If you’ve ever tried to break a bad habit, chances are you know that it can be frustrating and seem near impossible to change something about yourself. The problem typically resides within your mindset – your subconscious belief structure that automatically governs everything you think and do.
I have struggled with personal development for years, and have the benefit of hindsight when it comes to analyzing what has worked and what hasn’t. For those of you new to the idea of molding your mind, I sat down and hammered out this list of effective tactics to help create yourself in your own best image. Enjoy!
Conscious Change – For some people, the best way to initiate a major change is to start consciously – focusing on actively guiding your thoughts and controlling your beliefs until they become automatic.
When nobody is around – shout out what you want to change about yourself, as if you’ve already done it. Be forceful and emphatic and make yourself believe it. The more powerful you say something, the more you will believe it. In time, you’ll truly feel like you have the power to create anything you want in your life.
Do affirmations right before bed – your mind is receptive and sleeping will help you internalize the information you just fed yourself.
To-do list with a twist – keep a to-do checklist with important tasks you need to get done for the day, but add a twist to the list by including how you want to do them. Incorporate personality dimensions you wish to instill in yourself and emulate them until they become a part of you.
Do affirmations when you first wake up – again, be forceful and emphatic and soon enough you will want to hop out of bed to do them because you will feel great afterwards, and invigorated to start the day.
Tell others about your goals and aspirations. It helps to be accountable for your successes and failures.
Think of someone you care deeply about who you would like to improve for. A significant other or important family member who you feel deserves the best from you. Strive to be the best you can for yourself and for them.
Think of someone who you can’t stand… who is always outperforming you or rubbing their successes in your face. Strive to be better than them in every way you feel is important. Sometimes competition can be an incredibly potent driving factor..
Internalize your successes by focusing on completing small goals whenever possible. Giving yourself the occasional easy-to-do task and thinking about it like a real accomplishment can boost your perceived self efficacy and give you the added will power to tackle those hard to reach goals.
Reward all progress in some way – no matter how small. Be smart about it (don’t binge eat to reward a successful diet week) but indulge in something you otherwise wouldn’t take the time out for. Whatever suits you best – just to have something mentally to look forward to the next round.
Enter a competition when you’re clearly not ready. Train for something. Enter a marathon or triathlon, structure a competition with a friend or coworker – do whatever it takes to give yourself a concrete reason to succeed.
Learn something new every day or week. Pick a random book on a topic unrelated to your education experience or work background. Encouraging the development of new mental models will help diversify your knowledge and expand your capacity for thought all around.
Take a free online course in something you know nothing about. Expand your horizons. Check out MIT OpenCourseWare
Write your affirmations out before or after you do them. It helps internalize them!
Record your affirmations and play them back on your iPod whenever you can for background noise.
Keep a “scrapbook” of images and stories related to people you look up to, things you want to accomplish or traits you want to develop in yourself. The simple act of thumbing through it every day for a minute or two can work wonders for your motivation.
Read success stories. Learn what successful people go through to achieve their success. Internalize it. Look forward to writing your own success story (or if you’re really ambitious, look forward to having someone write it about you..!)
Make a “quote board” with motivational quotes. A big poster will do – read them in your downtime for inspiration.
Turn off the TV – do everything you can to phase out mind-numbing programming from your lifestyle.
Ask “Did I make the most of this day?” every night before you go to sleep. Strive to answer a resounding YES to that question – but always be honest, or it is meaningless.
Blog about your progress. Try to get a few readers – just having someone to be accountable to can help you keep your eye on the ball.
Give yourself a big reward at the end of the tunnel – something like a trip or vacation to really excite you and keep you on the path to success.
Try your best to stop yourself from using self defeating language or thoughts. Whenever something pops into mind, question it and extinguish it, and move onto something more positive.
Meditate. Even 15 minutes a day can work wonders for your mind, and prevent frustration with the minutia of everyday life.
