Self improvement is a lifelong mission. Many undertake it, but few succeed in dramatically transforming their lives for the better. Even those who attempt to hone in on a small slice of the self improvement pie, for instance weight loss, have an unfortunately low chance of success.
Why is it that so many people want to improve their lives but so few manage to do so? We think it is due to one of five reasons. In order to succeed on your self improvement journey, five crucial elements must be in place. These ingredients must be part of your self improvement challenge or failure becomes increasingly likely. They are will, time, effort, consistency, and persistence.
Will and Self Improvement
The start of your self improvement journey is the decision to embark on it in the first place. Without the resolve to take matters into your own hands and the will to improve, your self improvement will sputter and die before it even began. Many aspects of self improvement are quite difficult. Results are slow to come by, and setbacks are common. You are unlikely to succeed if you don’t want to succeed. It is crucial that you want it. And it is crucial that you resolve to do it. Otherwise, disappointment is a virtual guarantee.
Self Improvement takes Time
You cannot “will” self improvement to happen. Self improvement takes time. If you do not have the time to devote to yourself, there is no chance you will accomplish your goals. Most self improvement goals require time. Want to look better? You need time to workout and eat right. Want to improve your dating life? You need to get out there and date. Want to advance your career at work? You need to spend the time going above and beyond expectations. Want to pick up a new hobby? You need time to practice.
Without time, nothing is achievable. Fortunately, you have time. You might not have as much time as you want, and you may not have as much time as you need to improve quickly. But, you do have time. And if you don’t have time, you can probably make time. Very few people don’t have a couple hours a week of ‘dead time’ or ‘mindless social media cruising time’ they can put to better use.
Self Improvement takes Effort
All the time in the world won’t make your life better if you don’t spend it wisely. Self improvement takes time and effort. Effort means getting out of your comfort zone and doing the uncomfortable. Effort means pushing your body to its limits to get the results you want. Effort means forcing your mind to go against your instincts and do what you know needs to be done. The more effort you put into improvement, the more results you will see. Use your time and will to help you expend effort.
You Must be Consistent
Most self improvement goals you have are unlikely to be accomplished in a day, a week, a month, or maybe even a year. Without consistently committing time and effort, your improvement will stall and eventually regress. Both our minds and bodies adapt through repetition–lots of it. You must not only put in the time and effort to improve, you must also consistently apply that time and effort for the long term.
This is another area where will comes into play. Many people sign up for the gym in January and go religiously for a couple weeks, but then come February, March, April, the crowds get thinner and thinner. Before you know it, none of those patrons who signed up after the new year are anywhere to be seen. This is why will is so important: If you don’t have the will to improve, it is going to be very difficult to be consistent for long enough to see measurable results. That holds true for non-physical improvement as well. Want to be a better conversationalist? If you work at it, arranging social gatherings and dates multiple times a week for a month, you may see a small improvement. But if you stop after that month, you will not have picked up nearly enough for it to matter.
And You Must be Persistent
You will encounter many challenges and roadblocks along the way. The path to becoming a better man isn’t a straight line: often, you’ll be taking two steps forward, one step back. Sometimes, it will feel like two steps forward and two steps back. Abandoning your goals after the first few setbacks is a sure-fire way to fail.
There will be setbacks. It is a 100% guaranteed fact. Trying to lose weight? There will be days when you step on the scale and you weigh more than you did last time. Trying to learn the guitar? There will be days where you play a passage perfectly and days where that same passage just won’t come out right. Started dating again? There will be dates that go well, and dates that go horribly. To improve, you must be persistent. Focus on the goal, and know that despite the guarantee of setbacks, if you put in the time and effort, there is also a 100% guarantee you will improve.
Focus on the Long Run
If the 5 key ingredients to self improvement success could be summarized in one sentence it would be: “When it comes to self improvement, focus on the long run“. Most solid self improvement goals are accomplished over months if not years. Day to day, progress is hard to see. But if you focus on the long run, before you know it, you’ll be a new man.