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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)

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    Last Updated on March 13, 2019

    How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

    How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

    Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

    You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

    Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

    1. Work on the small tasks.

    When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

    Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

    2. Take a break from your work desk.

    Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

    Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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    3. Upgrade yourself

    Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

    The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

    4. Talk to a friend.

    Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

    Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

    5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

    If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

    Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

    Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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    6. Paint a vision to work towards.

    If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

    Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

    Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

    7. Read a book (or blog).

    The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

    Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

    Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

    8. Have a quick nap.

    If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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    9. Remember why you are doing this.

    Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

    What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

    10. Find some competition.

    Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

    Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

    11. Go exercise.

    Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

    Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

    As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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    Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

    12. Take a good break.

    Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

    Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

    Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

    Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

    More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

    Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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