7 Steps to Turn Your Self-Improvement Desires Into Reality - Leo BABAUTA

How many times have we told ourselves in complete earnestness, “I’m going to be more organized and productive from now on.”? Or that the diet starts tomorrow? Or that we’re going to make a real effort to exercise now?

Only to have that enthusiasm fizzle away, and all our best intentions come to nothing?
It’s the most common thing in the world (besides bacteria) — the honest and fervent desire for self-improvement, followed by inaction or giving in to temptations, followed by guilt or giving up. Bridget Jones captured it best, writing her constant resolutions into her diary. “Will definitely go to the gym this afternoon.” Only to be followed by a binge of pastries followed by drinking and smoking.
We’re all Bridget Jones. It happens to the best of us. It’s inertia at work, mixed with a bit of laziness as well as the very human trait of giving in to desires despite all the good intentions in the world.
So how do we beat inertia and temptations? Four basic ways, really:
  1. Get moving, a bit at a time. Inertia is beat only by movement. Once you get going, momentum builds up and inertia is no longer a factor. So the key is to get started, and you do that not by trying to go from 0 to 60 in 5 seconds, but by trying to go from 0 to 5mph in a day or two. That’s doable. It’s all about baby steps. Once you get going, you’re golden.
  2. Be accountable. Laziness, the second culprit, is beat by a bit of public pressure. We all get lazy from time to time (or, to be more honest, all the time), and there’s nothing wrong with that. But to beat laziness, we must apply a bit of pressure, in the form of accountability. There’s nothing wrong with a little pressure, as long is it’s not overdone. Pressure is a motivating thing, especially when it’s positive. Positive pressure includes encouragement from family or friends, an online forum, a help group in your neighborhood, or the readers of your blog.
  3. Ignore failures — giving in to temptation is OK. We will always give in to temptation. Plan for it, accept it, move on. There’s no need to beat yourself up.
  4. Motivate yourself. Most importantly, you want to really want it. It’s not enough to feel pressure to do something — you have to really desire it. I mean, really desire it, not just think it’s something you should do, or that you’ll be a better person for doing it. If pressure gives you the push toward your goal, motivation gives you the pull.
Given those strategies for beating the obstacles to making your desires become reality … how do we implement them? How do we go from theory to actual action steps? Easy. Seven simple steps, that you can do today. Really. Do them today.
1. Make a date. Right now. All the good intentions in the history of the universe mean nothing if you don’t actually get started. And the only way to get started is to take action, right now. Not tomorrow, not later today, not in an hour, not when you finish reading this article. Right now! Look at your calendar, and make an appointment to create your action plan, or to take the first action (“Go walking at 5:30 p.m. today in the park,” for example). What’s the first action you can take to make your desires a reality? Create a healthier meal plan for tomorrow? Create a place for everything you use at work, so your organizing system doesn’t fall apart in two day? Decide what that is and make an appointment for it, right now. Second part of this step: make that appointment the most important appointment on your schedule, more important than a doctor’s appointment or a meeting with your boss.
2. Set a small, achievable goal. Remember, inertia is a powerful force. If you haven’t been exercising for a couple years, it’s hard to get started. You’re used to the way things are, and even if you want to change, it’s difficult. So don’t start out trying to conquer the world. Just conquer something exceedingly small. It might sound wimpy to say, “I’m going to walk for 10 minutes” or “I’m going to do 10 pushups and 1 chinup”, but those are much more likely to beat inertia than, “I’m going to exercise for 45 minutes today.” Be realistic, and make it very very achievable. It’s the only way to beat inertia.
“Try not. Do or do not. There is no try.” – Yoda in The Empire Strikes Back
3. Commit thyself, big time. It’s this commitment that will keep you going after you overcome inertia. Sometimes we get filled up with enthusiasm, but then a few days later, that enthusiasm wanes and we submit to our old buddy laziness. Now, I’m not anti-laziness — just the opposite, I assure you — but we can’t let it stop us from making our dreams come true. So instead, make a commitment, publicly. State your small, achievable goal, and tell it to as many people as you can. Call or email friends and family, tell all your coworkers, join an online forum related to your goal and tell all of them. Put it on your blog. However you do it, make sure people are aware of your goal, and that there’s sufficient pressure to overcome laziness.
4. Baby steps, baby. Again, inertia is a very strong force. I’ve said it before, but this is a very important step here: the best way to change is through baby steps. One small step at a time. Don’t try to bite off too much. How is this different from the above step, setting a small and achievable goal? It’s the same concept, but extended beyond the initial goal. It’s taking things one little goal at a time, a bit at a time. For example, let’s say you want to run a marathon, but currently your running regimen consists of running to the bathroom during commercial breaks while you’re watching Lost. So do you go out and start a marathon training plan? Nope. You start by walking 10 minutes a day. Then, when that becomes a habit and too easy, walk 15 minutes. Then 20, then 30. Then jog a minute, walk a couple minutes, jog a minute, and so on, for those 30 minutes. Then jog 90 seconds, and so on, until you’re running for 30 minutes. Do these steps a week or two at a time, so that all of a sudden, you’re running for 45 minutes every other day … and you barely noticed the progression. That’s the way you get to a goal … small progressions that are barely noticeable. Not by killing yourself the first day out.
“Seventy percent of success in life is showing up.” – Woody Allen
5. Hold thyself accountable. You’ve committed yourself publicly … but it’s not enough to tell people your goal. You have to make it clear that they must hold you accountable to reporting to them your progress. Then report your progress to them regularly. Daily is better than weekly. Reporting to them makes sure that you will think twice about being lazy and forgoing your action plan.
6. Motivate yourself. We’ve already discussed accountability and commitment, which are ways to put positive pressure on yourself — a form of motivation. Those are great, but you also want other types of motivation. You want to find ways to make your progress feel great … either through rewards, or the positive way you feel about your progress, or the positive way you feel when others see how well you’re doing. Find a few different ways to motivate yourself — the more the better. Incorporate these into your plan. Tell people about them. Let them help push you along.
7. Just keep doing it, no matter what. You’ll encounter obstacles, and falter and fall. Just get up and keep going. You’ll face temptations and give in. That’s OK. Just keep going. You’ll make mistakes and get discouraged. No matter … just keep going. Learn from your mistakes, and … keep going. No matter what happens, keep going. If you’re taking baby steps, you’re holding yourself accountable, and you’re actually doing something, you’ll get there.
“Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one” – Albert Einstein


