It’s frustrating when you’ve worked very hard for a long time and you still don’t see any significant improvement in your life. If it’s been that way for years, it can be downright soul-crushing.
There is hope though. And it’s really quite simple to figure out if you’re willing to take a hard look at some key issues that may be hindering your progress. Here they are. Each of them is a response to the question, “When will things improve?”
When you change your thinking.
Almost every book that I’ve read on the subject of personal development talks about the importance of our thoughts. It’s always a central issue and a first step toward improving your life. Here’s what they say.
If you are thinking about all the things you don’t want, that’s what you’re going to attract into your life, guaranteed!
If you are thinking more often about all the things you want, then that’s what you’re going to attract into your life.
Once you get into the habit of keeping your focus on the things you want, they will come faster.
This principle is called the Law of Attraction. Some authors refer to the Law of Attraction directly. Others give it another name and present it from a different angle. But they are all highlighting the importance of our thoughts. Here are some examples.
- The Secret (Book) (Audio) (Video) by Rhonda Byrne
- The Master Key System by Charles F. Haanel
- Thoughts Are Things and The God In You by Prentice Mulford
- Ask and It Is Given by Jerry & Esther Hicks
- Key to Living the Law of Attraction by Jack Canfield & D.D. Watkins
- Having It All by John Assaraf
- Leveraging the Universe and Engaging the Magic by Mike Dooley
- The Power of Intention by Dr. Wayne Dyer
- Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale
- You Can If You Think You Can by by Norman Vincent Peale
- As a Man Thinketh by James Allen
- Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
- The Magic of Believing (Book) or (Audio) by Claude M. Bristol
- The Strangest Secret by Earl Nightingale
- Excuse Me, Your Life Is Waiting by Lynn Grabhorn
- You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay
When you face your fears.
An unwillingness to face fear is responsible for more lost dreams than any other issue. You may say to yourself, “I really don’t want to be a leader in my field that much if it means that I have to do public speaking.” Or you may say, “I don’t need to have the perfect partner in my life that much if it means I have to risk being rejected.”
It took me many years to discover and understand this simple, but crucial, principle regarding courage. “You must do what you’re afraid to do and THEN you get the courage.”
I have to admit that I’m a little angry that someone didn’t tell me this when I was a kid. It would have saved me from a lot of pain and I’d have taken a lot more chances. But no worries, I’m making up for it for years!
Fear is good. It ignites your senses. It makes the challenges of life more exciting! But don’t get hooked on the adrenalin rush, because it will subside when you get the courage or when you find out that what you were afraid of was just your imagination.
The more you face your fears, the more things will improve.
When you do what’s best for your body.
In order to achieve your dreams, you need to be at your best in terms of your health, energy, fitness, appearance, and disposition. The only way to get there is by eating a healthy diet, exercising, and losing any extra weight.
Your ability to accomplish what you want will be in equal proportion to how good you feel physically and emotionally. Diet and exercise are two of the most important keys to achieving this.
Diet and exercise can do miraculous things, especially if your diet is plant-based. I recently learned a great deal more about the benefits of a plant-based diet by watching many leading documentaries (list on this site) on the subject. After watching just a few of them I became a vegan almost overnight.
If you’re on the fence about the importance of diet and exercise, then the things you want will likely stay on the fence with you.
When you do what’s best for your mind.
All the great men and women in the field of personal development talk about the value of meditation and visualization.
I learned Transcendental Meditation (TM) during my first year of college. It had a huge impact on my life. I still do it to this day. Meditation gives you greater clarity, more creativity, reduced stress, and improved health.
There are many forms of meditation. Some are more formal and ritualized than others. I would imagine that most of them provide some kind of benefit. I’m sure you could find some simple instructions on the Internet. I have to say though, the TM initiation process made it very real for me and I enjoyed participating in the traditions.
Visualization helps you to get clear on what you want. It also provides your subconscious mind with a blueprint of what you want so that it can more effectively help you get it. Visualization also stimulates motivation to do what’s necessary to get what you envision.
I don’t completely understand how this works, but visualization, like the Law of Attraction, seems to empower the Universe (or God if you prefer) to help you.
I remember visualizing being a business executive with a corner office inside a beautiful building located in a corporate park with an abundance of trees and grass surrounding each building. At the time that I was visualizing this dream, my life was so far removed from that reality that it seemed ridiculous to even think about it. I also had never seen a corporate park like the one I had envisioned. Fast-forward about five years and there I was sitting in that exact office!
