How to be the best version of you

Worried that you’re not fulfilling your full potential? Feel that you could be doing more with your life? Find out how to be the very best version of you.

Are you giving 100% to achieving your dreams? And do you even know what those dreams are? To help you make every day of your life count, digital entrepreneur Rachel Hill shares her advice for being your very best self.

How to be the best version of you

The BBC recently ran a season covering mental health and the complexities of the human mind. The unseen workings of the mind are the very essence of who we are and why we make the decisions that take us on the next step of our journey through life.

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Even if we’re lucky enough never to experience a serious mental issue, we should still have an awareness of what goes on inside our heads. My own experience stemmed from an autoimmune disease that had gone undiagnosed for many years. This resulted in feelings of general malaise that I just wasn’t able to understand. As a result, my thoughts, moods and behaviour changed over a number of years.

It took a long time and the right treatment to put me back onto the right path. My thoughts effectively ruled me and that behaviour had to be unlearned because I literally had become my thoughts. Thoughts are incredibly powerful and yes, they can be measured (scientists have proved this). We live in a world that has been created through the energy of thought and manifested into the environment we live in every day.

We must have an ongoing awareness of how we feel and how those thoughts affect us, our lives and the people we love the most.

Change your thinking

‘We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.’ This is one of Albert Einstein’s sayings and in my humble opinion, never a truer word has been spoken.

For too long I expected that I would ‘just’ improve and that I needed to ‘wait’ for the old me to return. We’ve heard all the sayings like, ‘I’m stuck in a rut’, ‘You can’t teach a dog new tricks’ or, ‘I’m too old to change’. The more we say them the more we believe them, right?

Wrong!

I’m passionate about stressing how important it is to realise that people need to be re-programmed, just like a computer having a bug removed and then new software installed. I’m all about shortening that journey of realisation wherever I can because, for me, it took too long …

Awareness of the problem is the first step and retraining your brain is the second. Easier said than done, I hear you say and yes, whilst it takes 90 days to develop a new habit you can make the task easier. I set up reminders in my diary and Google Calendar which links to my phone.

Sticky notes have been placed in strategic places like my make-up bag telling me to visualise and focus on how I want to be. This really makes me switch and re-focus my thoughts so that I can transport myself to a place where I am my ‘better self.’

What is your ‘better self’?

Your better self is you, nobody else but just a better version of you. You need to ask yourself some very specific questions [more about that later] and write down what it is you want to achieve as it’s something you’ll need to refer to every single day. This will help you to make the transition from thought to reality as you manifest all of the ways you want your life to change.

In my work as a private tutor, I tell my tutees to ‘paint the mental picture with words’ and I think that advice translates well into this retraining exercise. My own envisioning is a scene so clear that I can see, hear, taste, touch and smell every aspect of my vision and goals.

I see myself writing novels in a beautiful loft conversion, feeling thick carpet between my toes and smelling the scent of fresh flowers whilst listening to the sound of rain pattering down against the roof window. There are a couple of dogs milling around and I feel totally at peace as I wait for my family to come home. I answer to no one and am in control of every aspect of my life.

When I do this, I can feel myself moving into that reality: I am absorbed by those thoughts and can get lost in the ‘flow’ of my imaginings. I see the picture of my reality inside my head so all you have to do is create your own perfect reality and live it inside your head.

Remember that the brain can’t tell the difference between a real or imagined experience so your imaginings will trigger the same brain reactions.

Who, what, why, how, when, where?

I use these questions to develop a framework for a creative writing story. I tell the children I tutor that these words are the ‘bare bones’ and are the foundation of the story. After that, the ideas and how they develop, put the flesh on those bones. This is just a parallel with how we need to ‘framework’ our own lives and how you want to play out your own ‘life story’.

You don’t go on a journey in a car without having an idea of where you’re heading [or at least I don’t!]. At the very least you need to have an idea of direction, which motorways you need, what exits to take and how long you’ll be driving for.

The same should apply to your life as the goals and passions we have are the driving force that keep us moving forward to be the best we can be.

Who do you want to be?

I can only write about myself as you are the author of your own story. I love to write and I am also passionate about ‘shortening the journey’ for everyone looking to succeed and achieve personal development.

My own personal ‘blips’ began in 1995 (my Annus Horribilis, to quote the Queen) so I’ve been on a road of self awareness and development for over twenty years.

I’ve experienced a lot of what I don’t want to be which I truly believe is necessary in order to really appreciate what it is you do want. It serves as a useful comparison but don’t focus excessively on what you don’t want as what you focus on has a tendency to expand. That’s why you need to use your focus to concentrate on all the things you do want to attract as opposed to what you don’t.

Make it a habit to think proactively about moving forward and progressing rather than looking back at past failures. Use your time wisely so if you have to commute to work every day use that time to envision your future.

Remember that you have a choice to make the most of the time available to you. Playing Candy Crush or watching Eastenders on your phone may be entertaining but will they help you achieve a better life?

Everything that has happened in your past, whether good bad or indifferent, has served you and put ‘another brick in the wall’. Your uniqueness is what makes you stand out and is what will ultimately attract more of what you want back into the life you want.

