It can be hard to be your best self. We have enough self awareness to know that we can accomplish and achieve a lot. Yet we allow our inner critic to focuses on the negative thoughts instead.
We struggle to imagine that we will ever completely achieve all of our personal goals. But why not? Why does that feeling often haunt us?
Is it that we’re not good enough? Not likely.
Is it because there’s a chance that circumstances might fall in our way and prevent us from ever achieving personal growth? Sure it could happen, but there are many way to improve yourself and reach your goals. A little adversity might slow you down, but it won’t prevent you from achieving success in life.
Or is it because we simply haven’t been setting the right goals or making a personal development plan? This is likely the cause.
Being your best self becomes easier when you take the time to plan for it.
When it comes to goal setting, there are many reasons we tend to keep our goals vague.
Doing so can feel freeing because it’s simply a guideline. It makes it much easier to forgive yourself for bending these self-imposed rules a little.
With a vague goal, we don’t have to fear failing or falling short because there is no specific end result or end point. We always have the option to keep trying or try again.
There is nothing wrong with having vague goals. Any self improvement we do helps.
Plan Your Education & Career Paths
It can be extremely worthwhile to plan your pathways regarding who you are and what professional and personal development goals you wish to achieve in your future.
What do you want to learn?
What do you need to learn to get into the career path of your choice?
Take some time to plan it out. Explore what programs or level of education you need to get there. Don’t forget to consider the costs involved and what your funding options are.
Does your dream job require a specific certificate? A college diploma? A bachelor’s degree with a major in a specific field? Or a masters degree?
If you’ve already completed your education, or aren’t interested in or able to go back to school full-time, is there a part-time course you can take where you learn new skills or get the training or credentials required? Maybe all you need is an upgrading or online course to get there?
Formal education isn’t your only option.
Sometimes the “school of life” is the best teacher and the best way of improving yourself.
Perhaps there is something you can learn or do on your own, or with the guidance of a mentor or life coach.
For example, starting a side hustle or a new hobby might be the best thing you can do for yourself. Especially if it gets you outside of your comfort zone, even just a little. The hands-on approach and real-world experience will teach you in ways that texts books and courses can’t.
Learning personal development skills and forming good habits like stress management, time management and overcoming procrastination aren’t things we always consider, but they will help you become your best self, too.
What matters is how you take direct control over your education (no matter what that looks like) so you can find your way to what you really want to do in life.
After all, if you don’t do you own education and career planning, you may find yourself caught up in someone else’s path. Or not on a path at all!
Suggested Article: Why It’s A Mistake To Go To College As An Undeclared Major
Biographies & Inspiration
In order to move forward and develop yourself, you’ll need inspiration. Not only is it helpful to know what is possible, but also what’s impossible.
This is how innovation happens. It can educate us to a stronger degree than we might be expecting.
No matter who you are, finding inspiration can help you develop. It can come through reading biographies of those you are inspired by, such as the most inspirational women of history. Or perhaps by reading the top Personal Finance blogs.
Without inspiration, a dream in your mind, and the ambition to follow it, you may never develop the self confidence needed to overcome challenges and become your best, true self.
So think about who you find inspiring and how they can help with your self esteem, personal growth and development.
Planning for your best self can be a rigid and sometimes suffocating thing to experience. This is because many people don’t factor in flexibility.
Of course, there are those that say you should never develop a plan B so you can focus all of your attention on plan A. But that isn’t always logical. There are more factors at play than your ambition and work ethic. While we should focus on self development, we should also understand nothing is guaranteed.
For example, let’s say you want to make it as a great chef. You have a job as a sous chef in a relatively nice restaurant in your hometown. You can see yourself being happy if your career development continues down this path. But then you have the opportunity to work as a kitchen porter for Gordon Ramsay.
Of course, a kitchen porter is several steps below a sous chef. However, the opportunity is there. Gordon Ramsay’s empire is likely not going anywhere soon, and you have promotional potential through his kitchens if you work hard enough. Not to mention how much you can benefit from the professional development coaching you’ll receive working alongside some of the best in the industry.
If you’re rigid in your planning, you probably don’t want to downgrade your job role, even if it means potentially working in a truly high-end restaurant. But by being flexible and changing your perspective, you seize opportunities, weigh the pros and cons, and decide that sometimes, being open to a new avenue is better than not.
This attitude can especially work in the earlier days, where handling tasks and developing yourself could come through in many ways. Never be too proud to pass up an opportunity.
But with a bit of planning, the right mindset, and positive thinking, you can overcome your bad habits and change your life for the better.
With these tips, planning for your best self should be something that everyone can achieve.
Amanda Kay, an Employment Specialist and founder of My Life, I Guess, strives to keep the "person" in personal finance by writing about money, mistakes, and making a living. She focuses on what it’s like being in debt, living paycheck to paycheck, and surviving unemployment while also offering advice and support for others in similar situations - including a FREE library of career & job search resources.