In a recent article I offered a self improvement exercise to help you identify who you are now, compared to who you want to be. I acted out the exercise myself and experienced a little fear, some excitement and I was a little overwhelmed at times too. Any time we sit down to really expose our true feelings it’s normal to go through a range of emotions. But also, when we are finally true to ourselves, the world opens up and opportunities arise to get us closer to our goals.
I’d like to share with you a few items that I wrote down on my lists. Under the column of “Who I am” I listed the good and the ugly: Hard worker, people pleaser, responsible, frustrated, aware, stress-prone, thoughtful, etc. Under the column “Who I want to be” I listed: Healthy, help more people make positive decisions, exercise more often, closure on remaining past hurts, etc.
It is difficult to admit you aren’t completely who you want to be, but it is an essential step to get where you ultimately want to go. Remember, we need to set a foundation to make you strong and whole – the way you deserve to live your life. This way we can avoid slipping back into old (often unhealthy) habits. Life is short and we mustn’t waste any more time living a life we know isn’t right for us.
As promised, I have shared 3 steps below you can take today for self improvement:
Positive decision making puts you on the fast track to the life you want.
If you take nothing else away from this article, please, please let this one step soak in deep down. We all have goals and desires and needs. Every single decision we make will influence our mood and future. This is true…really consider this for a moment. We are standing in line at the grocery store and convince ourselves that eating one Snickers bar won’t kill us. As soon as we are done those 11 grams of fat we tend to feel a little more sluggish and gross. Was it worth it? Usually not.
Or, we delay working out until “tomorrow”. Or, we decide to sleep in and “do that report later”. Procrastination is the leader in Poor Decision Making. To reverse these habits, I encourage you to ask yourself this one question EVERY TIME you are faced with any decision: “Is this going to get me closer or further away from my goals?” Consider this question on any purchase, food choice – any decision you are about to make. The more positive decisions you make, before you even realize it, you’ll be a much happier and healthier person, which is precisely what this exercise was all about.
It’s time to discover *healthy* outlets and say good-bye to unhealthy ones.
When you get stressed out, have a bad day, break up with someone, what do you do? Do you reach into the freezer for ice cream, go have a cigarette, grab a drink with a friend? These are unhealthy outlets. When we are thrown into a situation and react with extreme anger or deep depression it almost feels natural to match our mood with an action we know does more harm than good. As Tony Robbins advocates, we need to break that nasty habit and REPLACE it with a new, healthy habit. Instead of smoking a cigarette could you take a fast sprint around the block, or force yourself to sit down and just be still for 10 minutes, or take a long shower to cool down? By making this one decision, you will feel better about yourself which gets you closer to being that person you want to be.
Practice Awareness, Focus and Leniency
Awareness is an essential ingredient of becoming the person you want to be. In the middle of an argument with a co-worker or spouse, how do you show up? How do you argue? When a challenging client sends you a not-so-nice email, what feelings come up for you and how do you respond? Noticing these actions and reactions will play a big role in discovering the qualities of yourself that needs improving.
Any time we want to change something about ourselves, it all starts with becoming aware of what triggers this side of you and then staying aware that you don’t want to be that way any longer. For example, I have become aware in my past that I would only call certain people when I was down or had a problem. When I was happy and had no problems, I didn’t call as often. When I realized this I thought, “I don’t want to be like that!”. I became aware of the problem then practiced focus to change it. Then, if I caught myself doing it again, I exercised leniency. We cannot change overnight so why beat yourself up for the amount of time it takes to change? If we truly want to change, become aware and focus, you should be celebrating your efforts. You will reach your goal.
By taking those 3 steps actively it would be impossible not to achieve your self improvement goals. The final point I’d like to make is that self improvement should be a fun process for you. Yes, change can seem daunting at times but consider instead where this is all taking you. Look hard at the list of qualities you wrote down from our last exercise, under “Who I Want to Be”. Imagine how it would feel to get those things you desire. It’s closer than you think.
Please leave a comment and let me know how this exercise helped you and what you experienced because of it.
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