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The Downsides of Obsessing Over Self-Improvement

Most of us have some self-help improvement or goal we’d like to achieve. Perfection is an impossible goal - we're human - but we often look for things to improve. Personal development can be a beautiful thing, inspiring us to become the best possible versions of ourselves.

But there can be a dark side as well to seeking personal growth. Becoming obsessed with self-improvement can bring us down instead of lifting us up. It’s possible to become addicted to improving yourself. What is self-improvement overload, and how can you know you’ve gone too far? We’ll help you learn how to avoid taking it too far.


How to Spot a Self-Improvement Problem

Improvement doesn’t happen by itself -- it requires a lot of time and dedication to make a meaningful change in your life. The first sign that you may be overdoing your self-improvement enrichment is if you seem to be dedicating every spare moment to bettering yourself. It’s easy to go overboard, especially when you’re tackling something with a set time limit like a 30-day challenge to see how much weight you can lose. 

You may hear your friends or family complain about how much time you’re spending in the pursuit of perfection. Your relationships, work, or relaxation time might begin to suffer. It’s helpful to remember that balance is always good. Moderation with everything you do can lead to a healthy lifestyle -- and that even applies to efforts at improving your life

Another red flag with excessively focusing on self-improvement is that it might be taking a huge toll on your finances. It’s okay to spend money on getting a gym membership or buying a treadmill for your home to explore your new fitness goals. But when you’re spending so much money on improvement efforts that you begin to worry about finances, it may be time to scale back. 


The Fine Line Between Healthy and Unhealthy Obsessions

Bettering your physical or mental health is always a noble goal. But it’s good to know how much personal growth may be too much to take on.

Watching your time management is important because you don’t want to shortchange the people in your life or cause hardships with your relationships. 

It’s great to want to achieve your goals, but you should be careful to make sure you still have free, unscheduled time. That will allow you to still meet your other obligations and have fun. Feeling over-scheduled can be depressing and can derail all your self-improvement attempts. You can burn out from taking on too much too quickly.

The Pitfalls of Obsessive Self-Improvement

Learning new skills constantly doesn’t sound like a bad thing. But if you do it obsessively, spending most of your free time on it, your existing life will start to suffer. To make sure your life stays balanced and on track, here are some improvement tips to follow:

  • Start with your bad habits: When revamping your life and coming up with an action plan to follow, list every bad habit you’d like to ditch. Giving up something can often make room in your life for new challenges, putting you in a growth mindset. That will pave the way for you to have additional time for new pursuits, like if you want to learn a new language or take up a hobby.

  • Look at your goals: Assessing your goals can help you decide which self-improvements to prioritise and which ones to shelve for a while until you have more time. If you are trying to reach your goal of travelling to a foreign country sometime soon, it makes sense to learn the language there. But if your goal is something that won’t happen for a while, you can put that one lower on your list in the “someday” pile. 

  • Don’t chase perfection: Nobody is perfect, and the only thing you’ll get from trying to be is disappointment. Perfection just isn’t sustainable. So, if your goal is a beautiful, well-kept home that feels like an oasis from the outside world, for instance, cut yourself some slack if it’s messy sometimes. 

  • Appreciate where you’re at: One of the dangers of self-improvement is not realising that your life is pretty great the way it is. Don’t forget to be thankful for the good things in your life and your strengths as you seek personal growth. 

  • Try not to be too hard on yourself: If you have the goal of looking as fit or glamorous as your favourite actor or model, get realistic about it. The odds are they have a team of people, such as fitness trainers, stylists, and personal shoppers, working for them. And even your favourite stars don’t look glamorous all the time. 

  • Make sure to get enough sleep: There are only so many hours in the day, so you don’t want to take on so many goals that you start skimping on sleep. You’ll feel happier and your immune system will stay strong. If you start feeling anxious from your self-improvement efforts, you can try a weighted blanket to help calm you at night so you can sleep better. 

  • Comparing your achievements to other people’s: If you are seeking self-improvement because you feel you aren’t as good as other people, you should reevaluate your motivation. Everybody’s life can seem perfect from the outside. But that doesn’t mean that’s how they see themselves. You never know -- they may be wishing they could be more like you. 

Chase Betterment, Not Perfection

It’s admirable to want to make the most out of your life. To be successful at this, you need to look at the big picture, not just one part of it. If you’re healthy, happy, and already have great relationships, think of self-improvement as the icing on the cake.

If you haven’t reached the health status you’d like, the happiness level you crave, and maintained healthy relationships, it’s okay to jump into personal growth. But remember to stay balanced while chasing your goals -- otherwise, you could be overlooking the good things that are already in your life.