Tag Archives: self improvement books

Continuous Personal Growth

Continuous personal growth involves a lifelong of reflecting, connecting, and learning which enhance our understanding of who we are, the world around us, and provide us with more and better opportunities to improve our quality of life.

To be able to improve we have to accept that something about us needs to be changed, and when we are ready to unlock the perceptions that we have created over the years, then we can start living a joyous life of change and growth.

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” ~Marcel Proust

As we go through life, our main attention is usually on external world and the material possessions, but the reality is that the most important thing that we have to focus our energy on, is the development of self into the person we want to become. And when we achieve a real connection to our authentic self and realize our true purpose, all the external achievements and successes will pursue anyway.

“Personal development is your springboard to personal excellence. On-going, continuous, nonstop personal development literally assures you that there is no limit to what you can accomplish.” ~ Brian Tracy

Over the years, I have learned to practice and focus my energy on the proven track of actions and beliefs that had helped me to improve the quality of my life and the state of my mind.

Here are the strategies that have worked well for me . . .

  • Be present: The method for being present is really simple, but it needs practice. When we practice something regularly, we become good at it. It becomes like a mode of being rather than a task on our to-do list. Whatever you’re doing, at any time, learn to focus completely on doing that one thing. Pay attention to every aspect of what you’re doing, to your body, to the sensations, to your thoughts. It might become tiring at the beginning, if you’re not used to it. Let yourself rest if you grow tired and come back and practice it again. After a while you realize how your worries fade away and you enjoy your present task much more. When we learn to be joyful in whatever we’re doing, grateful that we’re able to do that task, and appreciate every movement and sensation of the task, then we become aware that anything can be an amazing experience, anything can be a miracle. ‘Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet.’ ~ Thich Nhat Hahn
  • Stop seeking approval from others: When we have a need for approval we value the beliefs and opinions of others above our own, it becomes addictive and we can quickly develop a need for more. Once we stop worrying about how other people would think of us, how our decisions might disappoint others, or how they might judge us, we become free to be fully authentic selves. The biggest irony with approval-seeking behaviour is that it usually causes the opposite results to those which are intended. If you take a moment to observe those people whom you respect most, you will find that one of their strongest traits is their ability to be true to who they are. There is usually so much pressure from society, peers and media to conform to certain standards and ideals. But if we are led through life always and only really doing and being what we’ve come to believe is ‘expected of us’, then, in a way, we cease to exist, to live, and be real. When you cease being worried about people’s disapprovement of you, a whole new world of personal possibility opens before you.
  • Reflect on Transformational Moments: We all have critical and determining moments in our lives. We come to a fork in our life, and we make a choice that will affect everything since. Once the choice is made, we can never withdraw and start over again because circumstances and people involved change. Words have been said, lives affected and these can never return to the original form. Looking back on those focal points in our past is a great way to look at how far we’ve come, and to discover where we want to be in the future. Always evaluate your options, and consider how they will affect your principles and values. Each one of us has a set of values that define who we are. If one option has you compromise your values, no matter how profitable it may be, it will not be worth the risk. There are a number of people who have reflected, after picking a fork in their road, “There was just something that didn’t feel right, but I did it anyway.” If it doesn’t feel right, you can’t force it to be right. “By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest” ~ Confucius
  • Move past failure: “The major difference between achieving people and average people is their perception of and response to failure” ~John C. Failure is a part of testing the limits of what we know, and it’s an opportunity to learn how to take that next step forward. The truth is that when we experience failure, we’re growing, stretching, and expanding. Each setback, whether small or large is an opportunity for growth. When we change our perception toward failure, then we will be able to use it as stepping-stone to success instead of a stumbling block. But first we have to acknowledge it. Our initial tendency is often to blame others or some uncontrollable, external factors. But rarely are the failures in our lives entirely the responsibility of someone else. And until we take personal responsibility in some capacity, we can never move on to the next step. After we accepted our failure, then we can look back at them as simply feedback that can take us to another level of awareness. “Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.” ~ Napoleon Hill’
  • Teach, and learn by teaching: “The beautiful thing about teaching is that our legacy is defined in what we give and empower others to do, not only in what we do ourselves”. Wisdom is understanding where we have been, and how we got to where we are now. All of us have experiences and wisdom worth sharing with others. One of the best way of personal growth and change is to listen to other people’s experiences and sharing ours. Have you ever helped a friend through a difficult time and then you became aware that you feel better and happier? Our most lasting and fulfilling achievements in life are often earned by helping others fulfil theirs. As if when we help, encourage, and enable others to reach their dreams, we can also achieve our dreams along the way. Giving and helping others is a powerful pathway to personal growth and lasting happiness. And it may just be the secret to living a life that is not only happier but also healthier, wealthier, more productive, and meaningful. “Making the conscious commitment to empower yourself by directing your thoughts, energy and focus toward what you most want and the goals you need to achieve is the first step towards creating an extraordinary life.” ~ Tony Robbins

