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Find a Better Version of Yourself or You’ll Hate Yourself Later

Find a Better Version of Yourself or You’ll Hate Yourself Later

Do you ever get the feeling that the spiritual version of yourself is fighting with the material version of yourself?

The bigger the gap between who you are and what you want, the more anxiety, angst, and stress you will feel. How can you close the gap between the two in order to live the highest version of yourself?

The reason this gap occurs is because your values are something you can’t physically touch—you can’t hold them in your hand. You can only experience them through experience, participation, and pursuit. The material goals we chase are much easier not only for us to see and feel, but for others to see and feel as well. This makes them more real to us and much more desirable.

Have you ever really taken time out to not only ask yourself questions like this, but to actually answer them? Questions such as:

  • What do I want to be?
  • Who do I want to be?
  • What is important to me?
  • What really matters to me in my life?

Think about this for a second. What happened the last time you didn’t achieved a goal set for yourself? You might have been upset for a little bit. Now think about the last time you went against a personal value you set for yourself: maybe you were dishonest and lied to someone close to you, stole something, or lashed out at someone. I bet that felt much worse than the former.

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So how can you close the gap between your values and your goals and make them work together to create a better version of yourself?

Consistency first, intensity second

It’s easy to attack the things you want most in life like a bat outta hell. Maybe you want to lose 20 pounds this month so you decide to hit the gym 7 days a week, run 5 miles a day, and eat nothing but chicken and broccoli. The next thing you know, you’re a week in, you’re exhausted, grumpy, and your entire body aches because you haven’t been active in years.

Slow down a bit. I’m a big believer in attacking life with some serious gusto but most things are not going to happen overnight. Set yourself up for success by creating a plan that you can maintain over the long haul.

Make sure that your plan of attack is something you can actively participate in each day. Create tiny wins for yourself everyday to build confidence and momentum. If you desire to write a book commit to writing a 1,000 words per day as opposed to the whole dang thing.

What are some ways you can start and end your day that can help you keep up the momentum? You may find that your daily practices might not even be related to what you are trying to achieve. Personally, if I start my day with exercise, meditation, and some reading I feel accomplished already. I find that I have much more energy and enthusiasm to tackle the rest of the day.

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Accept the ups and downs

There’s a great saying in The Book of Understanding: Creating your own path to freedom.

“…He is ready to destroy the roses just to avoid the thorns.”

Every path to ecstasy has an alternative path to agony. Don’t avoid being the person you truly are because the other side of the path might be difficult; accept that the road will be difficult, but have confidence that you can with stand it. Look back to past experience where you have overcome difficult situations, and use those as markers of what you are truly capable of.

Practice difficult situations. Get use to being comfortable with the uncomfortable. Participate in regular personal challenges that get you outside of your comfort zone and force you to see and experience new things, such as:

  • Cold showers
  • Eating lunch with a stranger
  • Dancing in the middle of a crowded place

It’s not always one thing versus another

It’s not always good versus bad, you against the world, dark chocolate versus milk chocolate. Those are simply definitions we give to circumstances in order to create less anxiety for ourselves. When we don’t understand something or are confused, we experience anxiety and stress. The easiest thing to do when faced with anxiety, and the best response to it is do define it so you can try to give it meaning as quickly has possible.

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There are a million and one ways to interpret a situation, circumstance, or event. Focus on your response to the situation whether it is good, bad, or somewhere in between. What is your next step? What can you do this moment that is in line with the the person you want to be, and builds momentum in the direction you want to go?

You can’t always control the outcome of a situation, but you can always control your response.

When things aren’t going right, it’s a wake-up call

Sometimes it can feel like nothing is going right. Take this as a wake-up call that your not living and making decisions based on your values and what is most important to you. This is gut check time: ask yourself what you’re doing and what decisions you’re making consistently that have been leading to these outcomes.

Avoid placing blame on others or circumstances—where you are and who you are right now is a collection of the decisions, choices, and habits that you display on a daily basis.

Be responsible, but not in the traditional sense

When I hear the word “responsible”, I think of things I have to be doing, but the truth is no-one has to do anything. You always have a choice. Sometimes that choice is more difficult to make than others, but you always have it. In Latin, to be “responsible” means to promise something in return for something else. Promise yourself to live a life guided by the things that are most important to you—your values, whatever they may be.

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Take time out to define what your values are and promise to live everyday by them in return for your happiness. In the same way that we need air and water to survive, we need personal growth to avoid frustration. It is inherent in us as humans to want to be more, achieve more, do more, and learn more. Don’t fight the desire—embrace it—and do so in a manner that is aligned with your highest self.

 

 

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Justin Miller

Healthy Lifestyle Architect, a Fitness and Nutrition Coach

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Last Updated on November 15, 2019

10 Real Reasons Why Breaking Bad Habits Is So Difficult

10 Real Reasons Why Breaking Bad Habits Is So Difficult

Bad habits expose us to suffering that is entirely avoidable. Unfortunately, these bad habits are difficult to break because they are 100% dependent on our mental and emotional state.

Anything we do that can prove harmful to us is a bad habit – drinking, drugs, smoking, procrastination, poor communication are all examples of bad habits. These habits have negative effects on our physical, mental and emotional health.

Humans are hardwired to respond to stimuli and to expect a consequence of any action. This is how habits are acquired: the brain expects to be rewarded a certain way under certain circumstances. How you initially responded to certain stimuli is how your brain will always remind you to behave when the same stimuli are experienced.

