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Last Updated on December 1, 2020

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

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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Undre Griggs

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Published on May 11, 2021

20 Best Books on Personal Development

20 Best Books on Personal Development

Let’s face it—transformation isn’t always easy. Getting from where you are to where you want to be in life requires a lot of personal growth and development. It can require everything from letting go of old beliefs to speaking up for yourself and setting boundaries to even recognizing your own unmet needs. These aren’t exactly skills we’re taught in school, so it can be incredibly overwhelming to even know where to start.

A few decades ago, most personal development information was locked behind thousand-dollar seminars and coaching programs. Fortunately, the industry has absolutely exploded in the last decade, and a large part of that is driven by books. For under $15 or with a library card, we now have access to priceless wisdom from some of the most brilliant minds and best books on personal development.

By reading the words of experts in the field, we literally can think their thoughts and benefit from decades of experience to improve our own lives. So, how do you get started?

Here are the 20 best books on personal development that can completely transform your life.

(Links are listed for accessibility, but remember to check your local library to see if these books are available for free. And don’t forget to support your local bookstore, if possible.)

1. The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity by Julia Cameron

    Celebrated by everyone from Martin Scorsese to Elizabeth Gilbert, The Artist’s Way has been one of the most important books for artists and non-artists alike for decades. It guides you through a 12-week process of morning journaling and self-dates to unlock all of your blocks to creativity and intuition and live a life that feels like you.

    Whether you are an artist or not, this is an insightful book that will bring so much clarity to what you really want out of life and why you’ve been holding yourself back.

    Get the book here!

    2. The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are by Brené Brown

      Researcher and storyteller Brené Brown has been a leader in studying vulnerability. In The Gifts of Imperfection, she shares research and encouragement that helps you release the definition of who you think you’re supposed to be to become who you actually already are.

      Brené encourages you to let go of shame, open up to vulnerability, and live a more authentic life. This is an inspiring and important book for anyone struggling with the shame of being radically yourself.

      Get the book here!

      3. Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek

        In Start with Why, author and TED speaker Simon Sinek shares the secret that united Martin Luther King Jr., Steve Jobs, and the Wright Brothers—they all started with “why.” They realized that people won’t truly buy into a product, service, movement, or idea until they understand the “why” behind it.

        While this book is primarily focused on work or business, Start with Why makes a compelling case for the power behind a strong motivation that people can get behind and how it can inspire more innovation and support.

        Get the book here!

        4. Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

          For decades, psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi has famously studied the concept of “flow”—the highly-focused psychological state that Olympic athletes, great artists, and brilliant scientists all find themselves in at moments of groundbreaking success.

          By breaking down decades of research into bite-sized actions, Flow reveals the process to create this state for yourself and get “in the zone” to achieve your optimal potential.

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          Get the book here!

          5. The HeartMath Solution: The Institute of HeartMath’s Revolutionary Program for Engaging the Power of the Heart’s Intelligence by Doc Lew Childre and Howard Martin

            Touted by Deepak Chopra as the book that “saves you years of therapy,” The HeartMath Solution pulls together decades of Institute of HeartMath research on how to be less stressed and make better decisions, making it one of the best books on personal development.

            This practical, easy read will change the way you view the relationship between your head and heart. The techniques in the book are incredibly simple and can help you calm down from some of the stressful moments in a matter of seconds to tap back into your best decision-making.

            Get the book here!

            6. The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results by Gary Keller

              If you’re overwhelmed by too many things to do and never seem to accomplish the stuff that really matters to you, then this is an invaluable book. The ONE Thing argues that until your most important task is completed, everything else is a distraction that diffuses your energy and makes you frantic.

              This book helps you focus on what you really care about and want to accomplish and then, organize your life around accomplishing the “one thing” before moving on to something else. This is one of the best books for personal development, especially for anyone who’s struggling with overwhelm and productivity.

              Get the book here!

