Self-improvement is not for sissies! Who said it would be easy? Well, it is, and it is not. If your improvement program consists of losing 5 pounds or getting a new hairstyle, it’s easy. But to make those deep inner changes that draw you nearer to happiness, contentment, and success self-improvement may be more of a challenge. But it doesn’t have to be all struggle and no laughs. Here are 4 ways to make it fun or at least more enjoyable.
Develop Neutral Sight
To make changes on a deeply personal level, you need to do an inspection through introspection, and this needs to be done with neutral sight. Drop the labels and the old programs that you run about yourself so you can see what’s truly there. If you have the self-esteem of a gnat, it will be hard to do this without seeing only the negative and piling up such a heap of things to improve that it looks impossible. Digging deep to find everything that you believe is wrong with you is never wise and should be done only with the help of another person with skills to help you stay balanced during the process. There is no improvement if the introspection process leaves you discouraged and depressed. If your intention to improve is sincere, you will be able to find the starting place and go about it gently and steadily.
Start by improving the things that are already strengths for you
If you have an artistic flair, for example, develop it. Take some art lessons, visit art galleries to see what others have done, take a course at your local community college or an art teacher. If you have a gift for speaking join a Toastmaster’s group, develop some presentations and alert the local service groups of your availability. Have someone videotape your speech and as you watch it, make notes for areas of improvement. Then practice until you are pleased with the next video tape you make. If you are a good cook, take some cooking classes to improve. You can learn more about food preparation and presentation. Invite friends over to give you feedback on your skills as a chef. If you like to write and want to improve your writing skills, write some articles and submit them to online article publishers like http://ezinearticles.com or this blog. There are writing and poetry contests on the Internet that you can enter. Start a blog and write to it on a daily basis. Starting with your good traits and fine tuning them will give you confidence, increase your self-esteem, help you meet new people, give you satisfaction in your improvement and gently open some of those deeper and more personal areas that need to be improved.
Remove the Labels—make it a game
We all put labels on ourselves. Some, for instance, may be
- too thin
- too young
- too old
- no fun
- someone nobody likes to be with
- a loser
Make it a game to take labels off. If you know how to do self-hypnosis, this is a helpful exercise that employs that skill. Otherwise, just let yourself get relaxed and imagine yourself standing in front of you with the strongest label all over your body. For example, if you believe you are “too old” see that label stuck all over you and imagine that you can pull it off. Keep removing it by pulling until they are all gone. Notice how good you feel with that label off. If you wish you can replace it with a positive label such as “the perfect age.” It’s your choice. It sounds simplistic, but it can help you change your thinking about your age and age limitations. Do that with as many of those negative labels that you identify.
Reward Yourself for Progress
Most of us love rewards and awards. What’s keeping you from rewarding or awarding yourself when you recognize that you have triumphed or made some significant gain? What if, for example, you are working with anger and you often go into road rage when you drive on the freeway? You noticed that today, when that jerk cut you off, that you didn’t over react? You were able to stay calm and let the jerk be a jerk. What can you do to reward that? Perhaps allowing that inner feeling of success is all you need. If so, take some time to feel it and enjoy it. You decide what kind of reward or award you give yourself. Be generous.
In summary, as I said in the beginning, “Self-improvement is not for sissies.” It is for those who sincerely want to improve. But it does not have to be a process that opens all the old wounds and brings emotional pain. Be gentle but persistent. Start with the good stuff and make it better. We are holistic. What improves in one area improves the whole. And, while you are at it, make it fun and reward your progress.
I’ll see you later. I’m going to get quiet and pull some labels off. That’s my self-improvement exercise for the day.