Take periodic breaks from studying/working. Give yourself a five minute break every 18-20 minutes, and a 15 minute break every hour for longer sessions.
Remind yourself that only you are in control of your destiny in life. Nobody else. You are more than powerful enough to handle everything that comes your way. Believe it and success is yours for the taking.
Take action right now – stop yourself whenever you start using the “tomorrow” or “next week I will..” self-talk. Today is the deed.
Model your behavior after someone. I have written about this at length on my blog. It can be a powerful tool for instilling positive traits within.
Concentration – Learning to master your ability to concentrate and focus on the task at hand can provide wonderful benefits in all aspects of life. These tips should help you accomplish just that, and prevent you from feeling overwhelmed or frustrated with your daily tasks or larger goals.
The best time to concentrate is after reading something that is inspiring – as you’re filled with desire afterwards. Make this a habit before doing something you know needs to be done (but you don’t really want to do).
Watch yourself during the day and make sure your muscles don’t get overly relaxed or strained.
Get in the habit of taking deep, steady breaths instead of short, rapid ones. Think internally about how meaningful each breath is. Your steadier breathing will make for a more relaxing and productive disposition.
When you decide to do something, eliminate all other tasks from your mind while you’re working. Thinking about other things while you’re working on something will only lead to frustration and poor quality of work. And by thinking about other things you could be doing, you prevent yourself from ever having the chance at achieving “flow” state.
Turn off distractions when you work or study – no TV, cell phones, iPods, etc… The only truly effective distraction (don’t lie to yourself and tell yourself you need TV) is not really a distraction at all – classical music from the baroque period has been shown to facilitate concentration and learning, due to its 60 bpm tempo.
Research shows that concentration works best in spans of about 18 minutes. Every 18 minutes, make sure to give yourself a little break (4-5 minutes) and return fresh and ready to push on when the break has passed. You’ll notice the differences right away.
Exercising and eating right can work wonders for your ability to concentrate – more on this below…
Prime your mind with the help of subliminal messages
Get in the habit of “practicing concentration.” Like anything else, it is a skill which can be learned over time. Do a concentration exercise every day for five minutes or so and soon (be patient) you will see promising results. We’ve included some helpful exercises, courtesy of SuccessConsciousness.com below -
Ex1: Take a book and count the words in any one paragraph. Count them again to be sure that you have counted them correctly. Start with one paragraph and when it becomes easier, count the words in a whole page. Perform the counting mentally and only with your eyes, without pointing your finger at each word.
Ex2: Count backwards in your mind, from one hundred to one.
Ex3: Count in your mind from one hundred to one, skipping each three numbers, that is 100, 97, 94, etc.
Ex4: Choose an inspiring word, or just a simple sound, and repeat it silently in your mind for five minutes. When your mind can concentrate more easily, try to reach ten minutes of uninterrupted concentration.
Ex5: Take a fruit, an apple for example, and look at it from all sides. Concentrate your attention on it and examine it from all sides. Devote the whole session to concentrating on it. Do not be carried away by irrelevant thoughts that arise. Stay with the apple. It could be any other fruit. Look at it and do not think about the shop where you bought it, about the way it is grown, its nutritive value etc, only about the object in front of you. Just look at it, see it, smell it and touch it.
Ex6: This is the same as exercise number 5, only that this time you visualize the fruit with your eyes closed. Start by performing again exercise number 5 for five minutes, and then do this one. Try to see, feel, taste, smell the fruit in you imagination. Try to see a clear and well defined image. If difficulties arise open your eyes, look at the fruit, close them again and continue the exercise.
Ex7: Take a small simple object such as a spoon, a fork, or a glass. Concentrate on one of these objects. Watch the object from all sides without any verbalization, that is, with no words in your mind. Just watch the object without thinking with words about it.
