I've been interested in self improvement for a long time. I'd get into stuff like "Mega Memory", language tapes, or "7 Habits of Highly Effective People". For a while I didn't really like to talk about being interested in this stuff because it was slightly embarrassing.
Bettering oneself isn't embarrassing, of course, it's the association with "those types of people". You know... the people who read all the books, go to all the seminars, and then don't do a thing about it. Maybe the most embarrassing part is that I was one of those people to a degree. There were a LOT of things I'd start and either not finish or not get results from it.
Is this the fault of the program or the book? Not at all. It's up to ME to follow through and implement the things I learn.
This post may be pointless, because people who don't follow through probably won't do what I suggest to start following through. We'll try it though.
One big thing I've noticed amongst people who get results is that they have a lot of self respect. That doesn't mean you have to be an ego maniac like I am (although you could be...), but it means that you like yourself enough to believe that you deserve to improve.
For example, guys who get into pickup and have very low self esteem generally won't get anywhere unless you address their self esteem first. They don't BELIEVE they deserve high quality girls, so their actions reflect that.
Equally important is trusting yourself. You can tell how much people trust themselves by the the language they use.
"I'll see if I can do that."
"I might try that out."
"I don't think I could ever do that."
These are things that people who don't trust themselves would say. Think about it... does anyone not have the ABILITY to do self improvement? I mean... can anyone not force themselves to eat healthier food, to spend half an hour a day reading, or to go talk to new people?
Of course not... these are all things that ANYONE is capable of doing. It comes down to whether or not they'll trust themselves to follow through.
People who trust themselves say things like:
"I'm going to start doing that."
"I can do that."
"I'll try that for 30 days."
See the difference? They KNOW that if they commit to something it will be completed no matter what. I trust myself completely... I know that if I say I'll do something I'll definitely do it no matter what.
This places a bit of a burden on the decision making process, because you don't want to commit yourself to something that will kill you.
A few days ago the workout of the day for Crossfit was to run 10 kilometers. I'm not a runner and I barely ever run, but I never once even considered my ability to do the run. I knew that one way or another I'd force myself to do it.
Now it's four days later and I'm still hobbling because my calves are killing me.
When you trust yourself it takes the decision making process out of the equation. On any given day I can think of a bunch of reasons not to work out. But there's no decision to make. I just do it.
Make your decisions up front when you have all of the info, when it's a RATIONAL decision, and when you're nut subject to EMOTIONAL decisions (I don't feel like working out...).
Another thing I've found helpful is ALWAYS taking action after every new piece of information I decide to consider. I can read ANY personal development book and find at least one useful ACTIONABLE tip in it. Usually there's a lot more than that.
For example, I read a book called "The Goal". I didn't really like it that much, but at the same time there were certainly some nuggets of gold in it. Now whenever I am trying to solve a problem I use some of the steps he outlines in the book.
Personal improvement is really nothing but "habit cultivation". If you have good habits you succeed, and if you don't have them then you don't succeed. Having the habit of consuming new ideas and immediately implementing changes based on them is pretty useful.
Also, a big problem I encountered was that I'd work on improvements that weren't actually getting me closer to where I wanted to be. I'd learn new skills or habits that were interesting but not practical. That's not bad, but why not learn things that are interesting AND practical.
Actually, that's something that I got from "The Goal". Ask yourself what your goal is. My primary goal right now is to make money, so I have a new set of habits I've developed that keep me super productive on that goal.
Trying new habits for thirty or sixty days is a good practice too. Make it a mindless commitment for that period of time. At the end, think about your results and make a new decision from there.