If you visited the bar close to your office with colleagues every Friday, your brain will learn to send you a signal to stop there even when you are alone and eventually not just on Fridays. It will expect the reward of a drink after work every day, which can potentially lead to a drinking problem.

Kicking negative behavior patterns and steering clear of them requires a lot of willpower and there are many reasons why breaking bad habits is so difficult.

1. Lack of Awareness or Acceptance

Breaking a bad habit is not possible if the person who has it is not aware that it is a bad one.

Many people will not realize that their communication skills are poor or that their procrastination is affecting them negatively, or even that the drink they had as a nightcap has now increased to three.

Awareness brings acceptance. Unless a person realizes on their own that a habit is bad, or someone manages to convince them of the same, there is very little chance of the habit being kicked.

2. No Motivation

Going through a divorce, not being able to cope with academics and falling into debt are instances that can bring a profound sense of failure with them. A person going through these times can fall into a cycle of negative thinking where the world is against them and nothing they can do will ever help, so they stop trying altogether.

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This give-up attitude is a bad habit that just keeps coming around. Being in debt could make you feel like you are failing at maintaining your home, family and life in general.

If you are looking to get out of a rut and feel motivated, take a look at this article: Why Is Internal Motivation So Powerful (And How to Find It)

3. Underlying Psychological Conditions

Psychological conditions such as depression and ADD can make it difficult to break bad habits.

A depressed person may find it difficult to summon the energy to cook a healthy meal, resulting in food being ordered in or consumption of packaged foods. This could lead to eventually become a habit that adversely affects health and is difficult to overcome.

A person with ADD may start to clean their house but get distracted soon after, leaving the task incomplete, eventually leading to a state where it is acceptable to live in a house that is untidy and dirty.

The fear of missing out (FOMO) is very real to some people. Obsessively checking their social media and news sources, they may believe that not knowing of something as soon as it is published can be catastrophic to their social standing.

4. Bad Habits Make Us Feel Good

One of the reasons it is difficult to break habits is that a lot of them make us feel good.[1]

We’ve all been there – the craving for a tub of ice cream after a breakup or a casual drag on a joint, never to be repeated until we miss how good it made us feel. We succumb to the craving for the pleasure felt while indulging in it, cementing it as a habit even while we are aware it isn’t good for us.

Over-eating is a very common bad habit. Just another pack of crisps, a couple of candies, a large soda… none of these are needed by us. We want them because they give us comfort. They’re familiar, they taste good and we don’t even notice when we progress from just one extra slice of pizza to four.

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You can read this article to learn more: We Do What We Know Is Bad for Us, Why?

5. Upward Comparisons

Comparisons are a bad habit that many of us have been exposed to since we were children. Parents might have compared us to siblings, teachers may have compared us to classmates, and bosses could compare us to past and present employees.

The people who have developed the bad habit of comparing themselves to others have been given incorrect yardsticks for measurement from the start.

These people will always find it difficult to break out of this bad habit because there will always be someone who has it better than they do: a better house, better car, better job, higher income and so on.

6. No Alternative

This is a real and valid reason why bad habits are hard to break. These habits could fulfill a need that may not be met any other way.

Someone who has physical or psychological limitations such as a disability or social anxiety may find it hard to quit obsessive content consumption for better habits.

Alternately, a perfectly healthy person may be unable to quit smoking because alternates are just not working out.

Similarly, a person who bites their nails when anxious may be unable to relieve stress in any other socially accepted manner.

7. Stress

As mentioned above, anything that stresses us out can lead to adopting and cementing bad habits.

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When a person is stressed about something, it is easy to give in to a bad habit because the mental resources required to fight them are not available.

Stress plays such a huge role in this that we commonly find a person who had previously managed to kick a bad habit fall back into the old ways because they felt their stress couldn’t be managed any other way.

8. Sense of Failure

People looking to kick bad habits may feel a strong sense of failure because it’s just that difficult.

Dropping a bad habit usually means changes in lifestyle that people may be unwilling to make, or these changes might not be easy to make in spite of the will to make them.

Over-eaters need to empty their house of unhealthy food, resist the urge to order in and not pick up their standard grocery items from the store.

Those who drink too much need to avoid the bars or even people who drink often.

If such people slip even once with a glass of wine or a smoke or a bag of chips, they tend to be excessively harsh on themselves and feel like failures.

9. The Need to Be All-New

People who are looking to break bad habits feel they need to re-create themselves in order to break themselves of their bad habits, while the truth is the complete opposite.

These people actually need to go back to who they were before they developed the bad habit.

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10. Force of Habit

Humans are creatures of habit and having familiar, comforting outcomes for daily triggers helps us maintain a sense of balance in our lives.

Consider people who are used to lighting up a cigarette every time they talk on the phone or munching on crisps when watching TV. They will always associate a phone call with a puff on the cigarette and screen time with eating.

These habits, though bad, are a source of comfort to them as is meeting with those people they indulge in these bad habits with.

Final Thoughts

These are the main reasons why bad habits may be difficult to break but it is important to remember that the task is not impossible.

Do you have bad habits you want to kick? My article How to Break a Bad Habit (and Replace It With a Good One) gives you tips on well, how to kick bad habits while my other article How Long Does It Take to Break a Habit? Science Will Tell You gives realistic information on what to expect while you’re trying to quit them.

There are many compassionate, positive and self-loving techniques to kick bad habits. The internet is rich in information regarding bad habits, their effects and how to overcome them, while professional help is always available for those who feel they need it.

Featured photo credit: NORTHFOLK via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] After Skool: Why Do Bad Habits Feel SO GOOD?

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