post written by: Marc Chernoff

How To Reprogram Your Mind For
Self Improvement


Reprogram Yourself For Improvement

‘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:

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

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23 Comments

  • i like this article, especially the hang out with an influential person part, i am sure this can have a positive effect on the person

  • Great post ! Picked up a few new techniques.

    But reprogramming yourself is so damn hard ( I know , nobody said it would be easy ). It does take time and dedication.

    I’ve been working on changing my way of thinking towards people ( be more social, engaging, really listen to people…), but doesn’t look like I can change who I am. I just hate people soooo much.

    My two books that I’ve been reading for the past 10 years are : “How to make friends and influence people” by D. Carnegie, and “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill.

    Plus , working in sales and being involved in social media “kind of ” helps.

    But I don’t want “techniques” to “get the most out of anybody or anything”. I want genuinely love people and be loved back. But doesn’t look like I am doing any progress.

    So, I guess, I’ll stick to ” manipulating and influencing ” to get ahead in this life.

  • Hi Justin,

    It’s wonderful to see you here and this is a wonderfully motivational article. I can’t believe that you get up at 5am - but that’s what it takes you to be successful and to work on your goals. These are great techniques to reprogram our mind. I couldn’t agree more with the advice to learn to trust your own voice. I think that we often know what’s best for us, but due to various reasons, including fear, we go against what we just know is best for us. Or we fail to take action when we feel deep down inside what the right path is. Sometimess we just need to trust our voices more. Also, you make a great point about surrounding yourself with like-minded, positive people who can inspire and motivate you to go further.

    Thanks for sharing this,
    Karen

  • Thank you.

  • Justin, cracking post my friend. Loved the approach and energy with it and the tip to hang out with an influencer is a beauty. Great idea for the video segment and your inspirational trigger words for the day is masterful. I like the personal prosperity opening to the day. Namely, 1 inspiration for myself first then 1 fun treat to follow. Thus the Universe reads that I recognise, welcome and appreciate the abundance in my life before I do any other thing. But I may just slip in a trigger word too now after your video. Great post, inspiring video. Really grateful indeed that you shared this.

  • Great guest post..I love the video at the end.

  • @ Paul, Thanks for your comment. I had a look at your site and it looks like you are a pretty adventurous guy. I’m sure this attracts a fun audience and those are the kind of people who you will enjoy being around. I’m sure your Facebook fans appreciate you and in my book, that is great progress!

    I’m sure you’re great at sales too ;)

  • @Karen, surrounding yourself with the right crowd is more powerful than I ever could have imagined. Thankfully with blogs and social media, we can do this even when we may not have access to those people in our own backyard!

    @John. Thanks for your feedback. I’m really glad you got value form it.

  • Awesome post! I have been following Justin on Twitter for quite some time now through a couple of my accounts and have found him to be one of the most useful resources out there.

    What hooked my attention when I first found him was his authenticity. What keeps me coming back is his relevance and inspiration.

    Glad to see him posted here too!

  • Just hanging out with people who believe in possibility, aren’t shy about change, and generally have a supportive attitude can go a long way in helping a person reach their goals (people like that are bound to become influencers if they aren’t already, don’t you think?).

    I believe the saying that you are like the 5 people you spend the most time with. Not your 5 best friends - the people you spend the most amount of time with. Think about that.

    Love your early morning video. I have been running in the early mornings for the past several months and have seen a huge change in my productivity. I’ve already accomplished something before I even sit down at my desk, which is a huge motivator. There is definitely a connection between physical movement and creativity.

    Great post.

  • Nice post. So important to hang out with an influencer and NOT be a cry baby in the head. Thanks for the ideas

  • @Tracy, thanks for the kind words. It has been great to connect with you on Twitter and get the opportunity to guest blog with you this coming fall!

    @Betsy, great to see another early morning riser. The feeling of being productive before most people’s days start is a real energy boost for me. Thanks for your great comment.

    @Uzma, glad you liked the cry baby part! I think we all have that scared voice in our head at times and it is great when we can learn how to shut it off!

  • The cry baby part was pretty authentic I must say. I guess we all need to put up or shut up. No sense in crying over spilled milk. Just wipe it up, as I say. And learn from your mistakes. It’t the best way to live.

  • Hi Justin,

    Good stuff, I especially like, “find a role model.”

    The best way to improve in anything is to find someone better than you, and what better way than to find someone who has a game plan into achieving something you want :)

    Cheers!

  • Some great motivational advice. Some are used in general confidence building exercises that I’ve seen. I especially agree with finding a role-model and learning from them.

    I’ve enjoyed reading your blog.

  • Hi Justin!

    You have suggested some wonderful techniques. I especially like ‘wage a war against the crybaby in your head’. I used to do that a lot to empower myself. I kept challenging the negative voice in my head treating her as an enemy. Eventually, I realised I hear less and less from the enemy. I got used to fighting her and now she has subdued ;)

    Thanks! Great post!

  • i’m going to give it my best shot

  • Hanging out with influencers has been my greatest edge. I’m growing more and more convinced that the only way to really learn is to see it in real life. Thanks for the post.

    -Matt

  • Thanks for sharing Justin!

    Some of the ideas are hard to implement for some, more than others (such as waking up early morning) - for those who can barely get to work on time.

    I need to work on like 3 of the things you mentioned.. the other things I am doing already and its great :)

    BTW: Don’t you think Getting Things Done is more useful and practical, than these random ‘21 ways to xxx’? I am asking not only cause they are on your list, but also above GTD which surprises me.

  • @jonathanfigaro Thanks! Great analogy… wipe up anything you spill and act like it didn’t happen…move on!

    @parker lee - Thanks for your comment. I’m glad I found your site. I have enjoyed it so far.

    @Claire The role model lesson is huge. I think a lot of people struggle to find role models. You really have to get out, network and introduce yourself to people. It is the best way to find role models.

    @Nandhini Awesome! I love it. You have framed it like a heroic story and it makes it that much more powerful for me.

    @sir jorge. Best of luck. I’m sure you will do great.

    @Matt - Me too! I probably would have failed my business by now had I not had direct access to a mentor to watch how he worked and how he ran his business so succesfully.

    @Genadi - Getting Things Done is basically what all personal growth comes down to. What can you accomplish? That is how you can measure your success. I don’t fully understand what you are asking re: ‘21 ways to xxx”

  • Thank you for this post! I move around a lot and every time I do I reinvent myself — I try to become that person I want to be and shed past bad habits as well. It’s really empowering.

  • I’m brand new to this site. Stumbled on by providence you might say. This is the 2nd of what will be MANY articles that I read on here.

    One suggestion for making your own affirmations: Bulgarian psychotherapist Dr. Georgi Lozanov, who developed a method of “super learning” found that repeating affirmations THREE times, at 8-second intervals, and with varying intonation is the way to start. And the music should be 60 beat-per-minute music (a lot of Baroque music fits this requirement) to facilitate moving our minds into this super-learning mode.

    I’ve used it before and will start using it again. I’m the guy diagnosed A.D.D. at 35 years of age. I’ve overcome a lot, and will overcome a lot more. And the affirmation process I’ve described DOES WORK!

    Good days to all!

  • Very powerful suggestions for self improvement. The one about acquiring new relationships to create a new persona is a good one. I have lived with an alcoholic, a millionaire and a Harvard business graduate and I remember experiencing changes in myself just by hanging around them. Thank you for your insightful post! :-)

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