Why Millennials Are Obsessed With Self-Improvement

Posted on May 31, 2017

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From new workout regimes and diet plans to life coaching, therapy, and apps designed to improve wellbeing, it's no surprise millennials are the demographic that spends the most amount of time and effort (and money?) on self-improvement.

It's thus an appropriate question for companies seeking to reach Gen Y and cater to what we care about. Self-improvement is, after all, a $10 billion per year business in the US alone - and one of the few industries that doesn't plummet in the throws of recession, according to Psychology Today.

So why are millennials so obsessed with self-improvement? Caroline Beaton of Psychology Today provided her answers:


1. We're spoiled with possibility.

The vast majority of American millennials already have their basic needs cared for - the essentials like food, shelter, and security. But because of this we now enjoy (and suffer from) the unprecedented luxury of choosing from an ever-expanding selection of material goods, media content, career possibilities, romantic partners, living spaces, lifestyles, and educational pursuits.

With all these options comes the opportunity to pursue our purpose in infinite ways - but can also result in the tyranny of choice. Too many choices can make for misery, as they say. Thus explains why "follow your passion", though having exploded in popularity in the last 20 years, may not in actuality provide any guidance. "According to Maslow's hierarchy of needs, we're ready to self-actualize. No excuses. But that's a lot of pressure."


2. We're haunted by our own expectations.

Our expectations are, in fact, higher than those of any other generation ever. And contrary to stereotypes that millennials have inflated views of ourselves, we know when we're failing.

"Our impractical expectations coupled with our realistic, or even overly critical, performance self-assessment produces a gap between how we're doing and how we think we should or could be doing," Beaton explains. "Our unmet ambition fuels our self-improvement fixation."


3. We're taunted by everyone else.

75% of millennials use social media (and that was just in 2010), allowing every user to see other millennials succeeding - or just seemingly succeeding - in high contrast. By crafting our social media accounts to present only the most flattering, impressive aspects of our lives, we've made ourselves all "false poster children." As a result, and unsurprisingly, we are left to feel envious, inadequate and, for better or worse, motivated to be better.

On the bright side, our obsession pays off. Millennials don't just make more resolutions; we keep them. In 2014, 76% of millennials reported that they kept their New Year's resolutions, compared to the 60% of Boomers.


Ultimately, however, does our obsession with self-improvement do more harm than good? As Beaton puts it, "we may be constantly grasping at straws, improved but insatiable: perpetually disappointed. Or perhaps we've encountered the optimal conditions to make a dent in the world and never quit. It's an individual answer."


Category(s):Self-Care / Self Compassion, Self-Love

Source material from Psychology Today


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