‘How To Reprogram Your Mind For Self Improvement’ is a guest post written by Justin.
One of the most fulfilling things a person can do is take some kind of action that causes them to improve in a certain area of their life. Think about this from your own perspective for a second. Remember a time when you accomplished something that proved you had become better?
For me, when I first began my entrepreneurial career, one of my goals was to be a professional speaker. Despite how nervous I would get before a talk (mostly due to a total lack of experience), I got out and started speaking. I was mediocre at best. But I kept trying, learning, studying and practicing. When the opportunity came to speak to a huge group of new university students, I delivered my most confident and inspiring talk to date. I still remember the rush of excitement at the end of the talk when a bunch of the students lined up to speak to me and ask me questions at the end. I knew I had taken a step in the right direction. The real win: I was improving and it was an awesome feeling!
For the past 3 years, I have spent most of my time developing my business and implementing as many self improvement ideas as humanly possible. What I realized along the way was that I was not merely improving, but I was actually reprogramming my mind to get rid of old habits and beliefs and instill new, more empowering ones.
So here are 7 techniques that will help you reprogram your mind to create a new and improved you:
Study the work of a role model.
Find someone who is already living and producing results at a level you admire and aspire towards. They could be an author, speaker, actor, blogger, professor, etc. The key is to study these people. Read books or articles they have written a number of times. Study their mannerisms when they speak or perform. Notice the way they carry themselves publicly.
Ultimately, the goal here is to understand how they think so that you can emulate the same kind of thinking in your life. I’m not saying you should try to be like the person, because we are all unique and we need to celebrate our uniqueness. Rather, I am suggesting that you figure out the intangibles that made this person so admirable to begin with and incorporate those intangibles into your own behavior.
Learn to trust the sound of your own voice.
There are more than enough self improvement books that talk about the power of affirmations. I am not here to argue the validity or the science behind affirmations. What I will say is that from my own personal experiences, when you repeat a set of instructions to yourself over and over again, you eventually start to believe your own voice.
Here is a quick process you can follow to create your own digital affirmations that you can use in your own reprogramming process.
- Write out a description of your ideal outcomes in all the various areas of your life. This can include business, financial, relationship, health, etc…
- Record your voice reading these statements with as much feeling and belief as possible.
- Use software like Garageband to overlay some relaxing or new age style music faintly in the background.
- Export as an mp3 file and listen to it on low volumes as you work, exercise, sleep or during any activity where you feel it works for you.
For the analytic people out there, you cannot measure the benefit of this exercise directly but I will say from personal experience that it has been a technique I have used to help achieve a number of my more difficult, longer-term goals.
Hang out with an influencer.
I think most people buy into the idea that we become a product of our environment. What better way to reprogram yourself for improvement than spending time with someone who inspires you. When I first got started in business, I was struggling to pay the bills and find enough clients to keep me going. Even when I did find clients, I did a terrible job billing for my time and I was not recognizing my own value as a service provider.
I was lucky enough to meet another business owner who had built a number of successful companies and had already been through all of the tough business lessons that I had yet to be exposed to. Over time we became friends and I was able to absorb an incredible amount of information about business, mindset, dealing with clients, social skills, etc. – all of the things that made him so talented at business.
The challenge here is that you can’t just walk up to someone and ask them to be your friend. It is tough enough to find a decent influencer, but when you do, you have to make sure that you take interest in them and express your desire to learn from them. At the same time, show them that you value their time and bring something of your own to the table. If they feel they can also learn from you and your life experiences, they will be far more willing to hang out with you.
Wage a war against the crybaby in your head.
Have you ever had an idea that totally captivated your imagination and inspired you to think about a life far beyond the one you are living today? If so, were you also among the majority of people who had that cynical, crybaby, negative voice pop up and immediately tell you all the reasons why this new idea could never come true?
Instead of falling victim to this defeating voice, try turning the tables. Picture that voice as a vicious enemy trying to steal your life, power and happiness away from you. Challenge the voice. Question its authenticity. Question its reasoning. Get pissed off if you have to. Make it powerless against your will.
