Being over age 50 does not mean you can’t change for the better! Self-improvement is always a good thing. Change for some folks, however, ain’t easy! Moving far away from bad habits takes work and many people would prefer to stay stuck in the lives they’ve carved out for themselves instead of doing a little rewiring.

Making positive changes within yourself to try and become a better version of YOU can only make you healthier, increase self-confidence and attract positivity.

So kick your ego to the curb! Here are a few things you can do to become a better person.

Take a look at your weaknesses–We all have weaknesses. Your weaknesses and challenges are the things you need to improve and manage. Ask friends or family for some truth; allow them to speak their mind on what your struggles are and then work to get rid of them by effort. Defeating your weaknesses will help you as you work on the other parts of your strategic plan to improve your life.

Put a self-care schedule in place–Taking care of YOU should be a priority! If you continuously give to others and don’t make time for yourself, you will burn out in the end. Know your limits and put in place a self-care schedule that you follow every single day. If you need more sleep, then make it happen. Learn how to say “Can’t do it today!” to your kids who ask you to babysit your grands all the time. Feel the need for therapy to get your mind right? Make that move and contact a therapist!

Make time to get to the gym or go walking with a couple of buddies a few times a week. Need to change the way you eat? Bring home fresh veggies and fruits. Leave the red meat at the store and instead, purchase more fish and poultry. Pass right on by those cakes and pies at the supermarket. Here’s a tip, go food shopping on a full stomach and this way, you won’t be as tempted to buy the wrong foods. Give yourself a high level of respect so that you can give others a better version of you.

Kick a bad habit–You know smoking those cancer sticks can kill you! You know gossiping about other people is hateful and cruel. You know too much alcohol can put a serious hurting on your liver and heart. You know overeating can bring on a host of health woes. You know getting to work late all the time or calling out too often can lead to dismissal. You know complaining all the time only drives people away.

When we engage in bad habits we need to pause, not only to consider the consequences but also to choose to stop traveling in the wrong direction. Get a very clear picture as to why you need to break your bad habit. Why is it important to you? How has this been affecting your life?

Breaking established bad habits is hard. It took time for the bad habit to take root and solidify itself in your brain, which means it will take time for your brain to unlearn the bad habit. So be patient with yourself and instead of making dramatic adjustments, try focusing on one habit and the smallest steps you can take to change it. Chances are you’re going to have bad days. Setbacks are normal and we should expect them. Have a plan to get back on track and use the relapse as a way to understand what happened and how you can avoid it next time.

Stop thinking negatively–Always seeing the glass half empty is a downer! Constant negative thoughts often make the issue bigger than it is in our minds, and robs us of happiness and peace of mind. Such thought processes become an easy recipe for negative thinking, which draws us into depression, anxiety, and low self-worth. There is no joy in life unless the mind is healthy. In other words, negative thinking takes away the joy of life. Negative thinking is a habit, and like all habits, it takes time and effort to break. The more you practice replacing those negative thoughts with positive statements, the better you will feel over time. If you can’t stop thinking doom and gloom all the time, seek the help of a trained therapist who can offer some help in this area.

Give folks their props while they are here–How many of us take the people in our lives for granted? How many of us have lost loved ones and have regrets because we failed to let them know how special they were to us? Well, make sure you tell those special folks in your life you are proud of them, inspired by them, thankful for them, grateful for them, here for them, honored to know them and comforted by them.

Stop wasting precious time doing nothing–How much time do you waste in the course of one day doing absolutely nothing, being unproductive? Life is shorter than you think and when you value time you don’t waste it. Time-wasters are the things that are getting in the way of you being successful, keeping you from moving forward, toward what you want to accomplish. We all, from time to time, get ourselves involved in activities that do not contribute to our greatest success or even happiness. It’s important to analyze how you spend your days, hour by hour, and regularly look for ways to work and to live smarter, ways to eliminate time-wasters.

Here is a simple way to make your day more productive. Set a laser-focused plan of what you want to achieve on a particular day. Write things down—but only the top two or three priorities you need to accomplish on that day, not a laundry list of things. Jot down your top priorities and break down those large tasks into more reasonable steps and you’ll see yourself wanting to get them done and crossed off the list. Eliminate time-wasters so you can step into your best life.

Let go of anger–If you are still angry because a friend wronged you eons ago, let it go! Anger is a normal response, a basic human emotion but you just can’t let it fester. Research suggests pent up anger can cause digestive problems, difficulty sleeping, and even heart disease. Not only that, but scientists also associate it with type 2 diabetes and other diseases that many of us are not aware of. Being angry is exhausting and yet, you’ve found the energy to keep it alive for months, even years.

To help you let go of anger, Roya R. Rad, MA, PsyD, suggests you write your feelings down, pray, or meditate, to begin to manage your anger. Deep breathing may be the last thing you want to do when you’re consumed by anger, but closing your eyes and counting to ten can provide quite a bit of immediate relief. If you’re looking to get to the bottom of why your anger is so all-consuming and come up with an action plan to let go of it, a psychotherapist can help.

Learn to forgive–Let go of ALL those old resentments! If for no other reason than for yourself, forgive to untether yourself from the negative experiences of the past. Forgiving others is essential for spiritual growth. Realize that your past hurts are no longer present in your physical reality. Don’t allow them to linger in your mind, muddying your current moments. Bring love to hate, light to darkness, and pardon to injury. 

Practice gratitude–People who regularly practice gratitude by taking time to notice and reflect upon the things they’re thankful for experience more positive emotions, feel more alive, sleep better, express more compassion and kindness, and even have stronger immune systems. Overall, choosing to live from a place of gratitude brings peace. Build gratitude around you with small, daily, unexpected, undeserved acts of love, compassion, grace, and forgiveness. Research by UC Davis psychologist Robert Emmons, author of Thanks!: How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier, shows that simply keeping a gratitude journal—regularly writing brief reflections on moments for which we’re thankful—can also significantly increase well-being and life satisfaction.