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It’s no secret that self-improvement is a popular goal for many people. A recent study of 300 adults indicated 86 percent of them made at least one self-improvement resolution for 2015.
Furthermore, the average amount people spent on each self-improvement aim was over $225. Smartphone and tablet apps were among the top five purchases, with 27 percent of respondents forking money over for them. Survey participants felt self-improvement was worth the investment, but some likely found their goals derailed by pervasive self-improvement myths.
Here are seven of those common self-improvement myths and some apps that could help you debunk them through personal experience:
Myth #1: Meditation Requires Intense Discipline
Meditation comes with many health benefits ranging from reduced stress to greater mental clarity. However, many people resist learning to meditate because they believe the practice will be too difficult to master.
A popular meditation app called Simply Being could help you get a grasp on meditating so you don’t feel so overwhelmed. The app lets you choose from guided meditations that last from five to 30 minutes.
You can also pick music or nature sounds to help you calm your mind, and you can choose how long they will continue after the guided meditation ends. Once you begin using this app regularly, you’ll probably wonder why you ever let perceived difficulty act as a barrier to meditation!
Myth #2: Many Goals Are Just Too Out-Of-Reach for Me
Anyone who has ever met a huge goal almost certainly encountered plenty of naysayers along the way. Some of those people probably warned the goal was so absurd that there was no sense in even trying to achieve it.
Then again, maybe that naysayer is you. For those of us who struggle with self-doubt or low self-esteem, just believing you can achieve a big goal could be a goal in and of itself.
Lifetick is an app geared toward people who have their sights set on much bigger things, but they need guidance to make meaningful progress.
The app allows you to define core values and then set goals for each area of your life. There are metrics that track progress, plus a journal you can use to document your experiences. Lifetick is a web-based app that also works on devices such as smartphones.
Download: Lifetick for Individuals (30-day free trial, or $39 per year for the full web app)
Myth #3: Self-Improvement Means Making Huge and Sudden Changes
Although the self-improvement concept attracts many people, it also deters them. The common belief is making improvements requires large, sudden changes, which are usually hard to manage — even for the most motivated people.
YOU-app teaches people how it’s possible and valuable to make gradual steps in the right direction. It splits actions into four categories: food, mindfulness, movement and love.
While using the app, you’ll get “microactions” that coach you toward breaking life changes into bite-sized chunks. Filled with advice from health gurus like Jamie Oliver, this app has a special feature to encourage you to convert new behaviors into solid habits.
Download: YOU-app for iOS (Free)
Myth #4: You Must Pay a Professional to Make Real Changes
Although it’s true you’ll probably have a better chance of lasting self-improvement with a support system, you don’t necessarily need to hire a life coach or a similar professional.
The Coach.me habit-tracking app lets you set a framework for establishing a goal. It then uses targets and reminders to keep you accountable.
You can even get virtual high fives from friends and fellow users to keep your motivation high. If necessary, it’s possible to hire a pro coach within the app, but there’s no charge for most of the tools.
Download: Coach.me for iOS (Free)| Android [No Longer Available] (Free)
Myth #5: Positive Affirmations Don’t Work
You may have heard self-help experts urge people to get acquainted with positive affirmations that help them feel better about themselves. These affirmations have the ability to help us exhibit better self-control in reaching our goals, improve self-confidence and even improve our daily interactions and relationships.
In the 2011 study linked above, researchers even found that self-affirmations had lasting results well-beyond their initial implementation:
“Our finding that insecure participants continued to reap the social benefits of self-affirmation up to 8 weeks after the initial intervention demonstrates that it is indeed possible to rewrite the self-fulfilling prophecy of social rejection.”
However, some people resist giving self-affirmations a try because this approach sometimes sounds too simple or too good to be true.
An app called I Am: Daily Positive Reminders makes it easy. The app could give you a brighter perspective by reminding that even when negative thoughts bubble to the surface, there are other, better things to focus on.
Choose from a broad list of positive adjectives to describe yourself, and then schedule periodic reminders of those characteristics to boost you through your day. This app’s clean interface is both easy to use and pleasing to the eye.
Download: I Am: Daily Positive Reminders for iOS (Free)
Myth #6: It’s Easy to Face New Situations If You Just Embrace Them
“Bloom where you’re planted” is a frequently dispensed piece of advice that could overwhelm people who are having trouble settling into a new place. Sure, if you embrace your new town, new career, etc., you might feel somewhat more confident as you face each day. But for some of us, new situations mean anxiety and a fear of the unknown.
If you’re a nervous newcomer who wants a thriving social life, download the Headout app. Sure, you need motivation, but it also helps to have a game plan.
Think of Headout as your handheld guide to the hippest, hottest things to do in town. Currently available for eight cities, the app breaks things to do down into easy-to-navigate categories for simple perusal. You can even book attraction tickets right from the app.
Myth #7: Getting Off-Track Means You’ve Failed at Your Goal
Even with good intentions and an even better plan for success, everyone falls back into bad behaviors occasionally, despite making it through a sustained period of forming better habits. Contrary to popular belief though, once you make mistakes, it’s not necessarily impossible to mend your ways.
Rather than seeing any setbacks as a dead end in your trip to self-improvement, view them as slight detours and get back on track.
The Habit List app tracks how many days in a row you’ve practiced a new habit.
Create habits you want to engage in regularly — such as hitting the gym every other day — and get reminders to help you stay committed. Even if you falter from time to time, Habit List gives you a practical tool to continue improving. A color-coded system gives visual cues about your progress.
Download: Habit List for iOS ($3.99)
Work Toward a Better You
There are many things that could ultimately urge you to pursue self-improvement. Maybe you want to get healthier to have a longer, happier life, or perhaps you want to complete more goals instead of just setting them.
Regardless of your reasons to become a better you, the apps above could help you minimize the influence of prominent myths so you can make genuine gains in your self-improvement endeavors.
Just remember, it’s great to want to be a better you, but no one is perfect. Don’t beat yourself up if you hit bumps along the road. Enjoy the self-improvement process!
Have you heard of any other self-improvement myths? Have any of them stopped you from achieving more? Tell us what they are in the comments section below!
Image Credit: hands over his face by Suzanne Tucker via Shutterstock