How To Be A Better You, In 14 Steps or Less

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In theory we all want to be better; better friends, better spouses, better people, whatever.

But getting there is easier said than done.

When you think about becoming better do you picture becoming someone else? Someone you admire?

If so, you are looking at it all wrong.

In order to become better you need to focus on being a better you, not changing yourself into another person.

That just won’t work. You are unique, one of a kind, and priceless. However we can all use improvement. Don’t focus on becoming perfect or rich or famous. Even if you could it wouldn’t make you a better you. What are some realistic steps you can take to be a better you? Try these fourteen:

1.    Work Hard – I know, it seems counterintuitive, but hard work does pay off. There is just something rewarding about working hard. Now that does not mean you should buckle down and do your nine to five job for twelve hours. That’s not what I mean. Working hard can mean working on a project or hobby, cleaning, taking care of kids, or whatever you do that makes you feel like you have accomplished something worthwhile. Working hard does not mean burning yourself out either. If you are cranky and mean when you talk to other then you are not working hard, you are just wearing yourself out. Hard work makes you feel positive and uplifted, like you can accomplish anything. Find out what makes you feel like this and then pursue it. You may change your mind several times throughout your life and that’s okay too. Remember that change is normal.

2.    Have Friends You Can Talk To –Another thing you need to be a better you is good friends. I am not talking about party friends, or shopping friends, or football buddies. I am talking about real relationships with real people. You should have at least two people you can talk to about anything and vice versa. Sharing your problems and victories is an essential part of growing as a person. These friends can help you stay on the right path and keep you from wandering off. They can keep you accountable and build you up when you feel like a failure. They can also help you to think straight when you get tired and burnt out. Friends are more important than you would think. It is worth your time and effort to find some good ones.

3.    Let Go of the Bad – The first step to being happy is letting go of the bad things in your life. Being a better you means you need to let go of what is holding you back. Often times the hard times, the hurts, the pain, the injustices we have gone through have a way of holding us down. Like an anchor they hold us in a sea of confusion no matter how hard the winds of change blow. Cast off from the hurts of the past and move on to the future. It doesn’t matter what happened in your childhood, your teens, your younger years or even yesterday. What matters is what you choose to do with today. Hurts can blind us to opportunities in the present, can hold us back out of a sense of fear, and can keep us from being who we really are. Letting go is not easy but it is doable. Do not keep those hurts in mind. Release them and keep your mind on the future and the present so that you can be fully there.

4.    Adapt to New Normals – Even in the present there will be things we don’t like. Hard bosses, difficult situations, hurtful comments can all weigh us down. However there is something great about being human. You can adapt. Fighting change is a lost cause. Change will happen whether you like it or not. Instead go with the flow and see where it takes you. Even if you don’t think it will be any good you can still learn to function in it. The point is to adapt without losing track of who you are and what your standards are. By keeping your center in the midst of change you can learn what you are really all about and what won’t change even when everything else does.

5.    Forget the Word Should – In my life I have burdened myself unnecessarily with the word ‘should’. I should be a better person. I should do more of this and less of that. I should be there for them. I should get more done. Should and more are deadly terms. They imply that what and who you are is not enough. However this is a lie. You are human and the only thing you should be doing more of is being more YOU. Most of us are doing the best we can at the moment. We might not feel like we are doing our best, we might even berate ourselves for not ‘living up to our potential’ but if you back away from the ‘shoulds’ and look, you can see that thinking in that way is just holding you back. Embrace what you are doing and let that be enough.

6.    Now is the Time – Looking to the future is all well and good, but don’t let future plans cloud your now. Now is the time to follow your dreams and become a better you. It is hard to disregard things like enough money, enough knowledge, etc., but there will NEVER be enough. You can spend your whole life saving, learning and wishing for a dream that you never accomplish. Instead, make your dreams a reality now. Even if it is just one step towards your dream you will be that much closer. Plot out the steps and break it down into things you can actually accomplish. Then every day will be now and every day you will be closer to living your dream and being a better you.

