For the last 2 years of my life, I have been what some would call obsessed.
After battling crippling anxiety for nearly 4 years, I decided one day that I had enough, and wasn’t going to keep “waiting” to get better.
So I started a journey of healing myself.
After about a year, I was close to being my old self.
But something was different.
I didn’t want to stop at my old self, or average. I wanted to keep going and take my life past average to as high as I possibly could.
I was obsessed with self-improvement.
This has led me to places in the last 2 years that I never thought I would be, and after 1000+ hours of podcasts, countless pages of books, interviews with some of the most successful people alive & any other self-educating material I could get my eyes on – I know things.
I know things that I didn’t know existed before. I realize now that each and every one of us holds limitless potential inside, but rarely do we live a life that will allow us to reveal it.
We just don’t know how…
But for you, that changes today.
Because this framework is a combination of everything I have learned in the past two years based on studying the success of hundreds of individuals and then applying it myself through trial and error.
It’s just a framework, and each step has many small elements that we write about in our own specific articles, but knowing this is the first step.
It works and has literally changed my life.
The Ultimate 9 Step Self Improvement Framework
Step 1: Deciding to Take The Wheel
Your entire life has brought you to where you are right now, reading this.
If you haven’t already taken the wheel, you are who you are because of hundreds of external influences that have shaped you into the man you are today.
Teachers, parents, society, the media, and friends have all had a huge impact on why you have become.
Your whole life you’ve been told not to be different.
Don’t raise your hand.
Don’t speak out of turn.
Get a good job with a stable salary.
So the first step in this process is to say, okay I accept who I have become due to all the external influences that shaped me, and I choose to take responsibility for my life and take the wheel.
Once you make this choice, you can become anyone you want and choose to no longer let external influences shape you.
This is a simple shift in mindset from being a victim to being in control of your destiny, and it is the foundation of everything to come.
Step 2: Setting Your mental GPS
Living your life without a clear vision of who you want to be is like driving around the U.S.A without a map or GPS. You may have a great time. But at the end of your journey, you can either end up in an awesome place like Las Vegas, or Milwaukee (Sorry Milwaukeeans).
I was this way when I was younger; enjoying college and the moment without a worry about direction. Living in the moment is great, but if your moments aren’t filled with anything that will better you for the future, it is like playing Russian roulette.
And then I ended up with an anxiety disorder while sitting in a cramped office from 9-5 every day.
“How the fuck did I get here?”
Are you familiar with this phrase? If you’re not then make sure you never are. You don’t want to wake up at 35 and not know how your life is what it is. You need to start shaping it now. And if you are 35 or older, it’s not too late at all.
Da Vinci didn’t paint his masterpiece till well in his 40’s. It’s never too late.
But you have to have a clear vision of who you want to be before you can become this person.
Exercise 1: Write down on 1 page the ideal version of yourself in 5 years. What are you doing, who are with you, how does it feel? If you could do anything what would it be? This is your passion.
By doing this you are setting a clear vision of who you want to be, A.K.A setting your mental GPS. Without this clear vision of who you want to be, who you become is a shot in the dark.
This clear vision can be small, like wanting to lose 30 pounds. Or it can be huge, like being the CEO of a multimillion-dollar company. All that matters is that you have the vision, and you know exactly who you want to become.
Making your goals really is the next step.
You know what you want to do, and now you have a clear vision of it. So the next thing you need to do is write out your goal, set a date, sign it, and put it up on your wall (one out of Lewis Howes’s playbook).
I hear this more than you would believe:
“Take your goals and paste them on your wall.” (Or some variation of that.)
This does a few things.
1) It makes your goal real
2) It makes you accountable to yourself
3) It is a constant reminder of your goal
Have it somewhere where you can always see it. I have mine right next to my head above my bed. I look at it and read it multiple times a day.
What type of goal should you set? This is up to you.
1) Some like smart goals, which are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. These are big in the self-improvement world.
2) Some like Grant Cardone like to 10X your goals. If your goal is to make 1 Million next year, then set the goal to make 10 Million. If you miss, which Grant thinks you usually will, you will still shatter your old goal.
3) Some like to set mini goals, which can be done in combination with the above. Have your main goal which may be to lose 100 pounds, but then set mini-goals along the way.
Maybe to drop your first 10 pounds, or to get 3” off your waist. Having mini-goals along the way will keep you motivated.
At the core, all that really matters is that you are setting your goal, making it real, and setting an end date. If you want to take it a step further, announce it to the world on Facebook.
Now you’re really accountable.
There’s a whole science to goal setting and we’ll be talking about that more in the future.
Step 3: Reverse Engineer
So now you have your end goals, HOW ARE YOU GOING TO GET THERE?! Seriously, how? You need to figure this out.
This is a self-improvement tip that hardly anyone uses! They stop at goal setting and it is a huge mistake.
Setting a goal means nothing unless you can actively move towards it. And to do that you need to reverse engineer the final you.
And I mean everything.
