Thursday, May 21, 2009

What I Learned from Self Help Books

I read daily and finish about one book a week. This is a lot considering I have three children, work in the home (my art business) and out of the home (dog training).
I make it a point to read a lot of self help books. Sometimes I get a lot from them, and other times I feel that I'm reading the same thing over and over again. The basic points of these books that I think have helped me the most are the following:
Take responsability for your life, meaning that you can't blame anyone else for your mistakes, shortcomings or problems. You created them, and now only you can fix them. I think that knowing this is actually liberating. If you've created your life up until now, doesn't that mean that you can create a better life in the future. Jack Canfield says that you control your reactions to the events in your life and this is how you create your entire life. React better to the events in your life, and you will have better outcomes. You control what you think, say, believe and do. If you don't like your life, than change these things.
Prioritize. Know what is most important to you, so that you can narrow your focus. You can't do it all, you can't be everything to everyone, you will fall apart. Write down the three most important things in your life and focus 90% of your time and energy on these three things.
You need a purpose and a mission, something that you are excited about from the moment you get up until you fall asleep at night. Write down exactly what you think your life purpose is clearly in two or three sentences and read it everyday. Decide on the things that you really want. Write a list, let it be long. You deserve to have what you really want. Share it with others, tell them your desires, and then go after them.
Believe. Know that you can do it and that these things will happen for you.
Set goals that challenge you. Make sure that they are S.M.A.R.T. Specific, measurable, action oriented, realistic and timely. Meaning how much, by when and what do I have to do? The realistic part is relative - is it realistic for you?
Success leaves clues. Read books written about what you want to do. Talk to people who have done it.
Visualize your desires as already happening. Make them real in your mind, and really feel how you would feel if you had reached your goals. Do this everyday and make it very real. You are in your dream home - what color are the walls? What does it smell like? How do you feel? Are you relaxed and content?
Act as if. This is my favorite. Act as if you have already accomplished what it is you want to accomplish. You want to be a famous artist, well dress, walk, talk and behave like one. Have you ever heard the saying, "A man should always dress for the job he wants." It's not just a free credit commercial - it's true.
Take action. Nike says 'Just do it', and she would be right. (Nike is actuallty a Goddess). Stop planning, stop talking about it and do something. Even if it something small, this will help you to build momentum. Take steps if you need to, but DO it! Don't be afraid to fail - I know that this is a fear of mine, but I think at one time or another we will all fail, especially if we make BIG goals. This is ok, do it anyway. Fear is a clue that we are about to do something that is breakthrough.
Be willing to work VERY HARD. Know that some things just take a lot of work. You need to be willing to put your time and energy into something. If your goals involve a skill that you are trying to perfect, practice, practice and more practice.
Ask for what you want. Ask those that are able to help you. Ask again if they say no the first time. Ask a new person if the answer is still no, and keep asking until you find someone that says yes. Don't take rejection personally, not everyone is going to say yes all the time.
Look for the feedback around you. Feedback is everywhere and if we pay attention to what it says and make adjustments, than we can start living a better life. Are the people around you happy with the way that you treat them. Ask them, than make changes. Try not to defend yourself, just say ok, and then adjust yourself. Is your home adisorganized mess? If you can never find anything then it might be feedback telling you that it is time to organize the house. Moodiness and irritability might be telling you that four hours of sleep a night just isn't enough.
Caizen - constant and never ending improvement. I like this one too. It is a Japanese word meaning that you make tiny little improvements constantly in your life and keep building. For example, if you never exercise, don't start off by jogging for 45 minutes, instead, walk in place in front of the tv during the commercials of your favorite show.
Be persistent, don't ever give up. Change your approach if you think that it will help, be flexable, but don't stop. Practice the rule of five. I do this everyday and I have seen huge changes in my life. The rule of five just means that whatever it is that you want to do, do five things each day to meet that goal. DO five things, don't write them down, DO it...
Hang out with positive people that build you up, rather than tear you down.
Create a focus journal to help you make improvements. Write all your successes in this journal and then next to each one write the reason you did it, what you could do to make even more progress and what is the very next action you need to take, and then DO it...
Plan your day the night before and then visualize how you want your day to go. Do the thing that you dread the most first thing, this way it is out of the way.
Figure out the things that are irritating to you, write them down and then take action to fix them.
Remain flexable, make sure that if you notice that something really isn't working, that you are willing to change the way you do things until it does work.
Everytime that you catch yourself saying something negative about yourself, write it down and next to it write a nice way to say it to yourself and one action that you can take to make it better. Then (you guessed it) DO it...
Focus on the positive. State your goals in the positive, focus on what you do want rather than what you don't want. Focus on your own strengths and the strengths of those around you. Be grateful for what you do have. Use what you already have to get you to your goals, be resourceful. I believe that you already have everything that you need to succeed, you just have to figure out how to use it.

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AtHomeWithSewSuzanne said...

Great blog!!! And so true!! Only you can change you!!!

LillyShayStyle said...

Wonderful! Thats more reading that I can get in, mines done at night when I should be sleeping, lol.
This is all great advice!

Christie Cottage said...

Words of wisdom you are sharing here!

Almost Precious said...

So often we are impeded by our own fear of failure...not reaching our goal, a dream not realized, hopes crushed. We've all faced disappointments and through it all, we usually end up that much stronger.