What if you could get better at any skill that you wanted to?
We truly believe that people do not need to be stuck where they are in life.
If you follow The Deliberately Better Process, you will find that change and growth are possible and sometimes even easier than you imagined.
The Deliberately Better 10-Step Process
Step #1 – SET YOUR INTENTION: Figure out which skill you would most like to learn that you would be willing to spend 20 hours of deliberate practice learning. If you have one, write it down, and be specific if you can be, but it is okay to keep it general at step one. You could say “I want to learn how to fall asleep within 20 minutes every night” or more generally “I would like to learn how to sleep better on a more regular basis”.
Step #2 – SEEK OUT AN EXPERT: Find an expert in this skill who has done what you would like to do or has helped at least five other people to do what you want to do. The expert could be someone in person, in a book or on the Internet. To improve your sleep, a qualified Sleep Physician, a Psychologist with training in CBT for Insomnia or a Behavioural Sleep Medicine practitioner are good experts to start with.
Step #3 – FIGURE OUT THE BEST STRATEGY: Find out from the expert how to deconstruct this skill, and figure out which sub-skills are likely to give you the most significant improvements in the shortest time. If this is not clear from their writing or videos, find an expert that you can talk to in person, over the phone, via email or over the internet. Ask them how to break the skill down into minimal learning units and help you to figure out which of these units are likely to have the most significant impact for you.
Step #4 – DEVELOP YOUR PERSONALISED PLAN: Based on what the expert recommends, determine which sub-skills or strategies you should try first, and what the minimal effective dose is with these strategies to obtain the results you want to achieve. Write down your actionable plan, including how frequently and for how long you will deliberately practice these tasks so that you can improve your desired skill. It is better to practice a specific skill regularly for shorter periods each time you practice than various skills irregularly but for long periods. Also, find out from the expert what to track so that you can assess what your baseline is, monitor your progress when you are implementing your plan, get feedback along the way, and determine when you need extra help.
Step #5 – BASELINE ASSESSMENT: Obtain baseline data of where you are at with the overall skill, your targets for improvement, and any other related things that you would like to improve but are not targeting directly. A baseline assessment will help you monitor your progress, obtain feedback and determine how much you have improved across the intervention. You will want to assess your sleep, but also consider assessing your psychological health, physical health, relationship satisfaction and work performance if your sleep difficulties affect these areas.
Step #6 – IMPLEMENT YOUR PLAN: Deliberately practice and try to improve your skill for at least 20 hours. Try the first plan or strategy that you decided upon for a pre-determined period (ideally two weeks), and monitor your progress. Track what you do, how long you do it for, and how much progress you make by writing it down or recording it in some other way (audio, video or tracking technology). Try to keep all other things that you are not monitoring as consistent as possible to determine if the strategy is helping you. By tracking your progress, you ensure that you can get timely, specific and actionable feedback, and help and support along the way from an expert if needed.
Step #7 – TROUBLESHOOTING: If things do not progress as you had hoped, make sure you have a plan to address the problem. If you are not making any progress after two weeks and you have been practicing as recommended, get support or advice from an expert and decide if you need to try another strategy. If you are not making progress because you are not sticking to the plan, appoint a commitment referee to keep you honest and put something at stake to increase your likelihood of completing the 20 hours of deliberate practice. The referee will check in regularly to ensure that you have practiced as planned and will enforce a consequence each time you have not. Then make it public so that your friends and family know that this is what you are aiming to do and what the consequences will be if you do not.
Step #8 – POST INTERVENTION ASSESSMENT: Conduct a final assessment to measure how much you have improved with your skill and other related or important areas since your starting point (Step #5). This assessment uses the same objective and subjective measures that you used at the baseline assessment.
Step #9 – RELAPSE PREVENTION: Identify the primary triggers and traps that could lead to this skill getting worse for you in the future, and reflect on the helpful strategies that worked for you to break out of these negative cycles. We cannot always avoid triggers, but we can respond to them in useful ways that prevent us from falling into too many traps or help us to get out of them quicker.
STEP #10 – ONGOING SELF-MANAGEMENT PLAN: Finally, determine the minimal effective dose of any ongoing strategies you have that will help you to maintain the skills you have learnt. By making this plan easy to follow, not too burdensome and somewhat flexible, it is more likely to become a sustainable habit.
We look forward to being a part of your journey of personal discovery and growth!