Self-improvement is perhaps one of the hardest things to accomplish if you are not truly dedicated. Self-improvement can be achieved in many ways: exercising, eating healthy, applying for college, quitting smoking, learning a new skill and volunteering, to name a few.
Why is it so hard?
One of the main reasons that self-improvement is so difficult is because many people do not have the right mindset. Basically, their opinions and way of thinking need to change. There are a lot of people who want to improve, but most of them feel ashamed of themselves and the things they are not doing to help themselves. Change is scary for a lot of people, so most do not take necessary action. This way of thinking and inaction can be harmful.
Why can it be harmful?
Continuing to think like this for prolonged periods of time will not get you anywhere. This is because thoughts like "I'm so unhealthy" and "I should really get a job" are just that: thoughts. A lot of people resume their behavior after having these thoughts because they do not couple them with actions. The thought of doing something and working toward self-improvement is unappealing, so they do not do it.
Not working toward self-improvement, depending on what you are trying to improve about yourself, can be detrimental. If you want to quit drinking, but do not want to experience the difficulties of not drinking and are not willing to work toward a healthier alternative, consider this: drinking can shorten your life span and cause other health problems. These people are currently not in the right mindset. The right mindset can be difficult to achieve, but it is possible.
How can I achieve the right mindset?
There are many ways to achieve the right mindset, but one of the simpler ways is to slightly change your words. Let me give an example. Let us say you wake up in the mornings, and part of your morning routine is to weigh yourself. You go to where your scale is located and step on it. When you see your weight, you sigh in contempt. The weight you are at right now is less than satisfactory, and you know you should start practicing a healthier lifestyle. You think to yourself daily, "I should start exercising."
The problem with this statement is the word should." This word does not promote commitment to the thing you need to do. What kind of word changes this noncommittal statement to a committal one? The word "will." Let's look at the statement again, changing "should" to "will": "I will start exercising." As you can see, simply changing one word makes a huge difference. Applying this simple practice to your everyday thoughts can help you on your journey in self-improvement.
Here are a few more examples:
- "I should study when I get home" to "I will study when I get home."
- "I should fill out this scholarship form" to "I will fill out this scholarship form."
- "I should go to bed earlier" to "I will go to bed earlier."
What if I have trouble with commitment?
For some, perhaps changing the word "should" to "will" in their statements does not do much. Sure, they sound more committal, but that may not be enough to get you going. That is OK! Another way to help you in your self-improvement journey is to plan and set some deadlines. Staying committed to something is difficult, especially if there is no plan in place, and there is no set deadline for it to be completed.
Saying "I will study for my test" sounds great, but if you did not originally plan to study that day, it may be difficult to just sit down and study. Another way to change your statements and help you stay committed to them is not only to continue changing "should" to "will," but make a plan. For example, "I will study for my test on Tuesday at 6:00 p.m. after school." You type that into your calendar on your phone (or other device), set a few reminders and BAM! You have a plan you can stick to.
Is it really that simple?
It sounds incredibly simple to begin with. Simply changing a few words and planning can be done with no problem. But, if you really want to make some self-improvement changes, it is putting action to your words and plans. Even small improvements are a huge step forward. Too many big changes can be off-putting, so starting off with something small and working your way up is the best way to go. Think about it this way: self-improvement begins with changing the little things, and once you have accomplished that, changing the big things becomes that much easier.