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Last Updated on June 26, 2020

How to Be Your Best Self And Get What You Want

How to Be Your Best Self And Get What You Want

If I asked you if it were possible to get into the best shape of your life, we could agree that it is. If I asked you if it were 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, learning to be your best self seems so unobtainable to many. To some, if even seems impossible.

But it isn’t. It just requires you to work harder and more diligently than you ever have. 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 you answered yes, 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, execute again, repeat. Let’s go over the plan in a little more detail.

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1. Visualize Your Future Self

Think about your perfect self.  What does s/he look like? How does s/he speak, think, eat, and interact with others? What is s/he capable of that you aren’t?

Define your perfect self in adjectives that are measurable and obtainable. For example, you can say, “He is kind and treats everyone with compassion,” or “She is strong and eats healthy food in order to improve her health.”

It’s best if you take the time to write these things down and keep them somewhere where you will be able to see them at least once a week. This will help remind you what you are working toward.

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It is also important to prioritize these things in order to be your best self. You may have many things on your list, and that’s great! However, try to choose one at a time to consciously work on. For example, you can start by trying to eat healthier by replacing junk food with fruit. Once that becomes a habit, you can work on speaking more clearly in meetings with your boss. Take it one step at a time and see how fast you grow as a person.

2. Tackle Your Goals

It’s a good idea to start with the shortest timed goals. “I will floss every day” will only take about a week or two to perfect, whereas “I will run a marathon” will like take at least several months.

Get started with the ones you know you can complete quickly in order to build confidence. With each habit you introduce into your newly constructed lifestyle, you will be one step closer to your perfect self.

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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.

3. Ensure Your Goals Match Your Purpose

Remember that each of your goals should have purpose. You may find that a couple of months (or years) down the line, a certain goal of yours no longer suits your interests or priorities.

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.

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Take some time at least once a month to ensure that your goals are still pointing you in the direction of your priorities and life purpose. If they’re not, take some time to alter your vision and your plan.

Final Thoughts

With the victory of each goal implemented into your lifestyle, you’ll be one step closer to learning how to be your best 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 focus, you’ll find it much easier to move to the next goal.

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!

More Tips on How to Be Your Best Self

Featured photo credit: Courtney Cook via unsplash.com

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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 July 8, 2020

3 Techniques for Setting Priorities Effectively

3 Techniques for Setting Priorities Effectively

It is easy, in the onrush of life, to become a reactor – to respond to everything that comes up, the moment it comes up, and give it your undivided attention until the next thing comes up.

This is, of course, a recipe for madness. The feeling of loss of control over what you do and when is enough to drive you over the edge, and if that doesn’t get you, the wreckage of unfinished projects you leave in your wake will surely catch up with you.

Having an inbox and processing it in a systematic way can help you gain back some of that control. But once you’ve processed out your inbox and listed all the tasks you need to get cracking on, you still have to figure out what to do the very next instant. On which of those tasks will your time best be spent, and which ones can wait?

When we don’t set priorities, we tend to follow the path of least resistance. (And following the path of least resistance, as the late, great Utah Phillips reminded us, is what makes the river crooked!) That is, we’ll pick and sort through the things we need to do and work on the easiest ones – leaving the more difficult and less fun tasks for a “later” that, in many cases, never comes – or, worse, comes just before the action needs to be finished, throwing us into a whirlwind of activity, stress, and regret.

This is why setting priorities is so important.

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3 Effective Approaches to Set Priorities

There are three basic approaches to setting priorities, each of which probably suits different kinds of personalities. The first is for procrastinators, people who put off unpleasant tasks. The second is for people who thrive on accomplishment, who need a stream of small victories to get through the day. And the third is for the more analytic types, who need to know that they’re working on the objectively most important thing possible at this moment. In order, then, they are:

1. Eat a Frog

There’s an old saying to the effect that if you wake up in the morning and eat a live frog, you can go through the day knowing that the worst thing that can possibly happen to you that day has already passed. In other words, the day can only get better!

Popularized in Brian Tracy’s book Eat That Frog!, the idea here is that you tackle the biggest, hardest, and least appealing task first thing every day, so you can move through the rest of the day knowing that the worst has already passed.

