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According to the dictionary, self-improvement is “the improvement of one's knowledge, status, or character by one's own efforts”. It is something that we humans do to make things better, and to increase our personal happiness and satisfaction. Self-improvement can apply to your health, your wealth, or your happiness. Continued growth throughout your adult life is important on many levels, and there are many ways in which you can choose to focus and grow.

Most importantly here, self-improvement isn’t just a pursuit for the wealthy. It’s something everyone, with any budget, can do. Take a moment to think about your life, and if there's a way to make yourself a little happier.

1. Don’t join a gym.

Exercise scores highly among most peoples ‘self-improvement’ goals. A lot of us want to feel that mythical ‘runners high’ where your body is suddenly flushed with a rush of exercise induced endorphins that makes you feel like you can conquer the world.

You don’t need to be told that getting fit and healthy is good for you on so many levels; it increases happiness, it has a positive impact on your sleep patterns, it strengthens your body and your muscles, to name but a few.

The best thing is that you don’t need to shell out cash to get fit. Joining a gym is expensive, and can sometimes be strangely demotivating. If you don’t like being stuck in a room full of other people then hit the road – running is free! If you don’t like running then hit up YouTube for yoga training or indoor fitness routines. Finally, there’s usually a local park that will have team events at the weekend. If you like team sports this can also be a great way to meet new people.

2. Hobbies are free

Granted, not all hobbies are free, but they can be great tools for stopping you spending ‘idle money’. I’m thinking walks around the city on a Saturday morning, browsing shops, or, lying on the sofa after work scrolling through ASOS.

Getting a hobby that you’re really interested in can help to fill time that you would otherwise have spent doing nothing, or consuming just for want of something to do.

Think about what interests you. Find a passion and go with it.


3. Kindness never cost a penny

As said by Anne Frank, “no one has ever become poor by giving”. I might sound unbearable here, but being kind to others for truly altruistic reasons actually does more for you in terms of happiness and improvement of self than any other point on this list.

By stepping away from what you want, and away from thinking about how things affect you, you can find a real sense of satisfaction and contentment.

Best of all, kindness never costs a thing.

4. Take care of what goes in your body

Eating healthy food is important for maintaining your health. This is pretty self-explanatory.

No one is saying that four apples come up cheaper than four mars bars – that’s the criminal way in which the system works. However, it doesn’t follow that eating healthily needs to break the bank. There are vouchers, money off deals, and open-air markets, which all help to keep the cost of healthy eating down.

By taking care of your body and improving your health and your eating habits, you will feel happier and more energised.

5. Get a little direction

That isn’t to say that you need to plan everything down to the last detail, but taking a moment to step back and take stock can be n incredibly empowering move. Ask yourself what you ultimately want from your life, what makes you happy, and then decide what you need to do to make the changes or improvements in your life to achieve it.

By having an end goal you are more likely to make assertive, more confident choices. And again, this is not a costly activity.