We all want to live life to our full potential.
We can be great at something, accomplish significant goals, and make a difference both for ourselves and the people we love. Some of us may even change the world.
But we can't grow to your full potential without some concerted effort. Fortunately, we have strengths to take advantage of and weaknesses to improve on.
So how do you go about becoming the best you that you can be?
First, you need to do some self-reflection. If you want to improve, you have to identify where your weak points are. What does the ideal you look like? Now is not the time to focus on material labels like “rich” or “the boss of my company.” Instead, think of how living your best life will feel. Does the best version of yourself accomplished, passionate, or fulfilled?
It’s never too late to start chasing your dreams. If you’re ready to make the changes necessary to get the most out of your life, then here are the starting steps to help you make serious progress.
The best you can be doesn’t mean becoming perfect - it’s quite the opposite. It’s about being honest with yourself and acknowledging your mistakes or shortcomings. What parts of yourself do you seek to improve?
Acknowledging areas where you could do better doesn’t have to be a negative experience. Instead, embrace the positive aspects of this change. You are growing as a person, and that’s a good thing.
Nothing great comes easy. Learning how to be yourself is a long process made up of many small steps. Think of the brightest sandy beaches, carved intricately by the ocean as it beats slowly and steadily against the rocks. True beauty takes time, patience, and persistence.
Being the best version of yourself means being content and honest with yourself. If you spend your time chasing an ideal “you” constructed by others, you will never reach true self-acceptance and peace. Becoming what others want you to be means you are forever at the changing whims of those around you. Your best will never be good enough because of what others wish to might change. Focus inward, towards yourself and what you genuinely want to be and accomplish.
The perfect time to start learning how to be yourself is the moment you finally start. There is no reason to wait or postpone these changes. Procrastination is how our brains try to help us avoid negative emotions like stress or anxiety¹. If you’re putting off self-improvement, it’s a sign that you are afraid to change. Don’t let this fear stand in your way.
You’ll never learn how to be yourself if you can’t accept yourself. It means embracing every step of the journey -- the good, the bad, and the ugly. Don’t try to carve and hold onto only the good things in your life. You must learn to accept the less pleasant parts of your journey and use these experiences to move forward.
Fear, anxiety, self-doubt - these are all emotions that can keep you trapped in routine and prevent you from ever genuinely growing. To live your best life is never to stop learning. Whenever you feel yourself getting comfortable, that’s a sign that it’s time to progress.
Of course, you don’t need to spend your life every time you get cozy and recognize whether your life is in a rut. If you never feel challenged or nervous about a decision, then you’re living life too comfortably. Reach out and experience new things.
You may experience feelings of insecurity as you strive to build a new, better you. After all, you will be leaving a part of yourself behind, and this cannot be very comforting. Stay true to yourself as you move forward, but be willing to shed your former self. Carry your innate identity forward and don’t let go of the pillars that make you you, but accept that change is necessary for improvement.
Remember that you’re becoming the best version of you for your own sake, not for others. So abandon the desire to please everyone and start focusing on yourself. It doesn’t mean you need to be cruel or lose your compassion for other people. You should still strive to treat others with kindness and respect, but just make sure you’re not sacrificing yourself. It’s okay to be a little selfish now and then.
Accepting your failures is hard, but for many, taking success is even harder. Fear of success can stem from worries about higher levels of responsibility or concerns over losing a sense of self-identity. Behavioral patterns like imposter syndrome can leave successful people unable to enjoy the rewards of their efforts². There can be an overwhelming urge to attribute success to luck or circumstance.
Don’t be afraid to voice your feelings of insecurity to trusted mentors, peers, or friends. Remind yourself that you are worthy and more capable than you give yourself credit for.
Getting adequate exercise and maintaining a healthy diet is crucial to living your best life. If your health suffers, you won’t be able to accomplish the things you want to do. Remember that all Eight Dimensions of Wellness coincide with one another; your physical wellbeing has a direct effect on all other areas of your health.
Take care of your mind like you would your body. When asking, “how can I become the best version of myself,” remember that change comes from the inside. Train your mind to be more accepting, and seek out new skills and opportunities to learn. Worry less about the tangible outcomes of learning new things and focus more on how increased knowledge and understanding improves you as a person.
So get out there and go for it. Study a new language just to learn. Take up a new hobby just to get good at it. Don’t worry about whether these things will bring you money or recognition. It’s about who you are, not what you have.
Living your best life isn’t a measurable goal to be reached and crossed off a checklist. It’s a way of living—a state of being. There will always be new adventures to take on and new ways to grow. Some will be life-changing, and others will be small. The point is that by being kind to yourself, staying true to who you are, and always moving forward, you will find that you’ve grown into the best version of yourself somewhere along the way.
(1) Winkowski, E (March 2019) Why You Procrastinate (It Has Nothing to Do With Self-Control)
(2) Dalla-Camina, M (September 2018) The Reality of Imposter Syndrome