You’re at college and working two jobs. You have a date in 15 minutes. You’re a single parent with a long commute and 5 hours of sleep per day. Or maybe you’re just not ready to make a huge time commitment.
Whatever your situation, tools that can turbo-charge your life fast are handy.
The bad news is, long-term change requires time and effort. It’s not what a commitment-phobic, time-starved generation wants to hear but it’s true.
The good news is, self-improvement techniques and exercises can be very time-efficient. In fact, 5 of my favorites will have you kicking ass and taking names in just 5 short minutes.
1. Double Your Chances with Goal-Setting
In a recent study, subjects who wrote down their goals were 42% more likely to achieve them than the ones who didn’t. Keeping a friend updated on specific commitments and progress increased the figure to 78%.
That’s right: a pen, a piece of paper and a few minutes are all you need to near-double your chance of success. Take advantage of this: write down some SMART goals and share progress with a support network. It doesn’t get any simpler – or more powerful – than this.
2. Stay Positive with a Journal Of Awesomeness
Your innermost thoughts are a self-fulfilling prophecy; believing in yourself is crucial to success. Unfortunately, other people, circumstances and your own mistakes can get you down and perpetuate negative thinking.
Here’s how you can stay positive day in, day out.
Get a notebook and write down 3 awesome things you did in the past 24 hours every evening. “Went for a jog instead of watching TV”; “finally talked to that cute barista”; “made a really good presentation.”
You’ll be amazed at how much better focusing on your positive achievements makes you feel! And once you start reinforcing good choices by writing them down, your subconscious will encourage you to make them more often.
3. Build Rapport Immediately with The Cocoon
Rapport is the feeling of connecting or “being on the same wavelength” with another person. This tool will help you create that level of understanding instantly and without any complicated techniques.
All you need to do is visualize a “cocoon” around yourself and the person you’re talking to. Literally imagine a wall or barrier is blocking the two of you from the outside world.
This works on a variety of levels: it “reduces” background chatter, helps you focus on the conversation and promotes a feeling of comfort. If you want to create a deep feeling of connection or comfort, use the cocoon.
4. Prepare For Success with Mental Practice
Successful athletes have been using visualization to hone their skills for a long time. In recent years, the effectiveness of mental practice has become more widely recognized and accepted. Great news for us!
Just close your eyes and imagine yourself performing a task successfully. If you have a presentation coming up in 30 minutes, visualize getting up on that stage and acing that thing. If you’re a dancer, execute every move perfectly in your mind.
This is more than just rehearsing in your mind; mental practice builds up your confidence with images of positive outcomes. Confidence and excellence come naturally when you’ve already practiced being succesful.
5. Samurai Swords of Confidence
A classic technique for managing stage fright is to imagine the audience naked. It works for two main reasons: it’s a funny distraction and it makes you feel less threatened. After all, what’s a room full of naked people gonna do to you?
This is similar. If you ever feel threatened or need a boost of confidence, visualize a weapon in your hand (I use a katana because, well, they’re awesome, but you can use something else).
To practice, close your grip and imagine you’re holding a rockin’ samurai sword in your hand. Really visualize yourself holding the weapon; give it a weight, a color, focus on how it feels in your hand. Release your grip to make the sword disappear, then repeat the exercise until you can feel the contrast between holding and not holding your “sword of confidence.”
Next time you need to feel confident, close your hand around the hilt of your weapon. Trust me – talking to your boss or taking the subway at night is a lot less scary when you’ve got a samurai sword in your hand!
So there you have it: 5 ways to become awesome in 5 minutes! If you try any of these exercises, please leave a comment and let me know how everything went.