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How to Use Your Power of Self To Make Huge Life Changes in 21 Days

How to Use Your Power of Self To Make Huge Life Changes in 21 Days


    Most people choose to stay the same their entire lives, but the successful people of the world choose to constantly improve, to constantly work on themselves, and even make drastic changes in their lives to become more effective.

    Improving skills is one thing, but when you talk about deep down personality changes like becoming a more outgoing and confident person or molding yourself into a leader, these aren’t things you can do by just learning alone.

    I’ve always wondered how people seem to make such massive changes in themselves in such short amounts of time.

    • How does a nervous introvert become a confident influential speaker?
    • How does a struggling athlete become a determined champion?
    • How does a sub-par student become an academic honors member?

    It All Starts with 100% Belief in Yourself

    Over the past few weeks since reading Psycho Cybernetics by Maxwell Maltz, the book that pioneered a massive chunk of the self-improvement industry, I’ve been experimenting with habit change of my own with some pretty good success.

    One of the things I’ve been working on is becoming a more confident speaker. I’ve done a fair amount of speaking in my life in classroom settings, and some in training sessions for my consulting business, but not too many in large professional settings, such as speaking at conferences.

    When I found myself struggling with this sort of speaking environment I knew I needed to improve as this was going to be a large part of my future. But I wasn’t really sure why I was struggling. I had done fine in other areas of speaking. Why not this one?

    Psycho Cybernetics helped me realize that even though I did fine in other speaking environments, I didn’t truly believe in my abilities in this kind of high pressure setting. I had never experienced it before, so I would build it up and get really nervous. I didn’t truly believe that I could excel.

    The Step of Self-Examination

    The self-examination, awareness, and recognition of the fact that I didn’t 100% believe in myself was huge in the actions that I was able to take to improve in this area on my life. This is a huge key to any kind of self improvement. If you’re struggling with anything, first dig deep down and figure out why.

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    Do you truly believe in yourself? If not, why?

    Is it because of past experiences? Is it because you’ve never had an encounter in this area before? Is it because someone else has influenced your opinions?

    Once you figure that out, you’ll have identified your true beliefs, and you’ll be much closer to figuring out your course of action to improving in this area.

    That was huge for me. It made me come to a realization.

    The Incredible Power of the Self

    Napolean Hill once said

    “Anything the mind of a person can conceive and believe, the mind of that person can achieve.”

    In all of the things I’ve been successful with in my life, such as getting a graduate degree, winning golf tournaments, nailing high dollar contracts for my business, and even delivering great speeches the few times I have done that, the one commonality in my success with all of those things is this.

    I never had a doubt in my mind that I could do them. I believed in myself 100%. I was confident I could succeed, and I didn’t let anything stop me from doing so.

    At the time I didn’t even realize it. But looking back on those situations, I realized that this was absolutely true.

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    And that was really powerful. Recognizing this helped me realize that success with any area of life starts well before execution. It starts with owning a 100% belief in yourself that you can do something. It starts with eliminating any doubt whatsoever from your mind.

    If you can do this, you truly can do anything.

    This unfortunately wasn’t the case for me with professional speaking. I had reservations and doubts in my abilities, and it came through in my performance in these settings.

    So I tried out a couple of techniques designed to help change habits – visualization and positive self-talk, and I’ve had some pretty good success so far.

    21 Days to a Huge Life Change

    It takes around three weeks of perpetual action for a new habit to really set in and start becoming part of your subconscious.

    At first when I heard this I thought, “that sounds like a lot of work”. But then I thought to myself, what do I have to lose, right? A little bit of time just before bed? A few minutes each morning?”

    That’s nothing on the grand scheme of a lifetime of successful speaking. The positives far outweigh the negatives. Don’t let excuses get in your way like I almost did.

    So for three weeks, I spent about 15 minutes per day visualizing myself performing well in professional speaking situations. Each night before I went to sleep, I played a detailed loop in my mind of exactly the things I would do from start to finish. I would visualize a variety of different speaking situations I might end up in, and I would carefully place every detail I could in these visualizations, down to the color of the paint on the walls.

