by Kurt A. Krueger, M.S. Ed.

Everyone wants to improve her or himself. Here are some practices to achieve consistent advancement toward your goals. Modern research is verifying the wisdom of the ages. It shows that academic, vocational, performing arts, and athletic success will flourish along with improved inter-personal relations when we use these easy to apply and practical techniques for improving.

As you read and try these practices yourself, you'll more likely integrate them into your life. The following practices are used by legendary figures in our society both in sports and the world of vocations. Here are some methods for breaking old habits and creating new, desirable ones. Just give them a try for several weeks and see what happens. When you are pleased with the results, then continue to apply them to your life and share them with your friends.


"Life without goals is like a race without a finish line," said Ed Trenner so...

Set some goals for yourself. Select about five to nine items that you wish to achieve in life from the ranking you desire at the end of the year, the job you wish to attain, the relationship you wish to have, or the quality of education you wish to provide yourself. List each one in a positive manner at the top of a standard sheet of paper. Then begin listing all the different ways and things you need to do to achieve each goal, these are called objectives or short term goals. Be as specific as possible. DO the little actions which will bring about your goal. Helen Keller said, "I long to accomplish a great and noble task. But it is my chief duty to accomplish humble tasks as though they were great and noble. The world is moving along, not only by the mighty shoves of its heroes but also by the aggregate of tiny pushes of each honest worker."

Set as high a goal as you wish to put the necessary effort forth to attain.

An example: Goal: I want to earn an "A" average this semester. Objectives: I study half an hour or more per subject each night; I pay attention more in class; I attend class regularly; I complete all assignments in a neat manner, on time and to the best of my ability. I ask questions when I don't fully understand.

"A man's reach should exceed his grasp or what's a heaven for?" Robert Browning


We speak inside to ourselves, sometimes in a positive way and yet all too often in a way that is degrading ourselves and/or others. When we start to notice this self-talk becoming negative, we can simply say to ourselves, "Cancel!" and rephrase the negative into a positive statement. Our belief system is built on what we say to ourselves often enough: so make all self-talk positive.

An example: I think to myself, "I always lose my temper," catching myself say this, I immediately say, "Cancel! I am even-tempered." This leads us to the following practice...

Pythagoras' Practice

The great Greek mathematician and philosopher, Pythagoras, would have his students review and then preview their day ahead of them. Before sleeping, they would sit for about half an hour to reflect on their activities each day. Try this method yourself.

First, by writing down where improvements and advances were made, all the positive activities of the day are put on a sheet of paper.

Second, on another page write where one erred, so the error(s) may be corrected: with the error page they would say "thank you for letting me see where I can improve," and then tear up the page into fine pieces, and flush it into a drain or burn it up.

Third, read number one over at least three times to reinforce the positive actions in their life.

Fourth, they then planned their next day with significant activities for the body, mind, and spirit before they would go to sleep.

This simple activity utilized by these ancient Greeks, enabled them to become more conscious of their actions and ultimately, their thoughts. When this occurred they gained more control over their lives. They began to have less worries and more positive actions.

The fourth step allows the mind to prepare for the next day's best outcomes while sleeping. Contemporary achievement-oriented people and the majority of books dealing with the subject, would concur that this method is very effective for modern day performance enhancement.

Part 2: Intermediate Total Fitness +


Total Fitness was first published in the Journal of the California Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance, Feb. '97, Sacramento.

Success Systems International teaches the techniques of Peak Performance Training. SSI and its division of the Institute of Sports Psychology were founded in 1982 by the futurist, Kurt A. Krueger. He has been a University faculty member in Psychology and Physical Education, 11923 West Kagel Canyon, CA 91342 USA.


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