Your Self-Development to make 2021 your best year yet.
“The strangest thing about my life is that I have to spend the entirety of it with me. So I better start liking myself”
– Mark Madison – Founder Project Noo You
As the new decade starts, we all make ourselves promises of self-development… New Years Resolutions.
If last year was a stinker for you then this year is the year for you to be the change.
It’s time to do some ‘self-development’ and it doesn’t involve leaving the house.
You thought you had a mediocre year? Well God willing there’ll be many more of those years to come.
Maybe NOW is the time to put a little effort into your own wellbeing, and reap the benefits this year…
But wait – self-development has a bad name right?
When many people think of self-development, they imagine long-haired weirdos chanting while doing yoga in the rain. (No disrespect to long haired weirdos – I’m a short haired weirdo).
Or boring work seminars where you have to hug the person next to you, tell them “You’re Awesome!” and spend 4 hours learning about ‘SMART Goals’…
Or even the ex-Vet neighbour we’ve all had who would disappear barefoot up mountains for days to practice his Karate.
(No disrespect to ex-Vet Karate experts who disappear barefoot up mountains for days!).
The reality is quite different however and thankfully can require less effort.
In its simplest form, self-development can be as simple as just stopping yourself from negative self-talk.
“I’ve got goals and dreams, but there’s no way I could ever achiev…”
STOP DOING THAT!
It’s said that the reason 99% of us will never own that Lamborghini, our dream home, help a million people, or build a company that provides well paid and happy and rewarding employment to 400 people is simply because WE do not believe WE can do it.
“Me? Start my own business! Ha-ha. I wish, but I just couldn’t do that.”
Congratulations. Right there you have created a self-limiting belief – that if repeated will almost certainly become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Self-development rule #1 for 2021
Stop talking to yourself negatively. ALWAYS talk positively to yourself…
“I AM smart. I CAN do it. I DO deserve it.”
And remember no matter how hard others may try with their advice and best intentions, ONLY YOU can pull yourself out of a slump.
You can have the best therapist in the world, but if once you get home you are telling yourself what you think you can’t do and aren’t backing yourself then you won’t have a chance in hell of making this year better than last.
For too long I let others dictate to me who I was. I allowed others to make me feel my opinion and contributions were of no value.
I allowed others to make me feel worthless.
Then I decided to stop giving a damn about what others thought of me.
I decided I was going to love myself, and if no one cared what I had to say then I at least would.
When no one believes in you… THAT is the time to start believing in yourself.
Focus only on your gifts – be it a great listener, a top gardener, that you have Photoshop skills… Whatever you are good at (no matter how small a deal it may seem) focus on that and be proud of those skills.
With confidence that you are good at something, the objective now is to simply increase the number of skills you have.
If you’re good at something, then you’ve every chance of being good at something else.
And don’t forget to use others negative opinions and beliefs of you as a springboard. Use the anger and emotions their opinions cause as the most powerful energy source to take MASSIVE ACTION and propel yourself to dizzy new heights.
“Success is the best revenge”.
I couldn’t do it until I started to realize it was because others said I couldn’t.
Then I started telling myself I could, and I WOULD… And then I did.
Self-development rule #2 for 2021
Stop negative thoughts dead in their tracks. They DO NOT serve you.
One time when I was moaning with a friend about how awful everything was, he interrupted my negative thought pattern by asking;
“There is beauty all around. When will choose to start seeing it?”
Very powerful and something I now always remind myself.
When someone pushes in front of me in the queue in the supermarket, I now bring my thoughts to how awesome my wife is.
I could tell them to move to the back, but why? Why even acknowledge the negative emotions you’d feel if you allowed them space in your head?
“When we choose to focus on all the negativity around us, we soon become part of the problem.”
Next time a negative thought comes to your mind immediately switch to thinking about something positive in your life and know the moment will pass.
Self-development rule #3 for 2021
Be VERY mindful of what you allow to enter your thoughts.
