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What is Self-Improvement?

External Improvement vs. Self-Improvement

  • External improvement: Money, fitness, credentials, status, friends, etc. 
  • Self-improvement: Habits, thought patterns, confidence, beliefs, learned skills and behaviors.
You can improve your external situation without improving yourself, but that tends to result from luck and circumstances you can’t control.  

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What is Self-Improvement?

What is Self-Improvement?

https://www.scotthyoung.com/blog/2018/12/25/what-is-self-improvement/

scotthyoung.com

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Key Ideas

External Improvement vs. Self-Improvement

  • External improvement: Money, fitness, credentials, status, friends, etc. 
  • Self-improvement: Habits, thought patterns, confidence, beliefs, learned skills and behaviors.
You can improve your external situation without improving yourself, but that tends to result from luck and circumstances you can’t control.  

External improvement...

... that doesn't arise from self-improvement is from circumstances or factors outside your control. Winning the lottery may be great, but if you’re broke right now, that’s not a strategy to bank on. Instead you need to start by changing your own behaviors, skills and habits.

Life Strategy

Your total life strategy is a collection of every habit, behavior and thought pattern, conscious and unconscious, that you use to solve the problems you have in life, meet your needs and stay alive. 

Lasting Self-Improvement

Self-improvement is identifying current strategies, how they meet your current needs and solve your current problems, and figuring out how to adjust them into a better configuration. It must start by recognizing who you are now, then making small and stable changes to reach the stage where the problem has been solved.

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Self-control
Self-control

It’s your ability to resolve conflicts between your short-term desires and your long-term goals.

For example, successful self-control means sacrificing immediate pleasure (cookies a...

Why self-control matters

People who have high self-control aren’t missing out on enjoyment. Not being able to resist temptation and enjoying life are not the same things.

They tend to eat in a healthily way, exercise more, sleep better, drink less alcohol, smoke fewer cigarettes, achieve higher grades at university, have more peaceful relationships, and are more financially secure.

Biological limits to self-control

Research showed that self-control is ultimately limited by our biology. We can’t exercise effortful self-control indefinitely – the brain has to do regular maintenance to remain functional.

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Sabotaging yourself

Sabotaging yourself and your relationships create unnecessary pain and self-generated stress.

To stop sabotaging yourself, you must first recognize when you’re getting in your own way....

Know your typical thinking patterns

Our personality and life experiences predispose us to dominant modes of thinking, but these can be biased in ways that are unhelpful in the majority of situations.

Maybe you tend to worry people are angry at you when usually this isn’t the case. Or you tend to hesitate too much in making decisions.

When you thoroughly understand your personal thinking errors, you’ll be able to correct these, and this will become easier and almost automatic with practice.            

Prioritize one-time behaviors that reduce stress

Streamline your workflow so you can get simple things done without significant willpower.

For example, instead of having a container for pens and scissors in only one room of the house, have these in three different rooms to ensure better tidying.

Strategies like these save time and, more importantly, help free you up mentally.

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Willpower is like a muscle

Just like going to the gym and building up strength, the more you train your willpower by accomplishing tasks on a consistent basis

Self-Discipline - a series of healthy habits

Long term change is better served by building better habits, than by forcing your willpower. 

You will choose the apple over the cake for a number of times ... and then give up. Building a habit to start the day by going to the gym will work better.

Habits = “automatic” responses...

 ...to familiar environmental cues. 

They form when you engage in a behavior repeatedly in the presence of consistent stimuli.

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