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If You Invest In Yourself With These 4 Steps, You Can Achieve Much More In Life

If You Invest In Yourself With These 4 Steps, You Can Achieve Much More In Life

There comes a time in life when we want to improve ourselves and invest in our self-development. Perhaps you’ve reached a crossroads in your career, looking for love or arrived at a point where you want to start making serious changes. You may have gone as far as to read numerous self-help books in the hope that a new perspective or approach will give you the magic formula for improving your life.

Sometimes you can get lost in the vast sea of information or the advice you seem to find just doesn’t resonate with you. Wouldn’t it be simple to just have a useable framework that can set your self-investment goals into motion and keep the momentum going? Here’s a four-step process that will do just that:

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1. Create A List of 100 Things

Find a quiet spot and think about all the things you’d like to achieve in life no matter how big or small. These could include losing a certain amount of weight, writing a novel, attending a cooking class, or learning a language. Keep going until you have 100 things on your list, then categorise them into three parts: things I need skills for, things I can do straight away and things I need time for.

The point of this exercise is to get you thinking about what you would really love to do – take your time, walk away and come back to it, let your inspiration take over. Having this list will help you establish different ways to expand, grow and achieve self-development.

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2. Be Honest About Your Skills And Create A Chart

This bit can be met with a bit of resistance, but being honest about the skills we have, and more importantly, the skills we don’t have can go a long way in achieving our long-term growth and self-investment.

You may need to acquire some new skills to achieve some of the items on your list in which case making a chart or spreadsheet can help identify these more easily. Make a list of what you need to learn and create columns for research, action and progress. What research do you need to do to gain these skills? Find courses you could sign up for or potential books you could buy. Next, in the action column write down every single step you’d need to take to reach the goal of gaining the skill. The progress column will mark how near you are to achieving each step.

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3. Take Some Immediate Action

The point of this step is to create motivation. We all love the feeling of ticking off a to-do list and by acting on the things on your list that can be done today, tomorrow, this week or this month will start off the momentum of that achievement feeling.

By doing this, your list is going to look a whole lot less intimidating – book that cooking class, start jogging, swimming or any exercise regime for your weight loss goal. These small steps can gain big rewards for our mindset moving forward so start planning and researching ways to achieve them and give them deadlines.

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4. Put Aside Time For The Long-Term Goals

We all know how easy it is to procrastinate and get distracted, but take some time to streamline your routines. Keep an eye on your procrastination habits throughout the day especially during morning and early evening. Carve out specific time when you can concentrate on your goals – create a timetable if needed. All this can help you keep on track, especially for your long-term goals.

Of course, your list of 100 things to achieve may change slightly over time, but if you only accomplish 4 things a year you will have worked through the entire list over 25 years and lived a life where you can say you achieved a huge amount of your goals and dreams.

Featured photo credit: Start Up Stock Pics via pexels.com

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Jenny Marchal

A passionate writer who loves sharing about positive psychology.

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Last Updated on November 18, 2020

How to Program Your Mind to Kick the Bad Habit

How to Program Your Mind to Kick the Bad Habit

As you’re reading this, you may be checking your phone or Facebook, slouching in your chair, or snacking without thinking. Perhaps you’re reading this right before bedtime even though you know that the light from your electronics can negatively impact your sleep pattern.[1]

We are all guilty of some of these things from time to time.

The Love-Hate Relationship With Bad Habits

Having bad habits doesn’t make someone a bad person— even if you are aware that your behavior could have a negative impact on your health or well-being. If you are having trouble making a change, you’re likely telling yourself one of two things:

  • I’ve been [insert your habit here] for such a long time, and it doesn’t seem to be affecting my life that much. It would take too much effort to quit, and I don’t think it’s necessary.
  • I’ve been doing this for so long that I don’t know any other way to function. I don’t think that I can quit.

