Continually bettering oneself is a difficult task, imo. We are creatures of habit, and once we settle into a comfortable groove, effecting change can be difficult. I endeavor to better myself daily. While some days are easy, others can be grueling and my subconscious desire to sink into familiar habits prevails.
There is an ongoing debate around the controversy of “Nature versus Nurture,” which poses the following question: Is human behavior based on genetics or on the environment in which an individual finds themselves?
I believe the answer involves a bit of both! The study of genetics in the past decade has proven that traits are passed down through families, but we are not just products of an interwoven genetic code of G, A, T, and C—we are so much more!
We can achieve whatever we desire.
We should set the bar high and continually raise the bar as we progress. Tune out anyone or anything that draws you down or tells you who YOU can be—only you can determine that, and your potential is infinite.
Just because some people out there lack morals, it does not follow that you should also lack morals. Their failure doesn’t give you an excuse to fail. Two wrongs don’t make a right, as they say. If someone says you lack the knowledge for a specific task, it doesn’t mean you can’t achieve it. Let’s grow together!
Here are my top 5 tips on how to work at bettering yourself.
1) Pick a trait to work on
As difficult as it may be, evaluate yourself. What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses? Who do you desire to become? I’d suggest taking a weaknesses and setting a goal to work on strengthening that aspect daily. My weakness is patience—I lack it and admire people with plenty of patience to endure the trials and situations I do not have patience for! Years ago, I’d lose my patience quickly and find myself angry in many situations—this is not ideal. I chose to better myself and work on this specific trait, so I did and I still am!
Warning: change does not happen overnight, and you will likely be working on this trait for the rest of your life! We must exercise our strengths daily to keep them strong—much like going to the gym! I don’t believe we can achieve perfection, but we can get pretty darn close. After years of working proactively on my patience, I’ve dug a deeper well inside myself to hold my patience so I’m not as quick to anger! I also thank my puppy for teaching me patience. As Kintla has helped me in bettering myself, people can also help—sometimes in unexpected ways!
2) Clean up your environment
This may be the most important tip on this list. Your environment is critical. An old Spanish proverb sums it up nicely: “Show me your friends, and I will tell you who you are.” I’d like to expand on this proverb because it isn’t just your friends or people you are around that can impact you. Media, books, magazines, etc. can all influence you as well. If we are constantly bombarded by negative influences, how can we better ourselves? It’s quite difficult. For example, if you have trouble with honesty, but you keep company with liars and manipulators, becoming more honest will be difficult. Surround yourself with better people. If you can’t find a network of harmonious people, there is nothing wrong with being a lone wolf. You’ll find your kindred as you change your habits and pursue a better self.
We are influenced not just by our friends but also our environment. Have you ever worked a job with a coworker who continually gossips and puts people down? Eventually you will find yourself gossiping and conforming to your surroundings. The environment brings us down or builds us up! Seek out and construct an environment that continually builds you up! This may take some time, but I promise it’s necessary and worth it!
Evaluate your current environment—friends, co-workers, family, media, books, etc. Who or what is a negative force? How can you address the situation? Sometimes it can be as simple as telling your co-worker that their vibe is a bit dampening and invite them to work on being positive with you; other times, the situation is tricky and intricate, and you must do the best you can. If you are consuming negative media, cut the cords now! Be sensitive to how the media you consume affects you. If you don’t feel good, ditch it; consume it less! I have done this in the past year, and my mental health continues to improve.
It may take time, but I promise the transition to a fresh, positive, nurturing environment is life changing!
3) Don’t beat yourself up
We can never be perfect, so don’t strive for perfection! Be patient with yourself and if you falter along the road to your goal, DO NOT beat yourself up! Learning is necessary. Although I’m working on patience and have improved over the years, I still find myself impatient in certain situations. Instead of hating myself for it, I consider it a learning experience and ask myself: “What could I have done better?” Growth comes when you ask yourself constructive questions. If you harp on yourself, you’ll feel exhausted and lose hope in what you are attempting! Don’t lose hope. If you mess up, learn and move on!
4) Be aware and mindful of tasks
As you embark on the journey to a better you, learn to be mindful of your everyday tasks and trials. Be aware of your goals and watch for opportunities to practice that which you are improving. For me, I am mindful of situations that require patience. For example, recently a friend dropped in expecting that I make dinner. I had texted them, asking if they wanted to have dinner, but they did not reply. Five minutes before they arrived, they texted, saying they are coming over for dinner. With no time to prepare, I could have been upset; instead, I went with the flow, exercised patience, and prepared what I had for dinner. It ended up being a lovely evening!
Always be on the lookout to exercise what you are trying to improve. Be mindful. Be aware.
5) Celebrate your victories
Last but not least—celebrate yourself! Even if you’ve taken only one step forward in the climb up your mountain, be happy! It isn’t easy to undertake a feat like bettering yourself every day, so allow yourself time to evaluate what you’ve accomplished. I love the quote: “You won’t be happy at the destination if you are not happy in the journey.” You may have difficult days (I have plenty), but don’t let them detour you from your ultimate goal of being a better person! One step at a time!
I hope these tips inspire and uplift you in your life’s journey. Let me know what you decide to work on by connecting with me through my social media.