 


Setting Goals

Setting goals is an important part of being human. Most people understand the importance of goals in living but are too harsh in their demands upon themselves. They feel that their goals are too insignificant, that their achievements will hardly be counted for anything if they are not able to end racial prejudice or the world poverty.

This is a mistake. While we might not be the president of United States, making decisions of global importance; or Richard Rodgers, working on a new musical which millions may see; we are individuals also, we too are made in GOD’s image, and endowed with a wonderful body; we too have mind, feelings, needs, aspirations. We too mean something, if we mean something to ourselves.

“The trouble with not having a goal is that you can spend your life running up and down the field and never score” ~ Bill Copeland

Often, we have trouble getting started with our goals, or we discover that achieving them is going to take more time and effort than we thought it would, and we start to lose our motivation. But we have to realize that living without having goals or plans to reach them, is like a ship which is set to sail with no destination.

“One of the secrets of life is to make stepping-stones out of stumbling blocks.” ~ Jack Penn

If you are a teen-ager, there is no shortage of goals for you. Mastering a skill, exploring an alien subject matter, hitting a baseball, making new friends, learning a popular dance. And within the span of these broad goals, you can pinpoint daily goals that are satisfying for you.

If you are in your twenties, thirties or forties, your broader goals may change in terms of specifics, but they are nonetheless potentially satisfying. You may be involved in enlarging your vocational scope, raising a family, managing money skilfully, learning hobbies, from day to day, you may aim at achievements within framework of these larger goals, or spontaneously which are fun. You should think in terms of daily goals too, not just life goals.

If you are older, cooking a good meal for yourself and your spouse is a fine goal; it may be commonplace, but it is productive. You give him or her satisfaction with your labour and the more creatively you work with your ingredients, the more pleasure you give him (her) and yourself. Painting a picture may give many people days of enjoyment, even weeks. Mixing the paints, organizing your materials, brushing on your colours, shading and shaping for subtle effects. It is not Rembrandt? That is not the point. Are you putting the best you have into your picture? Would you like to frame it and hang it in your living room? It is more important to you than the next flight into outer space. And it should be. “Life’s blows cannot break a person whose spirit is warmed by the fire of enthusiasm.” ~Norman Vincent Peale

You must not block yourself off from your goals, and you must move every day, feel a sense of direction toward a goal every day, no matter how small that goal might be. You keep moving in the streams of things, doing the best you can. And if you have no goal, you keep moving anyway, and a goal will catch up with you. Your sense of direction is forward.

The reality is that no matter how smart we may be, we cannot predict the future. Things are moving so fast and we’re so interconnected that it is impossible to predict where we’ll end up five years from now. We just don’t know. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing, because we will not be basing our choice of direction based on a forecast that’s likely to be wrong. By recognizing and accepting the unpredictable nature of life, we can stop over-thinking and over-analysing and start living more in the present moment. This helps us to open our mind up to new areas of possibilities and conquering the limitations which we have imposed on ourselves. You’ll be making your choice on what’s really important to you, right here and right now, not tomorrow.

GOD didn’t put you on this earth to languish in misery; He gave you the success impulses which you have to use them. If you have problems, if you meet obstacles, then you are just like most people. Most of us are familiar with the life of Hellen Keller, who overcame staggering physical handicaps to rise to her incredible achievements. You may not know that Florence Nightingale, the famed nurse, was a confirmed hypochondriac whose services of mercy involved convincing herself first that she was not dying.

The biggest difference between successful people and others isn’t intelligence or opportunity or resources. It’s the belief that they can make their goals happen. We all deal with vulnerability, uncertainty, and failure, but we have to trust that if we move forward anyway, then we will figure it out. “When you doubt your power, you give power to your doubt.” ~ Honore de Balzac

If you learn to believe in yourself, and do what you want to do, your accomplishments may amaze you.  Remember that by moving forward and taking small steps each and every day, putting aside over-thinking, and realizing that you have everything you need deep within, you can find the right direction in your life. And while it may not be the direction you expected, it will work out just fine.