    These were very detailed visualizations that put me directly in the environments I would most likely be in.

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    And after about three weeks, actually a little less, I started feeling much more confident in myself and my abilities. I started speaking better without even thinking about it. This ability became a part of me, not something I had to force myself to do. It was… just natural.

    Believe me I was pretty skeptical when I started. I thought this was a bit silly, but it really did work.

    You see the mind can’t tell the difference between what goes on in your imagination and what goes on in real life. When you visualize and rehearse, you are actually practicing and honing your skills just as you would in the real world, which allows you to ingrain subconscious habits. This way when the real situation does occur, you’ll have already done it 100 times in your mind, and you’ll be ready for it.

    It’s important to note that I still continue this technique to this day. I feel like this is a very powerful practice that I’ll always use. I’m actually starting to work in other things as well, such as working on my professional presence, and my ability to work networking events.

    But I Didn’t Just Visualize

    Throughout this same time period, I also used what is known as positive self-talk. It might sound a little nutty, but it works. I would stand in front of the mirror in the mornings and talk to myself.

    • “I am a confident and effective speaker”
    • “I am the kind of person who speaks very well”
    • “I am energetic, charismatic, and influential when I speak”

    And other positive affirmations about my abilities when speaking.

    Notice that all of those phrases identify me as a great speaker. I’m not saying “I have good speaking abilities.” I am actually identifying myself as an effective speaker. “I AM a confident and effective speaker.”

    The difference here is huge. If you use this technique, you must do the same. You must identify yourself as whatever you want to be by using phrases like:

    • “I am the kind of person who ______”
    • “I am a successful ______”
    • “I am a confident and successful ______”

    This is very important in transforming not just your skills, but your self-image – the actual picture of yourself that you hold in your mind that determines what you will ultimately be.

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    I’m not gonna lie. It felt really weird at first to talk to myself in the mirror, and I had to really force myself to do it, but after about a week I went from this feeling awkward to this feeling very positive. I actually looked forward to it as a part of my morning routine and could feel my confidence improving each and every day.

    The Results

    I’ve been doing this for about a month now, and not only have my nerves begun to calm in speaking situations, but I’ve also noticed that I’m more confident in other areas of my life as well.

    Where I used to be timid to talk with those in more authoritative positions, I’m now confident in my abilities to approach them and have meaningful conversations. Where I used to be reluctant to put myself out and in front of the world, I am now much more confident to do so (this post exemplifies that).

    The benefit has been great so far, and I will continue my work in this area of my development.

    The greatest thing I learned with this experiment is that I now have the power to change any ingrained habit just by using these two simple techniques.

    And you can do exactly the same… for absolutely anything in your life you wish to change.

    (Photo credit: Child in Superhero Costume via Shutterstock)

    More by this author

    Cody Wheeler

    Cody is a self-improvement blogger at Academy Success, the place to learn life skills you don't learn in school.

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    Last Updated on January 21, 2020

    The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

    The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

    Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

    your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

      Why You Need a Vision

      Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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      How to Create Your Life Vision

      Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

      What Do You Want?

      The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

      It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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      Some tips to guide you:

      • Remember to ask why you want certain things
      • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
      • Give yourself permission to dream.
      • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
      • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

      Some questions to start your exploration:

      • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
      • What would you like to have more of in your life?
      • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
      • What are your secret passions and dreams?
      • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
      • What do you want your relationships to be like?
      • What qualities would you like to develop?
      • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
      • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
      • What would you most like to accomplish?
      • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

      It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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      What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

      Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

      A few prompts to get you started:

      • What will you have accomplished already?
      • How will you feel about yourself?
      • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
      • What does your ideal day look like?
      • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
      • What would you be doing?
      • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
      • How are you dressed?
      • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
      • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
      • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

      It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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      Plan Backwards

      It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

      • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
      • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
      • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
      • What important actions would you have had to take?
      • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
      • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
      • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
      • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
      • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

      Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

      It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

      Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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