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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 July 8, 2020

    18 Benefits of Journaling That Will Change Your Life

    18 Benefits of Journaling That Will Change Your Life

    The act of writing in a journal often seems daunting or unnecessary to many people. Even authors who work on novels might shun the idea of daily diaries. What purpose does jotting down words on a regular basis do if not contributing to the next novel, play or song? I know from experience many benefits of journaling that I wish to share.

    1. Understand Yourself Better

    Though many people and even writers avoid keeping journals, I vow to do it more often. Not only do I desire to take up daily journaling but also I plan to do it with pen to paper.

    Some of the benefits I’ve found from my more active days include finding myself in the sense of understanding what matters to me and what I want out of life. I’ve been incredibly fortunate to find a spouse who is my best friend and advocate in raising children. I attribute this and much more to what I learned about myself in keeping journals for years.

    2. Keep Track of Small Changes

    I’ll admit that I never got very far with my guitar lessons, but in writing in a journal, I have seen the ability to track small changes like those that come when you practice anything.

    Those learning a musical instrument often fail to see the small improvements that come with regular practice. Writing won’t help you switch chords any faster, but it will help you to develop a better sense for language and grammar just by doing it.

    3. Become Aware of What Matters

    As you continue to write in a journal, following a stream-of-consciousness feel, you can look back on the topics that you chose to write about. Those issues and emotions that poured out of you will provide insight on to what matters most to you.

    You may not even realize that you’re job is depressing you or that you want to spend more time with your kids until you look over your thoughts that you weren’t really thinking about.

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    4. Boost Creativity

    The idea that the brain and its neural activity across hemispheres encourages learning also shows up in increased creativity. Just like with learning an instrument, your increased activity will inspire your thoughts to connect and reconnect in different ways.

    When I wrote in a journal, I often wrote poetry as well as just my thoughts as they came out. I started to hear poems more in my mind; so much so that I took to scrawling lines on napkins and finding metaphors in mundane activities.

    You really are what you do, so writing helps grow more than being a writer. Writing boosts the way you communicate and structure language, which really is a creative process.

    5. Represents Your Emotions in a Safe Environment

    A journal is as private as it gets. You can lock it in a safe or tuck it under a pillow and no one will accidentally share it on social media or have an opportunity to “leave a comment.”

    Write about your sorrow as much as your happiness and frustration and know that you don’t have to keep your emotions inside your body. You can put them on paper.

    6. Process Life Experiences

    When you take the time to look back over what you’ve written, be it a week or a year later, you will have the distance you need to more objectively interpret your raw feelings.

    Everything from losing a job to losing a loved one can emerge in a new light for a fresh perspective. Figuring out how the benefits of journaling affect your perspective on life will create connection and increase creativity.

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    7. Stress Relief

    In combining the exercise inherent in fine motor coordination that comes from the act of writing with the emotional release of self expression, those who maintain a journal relieve stress.

    Try it out. Go home and write about your day. Write about the traffic. Write about the coffee order the barista got wrong but you didn’t have time to change. See how you can physically purge some of that pent-up stress by putting it on paper.

    8. Provide Direction

    Though journaling is often conducted as an activity without much direction, it often provides direction.

    One of the biggest benefits of journaling is that your chaotic thoughts merge to show a direction in which to head. Asking the right questions is the only way to achieve the best solutions, so look to your journal to find your way toward your next goal.

    9. Solve Problems

    Just as in practicing math problems, we all get better at finding hidden solutions through the act of processing.

    Think of your next goal as X and solve your life problems by reading your journals as word problems. The benefit of journaling here is that you write, explore and process to recognize and then solve problems.

    When life is too in-your-face, you have to step back to see reality. Living in the moment allows us to write in the moment and use that expression to solve problems.

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    10. Find Relief From Fighting

    Solving your problems only comes after time to process, recognize and strategize. Just as in the benefit of journaling where relief comes from the act of writing, relief from fighting comes when you decide to “sit this one out” and communicate one-way.

    Fighting is only productive when the fighters care to communicate and find common ground. When the emotions are as high as the stress levels, writing will function as the best time out.

    11. Find Meaning in Life

    Journaling will show you why you are living, whether you are wallowing in things you wish to change or striving to make the changes. Your life will begin to take on new meaning and your own words will reveal the actions that got you where you are so that you can assess and pave a new path for your future.

    12. Allow Yourself to Focus

    Taking even a small amount of time out of every day will provide you with not only peace of mind but also increased focus. Taking a break to meditate in writing and journaling will sharpen your mental faculties.

    13. Sharpen Your Spirituality

    When we write, we allow all the energy and experiences to flow through us, which often provides further insight into our own spirituality. Even if your parents didn’t raise you to follow a specific religion, your thoughts will start to show you what you believe about the universe and your place in it.

    14. Let the Past Go

    I’ve mentioned a few examples where going back over your writing offers advice and direction, but the simply truth is that writing down our feelings can be the best way to let them go. We can choose to literally throw these pages away when they’re filled with negativity and hate.

    15. Allow Freedom

    Journaling is the perfect way to not only express yourself but to also experience the freedom of being who you are. Your books can stay private or you can publish them. Your freedom stems from your sense of self and your perception of your thoughts.

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    16. Enhance Your Career

    Again, the private act of pen-to-paper processing provides the benefits of journaling mentioned above, but you can also enhance your career when you take similar ideas and categorize, edit and publish them in an online blog.

    Your thoughts will often be personal and express emotions, but another benefit of journaling is uncovering fresh ideas about your work.

    17. Literally Explore Your Dreams

    All the benefits I’ve mentioned explore ideas, thoughts and emotions, which is also what our dreams and nightmares do. Through writing down your dreams from the previous night, you can enhance your creativity as well as connect some of the metaphorical dots from the rest of your journal.

    18. Catalog Your Life for Others

    No one wants to think about dying, but we all die. Leaving a journal will act as a way to reconnect with family and friends left behind. The ideas you wish to keep personal while you process the life you’re living will serve to rekindle and inspire those who loved you through the process.

    We consider our partners our life witnesses, but writing provides a tangible mark on the world.

    Now that you’ve learned all the benefits of journaling, it’s time to start writing a journal:

    Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

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