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5 Keys to Self Improvement That Will Pave a Path to Success

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5 Keys to Self Improvement That Will Pave a Path to Success

What does success look like in your life? Is success attaining a certain position, securing a specific income or, creating experiences with those you love?

While success can take many forms, there is one part of the journey that is always the same – that is your need to improve yourself to achieve your goals.

When you master the 5 keys to self-improvement, you position yourself on the path to success. Each of the below keys to self-improvement will help you change your life if you commit to implementing them daily.

1. Faith Is Undefeated

Think back to a time when you were successful in trying something new. If you are like me, then success may not be the most accurate way to describe your first attempt. Nevertheless, you took something from that experience that helped you the next time around.

Each experience brought you closer to your goal until you achieved it. Each time you fell, you had to decide whether you were going to quit or try again.

This is no different than a baby learning to walk. A baby is going to fall down ample times. Yet, they maintain their faith in their ability to walk because they see others walking around them.

For a baby, it is that simple. As long as they can see someone walking, they have no reason to believe they cannot. Fortunately, babies tend to be surrounded by people who reinforce that belief. Every time a baby falls, they have someone there to encourage them to get back up. No matter how many times they fall to the ground, someone is there to cheer and encourage them.

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One of the most important keys to self-improvement is to believe you can be successful. Regardless of how difficult things may be, know that if you keep going, you are going to achieve your goal.

2. Become Your Biggest Fan

To help you maintain your motivation to continue when things become difficult, it is important for you to forgive yourself.

Studies show there is a positive correlation between self-compassion and self-improvement.[1] People who have an “accepting approach to personal failure” tend to be “more motivated to improve themselves.”

If you see failure as nothing more than a part of the path to success, then there is no reason for you to become discouraged when you fail. Those who are kind to themselves and engage in positive self-talk will look for lessons in moments of misfortune. They will look for opportunities in times of disaster.

Self-compassion is one of the keys to self-improvement because you do not see failure as a sign of your own inadequacies. Instead, you see failure as an opportunity to grow and improve yourself. You recognize where you are today is due to the information you have obtained to this point.

All that means is you need to gain more knowledge on how to create the life you want. Most people quit before they can create their dream life because they see failure as a sign they do not have what it takes.

The truth is you have always had the abilities, you just need to learn how to use them. By being compassionate and kind to yourself, you give yourself the necessary time to become a master.

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3. Don’t Put Your Head in the Sand

There are two types of people in the world. There are pilers and there are filers.

I happen to be a piler. I tend to keep records in small piles around my house. I know the contents of each pile and have a plan to work through the pile in due time (regardless of what my wife says).

Others are filers. They prefer to list their action items and love checking things off each day. As a result, using folders and filing things in a cabinet tends to make more sense to them.

The good news is you are not being asked to change who you. Whether you are filer or a piler is not a point of contention. The goal is for you to find a way to bring consciousness to your daily choices.

This could be as simple as you having a note in your pocket that says, “does this improve the quality of my life?”. Or it could be as detailed as making a checklist of the activities you need to engage in each day to accomplish your goal. Either way, you need to find a way that works for you to bring your actions to the forefront of your mind.

4. Recalibrate Regularly

Have you ever worn loose clothes for a few months and became oblivious to the fact that you have gained some weight?

Yea, me too. You feel normal and all of your clothes fit (or so you think).

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Then when you attempt to put on a suit or jeans, you realize you have gained some weight. Well, what happened? Why weren’t you able to notice the weight change until it was significant?

It was your loose clothes that kept you from noticing the changes in your body.

The best way to notice when your size changes is to wear clothes that are your actual size. What this does is bring immediate awareness to the situation. As uncomfortable as it may feel, wouldn’t you rather notice the change when it is small and manageable?

The problem is no one likes the feeling of falling short of their goals. As a coping mechanism, you will naturally avoid anything that may cause you to feel like a failure. However, by avoiding things when they are small and manageable, you are creating a bigger problem for later.

Instead of evading the problem until it becomes unavoidable, make small periodic adjustments to stay on the path of success. You will know what decisions created those immediate results and you can change things before you drift too far.

Actively deciding what actions you will take each day is one of the most profound keys to self-improvement.[2]

5. Change Your Self-Image

Your mind cannot distinguish between fact and fiction. It is going to store and categorize each experience the same way. That is why you feel such strong emotions when you are watching movies.

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You felt sadness and disbelief when Thanos first snapped his fingers in Avengers Infinity War. You felt relief and joy when Marlin was finally able to reunite with his son Nemo. Even though you knew these events did not really happen, it did not change your very real reaction.

Now, how can you use this fact as one of your keys to self-improvement?

Olympic athletes share how they use visualization as a form of training to help ensure they are ready to compete.[3]

Much like a movie, they visualize themselves competing and winning at the Olympics. If they visualize themselves losing, they perform the action again until they can see themselves winning. Each time they visualize themselves competing, they become more and more confident in their ability to win.

As I mentioned previously, the reason this technique is so powerful is that your mind cannot distinguish between reality and fantasy. As a result, each time you visualize yourself accomplishing your goal, your mind starts to believe your goal has already been accomplished. As silly as it sounds, that belief will pave your path to success in gold.

Final Thoughts

Regardless of how you define success, you must grow to accomplish your goals. To put it another way, your current mindset has helped you create the life you have lived thus far.

he changes you want to make in your life require you to change your mindset. The 5 keys to self-improvement discussed in this article will help you do just that.