50 Life lessons from an 80 year old man


Daily Personal Growth Practises

Practises for the mind:
Keep a reading habit.
Have a growth mindset.
Align your priorities with your goals and values.
Visualize success.
Measure your improvement.
Learn new skills.

Practises for the body:
Respect your body.
Exercise on the regular.
Eat mindfully.
Practice self-care.
Schedule regular desk breaks.
Mind your daily water intake.

Practises for the soul:
Practice daily mindfulness.
Practice mindful listening.
Practice gratitude.
Recite positive affirmations.
Develop a journaling habit.
Heal your negative talk.
Learn to forgive yourself and others.


Tips to stimulate personal growth

Know yourself – self knowledge is not just bout knowing your likes and dislikes, its about knowing who you really are as a person.

Surround yourself with beautiful people – We’re talking about inner beauty ofcourse. People who have a story to tell, gifts to share and lessons to teach.

Rid yourself of people who bring you down.

Three good things – each evening write down 3 good things that happened throughout your day, or 3 things you are thankful for.

Avoid comparing yourself to what you see on social media.

Write – public blogs or private journals, writing is a therapeutic outlet for your thoughts.
Meet new people – spending time with new people will broaden your horizons and open up different adventures and opportunities in your life.

De-clutter – we get emotionally attached to ‘stuff’. When you take the plunge to purge and rid yourself of all the clutter you’ve hoarded over a lifetime, you’ll feel lighter and more empowered!

Get in touch with nature – take time out of each day to get fresh air, walk through a pretty park or just watch the clouds.

Make someone’s day – whether it’s a stranger, a friend or your mum – do something to brighten someone’s day!


Tips for a productive morning!

The night before:
Plan ahead, set out clothes, prep breakfast and lunch, set up the coffee machine.
Relax for a good nights sleep and turn off screens an hour before bed.

The morning:
Don’t press snooze. Keep the alarm far aware so you have to stand up to turn it off.
Move your body, stretch, walk or do a quick workout – anything to get your blood circulating.


Planning A Productive September!

Select monthly goals – write down your biggest goals for the month.

Make a list of tasks for each goal – creating a plan of action for every monthly goal.

Schedule the tasks – take your list of tasks and separate them into weekly to do lists for the month.

Plan for your week – on Friday or Sunday, complete the weekly list of tasks and plan when you will accomplish every single listed item.

Reschedule – if there is anything that you didn’t have time to finish, add it to your to do list for the following week.