You’re one of those people who want to, to quote Oprah, live your best life. So, you’ve read the books – you know the ones, those feel-good self-help books. And you felt good while you were reading them. But your life has gone on much as it did before – with the normal stress and worry of everyday life – and, instead of feeling good, you don’t even feel bad – you feel worse! Because you’ve explored, you’ve read about it, you know that it works for others (or maybe all those self-help authors are just making it up!) and you’ve discovered that it hasn’t worked for you.

It’s a fact that people who buy self-help books and products are regular, repeat purchasers. Someone is making a lot of money out of this self help, personal development or self improvement kick. But if you have to keep buying and buying, seeking and searching, surely you’re not being pointed in the right direction... or, perhaps, you haven’t put what you’ve learned or discovered into everyday practice. And I mean every single day.

Nobody changes their life as if struck by a single bolt of lightning. Psychologically, we’re hard-wired to always revert to type, to return to our subconscious programming. So, even if you’ve attended some big razzmatazz motivational event – to paraphrase one of my clients, even if you’ve just got your annual fix of Tony Robbins – the effects wear off. It’s the way we’re built. We revert to our repetitive behaviours, we return to our bad habits, we descend, once again, into the morass of normal negative thought.

Self improvement books and courses, personal development workshops and seminars will not change your life – they may be the catalyst, but they’ll have no effect whatsoever unless you’re prepared to do the follow-up legwork yourself. Only you can change your life and it’s a task that you’re going to have to undertake every single day or your life for the rest of your life. Because life is lived in moments, you’ve got moment to moment decisions to make on how you will react, how you will behave, what you will pay attention to and what thoughts you will focus on. Normally, your subconscious mind does all these things for you. But that’s what has you dissatisfied, that’s what has led to your unhappiness, that’s what leads to worry and stress – because your subconscious mind, like every other subconscious mind on this planet, uses what psychologists call your “stored knowledge” to make sense of today. Only your stored knowledge was learned when you were a child, so it’s completely irrelevant to the here and now.

So, to change your life – one moment at a time – you’ve got to start making and taking decisions for yourself. Will I wallow in the useless thought that I’m worried about that I lack self-esteem? Am I going to waste this evening’s party thinking that I lack self-confidence? Am I going to lose my job because I’m not fit to do it because I’m wasting my energy worrying about whether I’ll lose my job?!! Will I waste this opportunity because I think that I haven’t got the guts to take it? The list of the torture that we inflict upon ourselves, through our own useless and negative thoughts, is endless – I’m sure that you’ve got your own.

Your thoughts dictate your life because they dictate your reactions and your behaviour. You’ve got to stop thinking useless and negative thoughts – or, more correctly, you’ve got to deny them your precious energy. If it were up to your subconscious mind, you’d simply continue wallowing in all your habitual useless thoughts – there’s a certain comfort in being as warped and crazy as your friends, your family and, in fact, almost everyone you’ll ever meet. But they’re not happy either and the sad thing is many of them don’t even realize it. At least, if you’ve got this far in reading this article, you’re looking for some other way of living a happier more successful life.

And you’ve found it. There is a way. Instead of wasting your precious energy on useless thought – and all the knock-on results – invest your energy in living, experiencing and savouring the present moment. I said earlier that your life is lived in moments – that means this present moment. If you’re not experiencing it, you’re missing out on this precious moment of your life – and you’ll never have this moment again. If you learn to pay attention to the here and now, you stop paying attention to the self-defeating thoughts that create your patterned behaviour, that create your patterned life.

Instead, you begin to realize that there is a whole different thing going on to the drudgery that you accepted as your normal daily life. You’ll discover that you can grasp new opportunities – because your negative thoughts won’t be telling you that you can’t. You’ll discover that there’s far more job satisfaction to be had in just doing your job rather than trying to do whilst thinking that you hate it. You’ll discover that self-confidence and self-esteem are things that you don’t even think about anymore (they’re constructs of normal negative thought) – you’re just going to be you – and to hell with what people think.

But this can only work if you’re on your guard, on your toes, constantly vigilant and alert to what you’re actually experiencing in the present moment. I mentioned that it was a task that you’re going to have to do every single day for the rest of your life. But it’s no big deal, not hard work – it’s a labour of love and it starts, quite simply, with five minutes either focusing on your breathing or listening to the sounds around you every morning. Those five minutes set you up for the following twenty three hours and fifty five minutes! A good start is half the battle – and if you’re not prepared to take the trouble to start your day off in the right way, your objective to be happier and more successful will be an endless battle that you can never win.

Author's Bio: 

Willie Horton has been enabling his clients live their dream since he launched is now acclaimed two-day Personal Development Seminars all the way back in 1996. His clients include top leaders in major corporations such as Pfizer, Deloitte, Nestle, Merrill Lynch, KPMG, G4S and Allergan together with everyone from the stay-at-home parent to sports-people. An Irish ex-banker and published author he now lives in the French Alps from where he travels the world as a much sought after motivational speaker and mentor. All his work, his weekly Free Personal Development Ezine videos and articles, together with his highly-acclaimed Personal Development Workshops are online at Gurdy.Net