Ex8: After becoming proficient in the above exercises, you can come to this exercise. Draw a small geometrical figure, about three inches in size, such as a triangle, a rectangular or a circle, paint it with any color you wish, and concentrate on it. You should see only the figure, nothing else. Only the figure exists for you now, with no unrelated thoughts or any distractions. Try not to think with words during the exercise. Watch the figure in front of you and that’s it. Try not to strain your eyes.
Ex9: The same as number 8, only this time visualize the figure with the eyes closed. As before, if you forget how the figure looks like, open your eyes for a few seconds and watch the figure and then close your eyes and continue with the exercise.
Ex10: The same as above in number 9 but the eyes open.
Ex11: Try for at least five minutes, to stay without thoughts. This exercise is to be attempted only after all the previous ones have been performed successfully. The previous exercises, if practiced correctly, will endow you with the ability to impose silence on your thoughts. In time it will become easier and easier.
Read “The Power of Concentration” by Theron Q. Dumont for inspiring prose and great additional exercises.
Subconscious Change – Sometimes accessing the power of your subconscious mind gives you the added boost you need to reach your goals and attain lasting personal change. These tips I have found most helpful and tend to make for interesting conversation as well!
Record affirmations on your iPod (as in the previous tip) but play them back very quietly as you drift off to sleep. Use headphones if you are comfortable enough to fall asleep with them on. Leave the affirmations on repeat for the duration of your sleep.
If you use your computer primarily for web browsing and don’t need to run memory intense programs, then subliminal messaging software might work for you. The programs flash your selected phrases on screen quickly to be absorbed by your subconscious but not your conscious mind.
Select three to four videos from the Intelligent Warrior subliminal video series and watch them each in sequence, twice daily, for thirty days. You can find these powerful subliminal message videos available for download on my blog.
Download free self-hypnosis software online and try it out until you find something that works for you.
Google & YouTube often have interesting Self-Hypnosis videos. Find one you like. Bookmark it, and watch it until you see results in yourself.
Select one video from the Intelligent Warrior series, and watch it 5 times daily for thirty days.
Watch all seven videos in the Intelligent Warrior series back to back, once through each day, for thirty days.
Use free audio editing software to insert your affirmations in the background of some of your favorite music. It works best with instrumentals, but can be applied elsewhere as well.
Environment – For some, it’s not so obvious that your environment can have profound effects on your mood and mentality. These quick tips can help you master your environment and master your mind in the process.
De-clutter. de-clutter, de-clutter. I can’t say this one enough. Clutter in your environment leads subconsciously, and sometimes consciously, to clutter in your mind. It ignites frustration and prevents you from feeling free enough to work effectively at accomplishing your tasks.
Use color in your workspace. Sure, lots of bright color may not always appear “professional,” but if you’re working at home, that’s no excuse. Use a variety of bright, bold colors to give your workspace a flare. Color is inspiring to the mind and will awaken your creative faculties without you even being aware of it. It works unexpected wonders – try it and see for yourself!
Curves and circles are more inspiring and are more effective at activating the mind than are straight lines and squares. Where possible, incorporate curvilinear lines and odd organic shapes in your workspace – whether it be in actual design, the layout of your things, or something as simple as your schedules and to-do lists. Oddly enough, you’ll find that by doing this, and incorporating color, you will begin to naturally remember more of what goes on when you’re working.
Leave yourself sticky-notes all over the place. Remind yourself not only of what you want to do, but how you want to do it. Remind yourself to be helpful and enthusiastic – sometimes just seeing the note will be all it takes to flip your bad mood on its side.
Use natural light as much as possible. If you don’t have windows in your workspace, buy light bulbs that mimic the daylight spectrum. It provides less strain on your eyes, so you’ll be able to focus better without the frustration.
Try out some feng shui.
Put plants in your home office or workspace. Including plants will increase the oxygen levels of the room naturally, and provide a calming, organic feel to aid in relaxation when frustration starts to bubble up.
Play background music – calming background music. Try classical music from the baroque period, that naturally facilitates learning and concentration.
