How to Improve Yourself Daily: Tips For the Atelophobic

improvementWe all want to improve ourselves, right? As someone suffering from Atelophobia, anything but perceived perfection can lead to an anxiety attack. We all have some sort of idea about where we want all this to take us, right? Almost. Most people don’t really know what their goal is. Sure, they know they want to start seeing some results professionally, or something equally vague, but they don’t really know what they’re working towards. They’re just hoping that if they keep this stuff up, maybe something will one day click and they’ll suddenly be living a life that would make their past self-envious. Thing is, that’s not going to happen by accident.

I’m not denying that these guys are making improvements in their lives – they’re doing plenty of things right and their commitment to self-improvement is something truly commendable – but the progress they’re making is just a side effect of what they’re doing, and eventually it’s going to stop. Then it becomes apparent that they’ve been basing their self-worth on the progress they managed to make, and the positive feedback it earned them. Now they’re stuck at a plateau, frustrated that they aren’t improving like they once were, beginning to question whether they really achieved anything at all. It’s a crappy situation to be in, but it’s easily fixed. The fact of the matter is that these guys lack direction. They’re trying everything in the hope that something will provide the solution they’re looking for, when all they needed to do was focus. Decide where you want to be; figure out how you’re going to get there; then start walking.

Do you start driving your car without knowing where you’re going? No. You know where you want to be and you use the knowledge you’ve acquired to make the correct turns to get there. Don’t know how to reach your destination? You seek external help in the form of a map. You learn a new set of directions, and from that point onwards you’re able to apply them as and when you need them.

If you found yourself lost in the middle of a giant forest, you could try walking in one direction for a bit, then change your mind and try another one, and then another one. You could waste your final few days wandering around, barely committing to any one plan of action in the hope that by some miracle one of your half-baked ideas would save you. Or you could pick one direction and stick to it. Walk in a straight line. Sure, it might not be the quickest way out of the forest. You might face some pretty daunting obstacles on your way. You might have been 100 metres from the edge of the forest in the other direction, but you sure weren’t going to find that out wandering around aimlessly. You decided on your path, stuck to it despite any challenges that arose, and achieved your goal. Focus and persistence. This is my point.

My idea is simple – every day set yourself three achievable goals, and then work hard to achieve them. You don’t just pick the goals at random, though, otherwise you’re just aimlessly wandering. The goals stem from your priorities. You need to decide on what is truly important to you in life, and why. These priorities could themselves be goals, or they could be principles, morals or ideologies by which you try to live, they could be based in friendships or relationships, or attitudes towards the world. Whatever form they take is personal to you. What is universal is that they are at the core of everything you do, everything you think, everything you say, everything you believe. You must pick priorities in which you passionately believe.

Pretty simple, right? You decide what you want from life, and then every day you take three steps towards achieving these things. Do you see how this ties in with the promises in the title? It’s pretty obvious how this will help you improve yourself each day. If you stick to it, you don’t really have a choice but to improve in some way every day.

But what about becoming outcome independent? It’s pretty simple really – if you feel like crap because a you didn’t achieve your goal, it’s your fault for allowing that to make you feel like crap. You’re basing your self-worth and your perception of your own value on the results of an interaction with a completely irrelevant third party. The outcome of your actions is completely beyond your control, so why allow it to affect how you feel? Outcome independence is what happens when you become fully aware that you can only control your own actions. Everything else is utter chaos to which you can only react in the moment with no attachment to either future or past events. Having priorities at the core of everything you do allows you to create your own value. When you are truly passionate about them you will never need to seek external value or approval again.

To summarize:

  • Decide on your priorities. The things you want at the core of your life, defining who you are. Everything you do from now on is due to one of your priorities.
  • Set three goals every day. Achieve three goals every day.

I guarantee that these tips if followed strictly will help you to overcome your Atelophobia.

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