Why We Struggle To Create a Self-Improvement Plan
November 14, 2022 2:31 PM EST | 7 min read
Are you wondering why your self-improvement plan is a struggle?
Nearly every human being, at least once in their life, will think, “How can I improve myself?”
From this simple question, we will each come up with different ideas as to the things we can do to help us be better:
- employees or employers
Your self-improvement plan can be less of a struggle
As we move through different life stages, these thoughts and observations will change for each of us.
In our 20s, improving ourselves as a leader may be going out and learning from the best.
While in our 50s, improving ourselves as a leader may take on a mentee or two.
Although our objectives and paths to self-improvement may vary throughout our life, ONE thing will remain true: we struggle to get out of our own way.
Setting the goal of greatness is the same as spontaneous speaking situations (you know, when the groom asks you to give a short toast at his wedding, and you prepared nothing).
We need to dare to be dull because we tend to over-evaluate, over-analyze, or get choked up.
We also overlook the small, simple things we could do that can lead to meaningful improvement.
Why does this happen?
Because we are thinking too hard about being great instead of doing the actions we need to do to be the greatness we seek.
Top 3 Reasons We Struggle with Making a Self-Improvement Plan
1. We are RE-acting instead of responding.
We are RE-acting (putting pressure on ourselves to get it right. You are acting out your thoughts instead of responding, which is more genuine and authentic).
As the maxim for improv comedy states, “Dare to be Dull.”
We shouldn’t look to RE-Act – but to respond.
When we respond, we do so without thought.
It’s our natural knee-jerk reaction.
This will help us improve ourselves, as we are going with what we know to be true deep inside our hearts without worrying about impressing others.
2. We make it a challenge instead of an opportunity.
Part of our problem stems from the fact that in our society, we make the action or the thing we want to accomplish a “Challenge.”
While this may not seem like a bad idea, it can put us in a defensive mentality.
When we are challenged, we react (see what I did there?) differently than when we think of that challenge as an opportunity for us to become that which we seek.
When we look at things as an opportunity instead of a challenge, we won’t just do the bare minimum to protect ourselves and defend our position.
Rather, we will see it as a way to put forth our best effort.
It’s because we believe it may turn into something else or expand our abilities for what we are or want to become.
Think about it: the expert you follow is looking for a mentee and has put out an open call for everyone who wants to apply – but ONLY for the next 45 minutes.
Do you see this as a CHALLENGE to complete the application in 45 minutes?
Or do you see it as an OPPORTUNITY to work for the expert whom you have learned so much from?
This is the same obstacle that we have when we seek to improve ourselves by creating a self-improvement plan.
When we see it as a CHALLENGE, we give a good, hard look at ourselves and where we could improve.
We get defensive about things.
“I could improve my response time to all emails to 2 hours, but why should I work hard on that when the emails get done, anyway?”
But when we see it as an opportunity, we jump at the task, as it’s an experience from which we can quickly grow.
“I can improve my email response time to 2 hours or fewer because I could then have more interactions with the sender ‘in the moment.’ Thus, this increases the productivity of the exchange and helps more people.”
This may seem trivial, but it makes a BIG difference.
Imagine if I say “I love you!” with my hands out for a hug and my head tilted slightly to the side.
As opposed to if I said, “I love you!” and had my arms folded across my chest, my shoulders pointed at a 45-degree angle away from you.
You would feel that it is a forced or fake statement.
3. We overthink and/or suffer from thinking we “got lucky” or WILL “get lucky.”
As Steve Chandler points out in his book “Wealth Warrior”:
“Everyone has skills they should share with the world, but the problem is they are frozen in the face of deciding: which road to take?”
From my experience, I can tell you it is difficult to decide.
But once you do, you need to STICK WITH IT.
You must block out all the other garbage and identify who YOU ARE.
The REAL you.
Or, as Steve says in Wealth Warrior, “Access your Higher Self.”
What’s the higher self?
For the athletes and executives I coach, it’s those flashes of when they do something phenomenal and surprise themselves.
“Hey, I didn’t know I could do that!”
That IS the REAL YOU.
That’s a sparkle of the greatness that you have within you!
The problem arises when the individual writes it off as a fluke, a happenstance, or even worse, “Luck.”
I hate the word “Luck.”
No other word in the English language creates such a sense of discomfort and unease in my body like “luck.”
Just hearing someone say, “He got lucky,” makes me want to jump out of my chair and yell, “They didn’t get lucky! They put themselves in a position for good things to happen!”
The guy down the street won the lottery?
He bought the ticket.
Old High School friend is now the head of a multinational corporation that he founded? He worked his ass off!
Personally, what Gary Vaynerchuk has to say about “Luck” in this #AskGaryVee Episode hits it right on the head (Adult Language).
“Luck” comes to those who will sit down, do the work, and keep grinding.
Just as you need to with your self-improvement plan.
When you can focus and settle on the one or two things that will have the biggest impact on your life and truly FOCUS on getting them done, you’ll get what others call “lucky.”
But you need to do the hard work of turning your thoughts into action, receiving cold, hard feedback from those you trust, and being able to sit down and look at yourself in a true light.
NOT what’s true to others, but true for YOURSELF.
Your self-improvement plan will help you be the best version of YOU possible.
This is where the big struggle of creating a self-improvement plan comes in: admitting to yourself WHO your HIGHER SELF really is, accepting it, and going after it.
As Byron Katie said:
“You could have ANYTHING in the world you wanted if you were willing to ask 1,000 people for it.”
The 1,000 people you ask needs to begin with your biggest fan and your biggest critic: yourself.
Now go after it, and let your Higher Self out!