can help you reflect on your life and what’s going on in the world around you. It can also help you relax, destress, and clear your mind.

Challenge: Every day or as much as you would like, try to sit down for anywhere from 10-30 minutes with no distractions whatsoever, not even music playing in the background. This may include doing some meditation as well.


22. Read as much as you can.

Books are one of the best ways to learn more and explore the world around you. Spending just a little time everyday with a book is great for many reasons, such as:

  • Providing knowledge
  • Improving your memory
  • Opening your mind
  • Bringing out your creative side
  • It is affordable entertainment

And more!

Challenge: Go to your local library and borrow a book you’ve been wanting to read.


23. Get enough sleep each night.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, the average person needs around 7.5 hours of sleep in order to “function at their best.” However, the average person actually only sleeps around 6.5 hours.

Lack of sleep, according to HealthLine, can lead to issues such as:

  • Impaired brain activity
  • Memory problems
  • Moodiness
  • Depression
  • Cold and Flu
  • Type 2 Diabetes
  • Weight gain
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease

So if you want to learn how to better yourself, you should aim for 7-8 hours of sleep every night. It will help you be more productive, become healthier, and live a better life.

Challenge: Start a routine of going to bed at least 30 minutes earlier than you normally do. Think about creating a more mindful morning routine as well.


How to better yourself

I hope you enjoyed today’s article on how to better yourself. If you want to learn how to be a better person to others and to yourself, then this is a great place to start.

Above, I included 23 simple ways to improve yourself.

This will help you to learn how to improve yourself physically, how to improve yourself at work and professionally, how to improve yourself mentally, self-improvement tips, and more.

Boosting your self-development and having a more routine schedule, such as a routine bedtime may help you to better yourself. Or, perhaps, you need to let go of your schedule. This is simply just dependent on the person as different people may benefit from different things in life.

These tips can help to improve your exercise routine, change your perspective on life, improve your personal development, create better to-do lists, allow for personal growth and improve your quality of life, engage in hobbies, eliminate negative thoughts and bad habits, create better boundaries, and more.

Have you ever taken part in any of these daily challenges? Do you believe that taking part in daily challenges can help you learn how to better yourself? Why or why not?

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Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Author: Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Hey! I’m Michelle Schroeder-Gardner and I am the founder of Making Sense of Cents. I’m passionate about all things personal finance, side hustles, making extra money, and online businesses. I have been featured in major publications such as Forbes, CNBC, Time, and Business Insider. Learn more here.

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  1. Frank Ringer

    Thanks for that.

  2. Michelle, your posts are great – so detailed. When my daughter was born I stopped reading books for a while. I was still reading but mainly on my phone, and nothing as lengthy as a novel at that point 🙂 Normally I’m a huge reader and I have loved getting back into books again! I write poetry and there is nothing like reading books or going to book readings/poetry readings to help ignite the spark for your own work 🙂 Hope you’re doing well!

    1. I need to start reading more books that aren’t boat or business related. It’s an area I need to work on.

  3. Great post, thanks.

  4. The only thing missing from this list is listening to some good, uplifting music. Music can be a fantastic mood booster. I mean, who doesn’t bust out into a full performance in the car when their favorite song comes on? Just me lol? Seriously though, otherwise this is a solid list for sure!

    1. Oh yes! I completely forgot.

  5. Caroline S

    Hi Michelle. Great post indeed. This is exactly where I am in my life journey , I mean realizing all or most of the above and I can fully attest that it’s been great for my mental health and is currently helping pull me from depression!. Thx soo much for sharing such a great and timely article☺

  6. Love this post. All good advice, Michelle.

  7. Golden Goose Guy

    This list has a nice mix of self-care, lifestyle and achievement activities. It seems that we can’t entirely focus on one without sacrificing the other! Just out of curiosity, for the sitting silently recommendation, is this meditation that you’re recommending? – Josh

    1. It can be whatever you want it to be 🙂

  8. I really liked the 3rd point ‘Don’t be afraid of what other people think’. I realize that at many times, I was scared in taking a decision of what others will think.

    I made this mistake and even didn’t start blogging because of this. However now I try to not pay attention to the others. Thanks once again for this article

  9. Love this list. And love that this blog is not just about money and finance, but also covers personal development, self-improvement and possibly anti-depression tools. 🙂

    Coincidentally, I’ve just started a book challenge and have been allocating night-time for reading. I would like to pick up some “fun” skills next. 🙂

    Thanks for the cool ideas – will refer back to this list often.

  10. I’m a firm believer everyday is a new chapter to begin again and repent for yesterday and yesteryear and start on a clean slate. 🙂

  11. nandojapa

    I realy liked this post.
    This post helped me in two forms.
    1- pratical read in english
    2- discovery the other forms to think about my life, sometimes I really believe that I’am control all the points of my life and the others days I have doubt about all the itens in my life.

    Thanks for shared your experiences.

  12. Freelance Work

    Any changes are always a risk. It can get better, or maybe worse. You can find out the truth only by risking and trying. In order to achieve qualitative changes, you should always abandon habits that we have considered inapplicable for many years. The more often we take risks, the greater the chances of a qualitative change. At the same time, it is important to understand why we are in danger, what changes we would like to achieve. Having decided on this, we act and trust our intuition. Imaginary fears that can restrain must be revealed and destroyed. When asking yourself questions about the need for risk, record your answers – on paper, on the computer – where you can return to this idea again, review it, correct it, and if necessary, make sure again that the decision was made correctly.

  13. Fantastic post, Michelle! I can honestly say that I actively work on all of the above every single day, because improving ourselves and our lives is an ongoing process. OK, all of the above BUT 1… #23! I am awful at getting enough sleep, mostly because I don’t like sleeping, and often stay up way too late, either reading or watching Friends haha, but I am really trying to improve 😀

  14. I totally agree with almost every points, especially saying “no” others. Some of us feels that we have to say yes to everything, but the problem is there is not enough time in the day and if we want to accomplish things in life, we have to say “no” a lot. As the famous Warren Buffett once stated: “The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”

  15. Dorcas wood

    This is a great list Michelle! Getting out of debt is our goal for this year which I know is going to create so much momentum for us to reach our financial freedom goals faster.

    I’d probably add have deep belly laughs often! We watch funny movies, memes and videos a lot. Plus my kids and hubby and I joke around so much that we have so many deep belly laughs which makes life more fun.

  16. Mr Fundamental

    I really like this list! I especially like the exercise one (#7) and the saving money one (#13). I have a few challenges of my own — if anyone is interested in taking them on?

    Thanks for another great post!

  17. Probably my two most important tips on bettering yourself is to:

    1. Go to bed and wake up at the same time everyday
    2. Exercise each morning

    You will be so much more productive if you can stick to a routine. Many people in their 20s waste so much time going out very late and spending the next day hungover. So much time is wasted on the weekends.

    You will be surprised how much more free-time you would have if you just follow those two simple steps.

  18. Rijan Bhandari

    This was a wonderful read, Michelle!
    I hadn’t realized how obvious these tips were until you pointed them out.

    Next time somebody asks me something that I don’t think is helping me, I’ll certainly try reasoning with them and say No. Thanks!