7.    Embrace Emotion, But Act on Logic – I have always been a logical person. Disregarding emotions I tried to be guided by logic alone. It was disheartening and futile. Then I turned it around and let my emotions have the reigns. Chaos! Finally I figured out that there must be a balance. To be a better you, you must embrace both emotion and logic. Logic helps you to make effective plans and get ahead. Emotions help you to understand what it is you dream about doing and being. Together they offer the complete picture of who you are and what you want out of life. Only by embracing both can you succeed.

8.    Turn It Off – Shockingly, being connected all the time is not good for you. How can you figure out who you are when you are being bombarded with other people telling you who you should be? Turn it off! The cell phones, the television, the internet, music, social media, whatever it is. Being alone, truly alone, and quiet is a great way to think clearly and focus on what your own thoughts are outside of their influence. Don’t be swept up in the madness or let yourself be drowned out by the noise of others. It is simple. Just turn it off.

9.    Be Consistent – Everyone has their ups and downs. Some days you feel energetic and happy, other days you feel down and lethargic. However the best way to function in all circumstances is to be consistent. Do you smile and say hello on good days? Do it on bad days too. Keeping consistent is a great way to even out your moods and become more centered. It might seem fake and trite at first, but you will find that once you have a pattern set you are not weighed down by ‘should have dones’ and regrets. Living every day consistently means you never do less than your best, even when you feel less than your best.

10.    Find Your Happy Place – Everyone should have a happy place. This is a place where you feel peaceful, protected, at home. It doesn’t have to be somewhere specific. For instance I love being outside. Any tree can be my happy place. Some people love being in their car, others love to take long, hot baths, still others like a cozy reading corner. Find what makes you happy and take time every day to enjoy it. It will recharge your batteries and help you to remember who you are.

11.    Dance and Sing – As silly as it seems, dancing and singing along to your favorite songs can help you to be a better you. Even if you are not good at it you can still enjoy it. Music lifts you up and movement makes you feel alive. Embrace the silly and release your body to do what it loves!

12.    No Such Thing as Perfect – Another big obstacle I have had in my life is a struggle for perfection. I have always thought that if I was just perfect I could fix everything, do everything, and make everyone happy. However perfection is far beyond our reach. Even if we do something that we think is perfect someone else will be able to do it better, faster, or find something wrong with it. Perfection should not be your goal. Instead, try to think about balance. Doing what needs to be done instead of doing everything. You can easily overwhelm yourself by trying to take too much on. Take on only what is important; what is worthyour time and effort. In doing so you not only become a better you, but you also allow those around you to become better too.

13.    Step Out of Your Comfort Zone – You will never learn or grow without stepping outside of your comfort zone. As people we get comfortable in a certain situation, even if it is not good for us. Stepping outside of this can seem scary, but in truth it is usually very good for us. From attending a new social event to finding a new job to starting a new hobby there is always something you can do to learn and grow. Think about it, when have you felt happiest and grown most as a person? It is usually when you stepped out on aledge and pushed yourself to try something new.

14.    Help Someone Else – Last but not least, helping others is a great way to become better yourself. By getting out of your own head and sympathizing with the needs of others you can understand yourself better. Don’t be a closed off person too wrapped up in your own needs to see what is really out there. Making connections and forming relationships is whatit is all about. No man is an island and by helpingothers you can form connections that will last. You can start small as even helping one person can make a big impact on both your life and theirs.

As you can see, there are many ways to become a better you. You are one of a kind and your ambitions and talents should not be wasted simply because you are too afraid or too comfortable to step out there. Take the first steps into embracing who you are and what you are meant to do. It is easier than you think.

Written on 11/7/2013 by Madoline Hatter. Madoline is a freelance writer and blog junkie from ChangeOfAddressForm.com. You can reach her at: m.hatter12@gmail.com.

Photo Credit: FindYourSearch

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