Be a better version of yourself, everyday
I’ve been spending my Saturday mornings in a way that’s extremely special to me. A very dear friend of mine recently underwent heart surgery and is trying to maintain her health by going on regular medium-intensity walks. And our girl gang gets together every weekend to join her on her walks, by the seaside.
We motivate each other, encourage ourselves to push our limits and be our own cheerleaders. It’s the most exhilarating feeling to be around friends, stay healthy and be motivating—all at once.
However, some weekends it gets too much. I want to laze around, relax, and just spend some time for myself. After all, I’m past 60 too, I have knee issues and deserve to take a break. But you know what? It takes just one second to make up your mind to do something and alter the course of your day.
It takes just one second to decide to be a better version of yourself, all day, every day. But before you do anything, learn to love yourself. When you practice self-love, everything else becomes easy. You put yourself and your physical, emotional, mental and spiritual well-being first. And that is the only key to moving ahead in life and attaining a higher plain of self-awareness.
Why be a better version of who you are?
Simply put, human beings were designed to be active for the largest periods of their lives. From the time we learn how to walk, to the time we’re able to stand on our own two feet, humans were supposed to physically work to earn their daily bread.
However, with the advancement of science and technology—and a set retirement date for everyone—a relaxed lifestyle has become the norm. We’re too used to living in our comfort zone for most of our lives. And when we’re retired, we turn into sedentary beings. Not only does society think of retirement as a time to do “nothing,” we seniors too, foster the idea that we must wake up and do nothing till the time we go back to bed.
It’s scientifically proven that senior citizens can retain their cognitive abilities for longer the more they work on challenging activities. Whether it’s physical workouts, mental math, crosswords, challenges—the human mind wants you to stop being comfortable, and start giving it puzzles to solve and mysteries to unravel.
And why just senior citizens? This counts for everyone! Seldom have people who’ve remained in their comfort zones become successful. And why should they? If you don’t set challenges for yourself, if you don’t set a high bar for your own achievements, where does the brain get its motivation to aim bigger from?
Setting out to be a better version of yourself is not just vital for you, but for everyone around you too. If you have dependants to motivate, or children to set a better example for, there’s no greater way of being a role model. When you practice what you preach, you indirectly show that you deserve to be followed.
How do you motivate yourself to step out of your comfort zone?
The biggest problem most people face when you ask them to come out of their comfort zone is that they feel they’re lazy. Mind you, they’re not lazy; they just feel that they are. Or they feel overwhelmed by the idea of breaking monotony like it’s some huge mountain that needs to be climbed and scaled.
No, stepping out of your comfort zone doesn’t need planning and plotting for days and weeks in advance. The mantra here is that every day, you do one small thing that helps you be a better version of yourself.
People often say to me, “Oh Mala, I like the idea of being a better version of myself, but it sounds like quite a task. Maybe when I have more time, I can try being a better me.” Why wait, I ask them.
After a whole lot of people told me this, I devised a plan. I would tell them, “You wake up every morning, don’t you?” “Yes, we do,” they say. “Well, do you fold your blankets and make your bed?” I ask then.
Most working people say to me sheepishly that they ask their househelp to take over and set their beds. After all, they have to rush to work. And what else do you pay your helps for, right? Wrong!
To get out of this set mindset of only going to work and provide is your comfort zone, start small. Make your bed one time. Or take over breakfast one day when you can. Or challenge yourself to run an extra mile the next time you’re on a treadmill.
Once you start working on yourself, you can graduate to making a list to find out what you want to amend to be a better person.
Rarely have people learned to be better people without facing a trial by fire. Think about the hardest time in your life. And then think about the lessons you learnt from them. Those lessons are permanently branded in your brains forever. Why? Because you went through a very difficult time learning those lessons.
But when you challenge yourself with something small to start off with, you can avoid going through bigger situations to learn more about yourself and prove your mettle!