The Best Version of You

What would the best version of you — and your life — look like? Have you ever given that any serious thought?

Becoming the Best Version of You | Life, Unleashed

Most of us have at least one area of our lives that we would like to change (if not many). Consider the following areas:

  1. health
  2. relationships (love)
  3. work
  4. spirituality
  5. finances
  6. leisure
  7. shelter
  8. friends/family

What is ONE thing you’d like to change (or, upgrade) in just one of those areas? Better yet, what is one change you’d like to make in each of those areas, in order to get you closer to what you feel is the “best version” of yourself and your life?

My own list looks something like this:

  • Health: Delete 70 lbs (’cause I don’t plan on getting those excess pounds back!)
  • Relationship: Have more patience
  • Work: Be more consistent
  • Spirituality: Take time out, daily, to chat with the Lord
  • Finances: Build up savings, so that we have security
  • Leisure: Travel, and go out on dates more often
  • Shelter: Move to a bigger house (we’ve outgrown this one)
  • Friends/Family: Reach out, keep in touch more, be more involved

Does thinking about all of those changes make you feel overwhelmed? It does for me! Thankfully, though, I’m learning that it is actually better not to make all of those changes all at once! Sure, I’d love to change it all in one go so that I can more quickly attain that “best me”. The problem is, when we try to do too much at once, we overwhelm ourselves, and we give up. Then we stew over it for a while, before deciding we still really want to change… and the cycle repeats.

There’s a better way.

Think about which area of your life, if you were to change it, would have the greatest impact on your well-being, overall… taking care of this one thing would make it easier, later on, to handle the changes in the other areas of your life.

For example, let’s say you choose health. Now, what is one tiny change you could make in your health — something so small that you’d barely notice the change — that you could do consistently? Maybe it’s doing some stretches every morning while waiting for your coffee to brew. You add that in, and practice it for a month. At the end of the month, you just stretch every morning, without even thinking about it — it has become part of your routine. BUT… you also start to notice that you’ve felt a bit more flexible, and have a tiny bit less pain… which, in turn, has enabled you to get a little more done most days than you used to. Hmm… And, all because you made one teensy, positive change to your health!

Darren Hardy calls this “The Compound Effect” (it’s also known as “kaizen” — practicing small, consistent efforts, over time, to get big results).

To continue our example: Now it’s month two… you pick a second area, or thing, to work on… maybe it’s your work. Again, you’re going to find one tiny, almost unnoticeable thing that you can change that –with consistent practice, over time– could produce some big results. Maybe you choose to, every morning, decide on the top three things that will have the best results for the day, and you focus on getting just those three things done. You write them down, determined to keep it to just three things — the most critical things. Then you work at those things first, before anything else you do that day, and without distraction.

At the end of month two, you’re thriving in your work, having accomplished more in the past four weeks than you did in the past year overall, and you’re still feeling good at the end of each work day, because you’re still stretching every morning (your habit from month one). And, you’re not as overwhelmed by all the undone tasks that used to loom over you from your habit of putting more on your to-do list than was realistically possible.

Now you’re on a roll!

Hunter S Thompson quote | Life, UnleashedSo, in month three, you pick another tiny change to focus on. And, at the end of the year, you have built 12 new, positive habits, your life looks radically different than it did 12 months ago, and your spirits are lifted because you are finally making progress in your life (toward living your ideal/best life) instead of constantly self-sabotaging, and getting stuck in a cycle of frustration and overwhelm. Whoohoo!

See, it is completely possible to change your life — just not all at once.

And, of course, it always helps to have someone who can hold you accountable to these changes you’re making… someone to turn to when you’re having a rough day, and finding it tempting to revert back to your old patterns. An accountability partner can encourage you, and remind you of why you wanted to make these changes in the first place. They can help you see past the bad day, and shine a light through the darkness.

Part of what I do, as a healthy living coach and mentor, is provide you with that accountability. I can email you once a week (or, on whatever schedule works best for you), to ask how things are going, and help you to keep moving forward. If that sounds like something you need, shoot me an email, and we’ll go over the details.

Life is too short for us to put off living our BEST life. It’s never too late to start making changes… you just have to be willing to take that first step. And I can help. ;)

Who Do You Want To Be?

Do you have an alter-ego — a vision in your mind of who you would like to become? Maybe you’ve made attempts to change and become that person by making lists of what you need to do to change into that version of yourself. But, what if there was a better way? What if, instead, you focused on the who, rather than the what?

