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Table of Contents 10th February 2010,
This Month's Article: How to Keep on Track with Self Improvement
Tip of the Month
How to Keep on Track with Self Improvement
When we try to improve ourselves, we often feel most motivation, and experience most change, at the beginning. It’s more difficult to maintain the same enthusiasm and commitment through the next few days, weeks or months.
It’s human nature that at some point we lose impetus. We want a rest from our efforts, we become bored, or even forget what it was we were focused on. It is just at this point that we could make most progress – if we managed to stay on track and persevere. However, we often stop at this point and deprive ourselves of the rewards that would inspire us to continue with a light heart. Does this feel familiar to you? If so, let’s look at how you can prevent this self sabotage.
Suppose your desired self improvement was in the form of building a healthy body. You may decide that to reach your goal of becoming leaner, more firmly toned, more vital and less prone to ailments, you will need to have a healthy regime that you follow every day. Let’s say you have worked out that you need to eat less and more healthily, exercise for forty minutes a day, drink more water and less alcohol, and so on. You have a mental image of this new, more vibrant and fitter you, and are keen to start to work towards your goal.
For the first few days it seems quite easy to follow your plan but the first day it rains you may experience reluctance to get out there and take your exercise. You might overcome the temptation of staying at home the first time, but something is already changing. The keenness you felt at first is beginning to slip away. If nothing steps in to boost your motivation and provide rewards you will soon give in and stop doing your exercise. Then you’ll feel bad and start eating chocolate and it’s a slippery slope back to where you began.
Three Things to Keep you on Track
There are some things you can put in place to make it more likely you’ll continue through these points of temptation and reach your goal. Firstly, don’t be rigid about your routine. Have some alternatives handy which confer the same benefits. For instance, if your exercise of choice is to jog for two miles, you might sometimes go swimming, dance energetically or play tennis with a friend instead. Build in variety to prevent boredom. Make it a game to see how many variations you can think of.
Which brings me to the second tip. If you have a friend who is interested in achieving the same sort of goal as you, make them your exercise buddy or compare notes on your respective efforts. Even if you do not have anyone who shares your aspirations, you may know someone who will be your mentor and encourage you. Having someone to support you makes it harder to fall by the wayside because you won’t want to let them down.
The third tip is to keep a journal. Start at the beginning with your goal, and the steps you decide you need to take to get there. Write in it daily until you reach your goal, making a note of your observations, your feelings, and your progress. In this example you might remark how you are finding it easier to jog, that you’ve lost two pounds in weight and have a sense of wellbeing. You might also record an idea you had relevant to your goal.
A journal is a living thing. You write in it, and over time it gives back to you. It is a record of all the increments of progress you’ve made which would have been lost otherwise. It can give a real sense of personal change, as it is happening and encourage you to go on. You can also vent your frustrations or describe your temptations. This is cathartic and it makes you feel better. A journal can actually be your mentor as long as you are completely honest with it.
Writing a journal is a very powerful tool on any journey. When you commit to it, a journal often becomes the reason for working towards your goal. You can become so addicted to journal writing and the benefits it confers, that you keep to your schedule just so you can continue writing in it.
An example of this is when a person writes a Good News Diary which is a great way of lifting depression. At first they write as instructed, all the things they enjoyed and appreciated in their day. In a short time they are looking for positive experiences during the day and often create them, to write in their diary.
So whenever you begin a course of self improvement remember to follow these three tips: add alternatives and variety to your plan, enlist the support of others, and keep a journal. You will be much more likely to reach your goal.
This Month's Tip:
Ask yourself: If this was my last day on earth what would I be doing right now? or: What would I like to have done or experienced in my life before I die?
We tend to depend on being around in the future and this allows us to put off doing the things we love, or making choices that are right for us. Asking these questions can put you back in touch with the need to heal a relationship, visit the place of your dreams or be thankful for what you have had.
When you act on the answers to these questions you enrich your life and will have no regrets.
FEEL YOUR WORTH...KNOW YOUR POWER
The Essential Guide to Confidence Building
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See you next month!
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