Why do I focus so much on change and improvement? Because, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” George Santayana. I started my self-improvement journey to change several habits that I recognized were not conducive to remaining married. I was married prior to meeting Evelina and I cannot say that I was the greatest spouse in the world; I was young and acted selfishly.
When I met Evelina I was a little out of control. I had no long-term goals. I had zero ambition. I had no plan. And I didn’t really care about myself much. I did not realize it then, but I was suffering from depression. When Evelina and I began dating I quickly realized how incredible she was and how it would be imperative that I change some of my life habits or I would ruin the relationship.
I have been criticized on several occasions about pushing others to improve; that I should encourage people to be content with who they are. To this criticism I always answer: I do not promote people to change their essence, but strongly encourage people to change their habits. The essence of a person does not change over time as most behavioral science experts will explain. But the person can change some of their habits and change the life around them or their circumstances.
If you are not aware of your past, then you will be doomed to repeat mistakes over and over! But if you have a serious and honest introspective attitude you can recognize the habits that contribute to past failures and change those habits. That is what I propose.
Why would you continue to live out actions that do not produce the results that you want? Do you need more income? Do you want a better marriage? Do you want a more fulfilling occupation? Do you want to be more fulfilled? Do you want more success in general?
Here is what you do: assess your life habits. Make a list of what you do; your actions. Then make a list of what you truly desire! Do your habits match up with your desire? Are your habits in line with producing the results you want from your life?
If they are not, then make another list of the habits you think will get what you desire. For instance, if you desire to change jobs, but the job you desire pays less and your bills are very high, then you need to change your habits as they relate to spending and debt. Your new habit list should include restricting spending, stop watching TV and eliminate cable, paying down debt, quitting smoking, quitting alcohol. All of these habit changes will provide more cash available to pay down debt, thus freeing one up to take a more fulfilling job that pays less money.
Being content with WHO one is has nothing to do with WHAT one does. So when I encourage people to practice self-improvement I am encouraging a change in habits, not essence. After all, what you do is not who you are…necessarily.
Life is not as difficult as we make it. If you want your situation to improve or change, you MUST change. If you change nothing, nothing will change; not your essence, but your habits/actions. If I want more money, but spend 6 hours per day watching TV, then making more money is wishful thinking. If I want more money and quit watching TV, go back to school at night, read about my industry and spend time networking with industry leaders, then and only then will I put myself in a position to advance my employment, thus make more money.
So many of my readers email me and complain about how life is hard and about past failures and, yet they continue to live out the same set of habits now that produced all of the past failures and disappointments. They do not change actions and are only wishing for their future to be different. The sad fact is their future will not change.
Make 3 lists: 1. current life habits. 2. That which you desire. 3. Habits that will get you what you desire. Then compare. I strongly encourage you to use my list of Habits of Successful People to help you develop your new habits list. And if healthy living, debt-free living and getting organized are not at the top of your new list then tear it up and start over!
It is time for you to start dealing with yourself truthfully.