7 Lessons Learned on The Self Improvement Journey
About Lesson

The Commitment

As we travel the journey of self-improvement there are things we learn along the way. One of those lessons is to always be deliberate and intentional about who you want to become. 


Ralph Marston, the man behind The Daily Motivator, said – “The quality of your commitments will determine the course of your life.”


That perfectly sums up the idea that you have to be deliberate and intentional about who you want to become. The only person who can determine the course you take in life is you. It’s up to you to set your course and to follow through with intentional actions and deliberate behavior fueling both your decisions and your actions. 


Right now, what do your commitments look like? Who set those commitments for you? How long have you been chasing commitments that were set out for you based on the expectations of others?


If there is one piece of advice, we, as a society, could ensure that every generation receives as they come through the school system, it is this. Whatever you do, do not allow yourself to drift through life like a plastic bag caught in the wind. Live your life with purpose. Live your life with intention. 


It is a simple lesson, but one of the most important ones we can teach our youth. The sooner everyone begins to understand it, the better. 


We can’t just leave it at that, though. We can’t leave it as vague advice or bite-sized quotes. We have to take it a step further and ensure that everyone understands what that means and what it looks like in action. 

The Simplicity Of Intentionality

What is intentional living? What does it mean to live deliberately? Quite simply, it’s bringing your attention or focus on the thing that is most important to you. In this case, becoming the person you want to become. 


You have to have a clear vision of that before you can live with intention. However, with every day of practice towards intentionality, you grow better at it. Your capacity expands and your life starts to slowly change as you improve your focus. It’s all about seeing the results you have in mind and living life with the view of achieving them. It’s knowing what you want and finding a way to make it happen. 


We live in a chaotic world. It’s hectic. It’s busy. We’re all hurried. Simplicity is separate from that and it requires intentionality to live simply. Our culture very much encourages living to excess and individuality that fuels selfishness. 


Minimalists try hard to shake that message off by living the way they do. We live in a society that is in a hurry to get more stuff. It doesn’t matter what you have, you need more. Making ourselves satisfied with what we have is effectively a counterculture in its own right. 


You cannot live intentionally without first laying down a solid foundation to build upon. Later we will discuss the action steps necessary to be more deliberate and intentional about who you want to become, but first, let’s talk about how you can start to build the foundation. 


  • Your life is entirely made up of the choices that you make and there isn’t a day that goes by where you escape having to make decisions. With each new day, there are a new set of decisions, choices, and opportunities that you will face. It’s up to you to make those decisions and it’s down to you to choose your attitude. You can allow your circumstances or your past to negatively influence the pattern of your life now. You can allow your circumstances or your past to keep you where you are. Or you can look at every new day as a fresh slate and a new opportunity to take control of matters for yourself. 
  1. Consider the culture surrounding you. You, nor I, live in a vacuum. We are part of a society. For example, socialists highlight issues with capitalism, and capitalists write off all of their opinions because the socialist participates in a capitalistic society. You are part of the culture and there are things you do to fit in. Think of your culture or environment as the current carrying you downstream and going against that is much like an attempt to swim upstream, fighting against that current the entire way. It can be exhausting. 


People who opt-out of the norm in any way will have experienced this feeling. In this case, I’m specifically talking about how the expectations and opinions of others carry you downstream. You have a battle on your hands, but if you start living with intention and you get deliberate about what you want and who you want to be, well swimming upstream will become a much easier proposition. 


The first step to swimming against the current and succeeding is to take a step back and look at the big picture. You have to look at how that stream is flowing, determine how it affects you, where it’s heading, and how you can use it to your advantage to reroute your direction. 