Now set goals and make them happen, and when you reach your goals take time to enjoy them and thank those that helped you. Think about what you enjoyed and learned along the way. Life is a learning process! Keep your spirit up and be the best of yourself.

“Every day you spend drifting away from your goals is a waste not only of that day, but also of the additional day it takes to regain lost ground” ~ Ralph Marston

 


How to Get Motivated

How to get motivated – One of the most important factors that lead one to their goals is the drive. This drive is known as motivation. It is a zest and determination with a kind of excitement that leads one to persevere to reach greater achievements, in no matter what avenue of their life; be it – personal or professional. The factors that motivate an individual keep changing as one climbs the ladder of age and maturity. And also, achievement of one goal sets the ball rolling for another one to be achieved. “Arriving at one goal is the starting point to another” – John Dewey

There are times when one faces a period of de-motivation and everything seems bleak. It is then that they need to find what would motivate them back into action.

People who appear to be motivated in everything, are successful in understanding how to motivate themselves in a variety of settings and tasks. Two things contribute to your motivation for any task: what you expect from yourself and what value you place on achieving a goal. The key to motivation is understanding that you have the power to change both your expectations of yourself and the value placed on a task.

“The quality of a person’s life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field of endeavour.” – Vince Lombardi

Now let us look at the tips which can help you to get motivated:

  1. Rise for reason: Find a reason to get out of bed in the morning. Most people state that their reason to getting out of bed in the morning is to go to bathroom! Certainly there is something more motivating you can use to get yourself going. If you have loved ones, and you are doing it for them, that is more powerful than just doing it for self-interest. Doing it for you is good too, but you should do it for something that you really want to happen, for really good reasons. “Life is ten percent what happens to you and ninety percent how you respond to it” – Lou Holtz
  2. Energize yourself: Exercise dramatically affects mood and attitude. You might think working out is about your physical wellbeing, which it is, but it is also about your mental wellbeing as well. Moderate and reasonable exercise will do amazing things to create and keep your motivation high.
  3. Set achievable goals: It is difficult to sustain your motivation if you do not find meanings in your work. Goals can provide you with directions and nurture your motivation. Indeed, long-term goals are like road maps: they can help you envision your paths and give you good targets to achieve. Short-term goals are like checkpoints: they can give you affirmations that you are making efforts and moving forward to your long-term goals. The significance of a man is not in what he attains but in what he longs to attain” – Kahlil Gibran
  4. Reward yourself: Everyone likes to be rewarded for completing a good job. Rewards can be motivating and give us the additional push to carry on. Whenever you have accomplished a task or a target you set, give yourself a decent reward. Take time out to recognize what did get done and celebrate the accomplishments.
  5. Be action-oriented: Over thinking give you a tendency to do nothing or to remain unchanged. Paralysis by analysis is a very real hazard for people who simply can’t get enough information. Learn what you need to learn, and then get moving. Keep your energy high by jumping in and getting started. As Ian Percy said, “Business needs fewer mission statements and more missions”
  6. See opportunities instead of obligations: Instead of something you have to do, approach tasks, as something you want to do because of what you have to gain from it. Remind yourself that by completing a task or a target you set, you will be one step closer to achieving your goal.
  7. Spend time with people who share your goals and interests: Enthusiasm is contagious. Just talking about something you love can stir up motivation in yourself and the people around you. The people you meet might have new ideas and interesting perspectives that can reignite your passion. Passion is caught, not taught.
  8. Talk to someone who has already achieved what you want: Nothing is more inspiring than seeing that your goals truly become reality. When you want to give up because your goals seem impossible to reach, find someone whose success will inspire you. Ask them about how their success feels and the personal fulfilment they experienced. “Determination – it’s the key to all human success”.

“When obstacles arise, you change your direction to reach your goal, you do not change your decision to get there” – Zig Ziglar