Realize that you have the choice to replace that voice with a more encouraging, faithful and friendly one. A voice that will consider your goal as not just a possibility, but a probability. A voice that does not look externally for validation before taking action, but rather uses self belief as its driving force. A voice that realizes that any person who has ever achieved greatness had to do so against similar odds and that all things are possible to those who commit to their vision.
Use new relationships to develop a new persona.
When you meet someone for the first time, they have absolutely no idea what you are like to hang out with. If you have been shy and timid your whole life, the best time to come out of that shell is when you meet someone new. If you are at a networking event and someone walks up to introduce themselves, your old self may have quietly shook their hand and looked down in embarrassment. Why not use the opportunity to develop a new persona?
Instead of being shy and timid, greet the person with a big smile. Look them in the eye and project your voice with confidence as you say your name. Have an interesting question prepared that immediately gets the person engaged. Instead of asking what they do for a living (the standard), ask them what their favorite restaurant is or ask them about a hobby they are passionate about. Let their enthusiasm to share their passion enhance your confidence level and energize your own enthusiasm.
If you practice this often enough, you will eventually become that new person and you no longer have to practice. It will be who you ARE!
Acquire a competitive edge.
I don’t know about you, but when I am put in a position where I’m competing against one or more people, my motivation shoots up to a whole new level. I have talked to many others who experience the same.
When you compete against someone, in any area of life, you setup two incredibly powerful forces.
The first is the desire to be triumphant. Imagine the excitement someone must feel when they win a gold medal in the Olympics. They have achieved a personal dream and they get a flood of recognition from friends, family, media, fans and ultimately their entire country. What person would not love this kind of validation of success? The same kind of triumph can be experienced (maybe not at the same level of intensity) when you win a competition that you have been involved in, no matter how small it may be.
The second (and more powerful) force that gets created in competition is the desire to avoid defeat. Most humans instinctively associate any form of loss with pain and in most cases, will do anything necessary to avoid that pain. If you enter some kind of competition that will help drive you towards your goals, this pain avoidance force may be the deciding factor in your success.
Use competitive scenarios to drive you forward but remember to detach from the outcome. If you happen to lose your competition, don’t get down in the dumps. Focus on what positives came out of it (usually a drastic increase in results) and continue moving towards your goals.
Get up early and invest this extra time in yourself.
Our minds are the most calm and open to influence when we first wake up. As the day goes on, we get busier and the number of demands and requests increase. Most of us in today’s society are extremely busy trying to balance work, family, social life and so on. It is very easy to get to the end of a day and still have a pile of items on your to do list that did not get completed.
Early morning is an ideal time to create some personal time for your own development. Unless you are in a job that forces you out of bed at 5am, you probably have no obligations at that time of day. Instead of sleeping until the last possible minute, try getting up an hour or even two hours earlier than you have been.
Use this time to appreciate the stillness of the world. Get into a headspace of clarity and focus on what you are trying to create for your life. Study empowering books and self development training programs. Write out your goals. In essence, do whatever you can to condition your mind so that you are creating the ideal life for yourself.
By the time the rest of the world is waking up, you will have already invested more time in yourself than most people will for a month. The energy you get from doing this can carry you through the rest of your day and you will be in a much more productive frame of mind.
For the past few months, I have been starting my day just after 5am. This video shows some of the things I do to get ready for my day. Maybe it will give you some ideas:
Do you use any of these techniques? Do you have some of your own that have made a major impact on your life? I would love to hear from you in the comments below.
Also, I highly recommend these best selling self improvement books:
- Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time
- Focal Point: A Proven System to Simplify Your Life, Double Your Productivity, and Achieve All Your Goals
- Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity
Justin Popovic runs a success coaching blog at igniteyouressence.com and he also trains entrepreneurs how to develop and market their own dynamic web presence using WordPress at WordPress for Business.
Photo by: Thomas Hawk