  1. Ultimately, there’s a need for self-reflection and self-examination. You need self-awareness to get to grips with your skills, passions, weaknesses, abilities, traits, and talents. It is worth your while to dig into what you possess so that you can determine your next steps. Without this step, you won’t have a handle on what you want or who you want to become. And, if you don’t do that then you will never know how to live deliberately or intentionally. Now that your foundation is in place you can add some more practical steps as you build up to action.
  2. One of the biggest obstacles that hold people back from chasing their dreams and living intentionally is the comparison game. Everyone has an expectation of where you should be in life by a certain age. It’s weird if you’re not married by 30, no kids when you’re almost 35? Times might be changing as we leave these things until later in life, but there are still judgments at the people who live outside of these traditional boundaries. It doesn’t matter whether you’re single, in a long-term relationship that never results in marriage, or happy with owning three dogs and never having children. It’s up to you to determine how your life should unfold. Other people don’t live your life. For a long time, people have felt pressured to give in to societal expectations of all kinds and the consequence of that is profound unhappiness. Don’t waste your time living for other people. Moreover, you should not waste a single second of your time comparing yourself to where others are or being jealous about what they have. This is your life and you were born to live this life, not another one. You only get one shot at today, what are you going to do with it?
  3. We’ll delve deeper later but let me just highlight the importance of defining a purpose in your life. What do you want to communicate to the world? What would you like to contribute to it? It’s important to have a passion that is larger than life (or at least bigger than yourself). Once you have a good idea of what that purpose is write it down and keep it handy so you can be reminded of it often. It’s a good way to stay focused on the journey you’re taking. 
  4. On the back of establishing your purpose, you can set goals to align with it. Those goals will help motivate you and achieving them will contribute to shaping you into the person you want to become. Every goal should align with your purpose. They should all contribute to the bigger picture and their purpose is to guide you to live deliberately and with intention. 
  5. The world is ever connected as technology spreads. That makes our world increasingly distracted. There is almost always someone or something that is begging for your focus. There is always something that wants your attention. Put the magazine down, close the app, turn the television off, and use some of your free time more wisely. You can still enjoy mindless activities to unwind, but you know fine well that you overdo it. 
  6. While it’s important that you live out your own expectations, it’s still safe to learn from other people. This isn’t about taking on their opinions or letting them direct you. It’s about looking at successful people and asking what traits they have that fuel their success. Find the people who share your purpose and learn what you can from them. The worst thing anyone can do is waste a life or leave it unlived. It’s time to commit to intentionality and start living life more deliberately. 

Action Steps

Have A Vision Beyond Your Current Circumstances

You cannot be intentional without first gaining clarity on what you want from life, who you want to be, and understanding what your true priorities are. When you learn to more deliberate with your words and actions it allows you to focus on your strengths and helps you overcome issues like fear. 


Intentionality creates action-oriented people. It helps build an unshakeable determination and a strong, positive mindset. All of which will contribute to helping you achieve what you set out to achieve. 


When you have total clarity with regards to what you find most important, it becomes easier to be intentional and deliberate about where you invest your energy, time, and focus. This level of clarity will allow you to focus your attention on the areas of your life that matter most to your ultimate goal which is to be the person you want to be. 


Living intentionally makes you more appreciative and grateful for what matters most. It also puts you in the driver’s seat and makes it easier to establish and maintain boundaries. 


It doesn’t matter what position you are in right now. It doesn’t matter what circumstance you find yourself in. This moment is temporary. You are capable of changing your circumstances. So many people are caught up planning and doing based on their current circumstances. That might sound like a logical way to handle things, but the reality is much different. By doing this, you box yourself in and you suffocate yourself in a way. Planning based on your circumstances means that you don’t give yourself any room to grow. If you plan based on your current circumstances you aren’t stretching yourself. 

You aren’t confident in your ability to grow beyond where you are now. If you want to live your best life, if you want to be your best self, then you have to imagine the person you will be in the future and take steps to get there. 


When you plan for what you want to do, where you’d like to go, or who you want to be, you should envision yourself as that person beyond the circumstances you find yourself in currently. 


I imagine you sit down to plan and look at what you want for the future and then make excuses like I don’t have the budget to do that, I can’t do that because the process doesn’t allow for it, I can’t manage that because I don’t have enough help. All of those things might be true… but, what if it was possible? Your current circumstances aren’t set. They’re temporary. They’re for now. 


You’re talking about who you will be a year from now, five years from now, ten, fifteen years from now. Things won’t always look as they do now and you cannot hem yourself in based on your current situation. You have to give yourself room to grow. 


A lot of people underestimate how much life can change in a year, even in the span of a month. Yet, they also overestimate what they can manage in the course of a day. We don’t seem to have a firm grasp on time and how it passes. 


When you focus on what you want to do, who you want to be, and where you want to go, it shouldn’t be based on today. It has to be focused on what you want to do, who you want to be, and where you want to go. That is what keeps you centered. That is what keeps you motivated. That’s what helps you maintain the focus on your why. 


The big question is how?


Positive Habits 


You need positive daily habits and the more you can apply those good habits to build a positive mindset. Positive daily habits improve your ability to live intentionally. They set you up for success. 


While there are an array of positive daily habits, I want you to consider what type of habits will help you become a more deliberate person in terms of who you want to become. Journaling, meditation and even setting a daily intention are all excellent habits to build. Just be sure you maintain consistency with whatever positive habits you adopt. 