Then take this list and paste it on the wall next to your goals.
In reality, this is the easy part. It starts to get challenging from here on out.
Exercise 2: Write down on a piece of paper everything you would need to do day in and day out to get there and become this person. It’s really that simple.
Step 4: Create Automation, Hack Your Habits, And Shape Your Environment
The next step is essentially habit hacking, and we have a 5,000-word post on the art of habit hacking right here. But for the article’s sake, I will briefly cover it.
45% of what we do every daily is habitually automatic.
Successful people don’t become successful simply by chance, or from what they do in one day. They become successful because of the habits that they do day in and day out. Over and over and over. It’s really that simple.
Imagine if every last percentage of your daily automated habits was geared towards your success and personal development, instead of being filled with bad habits. It’s easy to accomplish.
The first step is becoming mindful of what you do on a daily basis. You should ask yourself, “what am I doing and why am I doing it?”
1) Snacking on chips?
2) Watching porn?
3) Hitting snooze?
Why are you doing these bad habits? Will they take you close to your goals? Figure out your bad habits, and then replace bad habits with positive ones.
If your goals are to get in awesome shape, start a habit of doing one pushup a day. Then let the habit evolve. This is a powerful technique that is used by many successful coaches.
Continue to build habits that will propel you to success in your field, while eliminating the ones that hold you back.
Eventually, you will be an automated success monster. And trust me, it feels good.
Someone size fits all positive habits:
2) Cleaning & Organization
These “starter habits” are great because they make you more mindful in general and will propel habit creation. And remember, start small. If you want to get in the habit of being clean, simply make your bed every morning for 1 month. Let is evolve from there.
I now make my bed, clean every dish I use immediately, and never go to sleep in a dirty room, all without thinking about it. This allows me to start fresh every day and live with a clear mind.
This is just one example of positive habit creation.
Another good strategy is habit stacking or implementing habits during everyday events.
An example would be getting into bed when you want to sleep, a basic habit you don’t have to think about. Try adding the habit of writing down everything you’re grateful for as soon as you get into bed. Stack it on an already automated habit. Rinse and repeat.
The next step is to shape your environment to propel you towards success and improvement. Trying to lose weight?
Having a bowl of M&M’s on your kitchen counter every day is not a positive environment that will help you succeed. Instead, you would have to throw out all tempting junk food and replace it with healthy options.
This is shaping your environment, so it eventually can shape you.
Again, for a lot more on the science of habit creation, how to eliminate a bad habit, program good habits, and the #1 habit holding men back, check out our article on habit hacking here.
Step 5: Self Educate Daily
The next step is constant self-education.
This could be in general if your goals are just to be more successful, or goal-specific like learning about weight loss.
Your self-education never stops. Even Tony Robbins is still self-educating, daily.
You should be self-educating at least 1 hour a day in the form of reading, listening or watching to something goal or self-improvement related.
It is a game-changer.
And think about this:
Everything that has been spoken about so far is essentially emerging you in your goals and visions. It’s not something that is a part of your life, it is your life.
These steps have a snowball effect and each one builds on the next, turning you into a success machine.
Step 6: Live Your Goals Now
What does this mean?
Essentially it means live and act as if you are the person you want to be, now!
The first way to do this is through daily visualization.
Daily visualization is so powerful. You are essentially putting yourself at the finish line daily, knowing what it feels like to be there and then living as that person in the present state.
Exercise 3: Sit down and brainstorm about the goals and person you described in exercise 1. List out all the attributes and traits that the future you who is crushing it in life has. Be as specific as you can.
Exercise 4: Close your eyes for at least 5 minutes a day and imagine being this person already. Imagine how good it feels, and really connect with the emotions being in that state gives you. Feel the money, taste the women and see the joy on your family’s face (along with your own). Then come back to the present and keep those vibes and feeling with you all day long.
The second thing to do is to trust and believe that you will get there.
Trust that you’re going to achieve your goals because you know you are going to put in the work to make it happen. Nothing but your negligence can stop you.
That should be your mindset.
Other mindsets for success:
1) Everything that happens to you happens to get you one step closer to your goal, even if you don’t realize it. If something shitty happens to set you back, instead of getting mad, know that this happened because there was a lesson you needed to learn. And now that you did, you are one step closer.
2) You’re going to achieve your goals, or you’re going to die trying. So just go for it.
Step 7: Put in The Work
You didn’t think this framework was going to omit hard work, did you?
Success is hard, and it takes time.
And no amount of daily visualization can substitute for actually going out there and making it happen.
But that visualization will help you actually make it happen and be motivated to do so. You should have your big goal in mind that’s up on your wall, but then focus on each day while enjoying the process.
Goals take a while and if you live in the future, you will lose your mind with anticipation.
You need to enjoy the process but take constant baby steps towards your goals.
“What can I do TODAY to get one step closer to my goals?”
And then every day, you do those things. Remember that reverse engineering step? That comes into play now. Every day you must do something (or lots of things) to get you one step closer to your goals.
