How to Simplify Self Improvement

“10 Tips to Increase Your Motivation!”
“8 Ways to Maximize Your Productivity!”
“32 Secrets for Being the Best Person Ever!”

Self-improvement advice is everywhere. And it’s no surprise: with a rough economy, uncertainties about the future, and simple dissatisfaction with our lot in life, the desire to make things better – to make ourselves better – is a natural response.

But with all the self-improvement advice available, why do so many of us struggle to make lasting changes in our behavior? More than ever, we drink too much, spend too much, eat too much, sit too much, procrastinate too much, and worry too much. For those who want to change, the reasons are normally clear: improve health, wealth, and satisfaction. So, why do we quit?

Don’t get me wrong – much of the information on the web is valuable, posted by caring people who want to share strategies that have worked for them or have worked for others. However, the massive quantity of information is contributing to the problem: with so much advice, where do we start? Instead, many of us read a long list of “tips”, vow to change, then go back to our old ways.

It’s time to simplify.

One of the most described approaches to achieving goals is to divide big projects into a bunch of little steps. PickTheBrain has featured many articles with this very advice. It’s a great tip: take a monster of a project and break it down into tiny, isty-bitsy steps that are so easy to do, they happen naturally.

Why not apply that principle to self-improvement?

That’s the key to simplifying self-improvement: don’t tackle “50 Amazing Tips” all at once. Try one at a time, one per day. It’s so easy! Just print out a recent list of self-improvement wisdom, and make it a game to try one each day. When you’ve tackled a tip, cross it off the list… When you’re done with a list, print another one!

Before you know it, you’ll have logged countless hours of focused, self-improvement energy, accomplishing many “small wins” along the way. Rinse and repeat, and before you know it: you’re a totally new person.

Need some help getting started? Here is your first challenge. This is all you need to do today – complete the game and you’ve made progress in reshaping your own mind:

Challenge: Think Change

Task: Think about your own beliefs about self-improvement for 15 minutes.

Info: What are your attitudes towards change? Are you open to change or do you fear change? Do you think self-improvement is possible? For 15 minutes, explore your own beliefs about change. Brainstorm ways you might become more open to change. Determine mental obstacles to self-improvement. Challenge your own assumptions about what degree of self-change are possible.

Goal: Become more open-minded to the possibility of self-improvement.

Keep in mind: any self-improvement tip can be made into a daily challenge. Try it for yourself… Here are a number of tip-lists from PickTheBrain to get you on your way:

14 Ways to Procrastinate Productively
5 Simple Ways to Increase Your Intelligence
6 Ways to Minimize Interruptions When You Need to Focus

Don’t like those lists? That’s ok, find some tips about a topic that’s important to you. Try only one challenge per day. That may seem too easy, but that’s the point: self-improvement doesn’t have to be hard. Simplify your approach to self-improvement and you’ll be surprised how easy change can be.

This is a guest post by Vince Panzano who blogs at The Happy Homunculus, a website exploring the psychology and neuroscience of self-improvement.

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Erin shows overscheduled, overwhelmed women how to do less so that they can achieve more. Traditional productivity books—written by men—barely touch the tangle of cultural pressures that women feel when facing down a to-do list. How to Get Sh*t Done will teach you how to zero in on the three areas of your life where you want to excel, and then it will show you how to off-load, outsource, or just stop giving a damn about the rest.

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