What do you want to do with your life?

This is different for everyone but for me I wanted to achieve more freedom to give me the time to do the things I wanted with whom I wanted. For me, this is worth more than money; money is just a by-product of the value I can give back to people.

Have a plan of action and be specific about where you’re heading. If you’re a writer then set yourself a goal of when the book will be finished. When I wrote my novel, I was working full time and doing tuition as well. I didn’t use the excuse of ‘I don’t have time’ or ‘I’m too tired’. I made the time to write, I finished it and I made the time to go through many painful revisions even if that meant late nights and lots of moments of doubt.

We all have the same 168 hours in a week and I made a conscious decision to sacrifice time in the evenings and weekends in order to begin the manifestation of what I wanted. As Confucius once said:

Man who stand on hill with mouth open will wait long time for roast duck to drop in’.

In other words, you need to take action on your thoughts; it’s not enough to just hope for things to change. Change requires effort, attention and perseverance.

So, you must really want to change your life in order to achieve the desired changes. Giving up is too easy in this day and age, there’s even talk of divorce going to a quick ‘online’ procedure but you have to be different. Stick with it, persevere and work at manifesting your goals.

What is your why?

What is your passion? What is it that makes you get lost and absorbed in what you’re doing? I am in my ‘flow’ when I’m writing; I love creating stories and I love the thought even more that my stories bring enjoyment to others.

If you’re just getting out of bed in the mornings ‘to pay the bills’, you’re doomed to a life of mediocrity and resentment. Our predecessors in the workplace have been so used to dedicating thirty or forty years of their lives travelling to a workplace, making money for someone else and building someone else’s dream. For me that isn’t enough and I suspect that if you’re reading this, it isn’t enough for you either.

Breaking free of that ‘conditioning’ and really understanding what it is that drives you and makes you happy is the key to unlocking your own freedom. Don’t think about how your decision to change may ‘disappoint’ someone else e.g. the parents who paid for your university degree or the partner who likes the ‘kudos’ of your current position.

Life is too short to hold onto those worries and reservations. The truly brave are those who fearlessly venture into their futures with hope, optimism and unending perseverance.

How do you want to achieve your better self?

Are you willing to go the extra mile? I mentioned earlier that using your time wisely is crucial to success. If you need to re-educate yourself then think about how this can be fitted into your existing routine. Audio books can be listened to during commutes and breaks at work. Get up earlier if you need to as it’s amazing what you can achieve in those quiet hours before the household starts to wake.

Networking is also a great way of keeping your options open as making connections is an excellent way of keeping an ear to the ground. Your network can also turn into your customer base and help you spread the word if you choose to start a new business.

The power of social media is incredible and it really is like a domino effect as your message spreads across the globe. The world really is your oyster but you have to ‘put yourself out there’ in order to get things moving.

Feeling gratitude is also a must as it is a force that carries you through every day. Even after a bad day, I do feel grateful for, amongst other things, a hot bath and a comfortable bed. It’s so much more than many other people have.

I also have thanks that I am still here on planet Earth to be able to even try to pursue my goals. Even when we feel disenchanted with our own efforts, consider those who have lost the chance to progress entirely either through illness or some other disaster.

If not now, when?

Procrastination is the thief of time and your life if you let it stand in your way. Understand that ‘self-mastery’ takes time and time is a limited resource so make the most of every moment.

If you find the prospect of change overwhelming, even though you’re desperate to achieve it, think about working in manageable chunks. Make a list of all the things you need to do then pledge to deal with one of those tasks every day.

Dealing with overwhelm can also stop you dead in your tracks. After all, there is only so much any one of us can deal with at one time. Make sure you have a strong support network you can fall back on: people who truly understand what it is you’re trying to achieve.

Doing things ‘alone’ is a sure fire way of falling short of your goals, dreams and desires. When you share what you want, you become accountable. It’s a bit like losing weight: if you do it with a friend you’re less likely to back out of exercise sessions. The same rules apply to your new ‘better self’!

Where do you want your better self to go?

While you can write down your goals for the next one year, five years or ten years, I think one of the best ways to decide where you’re going is to create a vision board. Some of today’s greatest entrepreneurs use them, including Kelly Hoppen who even advocates them for businesses she is mentoring.

If you want your vision board to be more mobile, just set up a private board on Pinterest. If you’re busy, this is one of the best ways you can use to transition into your new life as you can access it on your phone or tablet whenever and wherever you are.

Many people have looked back on those vision boards many years down the line and realised that what they had envisioned had come true. The same applies to you as everyone wants different things.

Accept that your better self is an ingoing process

‘Intellectual growth should commence at birth and cease only at death.’

Albert Einstein again but very apt!  Learning and evolving is part of being human, we simply often choose not to grow and develop. This happens for so many reasons: we leave college and resent further learning, we start work and are too tired to do anything but veg out or we just get taken over by family and life in general.

But, if we want our lives to be different, we have to make a paradigm shift in our thinking. So, make the effort and push forward into your future and your new better self.

Rachel Hill is a digital entrepreneur, lawyer, private tutor and author. Find out how she can help you change your life for the better here.