Your lifelong process of development must occur in cycles. These cycles must progress in the following order until death: theory, practice, theory, practice, etc. If this concept does not change your life, you either already knew it (and hence understand and utilize it), or you just didn’t understand it fully upon reading it.
To make progress in any area of personal life, you must first learn about the particular area. This is the stage of building the theory (theoria). This stage cannot be completed without fully comprehending the abstract concepts underlying the subject matter. Practice, or implementation/training, will be virtually worthless without building the necessary foundation of theory before creating a structure of action (praxis).
Stage 1 example: putting post-it notes up on your bathroom mirror reminding you to be positive about what you might accomplish today.
You will then hit a point where you cannot absorb any more useful theory on the matter. At this point, very little extra knowledge will profit you. The only way to progress on the overall scheme is to step into the next stage: practice. You must train yourself to apply the concepts of the theoria. For most people, this will require forcing yourself to do things against instinctive nature. You make yourself do what you know you need to, even if you don’t yet have the confidence to do it automatically yet. In this stage, you will not be able to comprehend the theory of higher levels of understanding yet, since the higher concepts only fit into a worldview that has fully integrated (through the training of praxis) the lower concepts.
Stage 2 example: actually going out and making yourself accomplish something beneficial every day in the desire area.
Next you reach the milestone where you have fully ingrained and actualized the initial theories into your life. From this moment on, continued praxis will be empty and meaningless - just “going through the motions.” But we’re not here to be content with less than our best our we? The only way to further progress on the “big picture” is to discover new higher concepts/ideas that build upon the new ways of thinking you have now fully integrated into your person.
Stage 3 example: researching more advanced strategies/techniques to refine your somewhat rudimentary skillset.
These stages build upon each other recursively until you either die or become so enlightened God takes you straight home.