5 Ways to Better Your Best Self
“Good, better, best: Never let it rest until your good is better and your better is best.” Maybe you’ve heard this little saying. It’s a fun take on an old approach to life, one that has informed many successful people and that continues to be pertinent every day.
Tracing the history of this idea, the Japanese philosophy of kaizen, which translates to “improvement,” is an easy place to start. Like the quote, kaizen emphasizes continual improvement through small steps forward. The result is a tangible improvement from many baby steps. It sounds simple, but doing this takes discipline. Let’s examine a few techniques you can try to get started on your way to a new “best self.”
1. Practice Mindful Behaviors
Visit your favorite social media or even health magazine and you’re likely to find something on mindfulness. The practice of meditation, while powerful and beneficial, isn’t a requirement to get the benefit of the basic idea of mindfulness. Rather, it’s about observing your behavior, which is at the core of self-improvement. If you act without observing your behavior, you miss out on the chance to actively reshape it, which is a critical first step to self-improvement.
2. Define Your Goals and Track Your Progress
If you look at people who’ve accomplished incredible things, many of them set an obvious goal as their first step. Top-tier athletes strive to win at the highest level, technology innovators aim to change people’s lives, writers consciously try to improve daily and inspiring politicians work tirelessly to make their communities the best in the world. Without a goal, you cannot begin to know whether you’re tangibly improving. So define your goals and have a means of evaluating your progress toward them. It might be through a journal, using an educational course you complete and test out of or through a specific task you want to accomplish or get better at using a performance metric.
3. Get Some Exercise
Exercising is one form of self-improvement you’ve probably considered, but the benefits of exercise can have a ripple effect that will help you “better your best.” That’s because exercise can help you manage stress levels, build discipline and feel more self-confident. When you carry these benefits with you throughout your day, you’ll be more effective in accomplishing your day-to-day tasks and making small strides toward those goals you’ve set. It’s a one-two punch of self-improvement!
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4. Stop Making Excuses
The way you present a challenge to yourself can make all the difference. You might be obsessing over a single negative point when there are positives you’re not taking credit for. Or, you might be ruling out a specific method of resolving an issue for personal reasons, when you could solve the problem if you would accept a compromise. Don’t allow yourself to make excuses like these. Identify what is causing you to fixate on that excuse and ask how you can move past it. Sometimes it takes willpower, and other times it’s a shift in your outlook. Either way, the feeling of progress will be better than the security of your excuse.
5. Eliminate Distractions
Admitting you spend three hours a day playing games on your phone can be uncomfortable. However, once you recognize it, you’ve got the power to change it. This example is just one of many ways you might be taking comfort in distractions that aren’t providing any value in your life. Look for ways to convert that time into productivity and self-improvement. It’s amazing how much free time you can find, and what you can do with it once you focus.
Remember, the idea is not to transform yourself overnight. Sometimes improvement is a process of two steps forward, one step back. That’s still progress. Keep a positive attitude and find small wins to come back to when you feel like you’re not getting anywhere. If you stay with it, you’ll be amazed at how far you can go making little improvements every day.
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Also published on Medium.