Everybody wants to be the best version of themselves they can be. But how do you get there?
The good news is that there is already a better version of you within yourself—you don’t need to “invent” one or produce one out of the thin air. The bad news is that uncovering the better you isn’t as easy as shedding a layer of clothing. But although self-improvement is a messy and effortful endeavor, its products never stop paying off.
The better “you” awaits. Here’s how to meet them.
Signs It Might Be Time to Become Your Better Self
While it’s true that perfection is unattainable, don’t let that stop you from pushing yourself. Self-improvement is an ongoing journey that many of us are on all of our lives, but it has to start somewhere. Here are a few signs that it’s time to get the ball rolling on becoming the better you.
Discomfort With Your Routines
Dissatisfaction and discomfort are powerful motivators in many things, including becoming better versions of ourselves. Routines have expiration dates, and we need to become more attuned to when they no longer serve us.
Frustration and boredom with life are clear signs that you’ve outgrown your situation. These discomforts are growing pains that can empower you to get outside of your comfort zone, where your better you lives. If you are feeling unchallenged, unappreciated, or otherwise unhappy with your life, it might be because you’re about to hit a growth spurt.
Just make sure that your discomfort doesn’t stem from lack of appreciation for what you already have. A “grass is always greener” mentality will only get in the way of your happiness.
It is human nature to strive for personal growth and development. It doesn’t matter whether you’re poor or wealthy, young or old—wanting more is perfectly natural.
We are wired to want to see what we are made of, try new things, and discover new intricacies within ourselves. This is how we uncover hobbies, goals, desires, and purpose.
Try to live in a state of happiness, not contentedness or complacency. Let yourself want more.
Change is one of life’s only constants, so feeling stuck can actually be a good thing. Feeling like you are in a rut is often a good sign it’s time to shake things up. So rather than resist change because you are fearful of where it might take you, let it set a path to your better future.
Pushing against change won’t stop it from happening. Making friends with it puts you in control and gets you unstuck.
Is What's Motivating You in Your Best Interest?
Becoming the best version of yourself–and sustaining it—requires you to identify motivators that align with your intentions.
There is no right answer here, but there are “wrong” answers. Feeling motivated to become a better you by harmful goals is no better, and is often worse, than just staying put. If you feel motivated by either or both of the following things, stop and reevaluate your goals now.
Wanting to Please Someone Else
Changing primarily to please others is usually self-destructive. There is a fine line between following someone’s advice to develop healthier habits and changing in order to make someone else happy. Change for your own sake and any relationships you have (that are worth having) will improve naturally.
Wanting to Be More Like Someone Else
You are exactly who you are meant to be, even if you are not the best version of yourself yet. If you are motivated to change by a desire to become like someone else, you have some thinking to do.
Remember that it’s perfectly normal and advantageous to feel inspired by others that possess qualities you’d like to see in yourself, but it’s not healthy to set your sights on modeling yourself after someone else. If you find yourself doing this, look inside you for inspiring qualities. You are enough—don’t let obsessive comparison make you forget that.
What Is the Better You Like?
You might not know who the better you is until you meet them, but you can at least start envisioning them now.
Focus less on what feels “wrong” and more on what would feel “right” in your life; less on what to “take away” and more on what to “add.” This is a healthier way to approach the exercise of discovering the better you and puts you in a better position to become the person you are meant to be for good.
Perhaps the better you is more emotionally intelligent. Maybe they are more thoughtful, considerate, and internally motivated. Maybe they are more physically fit. For you, this may mean developing a healthier relationship with food, exercising to become stronger, or taking care of your body and stress levels by getting more rest and practicing self-care. They could also be more ambitious, more courageous, or more open-minded.
Really, the better you could be anyone.
But whatever you do, don’t make the mistake of going after fleeting pleasures because you think that’s what the better you would do. Superficial outcomes like flashy careers, attractive bodies, and fancy houses bring gratification that quickly dissipates and returns us right to the same level of happiness that we started with, a phenomenon known in psychology as hedonic adaptation.
Instead, focus on yourself—do what fills you up and makes you feel complete.
The better version of you is an extension of who you already are, and there is nothing about you that needs fixing. Your efforts should be rooted in hope, not desperation. When your motivations are in your best interest and your intentions are clear, you’ll be closer to the best you than you have ever been.