When you’ve got a fat old frog on your plate, you’ve really got to knuckle down. Another old saying says that when you’ve got to eat a frog, don’t spend too much time looking at it! It pays to keep this in mind if you’re the kind of person that procrastinates by “planning your attack” and “psyching yourself up” for half the day. Just open wide and chomp that frog, buddy! Otherwise, you’ll almost surely talk yourself out of doing anything at all.

2. Move Big Rocks

Maybe you’re not a procrastinator so much as a fiddler, someone who fills her or his time fussing over little tasks. You’re busy busy busy all the time, but somehow, nothing important ever seems to get done.

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You need the wisdom of the pickle jar. Take a pickle jar and fill it up with sand. Now try to put a handful of rocks in there. You can’t, right? There’s no room.

If it’s important to put the rocks in the jar, you’ve got to put the rocks in first. Fill the jar with rocks, now try pouring in some pebbles. See how they roll in and fill up the available space? Now throw in a couple handfuls of gravel. Again, it slides right into the cracks. Finally, pour in some sand.

For the metaphorically impaired, the pickle jar is all the time you have in a day. You can fill it up with meaningless little busy-work tasks, leaving no room for the big stuff, or you can do the big stuff first, then the smaller stuff, and finally fill in the spare moments with the useless stuff.

To put it into practice, sit down tonight before you go to bed and write down the three most important tasks you have to get done tomorrow. Don’t try to fit everything you need, or think you need, to do, just the three most important ones.

In the morning, take out your list and attack the first “Big Rock”. Work on it until it’s done or you can’t make any further progress. Then move on to the second, and then the third. Once you’ve finished them all, you can start in with the little stuff, knowing you’ve made good progress on all the big stuff. And if you don’t get to the little stuff? You’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that you accomplished three big things. At the end of the day, nobody’s ever wished they’d spent more time arranging their pencil drawer instead of writing their novel, or printing mailing labels instead of landing a big client.

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3. Covey Quadrants

If you just can’t relax unless you absolutely know you’re working on the most important thing you could be working on at every instant, Stephen Covey’s quadrant system as written in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change might be for you.

Covey suggests you divide a piece of paper into four sections, drawing a line across and a line from top to bottom. Into each of those quadrants, you put your tasks according to whether they are:

  1. Important and Urgent
  2. Important and Not Urgent
  3. Not Important but Urgent
  4. Not Important and Not Urgent

    The quadrant III and IV stuff is where we get bogged down in the trivial: phone calls, interruptions, meetings (QIII) and busy work, shooting the breeze, and other time wasters (QIV). Although some of this stuff might have some social value, if it interferes with your ability to do the things that are important to you, they need to go.

    Quadrant I and II are the tasks that are important to us. QI are crises, impending deadlines, and other work that needs to be done right now or terrible things will happen. If you’re really on top of your time management, you can minimize Q1 tasks, but you can never eliminate them – a car accident, someone getting ill, a natural disaster, these things all demand immediate action and are rarely planned for.

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    You’d like to spend as much time as possible in Quadrant II, plugging away at tasks that are important with plenty of time to really get into them and do the best possible job. This is the stuff that the QIII and QIV stuff takes time away from, so after you’ve plotted out your tasks on the Covey quadrant grid, according to your own sense of what’s important and what isn’t, work as much as possible on items in Quadrant II (and Quadrant I tasks when they arise).

    Getting to Know You

    Spend some time trying each of these approaches on for size. It’s hard to say what might work best for any given person – what fits one like a glove will be too binding and restrictive for another, and too loose and unstructured for a third. You’ll find you also need to spend some time figuring out what makes something important to you – what goals are your actions intended to move you towards.

    In the end, setting priorities is an exercise in self-knowledge. You need to know what tasks you’ll treat as a pleasure and which ones like torture, what tasks lead to your objectives and which ones lead you astray or, at best, have you spinning your wheels and going nowhere.

    These three are the best-known and most time-tested strategies out there, but maybe you’ve got a different idea you’d like to share? Tell us how you set your priorities in the comments.

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    Featured photo credit: Mille Sanders via unsplash.com

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