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Becoming Your Best Self

Becoming Your Best Self

    If I asked you were it possible for you to get into the best shape of your life, we could agree that it is.  If I asked you were it possible for you to become smarter than you’ve ever been, I think we could agree that you could work hard, study, learn, and practice more than you ever had.  But strangely, the idea of becoming the “perfect version” of ourselves seems so unobtainable.  It seems impossible.

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    But it isn’t.  It just requires you to work harder and more diligently than you ever have before.  Is it worth it?  Just ask yourself this.  Would you like to be the smartest, best looking, fittest, funniest, best dressed, most compassionate, loving person you’ve ever been?  Would you like to be your own definition of the perfect person?

    If, like me, you answered yes, then  you’ve taken the first step to becoming your best self.  The journey is long, the obstacles hard.  The plan, though, is simple.  Define, plan, execute, redefine, plan again, execute again, etc.  Let’s go over the plan in a little more detail.

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    Plan – think about your perfect self.  What does he or she look like?  How does he speak?  How does he think?  How does he eat?  How does he interact with others?  What do people think of him?  What is he capable of, that you aren’t? Define your perfect self in adjectives that are measurable and obtainable.  Things like “he is lean and strong, with a low body fat percentage and a good amount of visible muscle,” or “she speaks well, avoids idle conversation, and is listened to and respected by all of those that she communicates with.”

    Take those descriptions and plan out how long it would take for you to achieve each and every one of them.  For instance “if I am at 17% body fat, and I can lose 1 lb per week, it will take me 20 weeks to get to my goal body fat percentage,” or “I speak often without thinking about what I’m saying.  This lends to people not caring about my thoughts or respecting my opinions.  I need to spend the next 3 months focusing on my idle talk.”
    Then implement a “snowball method” towards becoming your perfect self.  Start with the shortest timed goals.  “I will floss every day” will only take about a week or two to perfect, whereas “I will be able to run a marathon” might take much longer.  As soon as you’ve made a description habit, move to the next one (while continuing the first, of course).  With each habit you introduce into your newly constructed lifestyle, you will be 1 step closer to your perfect self.  You will also gain momentum with each goal, which will motivate you towards the next goal.  By the time you reach the goals that could take months or even years to implement, you’ll be so full of new skills and motivation that you’ll tackle them with no problem.

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    Remember that each of your goals should have purpose.  You may found as I have that a couple of months (or years) down the line that a certain goal of yours no longer suits your best interest.  Maybe there is no good purpose for being 10% body fat, but instead you find it important to have functional strength and cardiovascular stamina.  In this case you would align your plan to fit your new goals.  Instead of focusing on body fat percentage, you would plan workouts that focused on increasing strength and stamina.

    With the victory of each goal implemented into your lifestyle you’ll be one step closer to becoming your vision of your perfect self.  Each victory will mark a decision you made and plan that you carried out, work that you did to make yourself better.  You’ll feel better about yourself with each victory, and with the learning of each new skill or the discipline of each new focus, you’ll find it that much easier to move to the next goal.

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    It’s a long journey to the top of the mountain, but it’s completely obtainable, and totally worth the effort.  Start climbing today, and you’ll be well on your way before you even start feeling the pain.  Good luck, and I’ll see you at the top!

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    Ibrahim Husain

    Ibrahim is a management analyst who writes about communication tips on Lifehack.

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    Last Updated on November 5, 2019

    How to Cultivate Continuous Learning to Stay Competitive

    How to Cultivate Continuous Learning to Stay Competitive

    Assuming the public school system didn’t crush your soul, learning is a great activity. It expands your viewpoint. It gives you new knowledge you can use to improve your life. It is important for your personal growth. Even if you discount the worldly benefits, the act of learning can be a source of enjoyment.

    “I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.” — Mark Twain

    But in a busy world, it can often be hard to fit in time to learn anything that isn’t essential. The only things learned are those that need to be. Everything beyond that is considered frivolous. Even those who do appreciate the practice of lifelong learning, can find it difficult to make the effort.

