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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!

    Image: ibm4381

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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 March 31, 2020

    Is Procrastination Bad? The Truth About Procrastination Revealed

    Is Procrastination Bad? The Truth About Procrastination Revealed

    Procrastination is very literally the opposite of productivity. To produce something is to pull it forward, while to procrastinate is to push it forward — to tomorrow, to next week, or ultimately to never.

    Procrastination fills us with shame — we curse ourselves for our laziness, our inability to focus on the task at hand, our tendency to be easily led into easier and more immediate gratifications. And with good reason: for the most part, time spent procrastinating is time spent not doing things that are, in some way or other, important to us.

    There is a positive side to procrastination, but it’s important not to confuse procrastination at its best with everyday garden-variety procrastination.

    Sometimes — sometimes! — procrastination gives us the time we need to sort through a thorny issue or to generate ideas. In those rare instances, we should embrace procrastination — even as we push it away the rest of the time.

    Why We Procrastinate After All?

    We procrastinate for a number of reasons, some better than others. One reason we procrastinate is that, while we know what we want to do, we need time to let the ideas “ferment” before we are ready to sit down and put them into action.

    Some might call this “creative faffing”; I call it, following copywriter Ray Del Savio’s lead, “concepting”.[1]

    Whatever you choose to call it, it’s the time spent dreaming up what you want to say or do, weighing ideas in your mind, following false leads and tearing off on mental wild goose chases, and generally thinking things through.

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    To the outside observer, concepting looks like… well, like nothing much at all. Maybe you’re leaning back in your chair, feet up, staring at the wall or ceiling, or laying in bed apparently dozing, or looking out over the skyline or feeding pigeons in the park or fiddling with the Japanese vinyl toys that stand watch over your desk.

    If ideas are the lifeblood of your work, you have to make time for concepting, and you have to overcome the sensation— often overpowering in our work-obsessed culture — that faffing, however creative, is not work.

    Is Procrastination Bad?

    Yes it is.

    Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you’re “concepting” when in fact you’re just not sure what you’re supposed to be doing.

    Spending an hour staring at the wall while thinking up the perfect tagline for a marketing campaign is creative faffing; staring at the wall for an hour because you don’t know how to come up with a tagline, or don’t know the product you’re marketing well enough to come up with one, is just wasting time.

    Lack of definition is perhaps the biggest friend of your procrastination demons. When we’re not sure what to do — whether because we haven’t planned thoroughly enough, we haven’t specified the scope of what we hope to accomplish in the immediate present, or we lack important information, skills, or resources to get the job done.

    It’s easy to get distracted or to trick ourselves into spinning our wheels doing nothing. It takes our mind off the uncomfortable sensation of failing to make progress on something important.

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    The answer to this is in planning and scheduling. Rather than giving yourself an unspecified length of time to perform an unspecified task (“Let’s see, I guess I’ll work on that spreadsheet for a while”) give yourself a limited amount of time to work on a clearly defined task (“Now I’ll enter the figures from last months sales report into the spreadsheet for an hour”).

    Giving yourself a deadline, even an artificial one, helps build a sense of urgency and also offers the promise of time to “screw around” later, once more important things are done.

    For larger projects, planning plays a huge role in whether or not you’ll spend too much time procrastinating to reach the end reasonably quickly.

    A good plan not only lists the steps you have to take to reach the end, but takes into account the resources, knowledge and inputs from other people you’re going to need to perform those steps.

    Instead of futzing around doing nothing because you don’t have last month’s sales report, getting the report should be a step in the project.

    Otherwise, you’ll spend time cooling your heels, justifying your lack of action as necessary: you aren’t wasting time because you want to, but because you have to.

    How Bad Procrastination Can Be

    Our mind can often trick us into procrastinating, often to the point that we don’t realize we’re procrastinating at all.

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    After all, we have lots and lots of things to do; if we’re working on something, aren’t we being productive – even if the one big thing we need to work on doesn’t get done?

    One way this plays out is that we scan our to-do list, skipping over the big challenging projects in favor of the short, easy projects. At the end of the day, we feel very productive: we’ve crossed twelve things off our list!

    That big project we didn’t work on gets put onto the next day’s list, and when the same thing happens, it gets moved forward again. And again.

    Big tasks often present us with the problem above – we aren’t sure what to do exactly, so we look for other ways to occupy ourselves.

    In many cases too, big tasks aren’t really tasks at all; they’re aggregates of many smaller tasks. If something’s sitting on your list for a long time, each day getting skipped over in favor of more immediately doable tasks, it’s probably not very well thought out.

    You’re actively resisting it because you don’t really know what it is. Try to break it down into a set of small tasks, something more like the tasks you are doing in place of the one big task you aren’t doing.

    More consequences of procrastination can be found in this article: 8 Dreadful Effects of Procrastination That Can Destroy Your Life

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    Procrastination, a Technical Failure

    Procrastination is, more often than not, a sign of a technical failure, not a moral failure.

    It’s not because we’re bad people that we procrastinate. Most times, procrastination serves as a symptom of something more fundamentally wrong with the tasks we’ve set ourselves.

    It’s important to keep an eye on our procrastinating tendencies, to ask ourselves whenever we notice ourselves pushing things forward what it is about the task we’ve set ourselves that simply isn’t working for us.

    Learn more about how to fix your procrastination problem here: What Is Procrastination and How to Stop It (The Complete Guide)

    Featured photo credit: chuttersnap via unsplash.com

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