What to Change

Before anyone can change anything, every aspect of self-growth uses some rephrasing or another of a few blunt facts:

  1. Other people have hurt you, and it’s now your problem to fix inside yourself.
  2. Nobody cares about you as much as you do, with the possible exception of God.
  3. You’re fully responsible for what you do, even when you’re unaware, and you have no excuse.
  4. You’re currently reaping what Past You did, and Future You will feel what you are doing today.
  5. The limit of what you can do for yourself is how much you believe in yourself.
  6. Pain is always a sign that something is at risk, but that might be a good thing.
  7. No matter how you feel, you can do almost anything on these guides if you pay attention to your results and do the most with any successes you make.

Your journey is unique to you because your issues and the way you attack them will be unique.

Aim for Adequacy

It doesn’t really matter where you start. Changing something will create ripples across everything else, and accomplishing a later objective often requires the cumulative skills of previous years’ training.

You’re already “good” at some things, which you can spread across others to become “adequate” at everything:

When you’re not good at something, the consequences get way worse as you get older. This means meaningful results that weren’t present before become harder to achieve as you age.

Don’t set high standards. I know from personal experience that I’m lousy at many things, and that’s human nature. Working on your failings makes your more redeeming qualities shine brighter, but you typically won’t become the master of something you’ve always sucked at.

Don’t Waste Your Time

Please do not read essays you’re already proficient in. I didn’t write this to be particularly entertaining, so please browse my other stuff instead. I occasionally update and add guides, but I’ve only succeeded if you’ve outgrown the usefulness of my content.

To save you the trouble of scrolling in impatience, I’ve also added a TL;DR (Too Long; Didn’t Read) version of what to do.

Start Small

Focus on only one straightforward, specific thing that takes less than 2 minutes to perform. Premeditate what you will do: “When X happens, I will do Y”.

Stay consistent. If you do one small thing every day, you’ll move faster than if you do a big thing once in a while.

Set reasonable goals that you believe you can achieve. Go after the bigger ones after you do those. Only try to do what you know you can achieve.

Always parse out your observations, feelings, needs, and desires, and never simply say, “I should do [thing]”:
  • We have a nasty habit of driving ourselves to misery through constant self-deception about who we are.
  • Instead, divide out your desires into the syntax of “[Observation] has happened, which makes me feel [Feeling]. I need [Need]. Therefore, I now would like to [Desire].”
    • e.g., “I lost my job, which makes me feel worthless. I need a new job. Therefore, I now would like to search for a job.”
  • However, our mental habits from our past often complicate this:
    • e.g., “I lost my job, which makes me feel worthless. I need a new job, which I don’t believe I can accomplish, and I have had trouble in the past, so I therefore hate myself.”
  • The solution is to take it step-by-step and divide it out slowly:
    1. e.g., “I lost my job, which makes me feel worthless. I need a new job, which I don’t believe I can accomplish…”(STOP)
    2. “I don’t believe I can accomplish the job hunt, which makes me depressed. I need a new job, but it’s hopeless…”(STOP)
    3. “I feel hopeless because I don’t believe I can work for anyone.”
    4. [therefore, I must change my belief about my incompetence]


If you don’t know where to start, here are some mix-and-match examples.

If you grew up in a good home:

If you’re a high school student or just starting out from your parents’ home:

If you’re starting a family or building your career:

If you’re coming out of a divorce:

If you feel like a washed-out failure or stuck in a rut:

If you feel like you never seem to have fun:

If you think nobody cares about you:

If you’re coming out of prison or grew up on the streets:

If you’re coming clean from an addiction:

Keep at it!

You can accomplish this. I promise. I don’t know you, but you obviously care to improve yourself because you’re reading this, which is more important than what you were born or raised with. Attitude is the most essential thing, not aptitude.

Slow is smooth, smooth is steady, and steady is fast. Aim for precision more than results. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and nothing worth doing is quick.

And, if you have all of those worked out, modern society has piled many additional skills onto these requirements.