              7. Codependent No More: How to Stop Controlling Others and Start Caring for Yourself by Melody Beattie

                Codependent No More has been an international bestseller for more than 30 years, and the reason is that we all struggle with codependency somewhere in our lives.

                Whether it looks like addiction, people-pleasing, taking care of everyone around you, or just not giving yourself enough self-care, this book unpacks the roots of codependency and helps you break free once-and-for-all.

                This is an important book for anyone having challenges in friendships or relationships or struggling with people-pleasing or addiction.

                Get the book here!

                8. The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph by Ryan Holiday

                  Presenting ancient Stoic wisdom to a modern audience, The Obstacle Is the Way shows you how to turn your obstacles and challenges into massive opportunities.

                  Ryan Holiday draws from the same ancient philosophy that empowered John D. Rockefeller, Amelia Earhart, and Steve Jobs to succeed and breaks down the essential formula for not running away from obstacles but actually running toward them.

                  This is a really empowering book for anyone struggling with obstacles to get what they want.

                  Get the book here!

                  9. Real Help: An Honest Guide to Self-Improvement by Ayodeji Awosika

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                    Real Help isn’t your usual self-help book. Wildly popular Medium writer Ayodeji Awosika takes a no-BS, tough-love approach to developing mental toughness, finding clarity, and taking action to transform your life.

                    This is a great book if you’ve read dozens of self-help or personal development books but haven’t taken action to change your life. Real Help gets right to the point and gives you actionable steps to start implementing change right away.

                    Get the book here!

                    10. Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person by Shonda Rhimes

                      Year of Yes is a deeply personal and honest account of how the creator of Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal Shonda Rhimes started saying yes to everything that scared her.

                      This inspiring and raw memoir makes you reflect on what you’ve been avoiding or making excuses for out of fear and what would really happen if you started saying yes to all the stuff that terrifies you. It’s a relatable, casual, easy read, and is great for anyone who needs a little inspiration to start saying yes to life.

                      Get the book here!

                      11. The Big Leap: Conquer Your Hidden Fear and Take Life to the Next Level by Gay Hendricks

                        Psychologist Gay Hendricks unpacks why we all seem to self-sabotage when we’re so close to success and what it will take to leap to a life where you’re in your “Zone of Genius.”

                        In this highly motivating book on personal development, you’ll walk step by step on how to “go beyond your internal limits, release outdated fears, and learn a whole new set of powerful skills and habits to liberate your authentic greatness.”

                        Get the book here!

                        12. Power vs. Force: The Hidden Determinants of Human Behavior (5.2.1985) by David R. Hawkins

                          Hailed by Mother Teresa, Lee Iacocca, and Sam Walton, Power vs. Force combines spirituality and cutting-edge research to help you understand your emotions and level of consciousness.

                          In this seminal work, David Hawkins explains how to get a yes or no answer to any question you ask and how to understand what you’re feeling and why so that you can begin to change your life and the world around you.

                          While it’s not exactly a light beach read, this book is really eye-opening for those wanting to explore spirituality as part of their personal development.

                          Get the book here!

                          13. What I Know for Sure by Oprah Winfrey

                            Personal development as we know it would not be the same without Oprah Winfrey. For 14 years, Oprah shared her greatest wisdom in a monthly column for O, The Oprah Magazine called “What I Know for Sure.” This book collects all of those essays—a lifetime of Oprah’s greatest experiences and lessons—into a comprehensive work.

                            What I Know for Sure is honest, thoughtful, and deeply inspiring. This is a powerful book for devout Oprah Winfrey fans and soon-to-be fans alike.

                            Get the book here!

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                            14. Can’t Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds by David Goggins

                              In this memoir, Navy SEAL David Goggins recounts his own life story from poverty, prejudice, and physical abuse to becoming one of the world’s top endurance athletes and military icon through pure will.

                              Can’t Hurt Me will inspire you to stretch and persevere to defy even the most improbably odds and realize that when you think you’re completely tapped out, you’ve only tapped into 40% of your capabilities—and there’s still so much more you can do.

                              It’s an inspiring, tough love book that will motivate you to take action toward your dreams.

