The popularity of makeovers on television shows, covering everything from wardrobe overhauls, dramatic weight loss or even giving up addictions, shows that people love the promise of a fresh start. When you reach the point in your life where you're craving self-improvement and change, where should you begin when your wishlist is long?
Figuring Out What's Important
Ask yourself what would benefit your health and happiness. What would make you what you consider to be a better person than you are now? Do you want to get rid of a bad habit or implement a new healthy one? Do your relationships need improving? Keep in mind that self-improvement, as the term implies, isn't about changing other people.
Imagine that you could achieve anything. What do you deeply want to do, be, or have? Self-improvement guru Brian Tracy recommends "back-from-the-future thinking" when you're brainstorming your goals. Imagine yourself living the life you want five years from now. Then step backward, asking yourself what would have to have happened from now until then for your life to be just the way you want it to be. Is there one thing that, if achieved, would set you well on your way to achieving your other goals?
Try Two Goals
While it's a good idea to limit the number of changes you're trying to make at once so that you don't get overwhelmed, working on two changes at once can be carried out successfully, especially if the two changes are related. For example, people who want to quit alcohol might choose to implement new relaxation techniques. Starting an exercise program goes hand-in-hand with changing your eating habits. Once you've achieved your first two goals, you can add on another. Naturally, any bad habit or behavior that poses an immediate risk to your health, or your ability to change, should take top priority.
Increase the Odds of Success
To succeed at a goal, it has to be one that you sincerely want to change-- not one that you're taking on because others want you to do it. The goal also has to have a realistic short-term target. For example, a goal to take weekly singing lessons is more achievable and within your control than a vague wish to become a famous singer. It also helps to state the goal with positive phrasing focused on increasing desired behavior. Instead of saying you want to stop being messy, focus on planning and implementing a new cleaning schedule.
Choosing the right goals is just the first step toward making change, but if done right, it can increase your chances of success. For more information, pick up an inspirational self help book and get to work!