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You Only Need 3 Months To Become A Brand New You (With This Self-Improvement Approach)

You Only Need 3 Months To Become A Brand New You (With This Self-Improvement Approach)

You’re sitting in your living room watching a new Tony Robbins motivational documentary about changing yourself. By the end, you’re so excited about the prospect that you rush to the nearest Barnes & Noble book store. You comb the self-help section looking for the one book or audio book set that will change your life in five easy steps. Sound familiar?

You may have read a book cover to cover and even accomplished some of the required steps, but it hasn’t delivered the immediate results you expected. The disappointment you feel makes you disregard the improvements you’ve achieved. After a while, the old habits resurface and take over, and the struggle to restart the process of change is even more difficult.

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The Reasons We Set Unrealistic Goals (It’s Not What You Think)

It doesn’t matter how bright, competent or determined you are. Personal transformation is a long-term process, and shortcuts are not part of the recipe. It’s easy to set unrealistic goals when you’re excited and optimistic about the outcome. You actually use willpower on yourself in a futile attempt to force success. “This time I’m going to do it,” or “I’m going to keep going until I get it done,” you say. Unfortunately, the odds of that happening are very low.

When it comes to goal setting, the idea of extreme change is a motivation killer. Research proves that our brains are hardwired to resist extreme change. Rapid change causes our bodies and minds to resist and seek a familiar comfort zone. But this is what we usually do to ourselves. We set the types of goals that require changes in our life that are simply unachievable.

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The Kaizen Approach – Your Blueprint For Long-Term Success

Rooted in Japanese philosophy, Kaizen is a long-term approach to change based on implementing changes in small increments. Used by many different businesses, like manufacturing plants, it seeks to improve efficiency and quality by applying small, incremental process changes. By applying continuous incremental improvements, the business will grow and thrive.

The word “kaizen” is derived from “kai” meaning change, “zen” meaning good. The history of Kaizen began after World War II when Toyota applied the concept in its production process. It became very popular in Japan in the 1950s, and it continues today as Kaizen groups.

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Although Kaizen was developed for the improvement of business, it can be applied to personal goal setting as well. In a similar fashion, if you apply short-term, incremental achievements toward your goal every day, you will eventually build better habits over the long-term to accomplish the goal you’ve set for yourself.

Start Accomplishing Your Goals The Kaizen Way

Good habits are fundamentally linked to effective goal setting. The Kaizen approach helps us to build good habits by teaching us to apply a small step every day toward our goal. Eventually the good habits will replace the bad ones and you will maintain consistent gains.

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Start by breaking down your goal into small parts. Each day, accomplish a very small percentage of each part. For example, if you are writing a book, decide on a writing schedule and stick to it every day. Set a realistic number of words you will write each day and write at least that amount every day. These small steps will be more manageable for you and a lot less intimidating.

If you apply small percentage increments each day, the changes will build on each other until you will eventually notice a major gain. Try it yourself. Set a 3-month goal for yourself. Start by getting just 1% accomplished each day. Yes, it’s a tiny amount but it’s doable. Focus on the practice instead of the performance. Each small percentage will build on the last, and in three months’ time you will notice a 100% improvement from where you started.

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Anthony Pica

Freelance Writer

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Last Updated on August 6, 2020

How to Train Your Brain to Be Optimistic

How to Train Your Brain to Be Optimistic

Let’s be honest. When you’re going through a difficult time in life, doesn’t it drive you crazy when someone says, “just be optimistic”?

Everyone has that one overly-optimistic “Positive Pam” friend who sees the good in everything. Trying to find anything to be happy about when you’re struggling feels unrealistic.

The question remains: “Why is it difficult to pull upon happy thoughts when everything in life feels like it’s falling apart?”

Well, the root of the problem lies in the brain. Your brain isn’t designed for happiness because its focus has always been on promoting survival, it saves the happy chemicals (dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin) for opportunities to meet a survival need.[1]

While all of this is true, it is still possible to train your brain to be optimistic so that you can find the silver lining amidst life’s greatest adversities.

You Can’t Be Positive All the Time

Before I talk about how you can do this, you must realize that you aren’t expected to be positive 100% of the time. You’re human and life happens.

Have you ever had a solid plan in place, and then life comes along and says, “Let’s explore rock bottom for a while instead?!” You’re allowed to feel sad, angry, or negative sometimes.