    Here are some tips for installing the habit of continuous learning:

    1. Always Have a Book

    It doesn’t matter if it takes you a year or a week to read a book. Always strive to have a book that you are reading through, and take it with you so you can read it when you have time.

    Just by shaving off a few minutes in-between activities in my day I can read about a book per week. That’s at least fifty each year.

    2. Keep a “To-Learn” List

    We all have to-do lists. These are the tasks we need to accomplish. Try to also have a “to-learn” list. On it you can write ideas for new areas of study.

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    Maybe you would like to take up a new language, learn a skill or read the collective works of Shakespeare. Whatever motivates you, write it down.

    3. Get More Intellectual Friends

    Start spending more time with people who think. Not just people who are smart, but people who actually invest much of their time in learning new skills. Their habits will rub off on you.

    Even better, they will probably share some of their knowledge with you.

    4. Guided Thinking

    Albert Einstein once said,

    “Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking.”

    Simply studying the wisdom of others isn’t enough, you have to think through ideas yourself. Spend time journaling, meditating or contemplating over ideas you have learned.

    5. Put it Into Practice

    Skill based learning is useless if it isn’t applied. Reading a book on C++ isn’t the same thing as writing a program. Studying painting isn’t the same as picking up a brush.

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    If your knowledge can be applied, put it into practice.

    In this information age, we’re all exposed to a lot of information, it’s important to re-learn how to learn so as to put the knowledge into practice.

    6. Teach Others

    You learn what you teach. If you have an outlet of communicating ideas to others, you are more likely to solidify that learning.

    Start a blog, mentor someone or even discuss ideas with a friend.

    7. Clean Your Input

    Some forms of learning are easy to digest, but often lack substance.

    I make a point of regularly cleaning out my feed reader for blogs I subscribe to. Great blogs can be a powerful source of new ideas. But every few months, I realize I’m collecting posts from blogs that I am simply skimming.

    Every few months, purify your input to save time and focus on what counts.

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    8. Learn in Groups

    Lifelong learning doesn’t mean condemning yourself to a stack of dusty textbooks. Join organizations that teach skills.

    Workshops and group learning events can make educating yourself a fun, social experience.

    9. Unlearn Assumptions

    You can’t add water to a full cup. I always try to maintain a distance away from any idea. Too many convictions simply mean too few paths for new ideas.

    Actively seek out information that contradicts your worldview.

    Our minds can’t be trusted, but this is what we can do about it to be wiser.

    10. Find Jobs that Encourage Learning

    Pick a career that encourages continual learning. If you are in a job that doesn’t have much intellectual freedom, consider switching to one that does.

    Don’t spend forty hours of your week in a job that doesn’t challenge you.

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    11. Start a Project

    Set out to do something you don’t know how. Forced learning in this way can be fun and challenging.

    If you don’t know anything about computers, try building one. If you consider yourself a horrible artist, try a painting.

    12. Follow Your Intuition

    Lifelong learning is like wandering through the wilderness. You can’t be sure what to expect and there isn’t always an end goal in mind.

    Letting your intuition guide you can make self-education more enjoyable. Most of our lives have been broken down to completely logical decisions, that making choices on a whim has been stamped out.

    13. The Morning Fifteen

    Productive people always wake up early. Use the first fifteen minutes of your morning as a period for education.

    If you find yourself too groggy, you might want to wait a short time. Just don’t put it off later in the day where urgent activities will push it out of the way.

    14. Reap the Rewards

    Learn information you can use. Understanding the basics of programming allows me to handle projects that other people would require outside help. Meeting a situation that makes use of your educational efforts can be a source of pride.

    15. Make Learning a Priority

    Few external forces are going to persuade you to learn. The desire has to come from within. Once you decide you want to make lifelong learning a habit, it is up to you to make it a priority in your life.

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    Featured photo credit: Paul Schafer via unsplash.com

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