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More About Self-Improvement

Featured photo credit: Hu Chen via unsplash.com

Reference

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Last Updated on December 16, 2021

14 Ways to Cultivate a Lifetime Reading Habit

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14 Ways to Cultivate a Lifetime Reading Habit
“To acquire the habit of reading is to construct for yourself a refuge from almost all the miseries of life.” — W. Somerset Maugham

Somewhere after “lose weight”, “stop procrastinating”, and “fall in love”, “read more” is one of the top goals that many people set for themselves. And rightly so: A good book can be hugely satisfying, can teach you about things beyond your daily horizons, and can create characters so vivid you feel as if you really know them.

If reading is a habit you’d like to get into, there are a number of ways to cultivate it.

First, realize that reading is highly enjoyable, if you have a good book. If you have a lousy book (or an extremely difficult one) and you are forcing yourself through it, it will seem like a chore. If this happens for several days in a row, consider abandoning the book and finding one that you’ll really love.

Other than that, try these tips to cultivate a lifetime reading habit:

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1. Set times

You should have a few set times during every day when you’ll read for at least 5-10 minutes. These are times that you will read no matter what — triggers that happen each day. For example, make it a habit to read during breakfast and lunch (and even dinner if you eat alone). And if you also read every time you’re sitting on the can, and when you go to bed, you now have four times a day when you read for 10 minutes each — or 40 minutes a day. That’s a great start, and by itself would be an excellent daily reading habit. But there’s more you can do.

2. Always carry a book

Wherever you go, take a book with you. When I leave the house, I always make sure to have my drivers license, my keys and my book, at a minimum. The book stays with me in the car, and I take it into the office and to appointments and pretty much everywhere I go, unless I know I definitely won’t be reading (like at a movie). If there is a time when you have to wait (like at a doctor’s office or at the DMV), whip out your book and read. Great way to pass the time.

3. Make a list

Keep a list of all the great books you want to read. You can keep this in your journal, in a pocket notebook, on your personal home page, on your personal wiki, wherever. Be sure to add to it whenever you hear about a good book, online or in person. Keep a running list, and cross out the ones you read.

Tech trick: create a Gmail account for your book list, and email the address every time you hear about a good book. Now your inbox will be your reading list. When you’ve read a book, file it under “Done”. If you want, you can even reply to the message (to the same address) with notes about the book, and those will be in the same conversation thread, so now your Gmail account is your reading log too.

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4. Find a quiet place

Find a place in your home where you can sit in a comfortable chair (don’t lay down unless you’re going to sleep) and curl up with a good book without interruptions. There should be no television or computer near the chair to minimize distractions, and no music or noisy family members/roommates. If you don’t have a place like this, create one.

5. Reduce television/Internet

If you really want to read more, try cutting back on TV or Internet consumption. This may be difficult for many people. Still, every minute you reduce of Internet/TV, you could use for reading. This could create hours of book reading time.

6. Read to your kid

If you have children, you must, must read to them. Creating the reading habit in your kids is the best way to ensure they’ll be readers when they grow up … and it will help them to be successful in life as well. Find some great children’s books, and read to them. At the same time, you’re developing the reading habit in yourself … and spending some quality time with your child as well.

7. Keep a log

Similar to the reading list, this log should have not only the title and author of the books you read, but the dates you start and finish them if possible. Even better, put a note next to each with your thoughts about the book. It is extremely satisfying to go back over the log after a couple of months to see all the great books you’ve read.

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8. Go to used book shops

My favorite place to go is a discount book store where I drop off all my old books (I usually take a couple of boxes of books) and get a big discount on used books I find in the store. I typically spend only a couple of dollars for a dozen or more books, so although I read a lot, books aren’t a major expense. And it is very fun to browse through the new books people have donated. Make your trip to a used book store a regular thing.

9. Have a library day

Even cheaper than a used book shop is a library, of course. Make it a weekly trip.

10. Read fun and compelling books.

Find books that really grip you and keep you going. Even if they aren’t literary masterpieces, they make you want to read — and that’s the goal here. After you have cultivated the reading habit, you can move on to more difficult stuff, but for now, go for the fun, gripping stuff. Stephen King, John Grisham, Tom Clancy, Robert Ludlum, Nora Roberts, Sue Grafton, Dan Brown … all those popular authors are popular for a reason — they tell great stories. Other stuff you might like: Vonnegut, William Gibson, Douglas Adams, Nick Hornby, Trevanian, Ann Patchett, Terry Pratchett, Terry McMillan, F. Scott Fitzgerald. All excellent storytellers.

11. Make it pleasurable

Make your reading time your favorite time of day. Have some good tea or coffee while you read, or another kind of treat. Get into a comfortable chair with a good blanket. Read during sunrise or sunset, or at the beach.

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12. Blog it

One of the best ways to form a habit is to put it on your blog. If you don’t have one, create one. It’s free. Have your family go there and give you book suggestions and comment on the ones you’re reading. It keeps you accountable for your goals.

13. Set a high goal

Tell yourself that you want to read 50 books this year (or some other number like that). Then set about trying to accomplish it. Just be sure you’re still enjoying the reading though — don’t make it a rushed chore.

14. Have a reading hour or reading day

If you turn off the TV or Internet in the evening, you could have a set hour (perhaps just after dinner) when you and maybe all the members of your family read each night. Or you could do a reading day, when you (and again, your other family members if you can get them to join you) read for practically the whole day. It’s super fun.

Featured photo credit: Thought Catalog via unsplash.com

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