Use mirrors liberally – constantly “look in” on yourself to make sure you’re doing what you truly want to be doing, to guide yourself towards your goals.
Include a LOT of motivational pictures or quotes around your workspace. Framed photos are not only a nice touch aesthetically, but they can be used to constantly remind yourself of what you’re working so hard to attain!
Give your room a light color – don’t paint it anything dark or imposing. Dark colors will make the room feel small and bounded, and you’ll find yourself often frustrated quickly and easily, or slipping often into bad moods.
Fitness & Nutrition – While many people understand that good health is important, sometimes the additional benefits are overlooked. Maintaining good habits here can have profound effects on your self esteem and your overall mindset. Don’t believe me? Give it a 40 day test run and you’ll never look back…
If you love something that’s bad for you – don’t eliminate it totally – just make sure to practice moderation. McDonald’s once or twice a month isn’t going to kill you. McDonald’s every day is.
Work out, work out, work out! No matter where you are in life – thin/fat, young/old, depressed/happy – working out will elevate you to the next level. It’s no mystery. Try it and see for yourself. Don’t start and overwhelm yourself, but rather introduce a level of fitness that’s appropriate for where you’re starting off from. Gradually build on this base, and enjoy as you become healthier and happier.
Eat chocolate! No, not Snickers bars or Reeses Pieces… but dark chocolate. Try Lindt’s 85% cocoa dark chocolate for a satisfying indulgence. Natural chocolate is actually good for you. It is filled with anandamides – chemical compounds found naturally in the body that elevate your mood. Great for a quick energy boost as well.
Drink plenty of water – make sure you’re getting MORE than 8 cups a day if you want to truly see some results. If you’re not drinking enough now, it may be hard to adjust at first. But within a few days to a week, you’ll feel more energetic, less bloated, and ready to take on the world.
Get your fruits and vegetables – MORE than five servings a day is optimal if you really want to see some effects. You’ll be loading up on good sugar (natural energy) and giving yourself the vitamins and nutrients you should have been getting all along. Remember – we didn’t get to where we are now by eating jelly donuts and breakfast-in-a-box. Eating natural is the right way to eat, and incorporating as much natural food into your diet as possible will provide enormous rewards in the short and long run.
Get up and go running in the morning. If you can’t run, walk. Do something that gets your heart pumping and the blood flowing early on. It will be great for your mood throughout the day (thanks to the natural release of endorphins), and chances are you’ll find yourself better able to concentrate and focus right from the start.
Take fish oil pills to provide your body with good fats. Take more than the recommended dosage to get the best effect. Remember – they’re just fatty oils, and good fats at that, so you can’t go wrong by loading up. Your heart, and your brain, will thank you day after day (by working better for you!).
Have sex. Lots of it. If you have no one to have sex with, practice the other 100 tips. You’ll likely then be irresistible to the opposite sex and have no problem with this one.
Take a Gingko Biloba supplement to boost your memory naturally and effectively.
Stretch in the morning – stretching will help you naturally feel good and feeling comfortable in your skin will work wonders for your mindset.
Eat lots of fish. Fish oil is great for your brain and your heart. You’ll feel better and be able to concentrate better in no time.
Work out by lifting weights. Give yourself at least 6 weeks to see any results at all – but once your body begins to take shape you’ll start to love the way you look and feel. Your confidence will shoot through the roof and before you know it you’ll be itching to head to the gym. It’s tough at first to overcome the soreness and “out of place” feeling, but it passes quickly – I promise!
Appearance – Not surprisingly, changing your appearance can work wonders on your mentality as well. If you aren’t 100% comfortable in your skin, ask yourself “why?” Be honest. Work through it – the rewards are invaluable… self esteem is priceless.
Get your hair done. Not just girls, but guys too. Make sure you’re well groomed and looking your best. Clean, well styled hair is one of the first things people notice about others.
Be nice to your skin – take care to eliminate cuts, bruises, acne, etc… The products that help for skin are countless, but the best start is proper nutrition.
