03 Oct The 5 Most Powerful & Effective Personal Development Strategies for Happiness & Success in Life
There are thousands of different strategies and ideas on how to improve your life. But how are you supposed to know what really works?
There are thousands of different strategies and ideas on how to improve your life.
But how are you supposed to know what really works? By these three metrics:
Your personal experience (what has worked for you before?)
Science and research of how humans grow and change (how does change generally work?)
Others’ experience (what has worked for others?)
Only you can know the first part, but I’m here to help out with numbers 2 + 3. In my experience, and through all the research I’ve done on neurological studies, and through all of the case studies I know, these are the five greatest personal development strategies that actually work!
But First, A Few Notes On The Fascinating Science Of Change
I’m basing my conclusions on science that I have also tested successfully in my life. I’ve found the studies I mention here to be accurate and I believe these methods will work for almost everyone. With a few exceptions, our brains work mostly the same way.
Your brain has an amazing network of neural pathways. These pathways are communication channels in the brain, or how the brain’s different areas communicate with each other. From a scientific standpoint, habits are simply thick neural pathways (i.e. strong neural connections).
If every morning for the last 18 years, you have woken up at 6 AM, grabbed the newspaper, and fixed coffee, you will have a thick and strong neural pathway to tell you to do that exact routine on year 18, day two.
Neural pathways operate like muscles. They get stronger with use and weaker when neglected. Changing a habit is nothing more than simultaneously weakening one pathway and strengthening another (perhaps new) pathway.
It helps to visualize your habits in this way because it gives you an accurate mental image of what’s really happening in your brain while you’re trying to change.
Some people believe they can change overnight or in a short amount of time. Generally, it won’t work, and it’s clear why not. If it’s a bad habit you’ve strengthened over many years, you can’t just drop it. Your brain has been well-trained to execute that habit when triggered by the environment or an internal thought.
Or if it’s a good habit you’re trying to start, you’ll have to strengthen it methodically over time just like your biceps, baby.
Then there is the prefrontal cortex, which I’d say is the “manager” of your brain. It manages your short term memory and current thoughts.
Why are these important?
Together, they form the entire potential of your ability to change.
When you want to change something about your life or grow in an area, you either need to change the basic framework of how you operate (habits) or change your decisions (prefrontal cortex), or both.
Example: You want to become a better guitar player
Habit Solution: Make guitar practice a daily habit
Prefrontal Cortex Solution: Think of playing guitar as a bigger life priority and decide to focus on it.
You can see how the two are related. If you think of guitar as a priority, it will be easier to do it daily and make it habit. Unfortunately, habits are automated processes, so you can’t directly change them (that would be like hacking directly into the brain and rewiring it…cool!).
What you have to do is use your Prefrontal “manager” Cortex to make the right decisions that will gradually change your automated behaviors and preferences. As they change, it will become easier to behave the way you want to.
The more times you do something, the less resistance you’ll have to do it again.
But this information isn’t enough. You need strategies that will allow you to conquer the mental blocks and habitual urges that keep people locked out of positive change paradise.
So here they are – the best five strategies you can implement to change your brain, and your life, forever.
1. Start small
Every success story in history can be traced back to a small initial step.
In Usain Bolt’s case, it literally started out that way. The next time you see Jamaica’s favorite lightning bolt race at unparalleled speed, picture him as a baby taking his first, small, unbalanced step. Even he had to learn how to walk before he became the fastest man in the world.
Did you know that Apple – the most valuable company on planet earth with a $419 billion market capitalization – was never intended to be a company? The Steves – Jobs and Wozniak – were making computer boards for fun, and that wasn’t even their first project. Their first “big” sale was to the Byte Shop, a contract for 50 assembled machines.
Yeah but, what about personal development?
At the end of last year, I created The One Push-up Challenge, a challenge built around the concept of starting small. It has helped many people, including myself, successfully overcome their habitual hesitation to exercise. The minimum requirement of doing one push-up per day beats anti-exercise habits because it is so easy to start.
I bet I know what you’re thinking, because I thought it too at first.
“One push-up isn’t much on it’s own, so how does it bring results that matter?”
Look at this email I received:
“We recently applied the principles from your one push-up challenge to get us back on the ‘workout train’…We started the ‘Insanity’ workout and our first goal was to just get thru the warm-up…we are now onto our 4th week and getting stronger and stronger day by day. Thanks for the inspiration!” (emphasis added)
As you can see, starting small makes you very likely to start, and good things happen when people start. This couple wanted to exercise and get into shape, but maybe they were psyched out by the difficulty of the program or the amount of effort they’d have to exert. Once they started, however, they worried less about the obstacles and focused on the benefits and excitement of really doing it!
This One Push-up Challenge wouldn’t even exist if not for the small decision I made two years ago to purchase the domain deepexistence.com for $10. At that point, I had no idea my blog would become such an meaningful part of my life and even win some awards. It wasn’t planned.
What project or habit have you been stalling on? Start small and you’ll be amazed at your mindset change.
2. Step small
Starting is critically important, but so is finishing. And the best way to finish and grow along the way is to take small steps. It’s making sure that your successful small start doesn’t end prematurely…
…keep reading more HERE