Fall is my favorite time of year because it is a world in transition. Everything around us is transforming from summer green to winter white. It’s the world becoming something, and for that reason it’s the most human of all the seasons.
Cheesiness aside, I truly believe that we are always evolving into the next version of ourselves. Whether we are planning it or not, our environment and our situations are constantly influencing us to become new people.
On Monday I wrote about how I made the most of college. When I was coming into school as a freshman, I realized that I was starting a journey. I knew I wouldn’t be the same girl exiting college as I was when I entered. And I wanted to make sure I became the person I wanted to be at the end of four years.
So I participated in an exercise intended to help me achieve the best version of myself during undergrad. It was immensely useful. When I graduated, I had confidence that the person I became was an intentional construction, someone I envisioned and created for myself over time.
If we aren’t deliberate about who we transform into, we forfeit control over the person we become. Inevitably, we will alter into new people, whether we choose those people or not. It’s when we take the time to envision our best selves and plan out the steps necessary to become that person that we find ourselves proud of who we are.
So here it is! The one exercise geared to help you become the best version of you:
Step 1: Envision the best version of yourself that you could possibly hope to become.
Spend time dreaming up the person you want to be at the end of, say, five years. These questions for yourself should help the process along:
- What does the person you hope to become enjoy?
- What do they hate?
- What do they spend time doing? What do they never or rarely do?
- What do they think about?
- Who do they hang out with? What are those people’s interests and attributes?
- How do they treat someone they’re meeting for the first time? How do they treat their friends?
- How do they react when they are wronged?
- What is their most dominant characteristic and their biggest strength?
For me, journaling out my answers helps me stay focused on figuring out what I hope to achieve.
Step 2: Think about what you need to start putting in and cutting out of your life.
Based on your responses to the previous questions, what changes do you need to make? Remember that everything that we put into our lives influences who we become. If we are spending the bulk of our time with people who are predominately selfish, we will likely become the same way. However, if we seek out friend groups made up of people who are encouraging, welcoming, and compassionate towards others most of the time, we will likely take on those traits. The same goes for activities we spend time on and the things we choose to think about. Look for activities, people, and reading material that your best self would be drawn to.
Step 3: Start taking action, but remember it’s a journey.
This is the hardest part. Because transformation means we have to make changes that may be difficult, there will probably be some growing pains on the path to personal development. But it’s going to be worth it. And there will be times when we want everything to happen easily and quickly, but journeys take time. It’s a matter of putting one foot in front of the other, and eventually we’ll find ourselves at the destination we’ve been dreaming of: a better version of ourselves.
Step 4: At the end of the day, be kind to yourself.
There is no way we will ever be perfect. As humans, it’s just not possible. Our dream versions of ourselves may never make mistakes and always say and do the right things, but the reality is that this goal is unachievable. We will make errors, and we shouldn’t beat ourselves up for them. What matters is that we make gains towards becoming a better and better model of ourselves every day. If we’ve improved, we can say we did what we came to do, and that’s what counts.
Any exercises you’re doing to help yourself become better and better every day?