In the self-development world NLP (Neuro Linguistic Program) and psychology teaches us that our happiness and energy levels at any given time are nearly always dictated by two things:
Our Physiology – That is our body language, posture and general physiology
Our Inputs – The thoughts we allow ourselves to think, and the input we take from others, the TV, news sites and so on.
How is your body language right now? Are you sat up attentive – as if a piece of thread was coming out of the top of your head and lifting you up towards the ceiling?
Or, are you slouched and hunched forward… Head down, shoulders forward, eyelids feeling heavy and telling your brain you feel tired and low on energy?
Do this for me now…
Sit up straight up.
Put your shoulders back and chest out.
Left your head up as if it was attached to a piece of thread attached to the ceiling.
Great, isn’t it? You can (and should) do this at any time, as often as possible.
Our physiology and how we carry ourselves sends very powerful signals to the brain that can have you feeling either like a wet Sunday – or amazing like a sunny Saturday.
Sit up, head up, smile and choose to start feeling amazing. You can do that right now.
Self-development bonus tip: If you spend a lot of the time on a computer – get your monitor (or laptop) up on a stand so your eyes are in line with the screen when looking straight ahead.
If you stare down all day your eyelids will get heavy, you will hunch forward, and your body language will start sending incorrect signals to the brain that will have you feeling fatigued by lunchtime.
Do you browse the internet on a mobile phone?
Looking down constantly not only sends negative and false signals to the brain about how you are feeling – but has also been shown to put up to 60lbs of weight on your neck – the equivalent of carrying an 8-year-old child on your shoulders!
And you wonder why you come home exhausted?!
Get a laptop or computer. I guarantee both those two will cost less than your smartphone did!
The second biggest source of negativity in our lives now comes from the news and media stations – and a lot of the nonsense being pushed around social media.
Be wary of what you expose yourself to.
A constant barrage of negative morning news reporting can have the most chipper of people feeling down before we’ve even had breakfast…
‘Bus crash kills 7’
‘Flash floods leave hundreds homeless’
‘Man wanted for torturing animals’
None of the above is the sort of input you should be taking in before you’ve even set off to work.
While 50 years ago the news was an impartial source of varied information – today it has sold out and gets rewarded via ratings like any other TV show.
Corporate sponsors, political bias and agendas, and sensationalised nonsense designed to shock us.
Take in too much of this and you’d be forgiven for thinking the world was about to implode.
It’s actually not. It is a fact that you are much safer, likely to live longer, and be wealthier today than you would have been in what many call the “golden years” some 4- 5 decades ago.
Social media is the same…
‘NASA has a UFO and is keeping it from you!’
‘The world will end next week according to the Mayans’
‘The Russians are to blame for everything’
All are ‘clickbait’ headlines designed to have you clicking or tapping on the link to make you engaged AND enraged.
“Like” your friend’s food pick,
“Heart” Susan’s duck-pout selfie pic,
Share the video of the cute kitten bopping the dog on the head,
and then leave it at that.
If you want to be worldly and stay informed, then choose your websites carefully.
Bonus tip: Eliminate “trigger” posts on Facebook. Here’s two tips for you to start on immediately for an instant positive impact on your outlook on life:
1) If you spend time on Facebook, block topics and content you don’t want to see in your Newsfeed by adding the F.B. Purity App from either Google Chrome (It’s an extension), or by downloading from www.fbpurity.com
You can now filter out keywords and phrases and anything that might cause you to get too distracted or waste too much time expressing your (often opposing and very strong) beliefs, views, and opinions.
In 2016 I used FB Purity to block both the words ‘Trump’ AND ‘Clinton’.
I didn’t see a single political post and had a peaceful year!
Life’s too short, there’s too much to be achieved, and in the grand scheme of things – politics or anything that causes you upset doesn’t matter.
All that matters is that you focus on you this year… Your family, your goals and where you want to be in 5 years’ time.
Don’t let other’s narratives define the direction of your life – not even mine.
2) If you (like most people) start your day with a daily dose of the news, Facebook or Twitter, pick and choose carefully who you follow, which Pages you like and which Groups you belong to.
