Do you want to improve yourself for the new year, a new phase of life, or just because? You may wonder what the first steps are to making positive, lasting changes in your life. One handy mental exercise that may help you is to observe how successful people handle themselves, and attempt to emulate those positive habits. Here are some tips to get you started.
- Set and achieve goals. It’s difficult to reach your personal goals if you aren’t even sure what they are. If you want to make lasting positive changes in your life, then use the SMART goal system. SMART is an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic, and Timely. Goals naturally fall into an outline format, with bigger goals broken down into smaller, action steps. To get clear on personal goals, list things you want to accomplish in your life by category. For example, health and fitness, business or career, social, educational, family relations. Write down broad goals for each category, then break those goals down into action steps. Successful people set goals.
- Be proactive instead of reactive. Reactive people wait for other people to take action first. The problem is that someone else’s action wasn’t what they had in mind. Then, they may complain, which causes negativity in their relationships with others. Or they harbor resentment because their failure to act gave control to someone else. Proactive people initiate. They put ideas and plans into motion, and this makes them more likely to achieve their hopes and dreams.
- Be assertive instead of passive-aggressive. What is passive-aggressive behavior? It is intentional (or unintentional) indirectly expressed anger disguised by sweetness and/or forgetfulness. Passive-aggressive people use backhanded compliments, procrastination, sulking, and other negative behaviors to express their dissatisfaction. Assertive people, on the other hand, are straightforward in their words and actions. Assertive people seek an open and honest dialogue with their workmates, family members and anyone with whom they relate. Assertive people encourage two-way communication, compromise and cooperation. Assertive people also know how to express their own needs and wishes without hurting others in the process. This enhances their relationships, thus bolstering their chances for success.
- Stop blaming others. Successful people recognize that putting the fault on others delays positive outcomes and spreads negativity. We either waste time complaining instead of accomplishing, or we actually confront people in a direct blaming situation which builds resentment in our relationships.
- Empower others. Everyone is good at something and wants to feel useful and making a meaningful contribution. We deal with people every day, in all aspects of life including home, family, school, business, and social life. In all of these areas, we interact with others and we operate in either a supportive or supervising role.
No matter which role you play, supporter or supervisor, you will have the chance to help others feel good and recognize their personal power: that thing they do that will make a positive difference, either to the project, the group, or the world (or all of the above). If you take the time to point out the strengths in others, thank them for their effort, and recognize them for their contributions, you help them to succeed. Success gains momentum when fueled by empowerment. So if you’re successful by yourself, imagine what amazing things you can accomplish with others on your side.
How to Get Out of Your Own Way
Identify your own behaviors that are holding you back. Once you discover your own personal roadblocks, you can move toward newer, better habits that will set you free and make it easier to accomplish personal goals.