Set Goals 


Writing your goals out is part of the process. It goes hand-in-hand with building positive daily habits. Set goals that stretch you beyond your comfort zone. Set goals that stretch you further than you thought you were capable of. Always write them down. 


Whatever you do, you need to have a vision for you yourself and your life beyond the circumstances you find yourself in now. Start living your authentic self now and start imagining yourself as that person now. Let that fuel positive habits, let that motivate you to live deliberately and with intention. 




We’ll cover this in more detail later, but it’s important to touch on it now. Visualization is a powerful tool you can use to shift your mindset and become a more intentional person. We really don’t spend enough time visualizing our success. 


We’re quick to believe the negative self-talk that passes through our brains, but we don’t take the time to engage in positive visualization. Engaging in the negatives only drains you of energy and fuels a negative mindset. 

Imagine Your Best Future Self And Start Acting Like That Person Today

Moving forward, I want you to think of yourself only as your best future self. I want you to start acting like that person from today. However, before you do so. I want you to look at your current self and your future self as two radically different people because right now, you are two radically different people. 


Historically, people haven’t done a great job of predicting who they will become. It’s much easier to get sucked into the past and languish in memories than it is to look toward the future. We spend so little time considering the future we tend to just assume that nothing much will change. 


Yet, if you look back on the person you were ten years ago you can recognize how much you have changed. Well, why would ten years in the future be any different? Now, think about how much you have changed and grown in the last ten years and think about how unintentional it all was. You weren’t deliberately making yourself into the person you are now. 


So, imagine how radically things could change if you spent the next ten years being deliberate. Imagine how radically things could change if you spent the next ten years intentionally becoming the person you want to become. 


You are not the finished product, you will never stop growing, but think about how much more you could grow with intention behind you. You would be an unstoppable force for good in your own life. Ten years from now you are going to be absolutely nothing like the person you are today. So, why are you living as though that isn’t a fact? It doesn’t matter how old you are, you still have a big future. 


There are several strategies that you can use to change from thinking about yourself as two separate people and start thinking of yourself as the person you want to become. 


Imagine Three Years In The Future 


The greatest asset in your hands is your ability to envision yourself where you want to be. However, you have to have goals to support that vision. For now, in the planning stages, you have to keep your current self and future self-separate from each other. This will allow you to think about what your future self would want and this will allow you to shape your vision in detail. Once you create that vision, you can start living intentionally toward becoming that person. 

Feel It Deeply 


What would it feel like to be that person you want to become? Rehearse it, immerse yourself in it, feel it as deeply as possible, and embody the emotions that would come with being that person you are envisioning. 


Once you commit, it’s your job to shift your mindset and identity to mirror the reality of your future. The goal is a new you, the plan is to do what it takes to get there, whether it’s journaling, visualization, changing your environment, or taking courageous action when necessary. 


Take Action


It isn’t enough to merely visualize where you want to be, you have to take action to make that vision a reality. Put your money where your mouth is. If you want to become a successful writer, then start acting like a successful writer. Sit down, outline a book, and start writing. If you want to become kinder, then start being kinder to the people around you. Go out of your way to be kind to strangers. If you want to become a successful business owner, then take the necessary steps to start a business. 


Once you make that decision, once you take action, you will see things fall into place. You will immediately see a shift in your mindset and how you tackle each day. You’re going to be more deliberate. You’re going to be more intentional about being the person you want to become.


Expectations And Attachments


When you share your dreams with others you have probably heard “lower your expectations” in response. There’s this idea that you have to lower your expectations to protect yourself from hurt, but why on earth as we so terrified of getting hurt? No, it doesn’t feel good, but you can’t protect yourself from pain. You won’t achieve anything without first failing, you have to be prepared to act in spite of the potential for pain.


Your expectations have a major role to play in motivation and outcome. To maintain motivation, you have to a) want the outcome, b) possess knowledge on how to achieve said goal, and c) believe you can do what it takes to achieve the goal. With that in mind… expect everything and attach yourself to nothing. 


You will perish without a purpose. 


Measure Gains, Not Gaps 


Don’t get caught up measuring yourself against the ideal you aim to become, you have to measure progress backward to get a more accurate view of how far you’ve gone. Again, it’s easy to look back to the you ten years ago and see how far you’ve come. 

Sit down once a month, or once a quarter, and review your wins. 

Use Positive Affirmations To Set Your Mind Towards Who You Want To Become

There are thousands of thoughts racing through your head each day, tens of thousands for some. Often, they are overwhelmingly negative and those negative thoughts are influencing you more than you may realize. 