The content on your newsfeed can either be tailored to trigger us, or to motivate and lift our spirits. Choose the latter.
Having used F.B. Purity to block and ban any content containing my personal trigger topics – and topics that just simply bore me (cough Star Wars) – I then went and “Liked” certain Pages whose posts I felt would be beneficial for me to be exposed to in my Newsfeed.
Choose your own people, organisations, and businesses you wish to follow.
Here was my list of people who only ever post positivity and promote a ‘Can do’ mindset:
1. Tony Robbins – Great motivator, self-development thought leader and all-round positive good guy.
2. Gary Vaynerchuk – A hugely successful man who’s made a career (and a fair few millions) by documenting his daily work, and by pumping you up as he does so. A great business mind and someone who will really push you if you are Entrepreneurial minded.
3. Most Beautiful Places – Exotic locations and paradise islands to keep you focused on working hard now, to enjoy life later. Choose your own piece of paradise and then work your tail off to get there for a well-earned vacation.
4. Lamborghini and Ferrari – Why on earth wouldn’t I want to fill up my Newsfeed with pictures of these magnificent beasts?!
5. Mansion Global – A Page dedicated to beautiful homes. Find a page that inspires you, but I personally love looking at beautiful homes. If you’re entrepreneurial minded let these mansions get you fired up.
6. Circles of Inspiration by Anna Pereira – This incredible lady puts out some great content and offers plenty of tools and strategies for crafting the ultimate life filled with happiness and joy. Be inspired
7. The Gentleman’s Journal – Ladies, this one is a page for us men so maybe find a similar topic but more geared towards female taste. Gent’s, this page teaches us how to dress, groom, conduct ourselves, and become an all-round gentleman. It’s a great page.
8. Tim Ferriss Lessons – You may know Tim of the “4 Hour Work Week” fame – a book he wrote detailing his system for quitting your job, starting a business, and living off the beach while doing so – and all in just 4 hours a week! Tim has interviewed many of the world’s most awesome people and blogs about the success and mindset strategies they’ve shared with him. Essentially Tim is a gatherer of the world’s best life hacks.
9. TED – The TED Talks Page is fantastic and a place for the world’s most curious minds to come and feast. Expert after expert opens our eyes from controversy to inspiration.
10. Marc and Angel – “Practical tips for productive living” is the Page’s tagline and the couple share all sorts of great life and productivity hacks along with a bid dose of daily inspiration in the form of quotes and self-made videos.
11. Paying It Forward – This is probably the simplest way mankind could change the modern world. Basically, you help someone out… A loan, mow their lawn, cook them a meal etc.. They in return must do good for three more people. This Page is dedicated to the mindset of “paying forward” to amplify the kindness of one.
12. ZenSational Living with Sheila Burke – Sheila has a great outlook on life and some awesome strategies for overcoming mindset and belief issues that hold us back and make us unhappy. The quotes posted are less inspirational – and more designed to get you to think and reflect.
13. Les Brown – The original Mr. “Yes You Can!” and motivational thought leader. A daily dose of Les will have you laughing, grateful, and fired up believing you truly can achieve anything.
14. ProjectNooYou – OF COURSE! The number 1 Page on Facebook you should be following. Come find us here: https://www.facebook.com/nitrovit
Self-development bonus tip: Bye Bye TV. One of the first five things I had as a goal on my original list to do was to throw my TV out.
My wife cared not for it and we both felt that we were either sat procrastinating in front of some trashy TV show, or being fed a pack of negative and largely sensationalised rubbish on the news.
We donated the TV.
IT WAS ONE OF THE TOP 10 BEST DECISIONS WE EVER MADE. FACT. #GetRidOfYoursItsPoison
Self-development rule #4 for 2021
Develop “Success rituals”. Success rituals are new habits you introduce into your life that we for the most part already know we should be doing – but seldom do.
Even when I was focused on making something of my life, I was still getting up, scrolling online for an hour taking in all that nonsense, drinking two cups of coffee, watching pointless YouTube documentaries on ancient civilisations, and generally not setting myself up for a great day.
