Fulfill Your True Potential —Take Action Now

Sometimes you ask yourself: “What am I doing?” when the more appropriate question would be: “What am I not doing?”

—Whitebeltblogger (or just use anonymous, it doesn’t matter)

What am I not doing?

  • Exercising: be strong, being weak sucks.
  • Earning more money: money can be used for good, don’t believe others that say money is inherently bad — they’re probably broke.
  • Reading: knowledge is useful, those who put-down intelligent people like you and me are just too lazy to work on themselves.
  • Insert your kind of stuff here: your awesome explanation.
  • Being your own hero: you don’t need other people’s approval.

What are you waiting for?


Take action. But I shouldn’t be saying that, right? You’re the only one who knows what’s right for you. Be awesome — no … you already are.

Health Tip: Write a Letter to Your Future Self

Writing a Letter
Image from Flickr by Skippy Beresford

People like us, who are into health and fitness, apart from getting healthier and feeling better, all want one end result — to look good.

Slipping back into old habits

Sometimes, though, when we have achieved our goal, there’s a chance that we become complacent. Little by little, we start doing again the old habits that led us to where we used to be. Then, one day, we realize that we look like our old-selves again!

I’ve been there a couple of times myself. I felt that all my efforts had been wasted. What choice do I have, but to start all over again.

Right now, though, I’m maintaining a healthy weight. One day, I thought of something … Why not write a letter to my future self, just in case I’m — you know — getting fat again. I give an example of such a letter here.

A letter to my future self


Dear Whitebeltblogger,

I would like to congratulate you for coming this far. It’s been a long journey for you.

Can you remember the time when you first went to the gym? You looked in the mirror, turned sideways, and focused your attention at your big, bulging stomach. You said, “In 3 months it’s gonna be flat … 3 months.”

Well, it may have taken you longer than 3 months before you had a flat stomach, which you can be proud of, but it’s totally worth it, isn’t it?

So … just in case you’re getting fat again. I would like you to remember that moment when you looked into the mirror.

In short, don’t get fat because it takes a lot of effort to get where you are now. You feel and look a lot better, don’t you? Would you like to look like your old self again? Of course not! Keep on fighting! You’re a warrior!

Regards,
Whitebeltblogger


What else?

You can write a longer letter if you want, or a short one like this:

“Oh my! Look at you, you’re getting fat again … No. No. No. You gotta look good for [insert name of your crush here].”

You can write it on a notebook or index card, or store it in a file somewhere in your computer (or cellphone). Just be sure to read it regularly (every week or every month, depends on you).

To think of it, the concept of “writing to your future self” can also be used in other areas of your life. For instance, it can be also be applied to other habits, such as writing, areas of life like relationships, or even simple tasks such as finishing a book. Your imagination is your only limitation.

Summary:
Write a letter to motivate or inspire your future self; just in case you’re slipping into old habits again.

7 Reasons Why You Should Start Now (or As Soon As Possible)?

Start
Image from Flickr by JakeandLindsay Sherbert

Most people agree that the hardest part when doing something new (like losing weight, writing an article, etc.) is actually getting started. Why the resistance? There are reasons — like fear of failure, perceived difficulty of the task, being unfamiliar ground, and so on.

But regardless of the reasons we have, reasons we may not even realize consciously, once we force ourselves to what we set out to do in the first place, we may find that reality is a lot different from what we have expected.

So, why should you start now (or ASAP)? Here are 7 reasons why:

  1. There may be a lot of things to learn.

    If you want to become skillful in a craft (like writing), you definitely need to learn a lot of things. Sure, you might do with the bare minimum knowledge to get started, but who wants to stay a beginner forever?
  2. You can learn better by doing.

    You may have read 10 books on fitness, but without actually doing the exercises you’ve learned, you won’t be able to know them by heart. Just knowing the facts is a lot different from having a working knowledge of a given skill.
  3. You’ll make mistakes and will learn from them.

