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I'm looking for a single word that captures the idea of "desire to self-improve," but does not imply that I have (yet) actually taken any action.

I'm thinking of something along these lines: When I noticed that my health was poor, I wanted to improve myself [new word here]. Only then did I sign up for a gym class.

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    .........ambition...... – TsSkTo Dec 18 '15 at 18:00
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    What's your motivation for asking this question? – Mazura Jul 29 '16 at 10:57
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You could say you have an aspiration for self-improvement.

A strong desire for high achievement.

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  • I think aspiration (or aspirations) is good as it implies that you haven't actually achieved the aims yet, which is one of the requirements. – Max Williams Jun 29 '16 at 9:32
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You could use better myself and get better.

I don't study, I want to better myself.

I'm sad but I want to get better.

Resources

Get Better

Better myself

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  • ... want to ... – Lawrence Jul 29 '16 at 15:49
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When I noticed that my health was poor, I wanted to shape up. Only then did I sign up for a gym class.

When I noticed that my health was poor, I became motivated. Only then did I sign up for a gym class.

My recognition of my poor health motivated me to sign up for a gym class.

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