A lot of us men will at some point in our lives embark on a self-improvement journey for various reasons. Whatever those reasons, this journey is usually a big turning point in a man's life where he starts to experience many things improve at once. This leads to a trap, so I'll give you a warning: self-improvement should not take over your life.
At some point, we may get obsessive over doing the self-improvement things correctly. We stress over getting off track even a little bit.
I certainly was this way in the beginning. Any little mistake I made in my self-improvement had me beating myself up mentally.
Self-Improvement should not take over your life, but the trap is easy to fall into. Here are a few tips to avoid this trap.
1. Limit your scope
When was the last time your work overwhelmed you? Chances are it happened because you had too much on your plate at once. Self-improvement works in the same way, and if you take too much it becomes a problem.
When we become overwhelmed by our work, it's a sign that we've taken on too much. When we take too much, there's no wiggle room left for when things go wrong.
The big problem this causes is increased stress. You become more stressed overall, especially towards doing things right.
In order to make avoiding the self-improvement trap easier, we must have low-stress levels. To do this, we limit the scope of our goals.
To make it simple, have no more than three areas you are actively improving at a time, and only focus on the next step in each area.
By having this kind of focus, not only are you lowering the amount of work for you to do, but you also give yourself more mental room to make mistakes since the stack isn't so tall now. This gives you more mental clarity to think more thoroughly.
Limiting your scope allows you to pace yourself better by allowing you enough room to focus and make mistakes.
2. The 80/20 rule
By now, I'm confident you've at least heard of the 80/20 rule. In case you haven't, it's a rule that states that 80% of the input contributes to 20% of the output and 20% of the input contributes to 80% of the output. Those who fall into the self-improvement trap don't utilize this rule.
One big contributor to stress is the effort spent. It then makes sense that if you're spending unnecessary effort, you will be more stressed out.
Those who follow the 80/20 rule can attest to how much peace it brings when properly used.
Applying the rule is simple. Find the 80% of effort contributing to 20% of the outcome, and cut it out.
Plain, simple, nothing more, nothing less. Lowering stress is crucial for avoiding the trap, and this rule helps with exactly that.
Those who fall into the trap do so because of excessive effort, but by using the 80/20 rule, you make avoiding the trap that much easier for yourself.
3. Find the balance
Something that I've preached a few times already on here, balance is crucial to living an enjoyable life. I've talked already about how a lack of balance led to some troublesome times in my life. Those who lack balance are the ones who live miserable lives, and it's all too easy to see.
What goes up must come down, and your sanity and stress are no exceptions. If you cannot gain control over your stress levels, they will fluctuate up and down on their own.
Naturally, this isn't good. The whole point of self-improvement is so you can have a less stressful life.
So, how do you find balance? Let's take goals as an example.
Let's say that you set your scope at two areas and picked your two areas for your goals. Now let's say that you do the work necessary that day for those goals.
Congrats! You're done. Now go relax unless you have other tasks to do.
Once you're finished with all the work you must do, relax and take a load off. It does you no good to be in work mode 24/7.
In order to truly avoid the self-improvement trap, you must find the balance between working towards your goals and relaxing.
Too short to be stressed, too long to be perfect
By now, you've probably heard that life's too short to be sad. I bet you never heard that it's also too long to be happy all the time.
Life's too short to be a slob, but it's also too long to be perfect. Finding balance truly is the way to achieve inner peace and, in turn, happiness.
In order to be content with your goals, you need this balance. In order to find it, self-improvement should never take over your life.