Have you ever heard the thought “I’m not good enough” pass through your brain? Or “There’s no way I can handle this”, “I just can’t do that”, “I’ll never do better than this”, or “I’m going to die poor and in a job, I hate”. 


You probably have and you’re not alone in that. Whether you realize it’s happening or not they are coloring your opinion of yourself and influencing your mental health negatively. As a result, you may be experiencing difficulty in your career, relationships, and personal life.


If you take control of matters and start thinking positively, you can train yourself into a productive mindset that will help you become a deliberate and intentional person. 


Affirmations are positive statements that you can use as a kind of purifier for your mind. You can use them to kickstart a more positive thought process. You can use them when you’re feeling down and need a pick-me-up. You can use them when you’re struggling and need a motivational boost. 

So, how do they work? 


Essentially, a positive affirmation should affirm you and your journey toward being intentional about who you will become. If you are skeptical about how effective positive affirmations could possibly be, I would encourage you to try them out before you dismiss them. It’s true that you are in charge of your successes and failures. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t take additional steps to influence which way things flow. 


This is especially important to remember when faced with the drama that only life can bring. When you’re dealing with multiple issues at once it’s easy to fall into a pit of despair and blame yourself for whatever is going on. 


While you’re the one in control, you can’t control external circumstances, only your reaction to those circumstances. This is where positive affirmations can come in. 


Affirmations can help you refocus on what matters and avoid burnout when things get too much. Their efficacy will depend, of course, on how often you practice them and when you choose to practice them. 


If you feel particularly insecure about your income, repeating the affirmation I am self-sufficient financially is not going to help you change your financial situation. Nor will repeating My work is meaningful and the work I do matters is not going to make you feel better if what you’re saying isn’t accurate. 


Understand, a good positive affirmation is not about convincing yourself you’re okay when you’re not okay. It’s more about choosing to focus on the positive things you do have. It’s repeating affirmations that remind you of your achievements, your family, your partner, your friends, your goals, and what you want to become. It’s self-reflective in a way. 


That’s why writing your own affirmations is the best way to ensure they are appropriate for you. However, that’s something you can work on later. For now, let me give you some examples of positive affirmations that may work for you. 




For Self-Acceptance & Happiness 


  1. I approve of who I am and I love myself despite my flaws. 
  2. What I have to offer matters. 
  3. I will accept feedback with kindness. 
  4. I will think positive thoughts and shape my day. 
  5. I will stop criticizing myself. 
  6. I will attract good things. 
  7. I choose happiness. 

Stress Relief 


  1. I will replace anger with compassion and understanding. 
  2. I will let go of the past and embrace the moment. 
  3. For every problem, there is a solution and I am capable of finding it. 
  4. I will make positive choices for my body and mental health. 
  5. I will surround myself with people who love and support me. 
  6. My environment is positive, peaceful, and loving. 
  7. I will sow seeds of peace everywhere I go. 

Inspiration, Motivation, and Productivity 


  1. I won’t give up on making my dreams a reality. 
  2. My mindset is designed to motivate me to succeed. 
  3. I will not give up because I cannot. 
  4. With every passing day, I become more the person I am destined to be. 
  5. I will use fear as my fuel. 
  6. My life is great and nothing is impossible. I am capable of achieving what I want. 
  7. I love my friends and family, even if they do not completely understand me. 



  1. I play a major role in achieving my success. 
  2. I will make choices that impact my world positively. 
  3. I will make today a day to remember. 
  4. I deserve to succeed. I deserve to be happy. 
  5. I am growing, I am thriving. 
  6. I am persistent, I am self-reliant, I will carve out the future I want. 
  7. I am capable of handling the success that comes my way.



  1. I am going to let go of old habits and embrace new positive habits. 
  2. I choose an open heart and an open mind. 
  3. I choose joy, freedom, happiness, and love. 
  4. I feel happy and enthusiastic when I wake each morning. 
  5. I choose to stand up for my beliefs. 
  6. I am powerful enough to live my dreams
  7. I will use my time wisely, it’s my most valuable resource. 

Visualization: Imagine Your Ideal Life And Your Ideal Self

You don’t have to start off big, you can visualize for just a minute each day. From there, you can increase how much time you spend visualizing as you grow more comfortable with the process. Think of it as another form of meditation. 


Sit, close your eyes, and think about what you want your life to be. Think about who you want to become. Think about how it feels to be that person. 


Will you feel stress-free? Will you feel confident? Will you feel powerful? Imagine it, embrace it, let those emotions flow through your body. 

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