Many people come to me already frustrated and disillusioned about the self improvement techniques they have tried. Below are some of the core reasons they may not have been working.
1. Right medicine, Wrong Time:
There are countless techniques one can use to dissect patterns, uplift mood, build accountability and make lasting change. These are readily available online and in the over 85,000 books in the self-help category. So why do we still need help? There are a number of reasons, but one of the most concerning is the way we take the medicine – the treatment techniques from all these outlets! It’s with no regard for our diagnosis, and with no directions around how much or little of the medicine is needed, dosage, time of day to take and counter indicators. Ooops! No wonder it nearly always ends up backfiring.
Different practices lead to different results.I am certified in Ashtanga yoga, Vinyasa yoga, Chair Yoga, Yoga Philosophy, meditation, mindfulness, trauma sensitivity, Somatic Attachment Therapy, Life Coaching and a few more modalities! I have to know which practice to share with a client before jumping into it. Otherwise they won’t get the same results. You have to know first what you want to do, then the personality and make-up of the client what and how to administer. If that “medicine” doesn’t work, or there’s a side effect, you have to know what to do as well.
This is why an outside professional is so important and perhaps why your previous attempts at sustained self improvement may not have worked!
2. Too Much Striving, Not Enough Acceptance:
This is a tough one that I know is very confusing for many of my clients, but the first step to making a change is acknowledging we are enough as we are. Almost all practices and beliefs have their shadow side and with self improvement that side is absolutely “not enough ness”. Again and again I hear from folks who have read every self-help book and are well versed in extensive betterment philosophies and practices and so they will say something like, “I know I should…be accepting of so and so or doing affirmations or feeling more positive or any number of things, when the truth is there is no should! This is where you are at and you are more than enough no matter what feelings are arising and how many gratitude journals you are or are not filling up.
Before you start your self improvement journey, or wherever you are in it, stop and take some time to work on self acceptance. It will help sustain you and keep you from what self improvement can turn into, a constant critiquing of where we are at.
3. Lack of Planning:
Haphazardly choosing an area of improvement in one’s life without looking at how it got there, what it’s serving, and what it will realistically take to change it long term is devastating to self improvement and all too common! Often, when we want to make a change we get excited and impulsive, the same energy that has us acting out of alignment with what we want in the first place! It’s at these times that we need to slow down and ask ourselves some important questions including: Why do I want to make this change? What will I have to give up? What’s a small way I can work towards this change that may at first be easier to sustain? What are my typical temptations or conditions that have made it hard to stick to this in the past? What will I do when I’m confronted with those this time?
“Slow is smooth and smooth is fast” is a Navy SEAL saying and one I find myself often repeating. Good, sustainable progress takes time, but the wild thing is, by using small, slow, incremental steps, it can go a lot more smoothly and end up taking us where we want to go a lot more quickly!
Curious about how to set yourself up for a successful, ongoing road to improvement which includes self love and self acceptance, realistic goals, lots of wins and few disappointments? Join me for individual or group coaching.