Make a Plan to Improve Your Life

Have you considered creating a plan to improve your life? If not, how about doing it right now? Or if you don't want to make one for yourself, you can use this one. A friend asked me to help him make a plan to become happier. He is already pretty happy, but thought he could be more so. What you see below is the general life improvement plan we came up with, which should apply to most people (plus some improvements I added for this post). Each week of the plan is an experiment, where you wo...
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How Great We Are

Most of us know we are great. We easily see our own potential, goodness, and areas of skill. We're sure we have strong justifications for our behaviors and beliefs. When things go wrong for us, it usually isn't fundamentally our fault. When things go well, we know we deserve the credit. Just ask people. In a poll of high school seniors, only 2% thought they were below average in leadership ability, and 25% believed they were in the top 1% of ability to get along with others (note: this survey...
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If That Didn’t Solve Your Problems, Try Something Else

One of the big challenges to self-improvement is getting yourself to try a new strategy instead of the same thing over and over again. If you already experimented with calorie counting diets four times, only to gain the weight back after a few months, you'll be very likely to gain the weight back again next time you try this type of diet. If you tried to get yourself to exercise by buying a monthly gym membership, but barely used the gym in six months, the fact that you have a gym membership pro...
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Still Living with the Emotions of our Ancestors

According to evolutionary theory, emotions evolved because they were helpful for survival. Anxiety alerts us to potential danger and makes us wary. Anger motivates us to fight and shows our allies that we need help. Jealousy motivates us to keep our mates to ourselves to help maximize the number of our offspring that survive to child-bearing age. But the environment we live in today is obviously very different from the environment of our distant ancestors for whom these emotions were optimized. ...
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