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"He who stops being better stops being good" - Oliver Cromwell.
Many aspects of the modern world seem simpler but at the same time life can be a lot more complicated overall.
Certainly the widespread availability of information has the effect of making us more dissatisfied with the life we have and for this reason more and more people seek ways to make more of themselves.
There are certainly plenty of books and entries here on the Internet that give you advice and useful inspirational messages but most of it has little effect without a predetermined plan. All major projects need a blueprint to succeed and improving your life is no exception. We can call it a blueprint for success.
Getting started is always the most difficult part of any undertaking and a set plan will always help you on your way.
You could find outside help in finding your route to success. A mentor is ideal but can be hard to find. Perhaps the best way to find someone who can lead you is to look around for someone who is living the life you would like and ask them for their advice.
Most people would be happy to help as this has to be one of the most sincere compliments you can pay anyone. Make sure however that they do indeed live the life you would like: many apparently successful business people, for example, have less than desirable private lives.
Another source of help would be a life coach. One of the signs of the popularity of self-improvement plans is the proliferation of life coaches. As with most professional advisors it is always best to find one recommended by someone you trust as there are good and bad examples around.
There are many other services online that also seem to offer help but these too should be treated with caution - particularly before parting with any money.
A good life coach or mentor is a great asset however. He or she will offer advice and words of motivation when they are needed and know which books would help fire you up. If you are looking for someone to help you in a specific area, such as self-employment, a good coach can also give you direction in terms of finances and marketing.
Feedback is always useful as is the encouragement to keep going and a good mentor or coach will provide both. The journey to success is always harder when undertaken alone.
When starting a self-improvement programme it is always worth knowing the point from which you start. Be honest with yourself about your strengths and weaknesses. If you are lucky enough to have a spouse, coach or mentor this may be something you could discuss with them.
This is particularly useful if that person already knows you well. It is important to focus on your strengths though as this sets you off on a positive footing.
Once you have identified your strengths and weaknesses, you might consider including some training of some kind to draw on your assets and improve areas where you may lack skills.
Perhaps a local college offers a course that might help or a reputable online source might provide what you want (again, be careful if you are parting with money). In any case, learning will expand your mind and improve your self-worth.
Once you know where you stand you can safely plan where you want to be. Firstly you want to fully understand what are your dreams or ambitions. Once again you need to sit down and brainstorm what it is you want out of life. Why not think of your ideal day in a year's time or perhaps in five or ten years?
Let your imagination roll but make sure what you come up with is really what you want. Too many of us list dreams that will impress other people. What we are after is what will make you happy and fulfilled. Once you have your dreams clear, write them down.
Now we come to one of the vital elements of any self-development programme: goals. Many words have been written on the subject of goal-setting so a long discussion on the subject is not necessary here suffice to say that it is important to devise a list of steps, the achievement of which will bring you nearer to your dream life
Your ambitions are easier to achieve if you set goals that act as stepping-stones to the lifestyle you want to reach. It is important to remember that this will take time. A good, ambitious goal will take a while to reach and a series of smaller complimentary goals will help you stay motivated on the journey.
So you now have a list of goals leading you to the lifestyle you want. The key is to take action right away. A set of goals will get you excited for a short time but if you do nothing about them frustration will soon set in. Start immediately and your enthusiasm will grow with each goal you achieve.
The likelihood is that you will get addicted to improving your life so, once you achieve your major goals, you will want to set new ones and chase them to keep the momentum going. Indeed, Ralph Waldo Emerson describes this as "the never-ending task of self-improvement", so we should all spend our lives trying to be better.
Start your self-improvement now and life will always feel better.
Keith Braithwaite is a generally nosey and opinionated guy but his heart is in the right place. After nearly thirty years in the corporate world and twenty keenly observing direct selling, he is now following his interests in self-development, internet marketing and historical studies.
Join him on a journey to getting the most out of life using down to earth information (without the hype!): http://www.InspirationMessages.com
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