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I’ve been a self improvement junkie for some time now, not because I’m in any serious need of upgrading, but simply because one of my strongest values is continual growth. If you’re not growing, you’re not living. This certainly doesn’t mean that one should always be in pursuit of some colossal goal or life change, but at the very least we should be looking at what life throws at us and doing our best to respond in wisdom and mindfulness.
That said, with all that I’ve read, heard and seen about the rules of self improvement, they all seem to boil down to 5 key things. All self-development books seem to draw from one of these principles and then drone on about it until it fills 300 pages.
So take these 5 simple rules and implement where you see fit. User experience my vary, but I’ll include thoughts from my own experiences. Enjoy and grow!
1. Write down your goals.
I have done this quite a bit, and although I’m not sure if it’s shear coincidence or not that many of my goals come to fruition, but it sure feels gratifying to tick items off as they are completed. I recommend this task, and do it as often as once a day (yes, write them daily in repetition as you might have done “lines” in grade school).
2. Visualize your goals.
The big thing right now are “vision boards” which can be done in a slick way on-line, or simply cutting out pictures that you’re drawn to in magazines. Just pull images that you want to see in your own life (cars, firm abs, engagement rings, and rock star lovers), stick them on a piece of Bristol board and look at it daily. Even sitting in meditation or a relaxed state and really visualizing your desired situation in vivid detail will apparently bring you closer to it. Now, I’ve played with this, but with little success; however, I haven’t been very diligent about it. I’ll have the girls over for a little visualization cut and paste par-tay next week and let you know how it goes!
3. Believe that your goals and desires are already realized.
Now this is the “Secret” behind the best selling book and movie (which I slept through most of). Apparently, the universe is programmed to bring you everything your heart desires as long as you believe you have it already, and you don’t think about the desire as if you lack it. For example, if you act as though you are a marathon runner you will BE a marathon runner. However, if you only wish that you were a marathon runner, you’ll never become one as the universe will assume you don’t want it. Or something like that. Now, I do believe that you become your thoughts (more on this), but if you only sit on the couch and believe you’re a marathon runner, no amount of universal gifting will send you running 26.2 miles.
4. Your thoughts determine your disposition.
If nothing else, this is damn true. Even today, as I sat in a cold, boring trade show hall ruminating on how much I hate trade shows, I was miserable. But I was so because my thoughts were miserable. Testing this theory (once I was mindful of my bitter thoughts,) I automatically switched my thought topic to something lighthearted, fun and nice. Ta Da!! I was instantly lifted! So think happy thoughts and you’ll be happy. Think negative, crusty, bitter thoughts, and you’re guaranteed that disposition as well. It’s really that simple.
5. Prioritization of your time to meet your highest goals.
Back to the marathon goal: you can think this goal till you’re blue in the face, cut out pictures of Kenyans in race mode, and buy the damn nicest running shoes you can find, but if you don’t get your feet in them and start running, you’ll never attain this goal. People’s biggest excuse for not living the life they want and attaining their goals is most often a lack of time. We all have the same 24 hours in a day. You simply have to cut out things that take up your precious free time and fill it with things that matter!!! I don’t care how busy you are, you can control your time better. No amount of TV watching would have seen this blog post to completion. I just did it.
And so must you … just do it.