“Baby steps will take you to the top of Mount Everest, as long as you keep taking them.”
Even rest days are strategic because your brain and body need them. There are no “off” days. Success is a way of life, not a hobby.
If you are doing the above 7 steps, then you are forming habits, self-educating, and thus already taking action. The snowball is building and the hard work will pay off.
Step 8: Mandatory Extra’s
Everything above will take you to your goals, but these small daily tasks are mandatory if you want to be the best. If you want to make sure you succeed.
Daily gratitude is the secret to the success of virtually every success guru out there.
Exercise 5: Make it a habit to consciously write down or announce everything you are grateful for in your life every morning and night. As the habit developed it will become a part of you and being grateful for everything that you have and receive will open you up to great things.
2) Self Love
There is no success if you do not love yourself. What would even be the point? You need to love yourself regardless of any external influences. Don’t seek validation from anyone.
3) Give Back
So many successful people regard giving as their biggest secret to success. To have a vibe that attracts success and abundance, you must be willing to give back. Even the poorest people can give, figure out how you can.
4) Take Care of Your Body (Health & Fitness)
This is a no-brainer. 20 minutes of exercise a day and eat healthily. Your mind has to be perfect, but so does your body. It’s a temple. And if you asked Richard Branson his #1 secret to the success he would tell you to go work out. I think he knows what he’s talking about.
Step 9: Optional Extra’s
The next things are not mandatory for success, but I HIGHLY recommend them. They are game-changers and will generally improve almost every area of your life.
1) Cold Showers
Cold showers are amazing, and they have over a dozen health and self-improvement benefits. But above all, they will build strong willpower and set you up for a successful day. You can start with hot for as long as you like, but finish with at least 2 minutes of cold. Learn about the 16 Benefits Of Cold Showers
2) Being Clean & Organized
Being clean and organized is one of my biggest self-improvement tips. When you aren’t, and you are overwhelmed with tasks and things to do (or mess), your nervous system is in a state of fight or flight and you produce different brain waves, pump out stress hormones, and more.
This clouds your thinking and stresses you out, which makes you less capable of producing good work.
Being super clean and organized lets you stay stress-free regardless of how much you have going on in your life, leaving you able to produce more and do it better.
Also, being clean and always having a clean room will leave you starting each day at a clean slate.
What’s the first thing Bradley Cooper’s character does after he ingests NZT in limitless? Other than fuck his landlord’s wife, he cleans his whole apartment.
When your place is a mess, your life is a mess.
3) Daily Meditation
Meditation is so powerful, another great habit to start with because it will keep you conscious about what you are doing, and allow you to incorporate other great habits into your life.
It will also keep you in a relaxed state of Alpha and Delta brain waves where you can think clearly and produce more.
20 minutes every morning is all you need.
4) Live Mentors and Coaching
I have never partaken in this, but I hear good things. Check out this podcast on how Zach Luzinsky used mentors to achieve incredible things by the age of 26, including starting multiple million-dollar businesses.
Committing to The Long Game
The above 10 steps are my framework that can be applied to anything in your life.
Losing weight, meeting women, making money, and anything you can think of. But before you get started, you need to understand one important concept.
Success and change take time.
You need to commit to “the long game.” Take for example, Leonardo da Vinci. You may know him as a genius, and he was. But he wasn’t born this way. Leonardo has 10+ years of failure after failure before he painted The Last Supper in his 40’s. He put in the work and time to become this genius.
We have lost touch with this in society, with everything being so fast-paced.
You can see this is almost every success story.
Tesla was broke and living at home at age 30. Jim Carrey was homeless for years while trying to get acting roles.
You are no different.
Anything worth having takes time and doing it right the first time is the fastest way there.
Don’t waste your time with:
2) Get rich quick schemes
3) Super fast weight loss (you’ll gain it all back and more)
4) Or anything like this
All these will do is waste your time and never get you there. Want to be good with women? Instead of learning tricks, learn to be the best version of yourself and attract women naturally.
It May take years, but you will get the most beautiful women over some lucky phone numbers. Want to lose weight? Do it slowly and correctly. This way your body will acclimate and keep the weight off.
Doing it super fast will only cause a rebound of weight gain, months of your life wasted, and no change at the finish line. Want to be rich?
Build a solid business through years of hard work instead of opting for the get rich quick scheme that will fold in a few months leaving you back at the starting line. When someone offers you a get rich/girls quick scheme, they are insulting you to your face.
Success is worth having. But it takes hard work and dedication, day in and day out. You can do anything. That I know.
But whether you do is completely up to you.
Keep tuned to menprovement.com. It will be the best website for improving your life in existence. No mainstream bullshit. No nonsense. Just pure self-improvement. And check out our podcast where I interview the most incredible men (and women) to get them to dish their secrets to you.
And Remember: There are a lot of exercises in here and the information can be overwhelming. Get a printable workbook I use with my clients to make sure you hack you take this framework and truly change your life
This content was originally published here.