I did get to work by 10am and would work on my goals and business until 10pm most nights, but the day’s work was still more of a chore than it needed to be.
Here’s how my mornings would look BEFORE I set my “success rituals”…
- Old Rituals
Wake up & dread the day ahead
Read emails/not reply
Drink another coffee
Procrastinate – or…
Partake in a lot of activity – Not a lot of achievement
Here’s how my mornings looked AFTER I set my “success rituals” …
- New Rituals
Wake up & leap out of bed – then immediately make it!
Drink ½ litre lukewarm water (before brushing teeth – the friendly bacteria in your “morning mouth” is great for the gut
Consume 1 glass of lukewarm water with 2 tablespoons of Apple Cider Vinegar
Drink Protein shake (30g Protein)
Take a cold shower (boosts free testosterone and charges your energy levels)
Take 2 Nitrovit, 1 Nitroamp, and 1 Nitrodrive capsules. (Nitroamp replaced the morning coffee)
Give thanks for 3 things in my life that I am truly grateful for
Read emails & answer them… ALL OF THEM.
Go to the gym or run, or do 45 mins yoga
Drink 30g Protein shake
Take 1g Krill Oil, 5g Creatine, and 1g BCAA’s
Meditate for 10 minutes – I can’t meditate, but I still just sit still and gather my thoughts for the day and plan of attack
SEIZE THE DAMN DAY with meaningful activity resulting in great achievement!
My new morning rituals have me feeling amazing, energized, and motivated to tackle any task or challenge. I highly advise you to change up yours.
Don’t have time before work to get all that in? Then get up earlier. My day usually starts at 6am now – my body naturally wakes me up around this time now and I feel terrific.
I used to get abruptly woken by the alarm clock at 8am and felt crappy all day – and yes, I still stay up until around 11 – 11:30pm.
With the “Noo” me running on homecooked food, great supplements, and a more evolved and positive mindset, I don’t need any more than 6 hours of quality sleep per day.
Self-development rule #5 for 2021
Fill out the “Obstacles in the way of my Success” spreadsheet you’ll find at the bottom of this page.
This one is a beaut’ and will eradicate any chances of you making excuses for not taking action and following through on your promises.
My “Obstacles in the way of my Success” sheet should look like this once you start to fill it in:
The point of this is to list everything YOU KNOW you should be doing that would improve the quality of your life or your outlook on life.
I took a long hard look in the mirror and assessed my faults.
One of my most blaringly obvious flaws was that while I loved to give others advice (of which I am certain 99.9% of it was great advice), I never did any of the things myself I was telling others to do!
We’ve all been there right?
You – “What you want to do is this…”
Friend – “Are you?”
You – “Errr…. No, but I’m about to start”
I believe today that had I taken and actioned just 10% of the advice I’ve given others – I’d likely be extremely more healthy, wealthy, and happy by now.
Well the Obstacles in the way of my Success spreadsheet ensures that from now on, we don’t just talk the talk, but actually walk the walk.
Fill out the four boxes as shown here as in the example above.
Column #1: Advice I’ve given others/would give my younger self:
“Just save 20% of your income”
“Quit your job and work for yourself”
“Just 15 minutes a day in the gym and in 6 months you’ll look amazing”
Whatever you’ve advised others but haven’t implemented yourself yet – write it down.
If the advice comes from a mentor or someone you respect – and they are in a position in life you’d like to be in – then copy.
Success leaves clues, and to be successful, we need only mirror the actions and habits of successful people.
Struggling to think of anything or don’t tend to advise others? Then write an email or letter to your younger self.
What advice would you offer yourself if you could go back 5, 10, or even 20 years in time?
If you don’t have savings under the bed, how much would you have had if you’d started saving $300 a month 20 years ago?
The answer is:
$300 x 12 = $3,600 saved a year
$1,800 x 20 = $72,000 plus interest!
That’d come in handy.
Write a letter to your younger self and fill the page with things you’d wish you’d known earlier…
And if you aren’t currently doing these things – then START!
