I’m not gonna lie… Last week was a shocker. I was definitely not being my best self.
Instead, I felt like nothing I was doing was good enough. I felt frustrated, exhausted and if I’m honest, pretty miserable.
After a little wallowing, I realised I was completely out of alignment with the person I want to be.
So I went back to basics and asked myself this: What do I need to do be my best self?
The answer involved 5 things and I share these because I know there are so many accomplished, talented women out there who are constantly striving to be a better version of themselves.
And if that’s you, I want to share the practicalities of what works for me in the hope they’ll support your own growth and happiness.
What does being my ‘best self’ mean?
You no doubt know the feeling – that I can do big things with my life or live life in a unique way that makes me truly happy. If only I had/did/knew…
Being my best self is about stepping into the version of myself that can achieve all the things I desire. It is challenging myself to do the best I can and to achieve better outcomes.
The kind of committed self-improvement requires a willingness to consistently reflect and grow. And is a constant work in progress.
How to be your best self
There are countless things we can do to improve ourselves. But these are my ‘must-dos’ in order to set myself up to be my best self.
I encourage you to try them out!
1. Take responsibility
If you take one thing away from this article, please let it be this: Taking responsibility for everything in your life (good & bad) will give you freedom and control.
Now I know this sounds counter-intuitive but stick with me.
Imagine your life as a car trip. You can either be in the passenger seat, or you can be the driver. Taking responsibility is stepping into the driver’s seat. From here we are able to take full control of how we respond to every situation on that drive.
Having ownership means we are always able to control what happens next.
It means moving away from blaming other people or circumstance and instead focusing on what is within our control. Taking responsibility means we can reclaim our power and influence. We can make better choices to get better outcomes, over and over again.
This is especially important when you consider how it applies to our thoughts and feelings. If we can take responsibility for our thoughts and feelings, we are able to transform every situation. (For more on how to manage your thoughts, read this).
2. Focus on habits
Making the effort to improve your habits sounds boring, I know. But Jack Canfield said it best: “Your habits determine your future”.
So if you’re working towards being the best version of yourself, investing the time and energy to improving your habits will pay dividends in the long run.
Personally I find that developing and improving my habits are tied is directly tied to my willingness to plan ahead.
When I plan ahead, I set a clear intention and take the time to consider how I’ll actually do things. This allows me to build my habits into my routine ahead of time, which reduces resistance in the moment.
For example, I run 3 or 4 times a week. And after years of running, I know I get the best benefits if I go first thing in the morning. So on a Sunday night I’ll review my schedule and decide which days I’ll run. I write it in my diary and I set my alarm for those mornings.
When the alarm goes off, I don’t even think about it. My clothes are ready and I just get ready and get out the door. I’ve taken the decision out of it. I’ve created a habit of making the decision on Sunday night and running straight away and now I am just implementing the plan.
And when it comes to habits, the little things are often the big things, so pay attention to what works for you. Take the time to plan ahead and make changes to routine to suit your needs.
3. Be brave
Being the best version of ourselves requires the commitment to grow and change. And that requires bravery.
Sometimes it may mean a complete change of direction to pursue something you are longing for or passionate about, like a new career path or moving overseas. Or other times it’s a simpler action like trying something new or unexpected, like yoga.
Regardless of how big and bold or small and seemingly insignificant the change is, honour the fact that every single action is a small act of bravery as you challenge and commit yourself to be your best self.
And in the moments when fear and judgement cause you to hesitate about taking action, consider these questions:
- Who do I want to be?
- Will this bring me closer to bring that person? (If you answer yes or maybe, keep going!)
- What is stopping me?
- Is this fear something to genuinely be afraid of?
Once we identify what’s holding us back we can rationalise that fear and get out of our own way.
4. Set your boundaries
No one else is committed to your self-improvement in the way you are. And nor should they be. You need to be your best advocate and doing that includes your own ability to set and enforce boundaries that support you and your needs.
5. Take care of the basics
Self care is vital for us all, yet it’s so easy to overlook.
Now there are countless experts who can offer great advice on looking after yourself but I offer these simple ideas:
- Do something every day that makes you happy – be it reading a few pages of a book, having a relaxing bath or talking to someone you love. Find something that brings you joy and do it, without excuses or justification
- Get outside – fresh air does wonders to you mind and body (I can literally correlate the number of arguments I have with hubby to how long I’ve been in the house)
- Move often – whether it’s structured exercise or simply getting up from your desk every now and then, remember to move your body as often
- Value your sleep – Get at least 7 hours a night and try experimenting with what your optimal sleep duration is
A final word on being your best self
A commitment to self improvement can be tough.
There are good days when we can see ourself fulfilling our potential. Then there are other days (like me last week), where everything goes awry.
This is normal. In fact it’s to be expected.
And what distinguishes those who achieve mastery from those that don’t is the willingness and commitment to re-assessing and re-aligning when they need to. That is at the centre of being your best self.
You’ve got this!
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