Self-improvement practices that can boost your career

Happy woman using a laptop
(Image credit: Urbanscape / Shutterstock)

Everyone always wants to be better, especially when our world places a massive emphasis on hustle culture and personal improvement – but sometimes it can be hard to know where to start.

That’s especially true when you consider just how many popular methods exist for both career improvement and personal development.

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The sheer number of options can be daunting, so we’ve sifted through the internet’s wealth of expert advice to discover which practical self-improvement methods are perfect for delivering a career boost.

Beyond these top tips, explore the best habits for a productive workday and our world-class organization advice.

Get a new hobby 

Taking up a new hobby doesn’t sound like the kind of advice for someone who wants to give their career a boost, but it actually makes loads of sense.

If you find a hobby that you enjoy, you’ll have a fun new activity in your life that can help unleash your creativity, develop your skills, or relieve stress after a hard day. Those are all positives for your career – and the rest of your life.

A new hobby can deliver additional benefits, too. If you’re particularly passionate about the new interest then you could turn that into a new job opportunity and, indeed, it could give you a new career entirely.

Read broadly 

Reading is another area that can help both your personal and professional lives, and if you broaden your horizons in this category then you can gain perspectives that’ll have a big impact on your career.

If you delve into books about your industry or job then you’ll undoubtedly gain knowledge that’ll help at the office – you might learn things you’ll be using for years. If you want to broaden your reading beyond your usual genres that should be your first step.

Don’t stop there, though. Pick up best-selling and well-reviewed business books, even if they’re not related to your industry, because you’ll learn things that you can bring into your career. Bury your nose in biographies of famous and successful people to figure out how you can adopt their strategies to your situation and to find inspiration for your own grind.

And don’t fret if you want to stick with non-fiction, either: reading for pleasure is relaxing and can improve your vocabulary and boost your communication skills.


There’s almost no end to the benefits you’ll get from regular exercise. You’ll boost your physical health, it’s scientifically proven to improve your mental health, and it can work as the perfect activity for clearing your mind and relaxing.

Those benefits can have a significant impact on your career. Improved physical health can deliver more endurance, especially in physical jobs, and the mental benefits of exercise can enhance your focus and concentration – and better performance in those areas can profoundly impact workplace performance.

You don’t have to incorporate huge amounts of exercise to feel the benefit, either. It just takes some walking or stretching in the mornings, a bit of yoga or some cycling – just something to get your body moving and your brain activated.

Eat well 

Similarly, if you concentrate on eating a healthy diet, you’ll feel the gains in every area of your life – including the office.

If you eat well and stay hydrated you’ll have more energy, focus and concentration, so you’ll perform better at your job for longer periods. You’ll be more productive, more likely to get promoted, and have a higher chance of finding success.

It might cost a bit more and you may have to spend extra time on meal prep but, if a healthier eating regime is possible, it’s a practical self-improvement area that can have a big professional impact.

Get meditating 

You’ll only get ahead at work if you look after your brain – no matter your job, that’s a fact. And if you want to take care of your noggin at work and beyond, meditating is one of the best habits around.

Meditation only needs to take five or ten minutes per day, and you can use apps to guide you through the process, which is perfect if you’re a beginner. And if you’re unsure about whether to devote some of your time to meditation, just consider the benefits: it’ll reduce your stress levels, improve your focus and patience and boost your cognitive function.

When you become more experienced with meditation you can take courses that can enhance specific traits, too – you can use this technique to improve your creativity, leadership or decision-making, or develop your communication skills. With meditation the career-boosting limits feel endless, and it’s a versatile and accessible option for most people.

Write and reflect 

Lots of people rely on journaling to make sense of each day, and this habit can help you develop your career in a big way.

If you sit down at the end of each day with a journal you can reflect on your successes and failures, sift through the stress of the day to figure out what exactly happened, and use concrete data to see how you’re progressing. It’s a great way to stay calm, centered and in-tune with what’s really going on.

Similarly, make sure that you set firm, achievable goals for your career. This will help keep you on-track and focused on how you want to take your career forward. Make sure you have both big and small goals, too: the former can be used to develop long-term career progression, and the latter can generate daily progress.

Ask for help 

Too many people, in too many areas of their lives, think that asking for help and advice is a weakness – and it’s absolutely not. If you learn to ask people for feedback and guidance, you’ll discover your strengths and uncover areas where you need to improve – and that’s no bad thing.

Bringing this level of humility to your career can supply a solid boost because external perspectives can often reveal things that you just don’t realize.

This practical tip can go beyond the actual advice you get, too: if you regularly converse with people about each other’s strengths and weaknesses, you’ll develop relationships that could help in the future.

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Mike has worked as a technology journalist for more than a decade and has written for most of the UK’s big technology titles alongside numerous global outlets. He loves PCs, laptops and any new hardware, and covers everything from the latest business trends to high-end gaming gear.