Column #2: What’s my old self’s BS excuse for not doing this?
Write down why YOU haven’t/aren’t doing this positive action/habit daily.
Is it the fear of failing? Is it that you simply cannot mentally visualised your “old self” doing this?
Whatever your excuses may have been in the past – write it down and NEVER utter those words again!
Once on paper notice how ridiculous the excuses are?
Overcome the self-doubt and go for it!
Column #3: What will happen for the 30 days I’m going to do this?
There isn’t a thing on this planet you can do to permanently grow as an individual – that can be done in just a day. Positive lasting change comes from habit forming repetition.
By repeating an action, new neuro pathways are formed creating a learned behaviour. Sadly, most learned behaviours are ones we could probably do without.
Change that and start rewiring your subconscious for greatness.
Visualize how great you’d look if you consistently exercised for 30 days… Slimmer? Firmer? Younger?
Internalize how amazing you’d feel if you ate real (non-processed) food and cut out sodas and sugars for 30 days… Energized? Less bloated? Less tired?
Imagine a life with a little comfort savings tucked away for emergencies or rainy days… Stress free? More confident? Better control of your life?
Column #4: Type YES here to confirm we are actioning this NOW/daily
Don’t just commit these changes to paper. Commit them to the universe too by saying them out loudly.
“YES! I exercise for a minimum of 15 minutes a day, at least 5 days a week”
“YES! I dedicate 2 hours every evening to work on my own business plan”
“YES! I read my goals out loud every morning, lunchtime, and evening”
Always be sure to read your goals, affirmations, and positive thoughts out loud so you can hear them too.
When we write/type things down we use the “visual” learning style. We see the words and we remember them – just.
We see so much information in an average day now that the memory can get overloaded.
When the brains storage capacity is being pushed to the max, a pen and notepad is your friend.
By reading out loud as we write, and then reading out loud again as we reread, we also engage the ears – the “auditory” method of learning – as well as the visual.
It is suggested we retain up to 30% more information when both learning styles are used together to remember information.
Bonus tip: Studying or reading a book? Read it out loud to yourself – not just in your head – and you’ll likely be able to later recall a lot more of what you read.
Fill out your Obstacles log daily, and make sure you smash those obstacles so there is no longer a valid excuse for not taking action.
Self-development rule #6 for 2021
Start loving your Future Self…
One very life shifting thought process came to me one day when I allowed my focus to wander away from what was constant self-gratification in the present.
It dawned on me to start being more considerate to my future self and stop allowing my present self to overindulge as detriment to my future self’s results, success, happiness, and health.
I would refer to the two selves as ‘Future Mark’ and ‘Present Mark’.
If Present Mark (me at that given moment) was off to get a bottle of wine for that evening, I’d make sure to pick up a bottle of electrolytes for Future Mark to enjoy in the morning.
Upon waking a little jaded I’d go to the fridge, see the bottle, and take it out whilst thanking Present (yesterdays) Mark for thinking of me and how off the ball I’d be feeling today!
If I know Future Mark was going to be eating out at the buffet in 2 days’ time, I’d be sure Present Mark did 30 minutes of exercise today – so Future Mark could enjoy that meal guilt free when the time came around.
Always enjoy yourself, but be sure to think of your future self and what you can do for them to alleviate some of the not so great lifestyle choices you are making now.
In much the same way a student puts themselves through 4 years of gruelling studies – they do it for their future selves.
“Where we will be in life in 5 years’ time is a direct result of the action we take TODAY”
– Tony Robbins
To summarise what self-development is to me, would probably be best put as the true core essence of our existence…
To never stop growing, to never allow the curiosity of “what could be” to dry up, and to recognize that if you truly want to help others – you must first and always help yourself.
The trail of inspiration you’ll leave behind you, even if never offering to help a single person, will light the way for far more people than you could have ever found the time to dedicate to.
Show that change is possible, and necessary – by brightening every room you ever walk in to – and watch others follow your example. It feels so good.