    Some people because of their experience in school have unconsciously associated making mistakes with failure. In reality, even the successful people we know have made mistakes as well — and they have learned from those mistakes; so when they tried again (and again) they already knew what to avoid and what to go for, and in the end, succeeded.
  4. There are things that require time.

    There are some movies that may trick us into believing that expertise can be achieved in a short amount of time. But in reality, we all know that to be good at something, we need to spend a lot of time honing our skills through study and practice.

    Sure talented people might need less practice than average skilled individuals to reach the same skill level, but in the end, persistence pays off and the tortoise beats the hare (unless the hare becomes serious and decides to give his best effort).

  5. If you like it: you’ll wish you have started earlier.

    Have you been doing a thing you love (reading for example) and you wished you have started earlier? I wish I could have, but I have to overcome false beliefs like it is difficult or not fun at all — only to prove those beliefs are unfounded when I started. The bottom line is: I wished I could have started earlier.
  6. If you don’t like it: you’ll wish you have known earlier.

    Do you always wanted to do something — and finally did it — but only after a lot of hesitation. For example, you thought skateboarding was cool since other kids are doing it. You have been thinking about it for a year already — before you finally tried it.

    You quickly learned the basics, but found out that you don’t enjoy it that much even though other people are passionate about it. You may have said to yourself, “I wish I could have known earlier.”

  7. You’ll be a lot happier.

    Before I started blogging, I was reading about it years before; I even have the luck of obtaining a book about blogging in a bargain bookstore last year. Even though I enjoy learning something new when I read about it, I didn’t become really happy until the day I wrote my first post. Also, I wish I started blogging earlier.

Those are some of the reasons I can think of on why we need to start doing what we want to do — now. Maybe not now, but as soon as possible because I don’t want you to start running outside your house (if you wanted to start running) while you’re in front of the computer reading my post and have just eaten a whole bag of potato chips (or maybe it’s a salad if you’re a health buff), if that’s the case, please wait for an hour or so, until your stomach has fully digested your food.

It’s time for some reflection… Do you have some things that you are longing to do — but have not started doing yet? Do you think it would be cool to get started now (or ASAP)?

Want a Better Life? Be Specific

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Image from Flickr by Rennett Stowe

Let’s face it — people like us who seeks self-improvement want a better life, period.

But how do we exactly define a better life? I have a tip for you, don’t let the media or other external influences define what a better life is for you.

For example, the image of success primarily portrayed in the media is to have lots of money. If that’s your goal, then, it’s fine — there is nothing wrong about desiring money — money only allows you to be more of what you are. Money can help people; in fact, there’s this funny question: “When was the last time a poor person gave you a job?”

On the other hand, if you’re the type of person who’s content on living a quiet life, with only the bare essentials to spare — then, that’s fine as well. I’m not saying that to get both types of people to agree with me. I’m saying that because I believe that self-development is purely a personal matter.

If you’re going to let others tell you what you want in life, might as well call your endeavor group-development, not self-development.

After we figured out what we want, the next step is to be specific on what you want. For example, if you want to lose some weight, don’t just say to yourself that you want to lose weight, that’s vague. Instead, have an ideal weight in mind. If you’re weight 200 pounds for instance, and want to lose 20 pounds, then your target weight is 180 pounds.

Once you figured-out what you want specifically, then all you need to do is to make a plan, and take action. Monitor your progress, if it seems that your plan isn’t working (after sticking with it for a while of, course), then, modify your plan, then take action again. Continue the process until you have achieved your goal.

I could have made the above paragraph longer, but what I really want to point out in this post, is for you to know what you want specifically first — before taking action.

Summary:
Know what you really want — not what others want for you — and be specific about it; then, make a plan before taking action. If what you’re doing doesn’t seem to work, then modify your plan, then take action again, until you get what you want. Then, celebrate for a better life!

The Illusion of Constant Self-Improvement

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Image from Flickr by Enokson

First of all, what I’m gonna write here are my own thoughts regarding my own experience in life, the insight given here may not actually apply to you, but if it makes you think, then I guess it’s a good thing (gee that sounds like a disclaimer).

