How would you describe yourself in 51 words? How would your friends describe you in 51 words? How would you describe your job or business in 51 words? How would you describe your relationship in 51 words? What are your key 51 self-improvement words?

While this takes a little soul searching, it is not as difficult as it sounds!

This is a revealing self-improvement exercise and is extremely valuable for helping you realize that some changes may be needed for you to improve as a person and realize your full potential. I’m sure you have life goals that you want to achieve and this will help you understand why you are not there and what you need to do to move forward.

If you don't have goals, now is a good time to get started setting them! Make sure they are specific and measurable. Set milestones and keep track of your progress. We'll go deeper into goal setting in another article.

Did You Know
Only 3% of people set goals?
--Brian Tracy

It’s no surprise that a small percentage of people control a very large percentage of the wealth!

Why 51 words to Self-Improvement?

There is no scientific reason, but I think with some effort you can come up with 51 very specific self-improvement words that will paint a very accurate portrait of you. It has enough depth to be able to allow for some good self analysis, but not too many words, which would become too general to be useful.

Coming up 51 self describing words may seem daunting, but as you will see it will actually be more difficult to whittle your list down to 51 words!

Current Situation vs Optimal Situation

You can do this exercise for any number of activities in your life. It’s best to use a current and goal approach. Find 51 words to describe your current situation and then 51 self-improvement words to describe your ideal (goal) situation. How many words are on both lists?

When words are on both lists, this means you are on your way to achieving your goals, congratulations and keep up the good work!

The words on your current list that are not on your desired list require some self analysis. This is not necessarily a negative thing, but it makes you understand some habits need to be tweaked in order to achieve your goals.

For instance one word on my current list not on my desired list is football. My sons and I love football, and spend a lot of time watching it. Probably too much time for my wife! This is time I could be spending on becoming “the optimal me” that I ultimately want to be.

This does not mean I need to give up football, but I need to balance the time better so I can have more family time and my wife does not become a football widow. Let’s just say this is an area of self-improvement than I’m still working on it!

The point is to analyze what you could be doing differently to reach and surpass your goals.

You also need to analyze the words on the goal list that are not on the current list. You really need to focus on these words since you have identified them as traits you need in order to achieve your goals. Take the self-improvement words one a time and map out a plan on what it will take to add these words to your current list.

Build Your Self Improvement Word Lists

Think of the traits that you would use to describe yourself, both positive and not so positive. Be honest, remember the point of the exercise is understand opportunities for self-improvement and move towards achieving your goals.

Next ask your friends and family members to help out. Just ask them, “What are the first 3 words that come to mind which describe me”? Not your 3 best or 3 worst traits, but the first 3 words that come to mind. It should only take a few seconds for them to rattle off the 3 words.

See if you can get responses from 3 to 5 people. Assure them that they can be honest and it won't hurt your feelings, as you are seeking self-improvement.

Now you should have a solid list of self-improvement words that describe you. Build on that list to come up with more variations that may actually describe you better.

Go to and enter the first self-improvement word on your list to get variations. For instance, as you see below, the word strong has 45 synonyms. Not all of these words will be applicable. For example if you think of yourself as strong, you probably don't mean “in fine leather”! Write down the applicable self-improvement words.

Scroll down the page past the antonyms (opposite words) and there will be additional pages of words similar or related to strong. In fact there are 14 pages, with over 1,000 words!

You can also do a reverse definition word look up. This lets you take a concept or idea and search for words and phrases that are related. Just enter your word or phrase, and check the boxes next to Synonym, Similar Word and Related Word.

You will get a very comprehensive list, many of the words you will have already discovered, but you will also uncover some gems! Give it a try

Finally you can also go to where you will find a list of over 400 values. Steve Pavlina does a fabulous job in the area of self improvement. Go through the list and pick out the values that you hold to be true and add them to your list.

Whittle Down Your Self Improvement Words!

Now for the real challenge; whittle your list down to 51 self-improvement words and you have your current list! Repeat the process to compile the 51 words that describe “the you” that you ultimately want to be. Compare the list and do the analysis we discussed earlier. Come up with a plan and put it into action!

Repeat this self-improvement exercise in 6 months and let me know about your progress!

A great way to keep your goal words in front of you is through our ArtWord tool. It allows you to upload your 51 goal words and have them reproduced on products such as mugs, t-shirts, ceramic tiles etc. Pick something that you will use every day to remind and inspire you to stick to your plan for becoming the you that you ultimately want to be!

It’s amazing how 51 simple self-improvement words can help you achieve your goals!

Author's Bio: 

Barry Grimes is a certified life optimization coach and is the author behind The Personalized Life Blog, the Optimize Your Life Course, Life Optimization after 50, Optimal Life Resources and Personalization Sensation. He has spent over 30 years in the corporate and self-employment worlds helping others to improve their lives. He offers a free Life Optimization course and can be contacted through his website or by email: