Self improvement programs basically say the same thing: that your worth is determined by you and the only way you can make things better is to step up to the plate and act on your insecurities and stressors. This applies for all kinds of activities, from learning to play tennis better to handling family problems.
Self improvement entails seeking ways to equip yourself with the right tools to be able to effectively combat the negatives that are thrown at you throughout your life journey.
Here are some psychological and behavioral techniques that self improvement programs usually espouse to help us modify and change health and lifestyle behaviors. Some of them overlap and have procedures that are common.
One aspect common to many self improvement programs involves the monitoring of behavior. Self monitoring is a process of observing and recording your own behavior. For instance, suppose you are a person who tends to be late to meetings and appointments. You may not realize how often you are late or how late you are to these meetings.
Self monitoring is a method to increase your awareness of your behavior. It will also provide a benchmark to compare your behavior at the point at which you began your behavioral change program with the change you have actually made. In this manner, your progress becomes, in itself, reinforcing.
Self improvement programs that are adapted to the specific routines, lifestyles, abilities and unique circumstances of an individual are said to be “tailored” to that individual.
For example, let’s say you find yourself under a lot of pressure and are having difficulty relaxing. You decide that you will begin a relaxation program. Someone suggests that you awake a half hour earlier and do you relaxation exercises in the morning.
You awake the following day and do so, only to find yourself tired in the evening and unable to continue with the same regimen the next day. What you need is tailoring.
Before you initiate a self improvement change program, examine your schedule and lifestyle. When is the best time to do your chores? What time must you leave in order to be on time for your meetings? When should you exercise? When is the best time to relax?
An important component to increase healthy behavior is reinforcement, or reward. You could reward yourself or have something hand it to you. These include bonuses, commissions, clothes, tickets to a show, etc. A reinforcer is something of value to a particular individual. Money is a powerful and useful reinforcer, since it can be exchanged for a countless number of objects that have value.
Reinforcement may also take the social route. Imagine you are trying to stop smoking. You can go a full day without smoking and your roommate says, “That’s great.” That statement is an example of social reinforcement. In our interactions with other people, we sometimes tell others that they are doing a good job.
These forms of social reinforcement are useful methods of encouraging people to continue what they are doing. If we are at the receiving end of these prodding’s, the more likely we will succeed with ours.
Self improvement programs teach us a number of life lessons that we often overlook because we are too “busy” with our careers, social lives, etc. When we really look into the matter, we will realize that the suggestions above are actually very obvious and easy to do.
In fact, they don’t even require enrolment in self improvement programs to realize. But, again, because we are too preoccupied with other things, sometimes self improvement programs are necessary. They are for our own good, anyway.