One day as I was admiring the beautiful landscaping outside my office window, it hit me like a bolt of lightning that I was living the life that I had visualized many years before. My mind played the Twilight Zone intro as pondered what had happened.
Meditation and visualization can help improve things more rapidly, precisely, and will less effort.
When you define what you want.
What is it you really want? Do you have a clear and detailed picture of what you want? If you don’t, how can you expect things to improve?
I don’t agree with idea that you must create “complex” step by step plans for achieving goals. Sure you need a “rough” plan, but doing anything more is like trying to look into the future. The “how’s” are the job of the Universe (or God if you prefer). Your job is to define the “what,” which is the most important part.
The “what” is really the “outcome” you want. Focusing on the outcome is where you get your power and motivation.
Clearly define how you want things to improve and you’ll more likely get it.
When you overcome an addiction.
Addictions that alter or even damage your physical and mental capacities will limit or prevent you from creating the life you want.
An addiction means that the substance (drugs, alcohol) or thing (gambling) is controlling the outcomes in your life. You give up your power to it.
The only way to get your power back is to end your involvement and go through the discomfort of its physical and emotional demands (withdrawals) that you fulfill its every desire. Then like breaking away from a toxic relationship, as each day passes you become freer until one day you realize that you’ve got your power back!
Once you’re in full control, things can change in the way you want.
When you follow through on your ideas.
How many ideas for improving your life have you not followed through on? Did you talk yourself out of it? Did someone else talk you out of it? Did fear block you from trying it?
There is no such thing as a perfect idea. No idea is without risk of failure. The only true failure involving an idea that’s important to YOU is “not trying.”
It would take 50,000 words to tell you about all the ideas I’ve tried and failed at. I think my family and friends would be amazed if they knew how many. But like I am telling you, I don’t look at it as a failure because I tried. So my enthusiasm doesn’t diminish.
Thomas Edison tried 1,000 different ideas and failed at each one before he finally succeeded in creating the light bulb. I’m sure glad Edison didn’t give up. If he had, I might be writing this on paper instead of a computer!
I am able to follow through on most of my ideas because I don’t look at the possibility of failure as a bad thing but rather a learning opportunity. In addition, when I succeed, the struggles and failures make it much, much sweeter.
Someone once said something like this. “If you haven’t been in the valleys of life, you’ll never know the true joy of reaching the peaks.”
If you want things to improve, follow through on your ideas for making it happen.
When you create an inspiring home.
How can things improve if your living environment is depressing? Your home is your foundation. It’s the headquarters from which all the operations of your life originate. It’s where your big ideas are conceived, planned, and executed! This is pretty important stuff.
The condition of your home affects the way you feel. And it does so 24-7-365! Here’s an example. When you walk into a shabby, dirty, and foul-smelling hotel room how do you feel? How do you feel after you’ve been there awhile? Depressed like the environment itself, I bet. Now, how do you feel when you walk into nice, clean, pleasant smelling hotel room? How do you feel after you’ve been there for a while? Comfortable and upbeat, I bet.
Are you motivated? Do it right away! Clean your home. Get it organized. Spruce it up!
I’ve got one more suggestion. Stop filling your home with images, reports, and conversations about all the tragedies and pointless dramas currently happening by turning off the news “shows.”
If you want things to improve, start with the basics.
When you stop waiting for motivation.
Motivation is created in the same way that courage is. You must force yourself to start doing what you want and THEN you get the motivation. It’s really that simple.
After you’ve done this several times, you’ll begin to expect the motivation once you’ve gotten started. It’s really cool. I first experienced this when I was trying to get myself into the habit of working out at home after giving up my health club membership.
I put together an inexpensive home gym and then expected the motivation to come. It didn’t. I didn’t workout for several months! Then one day I said to myself, “Enough! I’m going to do this whether I feel like it or not.” I was surprised to find that I was quite motivated to complete my workout after a few exercises. Eventually, I knew that the motivation would soon follow AFTER I forced myself to start. I also noticed that the motivated got stronger as the weeks and months passed.
I’ve used this principle in my areas of my life including writing articles like this one. It took me awhile to realize that I could do this since working out is physical and writing is mental, but it works just as well.
You can be certain that motivation will arrive soon AFTER you begin!
When it’s been a long time and things haven’t improved, it can be a serious challenge to stay positive and motivated. I know. I’ve been in some pretty deep valleys several times. The unseen benefit to these situations is how much sweeter the rewards are when things improve.