The Secret To Constant Improvement
Do you want your life to be getting better and better? I know, I know, that’s a silly question. I know I want my life to be steadily improving, and I suspect just about everyone else does too. What a lot of people don’t know, is that there is a very simple technique which makes that easy. The method is so easy to use and straightforward that this article will be rather short. It’s just that simple.
I was reminded of this technique when I saw it show up as one of the steps in Mark Joyner’s Simpleology program. That is just the latest incarnation, as it has been used by focused and successful people through history from great religious men to presidents.
It is the continual process of self-review. I know you were expecting some fancy name with a trademark and what I gave you sounded really boring, but hear me out.
What you do is to regularly (generally at the end of each day) think back over your day and write down the things you did wrong and what you can do in the future to keep from making the same mistakes. In the Simpleology program this is used to help analyze places where you are wasting time or reducing your energy, but the technique can be applied to anything.
Religious: I have read of great religious men of the past asking themselves each night how they could have been purer. If they had allowed some base thought in their minds, they would work to keep it from happening again.
Health: What better choices could you have made in what you ate, how you exercised, or the activities you engaged in?
Financial: Did you spend money you shouldn’t and how could you have used it better? What decisions could you have made to put yourself in a better financial position?
Social: Did you say something you wish you hadn’t? Made some unwelcome joke or discouraging comment? Did you not say something you should have?
You get the picture. This technique is adaptable to any area of behavior you are focused on. Not only that, but you don’t have to use it for some specialty. If you have a clear picture of the person you want to become, merely ask yourself what decisions you made that day that don’t draw you towards being that person. Figure out how you can avoid making that same mistake or a similar one in the future.
THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT! Don’t forget to use this technique the other direction to help you reinforce positive behaviors. Whatever your goal is, ask yourself if you did anything that took you towards it, and figure out how to repeat that success.
I know, I know this all sounds so simple and self-obvious, but think of all the people you know who make the same mistakes over and over again. How many people do you know who seem to be on an endlessly repeating cycle of bad finances, bad relationships, bad morals, or whatever other area they struggle in? How many times have you wished that they could just see the same couple mistakes they make over and over again and fix them?
All of us can benefit from this little technique, even if our poor choices aren’t major ones. In fact it is especially helpful because the little decisions which keep us from improving are not obvious so we don’t automatically work on them, and the decisions which take us forward may not have caught our attention so we don’t repeat them.
The best part about this little technique is that it isn’t like those major goal setting sessions where you organize your life and try to change the entire course of your future in a single four hour euphoria-high session. That kind of overhaul can have it’s purposes, but your enthusiastic plans and goals are normally forgotten within days, until desperation drives you to do it again (i.e. New Year’s resolutions). No, this is a little habit that takes maybe five minutes an evening and keeps you on a steady even keel of continual improvement.
Try it for a month or so. If you aren’t used to keeping a journal, it might feel weird, but just do it for a few minutes each night and then review your entries every month or so. You will find your negative behaviors steadily decreasing and your positive ones increasing, and you will get your wish of a life that gets better and better each day.