I believe that improving oneself, whether it’s just a single area of our life can make our future lives a lot better. (I know … that sentence could have been shortened too ‘Self-Improvement works wonders!’)

If you’re reading this post, then most probably you’re into self-improvement, or maybe google or some random link sent you here and now you’re wondering why you’re reading this post, hold on — I’ll get to the point.

Here it is: I’ve observed in the past that I have this ‘illusion of constant self-improvement,’ by definition, it’s when we think our personal development efforts — like losing weight, reading more books, being smarter, collecting more seashells, etc. — will continue to go on an upward trend.

The reality is there are times that I have regained 10 or more pounds, have read less books in a month, play games instead of learning new things, and no I don’t really collect seashells — meaning that, instead of improving more, we (or should it be just I) actually become less better (I’m sorry, I don’t want to use the word ‘worse’ —- oh, I have already typed it haven’t I).

Hey wait a minute — this post is starting to sound like a rant (a post where the blogger whines about something irrelevant to the reader). It has been said that bloggers should try to add value to readers of his/her blog (which is you). So here are some useful insights:

  1. We need regular feedback to be aware of where we currently are.In the case above where I regained weight; that could have simply been avoided if I weighed myself regularly (which I’m doing now). We must have a threshold that when reached, will compel us to implement the appropriate action immediately, like when I reached 180 pounds — I started to eat less again for a while.
  2. Follow a routine, and make it a habit.Having routine means that we schedule certain day(s)-of-the-week and/or time-of-the-day when we do what we are supposed to do — whether it’s going to the gym, reading a book, or learning to play that musical instrument.

    They say it takes 30 days to make something a habit. While I don’t believe that it is a fixed rule (we humans are different from each other); it’s something to look forward to if you like counting days.

  3. Have a minimum threshold (or it’s acceptable to do less).When we are already successful at following habitual patterns, sometimes when we miss-out just a little bit (e.g., when we miss a training session) — we might feel bad at ourselves.

    That’s not a productive way of thinking. Instead, we must accept the fact that we cannot change the past, but the future, which is still to come, is under our control.

    An easier alternative to setting a fixed number of sessions or number of tasks done, though, is to have a bare minimum threshold — which means we set an acceptable lower limit. In that case, we’ll still feel quite happy even if we don’t reach our target. Remember that doing a little or less is a lot better than doing nothing.

I found out that just by applying item number 3 that I’m a lot better now at maintaining productive habits. Maybe, it’s because I’ve started to become comfortable in doing less — it gives me flexibility. When you are flexible, you can adapt to anything.

How about you? Have you noticed a similar pattern in your road to self-improvement?

Do Whatever It Takes (Legally)

One of my favorite authors is John Assaraf, he wrote the wonderful book ‘Having It All: Achieving Your Life’s Goals and Dreams ‘.

The core message of the book is that we can have it all (if the title wasn’t a hint already) — happiness, health, financial security, successful career, wonderful relationships, and so on — this is contrary to the world view preached by some people (or is it the movies, media, etc.) that we simply cannot have it all, which I highly disagree (not only because I have read the book).

The reason is that if something is important to us we’ll do whatever it takes (legally) to get it, achieve it, or be it. Murray Smith (John’s business partner)  said in an interview that:

… the difference is that if you are interested, you will do what’s convenient, and if you are committed, you will do whatever it takes.

Can you remember a time when you started a hobby, but after two months totally forgotten about it? I can remember times in my past —  I can recall myself giving out excuses like, “I’m too busy…” or “It’s too hard…”

That was in the past though. Looking back now (and with an open mind), I can honestly say that the reason I didn’t follow through those hobbies is that they are not important to me anymore.

If something is important to us we’ll do whatever is necessary (again legally) to get it done (like a project) or to continuously do it regardless of the circumstances (e.g., exercise, reading, writing).

What about you? Can you identify three important things in your life that needs to be done?