When it comes to self-development advice, we’re bombarded. Even I have a bundle of worksheets to help people find the tools which actually work for them.
One thread comments on the importance of setting actionable goals. Another strand emphasises the role of visualisation and acting ‘as if.’ A third route professes the strength behind gratitude and just letting things naturally form in their own way: finding the opportunities and just saying Yes.
In reality, this is as useful as writing advice. The secret really is elusive amidst all the various advice and opinions:
What works is the tool or technique which ends up with you doing the thing.
Some writers need to plan ahead, to plot out the scenes and follow the map. Others find themselves inspired by hitting each crossroad and making the directional decision once they reach it. Some writers wake at 5am and do 3 solid hours of writing a day. Others stay up late, getting the words out in short, 15-minute bursts.
As for dieters, you know yourself best. I can easily stop eating chocolate by not having it in the house. I may crave it, but I’ll find honey or cocoa powder in a protein bar meets the need fine. However, if I have a 5-pack of chocolate bars in the house, I can’t just have 1 at a time. It’s not how I work.
In terms of self-development, the same rule applies.
Do What Works For You.
Now, this is mostly frustrating because at the beginning, its trial and error. And that includes that forbidden F-word: failure.
But equally, knowing which tools to try can be daunting. We’d all like to fail the fewest times possible before finding success, right?
The thing most people forget to do in this process, is Review each technique. Think back to the last goal or habit you attempted.
What ‘technique’ did you use:
- an all-or-nothing approach
- a well-planned strategy
- small-but-steady steps of change
- on-a-whim decisions
- something else?
And did it work for you, this time?
Through reflecting on what worked for you, you’ll be able to learn which techniques are worth trying again.
Of course, we all change, and different situations may require approaches: but having an idea of what progress does or doesn’t look like for you, will speed up the process in both achieving your goals, and changing course as you notice things aren’t working.
It’s not the answer people necessarily want, but in reality, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. We are all unique, and reflecting on our uniquity is the best way to discover what will lead us to the best results when it comes to self improvement.