Self Improvement in 2017: 8 things you should try this year

Ready to make a change?

In 2014, I began using these self improvement strategies, and by 2017 I was using all of them in full force. It has drastically improved my career, social life and overall sense of well being, and I hope it does for you too.

So here are the 8 things you should try this year for self improvement in 2017:

Wake up at 4:30 AM

Many successful people get up very early. Apple CEO Tim Cook, Twitter and Square CEO Jack Dorsey and Michelle Obama to name a few.

I stumbled upon articles similar to this and decided to try it for myself in 2014. 3 years later getting up almost every day at 4:30 AM, and it’s had a huge impact on how I’ve followed through on my long term goals. By having those quiet hours in the early morning, I was able to continue my online education, taking web development courses without the distractions of a busy world. Early hours used effectively are powerful, and can help minimize poor late night habits, like binging on social media or Netflix, and sleeping in on the weekends. I try to maintain this schedule every single day, however sometimes I do “sleep in” and get up at 7 or 8 AM. What you do with this time is up to you. I used it mainly for taking online classes before work, but 5 weeks ago I started training for a triathlon, so now I go to the gym to train. After my workout I always take…

Cold Showers

As someone that took very hot showers my whole life, this is a small step that can lead to big changes! Try it 6 days a week, and pick a day to reward yourself with hot showers

Here are 16 benefits of cold showers to start off this section before you get scared away. I thought i’d never get used to the sensation of 100% cold showers, but the truth is overall it does get easier! Among the many benefits, the increase in my willpower is the most dramatic. We all have long term goals that involve many difficult steps, and when starting is the hardest part, cold showers may help you learn how to find the will to take the first step. So now that you’re an early riser, who takes cold showers, you’ll have plenty of willpower and time to take…

The Science of Success

Paula J. Caproni, Author of “The Science of Success: What Researchers Know that You Should Know”

The Science of Success: What Researchers Know that You Should Know will teach you what researchers have observed in the lives of successful people, from all walks of life around the world. It inspired me to write out my thoughts, and create both short and long term plans for achieving my goals. The course is partly motivational, partly educational and the first few weeks can be emotionally intense for some. By the end you will have a firm understanding of what it takes to become successful. It may also be a surprise to learn what isn’t necessary to become successful. I completed the course, while taking some time off, in about 3 weeks, but for most 7 weeks is average. No matter what just don’t give up! While taking this course I also found some similar points in…

The Art of Manliness: Big Rocks

How you structure your life can make a huge difference in what you accomplish

This video explains what big rocks are, and you don’t have to be a man for this to have a significant impact on your life. The idea is perfectly demonstrated using simple objects going into a jar. Once you’ve established your big rocks, it’s time to look at the coming week and set a plan of action by following…

The Art of Manliness: How to Plan Your Week

Never kept a calendar, but now I wish I had my whole life. This helps me focus on my big rocks and saw sharpening goals.

How to plan your week connects your big rocks with a calendar system, helping you both achieve your goals and sharpen the skills needed to attain your goals. Although i’ve only been doing this for just over a month, it’s had a noticeably positive effect on how I structure my tasks and get things done every week.

By seeing what a full time work schedule does to my free time, I’m more motivated to pursue my long term goals of working from home, or starting my own business.

So where might a week’s worth of tasks and reminders come from? If you don’t keep a calendar, like I did for my entire life, there is only one place holding all that information, and you may not know it, but you’re not as focused as you could be if you were writing out everything into…

Mind Dump

By dumping all your thoughts about what you need to do in the coming week, you clear your mind, which can increase the chances of actually accomplishing those tasks

This is just a simple list in no particular order. Here you can let loose and write down everything going through your mind. Chores, long term goals, people you want to see, things you want to do, appointments or anything else. By “dumping” everything onto the page and keeping it somewhere available to view at anytime, you are freeing your mind from having to hold it all. It also comes in handy as an outline for plotting out what you’re doing in the week ahead on your calendar. Once that week has been completed you’ll need to document how it all went by…

Journaling

For me, I only journal to write about how things went in my calendar. I write about how successful I was in planning my week. I’ll first document what worked, keeping things positive at first, then writing some things that didn’t work out and why that might have happened. During the week I will check over my calendar at night and make adjustments if i’ve overslept, or if I burned out and missed a lot of tasks in the middle of the day. By putting my “burnouts” in a specific calendar with a special color I can track times when I don’t follow through and try to find solutions for next time. At first this was really tough for me, but even after only 5 weeks i’ve made a surprising amount of progress, leading me to overcome a lot of my burnouts lately. If you struggle with mid day sleepiness or issues focusing, i’ve found one of the best practices to be…

Meditation

There are many types of meditation. Passive meditation let’s your mind run wild. Focused meditation helps you take back control at will

This article explains a number of techniques to help you start meditating using a focused style. For years I tried to meditate, using a passive style where you sit quietly, letting your thoughts just pass by, one after the other. This never really helped me long term, and when I needed to focus on work, thoughts passing through my head only led to procrastination. Focused meditation is similar to working out at the gym. I use a phrase, specifically “not yet,” which reminds me of the philosophy that failure is only “not yet.” I repeat the phrase in my mind, slowly, over and over for 5 – 15 minutes depending on my schedule. By doing this I find my mind does wander off, and when I first started I was surprised at how quickly i’d completely wander off and forget the phrase all together! This idea of “snapping” back to your chosen phrase is something you can actually take with you. So while writing this article I starting wandering off, but was able to use my strengthened “snap back” muscle to regain focus.

Bonus: need a quick reset in a pinch? This video will guide your mind to peace and quiet in only 3 minutes!

Conclusion

Anyone can get the same results i’ve made or better through effort. You don’t have to be a “natural,” or raised by successful people. The knowledge and research is out there, all for zero dollars. You are however, required to put in the time, and that might be just 5 minutes a day to meditate in the morning, or 1 hour a week learning about the science of success. So long as you set yourself up with tasks you can handle, what you can handle in the future will really surprise you. It really surprised me!

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