A common misconception when it comes to self-development is that willpower is the determining factor; more often than not, it’s not.
New research that has emerged from the New York Times business bestseller Change Anything: The New Science of Personal Success, and some top-notch research from Mashable has broken down the 5 best changes you can make to improve your life choices.
1. Use your space to control your behaviour
The example given to explain this concept is ice-cream. When you’re feeling alone, consuming your weight in Ben and Jerry’s is the easiest thing in the world. However, when you’re with your significant other, the guilt sets in and conditions you to resist. Purposefully changing the state of play to avoid making bad decisions is called “controlling your space”.
2. Build positive bridges with negative people
By asking a friend to call you out on your negative behaviour you will achieve two things. Firstly, you’ll develop a heightened awareness of your own behaviour and secondly, you’ll drive the other person to improve their bad behaviours ultimately creating a more positive environment for you to work in.
3. Reward yourself respectfully
Bad behaviour repeats because of positive feedback. The best way to counter this is by rewarding yourself with an appropriate treat for good behaviour. If you’re aiming to lose weight at the gym, treat yourself when you reach your goal with a shopping spree to celebrate your new shape.
4. Learn to love what you hate
The human mind is maybe the most malleable substance on earth. You can change, but not force, your opinions toward certain things which you might have considered yourself to hate previously. Instead of fighting your own willpower to hate something, embrace the activity with a subtle change – like listening to podcasts when exercising.
5. Never stop educating yourself
Develop specific skills like programming and marketing strategy to improve your CV and work life. You can’t force yourself to be better at your job so instead of getting frustrated, diversify your skill-set. In the book, the authors call it “Learning to do what you think you can’t”.