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However, the trick is making sure that you don’t live in this place for too long. Disempowering emotions serve their purpose in the short-term but can become destructive to your overall quality of life in the long-term.

When it comes to thinking positively, I think a lot of people have a skewed understanding of what positivity should look like. You don’t have to sing in the rain or smile 24/7 to be deemed a positive person.

Appreciating the smallest of things can work wonders for your mindset, such that, over time, you start wiring your brain to seek out and expect more positives. This speaks to the power of having an attitude of gratitude.

Research has shown that gratitude can improve general well-being, increase resilience, strengthen social relationships, and reduce stress and depression.[2]

The more grateful you are, the happier you are.

So, what does all of this mean? Well, happiness won’t always be your automatic response. Rather, it’s a choice that you have to make every single day.

3 Ways You Can Train Your Brain to Be Positive

Similar to any habit, your brain conditions itself to think and behave in certain ways through repetition. Thus, if you engage in daily rituals that enhance your positive thinking, over time you will rewire and train your brain to become more positive.

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Let’s talk about 3 ways that you can train your brain to be positive:

1. Challenge Negative Thoughts

Your mind is a powerful tool – you can either fill it with positive thoughts or negative ones. The average person has thousands of thoughts per day, 80% of which are negative, and 95% of which are exactly the same thoughts as the day before.[3]

If you’re like most people, you probably spend a lot of time in your head. This is where your inner critic loves to hang out and try to convince you of all the reasons why you’re not good enough or why things won’t work out.

Not surprisingly, if you play this disempowering record over and over again in your head, eventually you will start believing it.

People get into trouble when they define who they are based on how they think. You are not your thoughts, so don’t believe everything that you think. This is why it’s so important to practice challenging your negative thoughts.

The next time that you have a thought that doesn’t serve you, stop and reflect upon whether or not that thought is accurate. Once you determine where the fallacy is in your thinking lies, step back and ask yourself, “Is this thought building me up or tearing me down?” If it’s the latter, reframe the negative thought to a more empowering one.

The fastest way to change your life is to change your narrative. Small shifts in your mindset can trigger a massive shift in how you perceive yourself, others, and the world.

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2. Surround Yourself With Positive People

Your success in life is determined, in large part, by your environment. If you want to be an optimistic person, you have to surround yourself with optimistic people. End of story.

As Jim Rohn once said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”

Take a moment and think about your close circle of friends. Are they inspiring and driven people who uplift and empower you? Or are they lazy, negative, and toxic?

If it’s the latter, I hate to break it to you, but it’s time to find new friends.

When you surround yourself with positive people, you’re more likely to adopt empowering beliefs and see life as happening for you instead of to you.[4]

Decide who you want to be and find people who embody those traits. When you raise your standards, your circle will change and so, too, will your life.

3. Make Your Mental Health and Well-Being a Priority

The COVID-19 pandemic has given rise to a drastic increase in mental health issues. The isolation, fear, uncertainty, and economic turmoil that people are facing around the world is a breeding ground for psychological distress.[5]

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Given the current state of our world, there has never been a more important time for us to make our mental health and well-being a priority.

The question remains, “How do you stay positive when everything sucks?”

It’s all a matter of perspective.

We know that the mind and body are connected. If you ignore one, the other one suffers equally as much. Research has found that taking care of ourselves physically and mentally can influence our happiness and train our brains over time to be more positive.[6]

Looking after your mind and body means creating a daily self-care ritual, consisting of eating healthy foods, exercising, meditating, doing yoga, staying connected with friends, journaling, reading, and practicing affirmations, to name a few.

Anything that helps you manage your stress and connect with the present moment is key. Even in the most challenging of times, it is always possible to find something to be grateful for. By choosing to focus on what is good in your life and what makes you happy, you will grow stronger in the face of adversity.

Now Is the Time to Train Your Brain to Be Optimistic

Your mindset is everything. Thinking positively is as important as your skills or talents. We cannot always control our outer world, which is why it’s imperative to cultivate a strong inner world.

How you respond to adversity will determine your success in life. Have faith, trust in yourself, and believe in what is possible. When you think positively, positive things will happen.

More Tips on How to Be Optimistic

Featured photo credit: Dayne Topkin via unsplash.com

Reference

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