I’m tired of seeing wishy-washy, touchy-feely, vague new age self-improvement advice the benefits of which go no further than quieting the rioting inner voice of low performers who find it hard to stomach their lowly status in life.
Here are some of the poor pieces of advice which are passed off as self-improvement tips:
- Meditate (stop thinking when thinking is your most potent weapon of survival?)
- Be mindful (what does that even mean?)
- Say thank you (for what?)
- Relax (so that it doesn’t hurt too much when life screws you?)
- Listen to binaural beats (really?)
- Do yoga (fool yourself into thinking that you’re doing something to improve your life when you are not?)
- Pray (waste your time by begging an invisible omnipotent creature which is never proven to exist?)
- Think positively (how?)
Leave all of these to low performers. You don’t want an average existence. You want to thrive, which necessitates action.
Here are my 3 practical, simple and guaranteed-to-work self-improvement tips that you can start implementing today:
1. Keep track of your diet, exercise, and spending
A few years ago, I got obsessed with getting six-pack abs. I tried every diet under the sun to no avail until I reluctantly gave counting calories a shot. Everyone (including my family members) thought I went crazy. I also kept track of my waist circumference, weight, muscle mass (with the help of a simple caliper), and training performance. Keeping track of these key indicators allowed me to tweak my diet and training which in turn allowed me to reach my goal within just a few months.
Also, counting calories didn’t turn out to be the chore I feared it to be. I still continue to count my calories long after I achieved my fitness goals since it’s an easy and efficient way to stay in shape. I also measure my waist circumference and weight regularly to ensure that I’m not getting fat without noticing. It takes just a few minutes to measure all of these key indicators and the return on this small investment is huge.
It’s not surprising for me to see the same people who criticize me for counting my calories (which takes 2-3 minutes of my day) to go ahead and waste 3-4 hours of their day by watching TV or farting around on the internet.
Measuring your basic health indicators will not only help you to find the leaks in your fitness habits (and allow you to make the necessary tweaks) but it will also motivate you to improve.
Another major leak that holds people back in life is financial. People are bad at estimating their spending so many of them end up spending more money than they make which causes them to be in perpetual debt. Debt is the main reason why people worry about losing their jobs, put up with bosses and jobs that they hate, and lose their peace of mind.
Measure your spending to make sure that you don’t spend more money than you make. You’ll avoid debt and be able to make better decisions concerning your wealth.
Measuring what you eat, how you exercise and how you spend your money will only take a few minutes of your daily life but will help you to eat better, exercise more efficiently, and control your spending; all of which will massively improve the quality of your life.
2. Build something
Humans are driven by emotion and pride is the most coveted emotion of all. As it is with anything precious, pride is hard to achieve. Genuine pride is the result of genuine achievements which require hard work, patience, and persistence.
Everybody craves pride but not everybody is willing to do the hard work to attain it. As a result, they look for shortcuts:
- Some of them support successful sports teams to get a share of the pride when their team wins a trophy,
- Some of them play video games hoping to be proud when they overcome virtual obstacles and prevail over other players,
- Some of them are on the hunt for “likes” on social media, hoping to feel proud via the approval of others,
- Some of them take pride in being a member of a supposedly superior race,
- Some of them take pride in being a citizen of a certain country,
- Some of them take pride in belonging to a certain demographic (religious, ethnic, gender-based, sexual orientation, etc.).
Note that none of the above are genuine achievements. The pride that comes from the above non-achievements is fake and unsatisfactory.
Genuine and outlasting pride comes from the genuine achievement of building something of value which takes time, patience and persistence. Shortcuts won’t work.
Build your body, build a business, build a useful skill, etc. Yes, it will take time but the sooner you start the sooner you will arrive. Start today if you haven’t already.
3. Educate yourself
Most people think education stops after graduation. Nothing could be further from the truth. Your mind is your most important weapon which is why you should never stop feeding it with high-quality information.
At the times when the internet picked up steam, many people believed that the wealth of freely available information online would massively improve everyone’s lives. This belief turned out to be wrong because the majority of the people used the internet not to educate themselves but to consume mindless entertainment.
Don’t be one of those people. You live in an age where access to information is as easy as clicking a few mouse buttons. Use it to your advantage.
Don’t waste your valuable time and attention on following the news or participating in social media. These outlets are never meant to educate you. They are designed to attract your attention and suck you into a cynical world where you end up fearful, outraged, and pessimistic.
Read books, take online courses (most of which are free), or go to a library. Knowledge is power.