Bad habits have become so ingrained in everyday behaviors that it is bound to be tough to change them. These routines are such a part of life that even knowing the potential negative impacts might not be enough to change them.[2]

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For example, a stressful phone call at work could be a trigger for you. The stress might make you want to eat an entire bag of chips. That bag of chips gave you some level of satisfaction. The reward is happening on a chemical and hormonal level in your body. Even though you know that snacking excessively is unhealthy, your body may crave junk food whenever you are under stress.[3] Before you know it, for good or for ill, you’ve initiated the process of habit-formation.[4] Oftentimes, this version of autopilot is a form of escape.

Maybe you smoke because you feel that it helps to relieve your stress. Perhaps you slouch chronically because you are fatigued, and it seems easier to slump over than sit up straight. Bad habits provide with some form of comfort which can make them tough to break.

Imagine I had two offers for you, the first offer was giving you 100 dollars today, and the second offer was giving you 1000 dollars but only 7 years later. Which offer would you take? Even though you know that you can get more money if you wait, you’re likely to take the first offer because you don’t like to delay the reward.

Instant gratification has always been the greatest enemy when it comes to breaking bad habits. Knowing something can have a negative effect is never enough to make someone quit. Bad habits exist because they are actually making people feel good.

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How to Break up With Bad Habits

Here are three proven steps to get over bad habits once and for all.

1. Take your mind away.

After you’ve made up your mind to quit, and you’ve found your alternative, commit to quitting your bad habits by going mindless every time a bad habit trigger appears.[5] Committing to change means that you can’t make excuses and you can’t give yourself any room to convince yourself why you can just skip it once. Don’t think whether you should do the bad habit or not, just don’t do it no matter what.

For example, if you want to eliminate your incessant slouching at work, you have to tell yourself that you aren’t going to slouch while you’re working no matter what. Just stick to sitting up straight, no excuses on why you can slouch for a while.

2. Be super aware whether you have done the bad habit every day.

Write down how things are going with your commitment.[6] It’s easy to lose track of progress if you don’t make a note of your behaviors.

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You are bound to slip up when you are turning over a new leaf. Writing down your behaviors might reveal patterns related to these moments of weakness. If you can spot the pattern, you may be able to disrupt it.

3. Have a strict reward and punishment system.

Reward yourself when you stick with your commitment. Maybe you will allow yourself to take a five-minute dance break or eat a cookie with your lunch in exchange for not mindlessly chomping on snacks at your desk. Your reward doesn’t have to be costly, but it should be valuable to you. The only stipulation is that you can’t reward your good behavior with the bad habit.

Designate a consequence for engaging in the negative habit. The consequence doesn’t need to be emotionally damaging. It just needs to cause enough discomfort or inconvenience to make you think twice about falling into old patterns.

People have been doing this for decades with the “swear jar.”[7] Every time they say a bad word, they have to sacrifice money to the jar. You could come up with your own version of the swear jar or find some other consequence that will motivate you to stay on the proper path. Maybe every day that you snack on candy at your desk, you have to take your friend out to a healthy lunch. Having to incur this extra cost and effort will keep you accountable.

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Your system of rewards and consequences are transactions that can help you eliminate your bad habits and automate the good ones.

Train Yourself Like a Dog (for a Good Cause)

Ultimately, you’ll want to train yourself to do the right things the way that Pavlov’s dogs salivated automatically when they heard a bell ring.[8] The dogs salivated (their routine) without thinking because they had been classically conditioned to associate the sound of the bell ringing (a trigger) with food (their reward).

Don’t let a fear of failure stand in your way. Even if you have been engaged in a bad habit for years, it is still possible to eliminate the unhealthy behavior. Know that it may not be easy at first, but eventually the good habit will become your natural response to the trigger. The commitment to break bad habits could lead you to a healthier and more successful future. The change can start today.

Share to those who love instant pleasure too much, there is actually a way out.

Featured photo credit: Stocksnap via stocksnap.io

Reference

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