  1. Be happy: Happiness is largely a choice. As Abraham Lincoln said: “People are about as happy as they make up their minds to be”. If you love life and you love what you do, you will tackle every task with energy and enthusiasm. If you are a “glass half-empty” person chances are that nothing will ever seem good to you. Spend time every day doing something that makes you truly happy.
  2. Visualize: See yourself achieving your goal. View it like a movie in your mind, but make it a complete sensory experience. When we visualize our desired outcome, we begin to “see” the possibility of achieving it. Through visualization, we catch a glimpse of what is, in the words of one writer, our “preferred future.” When this happens, we are motivated and prepared to pursue our goal.
  3. Recognize your accomplishments: Acknowledging your achievements, even in a small way, increases positive emotions such as self-respect, happiness, and confidence. Always take a moment to reflect on what you have achieved and be proud. Of course achievements come in all shapes and sizes and while they are all worth acknowledging, some will be more meaningful to you than others. I’d like to suggest that you find ways to create memories around your most important successes, then in the future if you should have moments of self-doubt or find yourself facing a particularly difficult obstacle you will have some tangible reinforcement of what you can do when you set your mind to it and how far you’ve already come.
  4. Set meaningful goals: Meaningful goals are those that are within reach, but force you to work hard. Make sure your goals are measurable within a set time period, for maximum value. Goals that are vague, or that don’t have a deadline, aren’t very satisfying even if you manage to complete them. Accomplishing a valuable goals really means something, because it is a reflection of hard work. As a result you will feel much more motivated to pursue them. “If you want to be happy, set a goal that commands your thoughts, liberates your energy and inspires your hopes.” – Andrew Carnegie

Having enumerated all these tips and tricks to attain self-motivation, but still you seem to feel lacking that much needed drive, there is one last thing that you must try. Whatever it is that you have been meaning to do, or wanting to achieve, JUST DO IT! Keep on aiming high and go for it! Actually getting your hands dirty best solves the problem of motivation. By “forcing” yourself to just do it, your momentum will pick up gradually as you go along and before you know it you have finished the task or have finally achieved your goal. Divide and conquer is the key.


Improving Your Personal Life

Improving your personal life is achieved by turning your wants into needs. Throughout our lives, we all have the desire to be all we can be, although some of us ignore this desire. Many times, we may stay in our comfort zone without realizing that we are passing up opportunities to do something that we truly enjoy. Of course, the money may be good, your bills are paid and you find it easy to work with repetition. Yet, are you happy?

When you are ready to improve your personal life, you must turn your wants into needs. I need to be successful. I need to be a great parent. I need that promotion. I need to save my relationship, etc.

How to be your own life coach:

Many of us spend time convincing ourselves that our dreams will never come true. We may feel that our dreams do not amount to anything. Poor self-esteem hinders the quality of life. In addition, you miss being your own coach. You can turn the negative thoughts into positive reflections, which will guide you to improve overall personal life. The next time you feel like turning yourself into a destructive thinker, breath deep and say, I love myself, just the way I am, with all perfections and imperfections. Learn to walk tall and habitually think about what you want to achieve. Set plans, write down your goals, and take action to reach those goals. You may want to learn something simple. Learn how to be a better cook. Stop yelling at the children.

How to take steps in becoming a better you:

Thinking positive is a great start to improving overall personal life. Surrounding yourself around good influences will encourage you to acquire better behaviours. You will learn to practice these new habits daily. Once you conquer your obstacles, you can mark off the list of poor behaviours you have written down.

Tips for personal development and growth:

Learn to say no. For some of us, our natural instincts lead us in the right direction to helping others. Are you sacrificing your needs however, to consistently take care of other people’s needs? Are you taking time out of each day to pamper yourself for fifteen minutes or so? Are you taking actions to stop persistence that spreads yourself too thin?

If you spread yourself too thin, it will lead to sleepless nights, since you will feel anxious and depressed. Do you constantly keep yourself in the centre of drama? If so, do not allow others to drag you down. Try to stay away from situations that drag you down and take you beyond your control. If you are focusing on the wrong items in life, you are not improving overall personal life.

Do you tell yourself that you are not good enough? Do you say you are not strong? Do you feel like you are not enough? Do you feel like you deserve what you get, when what you get causes you sadness?

For some people it is easy to focus on negativity, which causes them ongoing depression. If you are one of those people at interviews, when asked about your qualities, skills, etc., speaks out rambling off your bad qualities, you need to stop now. What you are doing is taking away your opportunities to achieve. Some of us are lost at words when it comes to speaking highly of ourselves. For some people this seems selfish, or boisterous, yet it is not. Learn to become your own best friend and give yourself frequent compliments. Stop focusing on yourself and criticizing your every move, and forget about the past mistakes and focus on your future. Sure, we can say it is easier said than done; yet if you put forth effort, it is easier than you believe. So many times, we do not take full responsibility of our own actions. We rather live a life blaming others for our mistakes or misfortunes. Do not obsess over past mistakes, live in denial, and stop blaming others to see how your life will improve. We all make bad choices in life. This is a part of living. Learn from your mistakes and move ahead. Treat each new experience as a point of learning. Next, we can learn how to wake up to improving overall personal life.

“Those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.”  George Bernard Shaw