You can’t turn left or right these days without someone telling you how to improve your life. There are more “experts” on self improvement and personal development these days than you can shake a stick at, but for some reason most people still aren’t making any lasting improvement in their lives.
There are 2 primary reasons for this. One reason is that people are simply too lazy to do what it takes to improve their lives. Yes, I’m calling you out. If you know how to improve your life, but you just aren’t doing it because you don’t “feel like it,” then you’re lazy. Feel free to get as angry as you want if that statement applies to you personally.
The second reason, however, happens just as frequently, if not more so. The second reason people don’t improve their lives – even after reading every personal development book on the planet – is because it’s just not a habit for them. After years or decades of living our lives in a certain way, we are simply not used to doing the types of things that will create positive and lasting changes in our lives.
The surest way to leap over that particular hurdle is to get into the habit of improving your life. Rome wasn’t built in a day, as they say, and you likewise will not be able to go from a “wannabe” to a SUPERSTAR by simply reading an empowering book, or attending a seminar. However, by finding ways to constantly remind yourself that you are on a quest for greatness – and that you need to take the necessary steps to get there – you will quickly find yourself accomplishing your goals, one Roman step at a time.
Virus Idea #1
Set up Reminder Systems that you’ll Actually Use
This idea is so simple that it’s nothing less than tragic that people haven’t successfully clued into it yet. If you have spent 10, 20, or even 50 years living your life in a certain way, then you are going to need reminders to change your daily habits into more productive practices. Those practices may include anything that you have in your personal development arsenal, but many of the popular things that you could remind yourself to do include:
- Reading something educational or empowering every day
- Having positive thoughts, even in your negatively charged lifestyle
- Reading and/or saying daily affirmations
- Having a more empowering emotional response to certain situations
- Spending time practicing good habits such as exercise, meditation, visualizing, etc.
Those are just examples of course, but the moral of the story is that you need to set up systems that remind you several times each and every day to take a certain action, or to have a certain thought. If you want to jump in with both feet, check out the Achieve Planner program, or Brad Isaac’s Achieve-IT! Goal Setting Software. If you want to start small, simply use Microsoft Outlook, or some other powerful task management system.
Virus Idea #2
Ask People to Hassle You
This may seem like an accident waiting to happen, but if that is your emotional response to the consideration of someone constantly getting on your case, then you are probably a great candidate for using this particular technique.
If you ask your friends, family, co-workers, or even your neighbors to point out the fact that you aren’t sticking to your alleged “promise” of self improvement, then one of two things will likely happen:
- You will get so sick of them telling you that you aren’t living up to what you said you would do that you finally start doing it, or…
- You realize that you are actually too lazy to improve your life, and you then move on to more frivolous time expenditures.
Either way, you win.
Virus Idea #3
Decorate your Life
Do you know those cheesy motivational/success/teamwork posters that you see in corporate meeting rooms, dentist’s offices, and in that “gifts for all occasions” store at the mall? Yeah, those posters are cheesy, but they are also effective.
Whenever you literally decorate your life with reminders of the type of person that you are striving to become, a strange thing happens; you actually start to become that person! Our environment rubs off on us whether we mean for it to or not, so why not take advantage of some truly no effort self improvement techniques?
Create a vision board, get some of those cheesy motivational posters, create a custom wallpaper for your computer like this one. Use sticky notes if you have to! The point is not that you make your environment into some sort of circus show, but rather that you create an environment that reminds you that you are on a path to greatness.
Virus Idea #4
Put your Back against your Personal Values
When all else fails, remember what your own personal values are, and then use them against yourself! People are very adept at consistently staying committed to whoever they think they are, so pull the core value card and use it for your own benefit.
- If you are an honest person, then make a promise to someone else that you are going to improve your life. It might not help the other person, but if keeping your word is important to you, then it will certainly keep you on track knowing that you made a promise to that other person.
- If you value personal integrity, then make a promise to yourself that you are going to follow through on your efforts. Don’t try this if you already have a history of breaking promises to yourself. Obviously you’ve been down that road and you need a new tactic.
- If your sense of responsibility is very important to you, then look at your goal in the light of how you will be a responsible friend, co-worker, parent, or family member by attaining your goals. If your goals are health or financially related, you can easily see how you can live up to a sense of responsibility to your family by staying alive and/or providing a financial security blanket for them.
Virus Idea #5
No personal development effort is going to work if you don’t stop the presses once in awhile and take a look around to make sure that you are on track. It’s very easy to “claim” that you are on a path to wonderful success, but if you don’t have the track record to prove it, then who are you kidding?
- Set up a time at the end of every day when you honestly ask yourself if you did everything that you could have done that day to attain your goals. It’s OK to not have always done so; it’s the questioning of yourself that is important, not the answer.
- Every Friday, or maybe every Sunday, look back on the previous week and see if you have accomplished 1 week’s worth of tasks that will take you to your long-term goals. Again, if you didn’t, that’s OK, but by looking back to see where you might have gone astray, you can then do better the following week.
- Once a month check in with yourself to measure your results. Whether you are on a financial improvement quest, a weight loss program, or if you are looking to improve your social life, after 30 days there should have been some measurable improvement. If you spend 30 days working towards something, yet don’t see at least a minimum amount of progress, then you probably need to rethink your methods.