Keep your body hair well groomed – shave and keep trimmed. Even if nobody else notices, you will – and you’ll feel better about yourself for it.
Maintain a healthy complexion – a nice, healthy tan. If you’re uncomfortable with tanning beds or being in the sun too long, try a Dove “Natural Glow” product. They work well and don’t give you the orange look, but rather the healthy, natural complexion you want. Proper nutrition will give you a natural glow over time, as well.
Dress to impress.
Pay attention to detail in your wardrobe and your grooming. Your attention will get noticed, people will be impressed.
Buy at least one REALLY nice suit or business outfit to wear when meeting potential clients or partners for the first time. You deserve to feel as good and as confident as you’ll look.
Get a manicure – yes, guys too. When your hands are well groomed you will feel more confident about yourself around others – guaranteed.
Work on your posture – stand up straight and tall (just like your mother told you). You’ll look more confident, and soon enough you’ll feel more confident too.
When in doubt, overdress. Dressing up helps you feel good, especially when you take the tips in the Fitness/Nutrition topic to heart and develop an attractive, physically fit body as well.
Practice projecting your voice. Whenever you find yourself home alone, read things aloud as if you were delivering a speech. Focus on annunciation and emphasis where appropriate. Soon you’ll be naturally more charismatic and attention-grabbing around others.
Record Keeping/Journals – While for some people this can be a nuisance, it really can lead to profound effects in your overall personal development, especially if you’re the type of person to have trouble “sticking” to something.
Keep a daily journal for everything – all of your random thoughts. Don’t spend all day writing – that defeats the purpose. Instead, sit down every once in a while for five minutes or so and jot down your thoughts. Don’t structure them or worry about appearance – just write.
If you want to develop a healthier mindset, keep a nutrition journal. Microsoft Excel can help with this one. Simply by paying attention to what goes in your body, you will be more inclined to control what you are eating. The result? A healthier, happier you (with the records to show others how you got there!).
If you’re trying to get in better shape, keep a photo journal. This can be as private as you want it to be. Stand in front of the mirror with your digital camera once a week. Take a head on, and a profile picture, both flexed and un-flexed. At first, it can be intimidating and embarrassing – but within a month or two, you will be looking forward to the next picture… and maybe even showing them off to your friends and family.
Keep a nightly journal where you answer the question “Did I make the most of this day?” If yes, why, if not, why not? Striving for more “yes” entries and understanding what went wrong in your “no” days will help you stay on the right track to achieving the mindset you want and attaining all of your goals.
Write down one thing you learned each day, and review it at the end of the week. Commit everything to long term memory by internalizing it with contemplative thought and repetition.
Write down one thing you want to learn, each morning. Learn it that day.
Keep a brief time-log. Seeing how much time you spend on different tasks throughout the day can help you understand where you’re going wrong (or right). Make sure you’re not wasting too much time on activities that have no return!
If you’re striving to attain any goal at all – find something in that goal that is measurable. Measure the hell out of it. Seek to improve… all the time.
If you’re trying to mold your mind, chances are you’re trying to overcome at least one or two bad habits. Every time you encounter one of those bad habits in your day, step aside and write it down. Do your best to steer yourself in the right direction, no matter what it takes. Reflect on this later, and pride yourself on overcoming your old, bad self!
If you’re close to someone, have them jot down thoughts about you during the day as well. Sometimes, seeing yourself through someone else’s point of view can help you figure out what you’re doing wrong, or right, or open your eyes to things you didn’t even know you should be working on improving. Make sure you choose someone who cares about you and who will not pass judgment, but rather give you an honest view of yourself when you ask for it.
Last but not least, read my Blog daily! This one speaks for itself
Visit Jason’s blog at [http://www.liveloaded.com] to read in detail about his experience with these Intelligent Warrior subliminal message videos and provide tips or suggestions from your own experience
Thank you for reading! ~ Jason Harrington
Unleashing my Intelligent Warrior