A reason to change, something to shoot for, goal.
“There are three types of people in this world: those who make things happen, those who watch things happen and those who wonder what happened.” - Mary Kay Ash
Before anything can change, there needs to be a reason for change. Nothing in this universe is unmotivated, if only by the need for entertainment or distraction from boredom.
I take it that you picked up this book to get something out of it. There must then be something in your life that you would like to improve upon.
Do you always have enough spending money? Are you successful in life in every direction you attempt? Are you happy constantly, making friends easily and forming many deep, trusting relationships as a result?
Maybe you'd simply like to kick a bad habit, or get over a loss, or lose a few pounds.
All these things are possible to you, providing you want to change.
Right now, write down in the margin of this book – or one of the back pages or a separate page – exactly what it is that you want to change. You can always modify this later or change it to something entirely different if you want to. That is the premise of self-help: you can change something about your life if you want to.
Maybe, as a result of this book, you'll have such success with improving that item that you want to go ahead and change something else. With this book, or the books referenced in the back, you'll certainly be able to.
But it starts with deciding that something needs to be improved and exactly what that is. Now, if you haven't written that something down somewhere, do it now.
There's one caveat to know before starting this journey of self-improvement:
You can't get without giving.
Just as there is truly no free lunch or free beer, so any idea that just by reading a book you are going to get better without doing something yourself is a false one. Life itself has the lesson that you get out what you put in. The more you want to work at something, the better you will get at it. Musicians practice daily. Sport stars practice daily. Actors rehearse over and over, even after they have memorized their lines to perfection, even though they've given the show time after time for weeks. Practice makes perfect.
And so it is with any self-help or self-improvement activity. One must take personal responsibility for one's condition. Through this book, we'll go over the theory and reality of why this is so. One could always sue a fast-food chain for one's condition, but practically that will only get you money, not any improved condition. If you want to lose weight, go on a diet and stick to a sensible plan of meals once you are down to the weight you want. If you want to gain weight, there are many programs which will tell you to go to a gym and exercise, plus eat more protein. But these changes only start with you making a conscious decision to do something about your own condition.
You don't have to have a dire condition or take drastic, emergency actions to change it. But you do have to realize that in order to improve a condition, you are personally going to have to take responsibility for handling it, regardless of how you got that way. That is always the first step, which follows from noticing that you have a condition you'd like to change.
Through this book, we'll cover various exercises and techniques you can use to do something about your chosen area to improve. While it will be up to you to make the changes, we will have already done the homework to make sure that the techniques have been uncovered and point out additional resources you can study to find out more if you feel you need to.
But you'll get out what you put into it. That is the only guarantee we can make.
Day 1 Exercises
Try this –
1. Take what you wrote down and put it on a card. Now turn that card over and write that same phrase in the past tense: instead of, “I'd like to have a new car,” write “I have a new car.” Put that card on your nightstand so you see it last thing at night and first thing in the morning. If you can, write another card and take it to where you work so you can keep this in mind in spare moments during the day. (We'll cover why you're doing this later. For now, we need to get the object you are trying to improve out there in front of you so you can study the rest of this book.
2. Select a room where you can be alone and undisturbed. Sit in a comfortable chair, erect – do not lounge. Let your thoughts roam as they will, but be perfectly still from 15 minutes to a half-hour. Practice in this daily will enable you to start controlling your body its physical area.
3.Next, in the same chair, be perfectly still, but allow the muscles in the body to relax, along with every nerve until you feel more quiet and restful. Mastering this will become easier as you practice it, enabling you to apply it while at work or at home, making life easier to appreciate and enjoy.
These exercises form the basis of a regular regimen which can bring about much improved conditions in your life, based entirely on how much you'd like to change your life around. We'll be adding to these drills as we go, so realize that you have plenty of chance to practice at them and get better – you don't have to be perfect the first day.
Many of these exercises come from Charles F. Haanel's work, The Master Key System. See the appendix for this and other books which can help you with the self improvement you are looking for. This book is the merest introduction to a very wide and broad topic. These exercises are culled from many sources, Haanel being a key one.