My biggest criticism with personal development, self improvement, or whatever you want to call it, is that a lot of it is theoretical or has little effect on your life NOW. Of course, most people become interested in personal development because of problems they're facing immediately, which creates a perfect setup for disappointment.
Thinking back on the different areas in which I've directed my efforts, here is a short list of some of the most effective ones which got results quickly (in no particular order):
1. Buy and read the book Fantastic Voyage : Live Long Enough to Live Forever. It's a fascinating read and will give you a deep and valuable understanding of your body, nutrition, and food. When I read it I did so because I was bored, even though I had no particular interest in health or diet. Reading it instantly changed the way I see a lot of things.
2. Open up a new bank account and religiously deposit 10-15% of your after tax income into it every month. This is money that you will NEVER SPEND for your entire life. As it grows you earn interest, and spend that (or add it to this same account). Once you have a significant amount of money, you can then invest it in something reliable like an index fund. You are allowed to use it as a down payment for a house.
3. Go through your house with a trash bag and throw away everything you don't need. You will immediately feel happier, less stressed, and more motivated to work on other projects. (be sure to look in cabinets, the fridge, and your desk - you will probably need more than one bag)
4. Get in the habit of taking a walk every day. Taking walks is surprisingly therapeutic (I do it every time I have a big decision to make, or feel stressed) and is also really good for your cardiovascular system. If you can do it during the day, that's even better. A moderate amount of sun is the best way to get Vitamin D and a healthy looking tan to make the ladies (and boys) swoon.
5. Starting at the top of the list, make a decision on one person in your phone every day. They either get a phone call or deleted. You might feel weird calling people you haven't talked to in a while, but think of how you would feel if they called just to see how you were doing. You'd probably feel really good that you were being thought about. During this process you'll also find people you'll never talk to again. Deleting their number will save time and effort when scrolling through your phone book.
6. Similar to #3, go through your closet and either pack up (to be lost in the attic forever), throw away, or donate any clothes you haven't worn in the past 30 days. (Exceptions are seasonal items [can't you just pack those?] or things like a suit or party dress that doesn't expect frequent use.)
7. Go shopping and buy enough of the following items to last at least 6 months :
- paper towels
- toilet paper (try moistened towelettes! they're way better)
- detergent for clothes and dishes
- plastic bags (zip lock and trash)
If you can think of any other items where a) the price isn't going to change drastically b) your preference probably won't change c) the shelf life is very long, then stock up on those too. Look! You've just eliminated a serious chunk of your todo list and mindless errands for the next six months!
8. If you're disorganized, get and read Getting Things Done : The Art of Stress-Free Productivity. It will have you organized with a gameplan for staying organized easily within 1-3 days. If you're already organized, then you can just take a second and gloat.
9. Find the most expensive item you have that you don't use anymore and sell it on ebay. It will take you 10 minutes at most, plus another 30 minutes to ship (while you're at the post ofice, get 100 2 cent stamps and never worry about that again). Alternatively, just send it to me as a present.
10. Show this page to your friends! Helping out other people makes you feel better, and working on some of these things with your friends will make them more fun.
Don't just read this list and think "that's a good idea". Do it now! If you're at work, then order the books, take a break and make your first phone call while you take a walk.
I tried to fairly evenly distribute the focus between the three areas of Health, Wealth, and Relationships. Relationships has the least focus because improving your health and wealth will likely improve relationships as well. If you could use some extra help with meeting women or being attractive to them, check out my book called Make Her Chase You. I am a world famous pickup artist who has learned from the best ladies' men in the world, and I've condensed all of my knowledge into one awesome book.
Of course if you're a lovely lady and you're looking to improve your relationships, just e-mail me... :)