Rule #7 for 2021 and beyond
Write down and commit to habit a list of ‘Rules for my life’.
Over my lifetime I had always been inspired by the advice of successful and happy, care-free people.
When I heard a “rule for life” I would add it to a Word document I had stored on my hard drive – and that was the problem… I just opened and closed it and let it sit unactioned.
When I began my journey to a new life I printed it off and pinned it up in the bathroom, and not just read it every night and day while brushing my teeth – but made sure I’d had completed as many of the points on that list as I could cram into my day!
Here’s my list of self-development rules I tried to action and live by to give you an idea, but you should start creating yours if you don’t have one already and stick to it!
1) Acknowledge how lucky I am to have my wife in my life and to thank her for that every single day
2) I have 2 ears and 1 mouth – listen twice as much to others as I talk and stay coachable
3) Live beneath my means – it’s much less painful
4) Do good things for people – without recognition and without others watching
5) SLEEP! – If it isn’t there at night, catch up in the day but do not forget the value of rest
6) Over deliver for my clients – I owe it to them to deliver the best I can
7) Meditate, or sit and calm the mind daily
8) Forgive myself for my past mistakes – but learn from them
9) Try to be the dumbest person in the room at all times
10) Give thanks of gratitude to the Universe for three things every morning and night
11) Breathe. Deeply. Often.
12) At the end of the day, ask myself if I lived that day with purpose and gave it all I got
13) “No sugar thanks”
14) Exercise at least 5 days a week – for those that can’t
15) Learn to let my anger in that moment pass – for I am more intelligent in the calm
16) Drink 3 litres of water every day
17) Save 25% of my total monthly income – to invest later
18) Carry my organ donor card everywhere
19) Do at least 40 press ups every single day
20) Do at least 40 squats every single day
21) Remember; the only thing ever lost by politeness was a seat on the bus
22) If it’s not going right – I’m not doing it right… OWN IT!
23) 1-hour guitar practice – No excuses
24) Stop negative thoughts and criticisms DEAD. They serve nothing
25) Don’t complain – Nobody cares
26) Stop seeking the world’s approval – just be me
27) Fast as often as you can – it’s good to miss a meal
28) Carry $100 around with me at all times – and don’t spend it – value it
29) Don’t do crappy work – the competition is too strong
30) Eat real food
31) Take my supplements and protein without fail – consistency and persistence are unstoppable
32) Find the fun in life, and choose to only look at the beauty
33) Never get comfortable with my work – ALWAYS be thinking next level – and EXECUTING!
34) Do my to-do list EVERY SINGLE DAY – It makes me stronger, more focused, more productive.
35) Learn something new every day from someone I respect
36) Forgive people or forget them – but don’t hold grudges
37) When faced with a risk – ALWAYS take it
38) Dress like I mean it
39) Do and say things that benefit everyone
40) Know that I am as good as anyone – and anyone is as good as me
41) Do EVERYTHING on this list and FUFIL YOUR LIFE’S TRUE PURPOSE!
42) Never fear any situation anymore – Hard work ALWAYS returns an exit… Even from Hell
43) Do what I do so well that others tell others about how well I am doing it
44) When the going gets tough, focus on the RESULT of my work – not the task itself
45) Win or learn – There is NO lose
46) More achievement – less activity
47) Better manage myself, my time, and my organization
48) Know that 100%, no if’s or but’s – if it is to be then it is UP TO ME!
Your list may look completely different, but next time your head is down and you’re feeling this year may be as rough on you as last – look at your list.
Lift your head up high and commit to actioning at least one item that day, whether the day is rotten or not.
Taking action will give a sense of achievement and could prove to be the catalyst for what is to become a great day from that moment on.
A day becomes a week, a week becomes a month, and a month becomes a year…
Just know that whether that year turns out to be, much of it will be down to you and your mindset.
So head up and enjoy the journey of self-development ahead, for there should be no final destination in our lifetimes.
All the best to you and yours this 2021,
P.S. Here’s the ‘Obstacles in the way of my Success’ Excel spreadsheet.