 

Who Do You Want to Be? | Life, UnleashedI came across this fantastic quote, yesterday:

Darren Hardy quote

Powerful stuff. And, it ties right in with what James Clear says about identity-based habits.

Nia, at SipBlack.net, also wrote about these identity-based habits. She says:

“You need to become the kind of person who can reach those lofty goals. Be committed to embodying that individual. Then stop thinking like you, and start thinking like that other person… Create someone, if you must… If you won’t get it together, then become someone who will.”

Nia also writes:

“Reinventing yourself makes you aware of the sheer power of the mind… you can become anyone you want, do anything you want.”

So many times we try to begin with deciding to change our actions. And, while this might work for a time, many of us find ourselves falling back into the same old patterns.

Taking on a new persona, however, is based on a mindset shift… and this, truly, is key to any lasting change.

I think it’s important to remember here, that what is changing is what you do, when you do it, and how you do it. You aren’t necessarily changing your fundamental beliefs or values.

For example, my own alter-ego is someone who still holds to Christian beliefs, and values Freedom & Authenticity. However, this “better me” is someone who:

  • follows a daily schedule
  • obeys God without hesitation
  • eats wholesome, nutritious food 90% of the time
  • is capable of defending herself, if need be
  • is confident and secure in who she is
  • etc.

Basically, she excels where I often find myself lacking. In acting as though I am this other persona, I am just acting in the way I would truly prefer to be acting, anyway. In so doing, I’m leveling up!

So, if you could reinvent yourself, who would you become? What does this better version of you look like? Feel free to comment below!

Losing My (Fake) Identity

From about 2002 to 2012, I was immersed in the book blogging world. It started with a Yahoo! group I’d joined, called “Book-a-Week”. Its participants aimed to read 52 books per year (a “book-a-week”). One of the Book-a-Week group’s rules was that you had to keep a record of the books you’d read. So, I’d started keeping a book journal then, but only a paper version. In 2005, I decided to start keeping an online –blog– version, as well.

Losing My (Fake) Identity | Life, Unleashed

For the majority of my book blogging years, I was a stay-at-home-mom (SAHM). As such, I had plenty of time to read and blogging became my place to connect with other adults.

As for the book-a-week goal, I managed to hit it almost every year. And then I started to exceed it. I talked books, read books, researched books, collected books. My collection grew from approximately 300 books to over 1400 books!

Because I’d started several book memes that my readers came, weekly, to play along in (on my blog), I was becoming known in the book blogosphere. I’d taken on the alias of “Mizbooks”, which my readers shortened to “MizB” — something I was fine with. Friends and family even came to know me as “Mizbooks”, and called me “the crazy book lately”.

And so, that’s who I was — who I became. My identity was caught up in my love of books and reading.

Then came the 5 years of being back out in the working world. When I landed a busy, full-time job, my time (and mental capacity) for reading greatly diminished. All-of-a-sudden, I found myself in a sort of identity crisis. If I couldn’t read, then who was I? I’d been the “avid reader”, “MizB”, for so long… now I felt lost.

And I felt ashamed …like I was betraying my blog readers by no longer being this woman who read 80 books per year.

Fast-forward five more years. My reading has dwindled to about 12-15 books read per year. My book blog is barely hanging on, with just two memes left, and about 1/3 of the readership.

I no longer feel as bad for my lack of reading time; but I do still wish I could (would?) read more. Really, it’s now more an issue of time-management and priorities.

The book blog… well, I’d been questioning that aspect, and I’ve decided that I’m not going to keep going with it after the new year (2017). I plan to either hand my two memes over to other bloggers or just let them go, entirely. Part of me doesn’t want to do either, as they feel like my “babies”. But another part of me knows it will be a relief to let them go.

Regardless, this whole “crisis” has taught me something. And that’s that we shouldn’t place our identity in what we do, or in the roles we play. Our truest identity (if we’ve accepted Jesus as Savior) is as daughters (and sons) of the King of Kings, and all that that entails. It’s the only thing that will not change. We’ve been adopted into God’s family, so we’re now set apart and He calls us His own.

I’m still learning to accept myself as who God says I am. But already, it has been both peace-giving and empowering.

So, who do you say that you are? Do you know yourself as a child of God? What do you need in order to make that mental shift?