                              Get the book here!

                              15. The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

                                In The Happiness Project, writer Gretchen Rubin documents her entire year of testing out research, classical philosophy, and common wisdom to find out what makes her truly happy.

                                This casual and accessibly written book inspires you to design your own happiness project to transform each area of your life as you follow Gretchen’s journey and contemplate research on happiness.

                                If you’re looking for an inspiring structure to change every aspect of your life, The Happiness Project is an easy read that can inspire you to experiment with what makes you happy.

                                Get the book here!

                                16. Unlimited Power: The New Science Of Personal Achievement by Tony Robbins

                                  The name Tony Robbins has been synonymous with personal development. In Unlimited Power, he reveals the exact techniques he has used to help Olympic athletes, movie stars, and heads of state to harness their own untapped power.

                                  This book breaks down complicated neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) techniques into simple visualizations that anyone can learn in literally minutes to start to change the way your mind processes information. If you’re looking to change your thinking or step into more confidence, this is an important book to not overlook.

                                  Get the book here!

                                  17. The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work by Shawn Achor

                                    In The Happiness Advantage, Shawn Achor flips conventional wisdom on its head. It’s not that we’ll be happy when we’re successful. It’s that we’ll actually be successful when we’re happy.

                                    Shawn presents research that shows us how to rewire our brains for positivity and optimism to be happier in our lives, our careers, and even our health. He also breaks down actionable strategies to retrain our brains, build a solid support network, and spread positive change to the people around us.

                                    If you’re looking to retrain your brain for happiness and success, this is definitely a worthwhile book to consider.

                                    Get the book here!

                                    18. Energy Leadership: Transforming Your Workplace and Your Life from the Core by Bruce D. Schneider

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                                      Renowned coach Bruce D. Schneider doesn’t just tell you what energy leadership is—he shows you. In Energy Leadership, Bruce recounts the story of how he helped a client to transform his failing business by systematically changing the energy of the business.

                                      At each new level, there are specific emotions, actions, and predictable arguments. By the end of the book, you’ll be able to identify exactly which level of energy leadership every relationship, job, and friendship in your life is at and how to begin transforming it for the better.

                                      It’s an eye-opening look at why we’re stuck where we are and how we can shift ourselves and those around us to get extraordinary results.

                                      Get the book here!

                                      19. Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert

                                        Bestselling author Elizabeth Gilbert digs into her own creative process in Big Magic to unpack the mysterious and spiritual nature of inspiration. She discusses the habits needed to cultivate creativity, go after our deepest desires, and confront our fears.

                                        With a casual, poetic tone and lots of encouragement, Big Magic inspires you to find the magic inside—whether that’s to create art, start a new business, or bring more mindfulness and passion to our everyday lives.

                                        If you’re looking for more inspiration and creativity, this is an important book to reignite that fire within.

                                        Get the book here!

                                        20. Enough Already: Create Success on Your Own Terms by Mike Iamele

                                          I’d be remiss if I didn’t include my own book on this list.

                                          Enough Already is a battle cry for the success seekers who are fed up trying to achieve someone else’s definition of success. Broken up into 12 steps, the book follows a journey through the 12 aspects of creating success on your own terms with homework and challenges at the end of each chapter to implement the work into your life immediately.

                                          By the end of the book, you’ll have a completed strategic plan to step up into the world and go after even some of your biggest dreams knowing that you are enough already.

                                          Get the book here!

                                          The Bottom Line

                                          You only need one good idea to change your life, and there’s so much important wisdom and inspiration in the 20 best books on personal development listed above. You don’t have to read all of them. You just have to start.

                                          Personal development is about taking action to develop yourself personally. So, scan this list, find a book that resonates with you, and then start reading.

                                          You don’t need to measure the magnitude—just the direction. If you take one tiny step toward the life you want, every day for a year, you’ll be 365 times closer to your dreams a year from today. But you just have to start.

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                                          Featured photo credit: Thought Catalog via unsplash.com

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