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Be better: Why DAILY habits are important for personal development

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“People want Level 10 success but have level 2 daily practices”

Be better: not as a judgment on past behaviour, but as a call to greater heights 

What are you doing daily that will contribute to your growth?

Making time means deliberately carving out time in your schedule. Finding time leaves everything to chance.

What’s “betterment”?

The term personal development encapsulates a genre that spans peace-and-love reflection and go-getter intensity. It’s used interchangeably with self-help and sometimes trendily referred to as human optimization. Despite all that, I prefer the word “betterment.” It’s a simple word that harks back to a previous age—a bit dated and dusty but fully functional. Bettering oneself is a process of growth and improvement. The concept is straightforward: be better than you were. Take the lot you’ve been given in life and work with it, learn from it, and grow from it. We’re incredible beings with limitless potential patiently waiting to unfurl. The mission of betterment is to simply, in today’s jargon, level up. It’s a non-judgmental assessment of where we are and where we can improve. Deprecation is not its aim; in fact, only through knowing and accepting ourselves can we proceed to greater heights. Sometimes growth comes from simply sitting with and acknowledging the parts of us we find particularly shameful.

Also note that betterment doesn’t ask us to be better than our neighbours, our siblings, or that acquaintance from high school who now has a successful business. It is an individual task, although it can be buoyed by the help of wise and experienced people. It’s fuelled by discoveries stumbled upon during self-reflection, personal experience (particularly failure) and the global knowledge available to us all in the form of books, articles, videos, etc. It’s a humbling experience because it requires the seeker to acknowledge her/his ignorance and ineptitude—a worthwhile exploration for us all. At the same time, we’re empowered as we uncover strength and determination in our vulnerability.

Getting from here to there

Imagine a map of your life: there’s a point A to mark where we currently are and a point B hiding behind the mist on the distant horizon. Often, this is how we visualize where we are and where we want to be. We glimpse what we think we want, but have no idea how to get there. Now imagine drawing a line between the two points with hash marks evenly spaced out along it. These hash marks represent our daily habits. Once one is completed, it takes us to the next level. Even if we don’t know exactly where life is leading us (and let’s face it, we never do), we know that each of these hash marks is leading us closer to a better life and a better us.

By meandering through life with undisciplined habits, we’re failing to reach our potential. We have dreams that are in a land of perpetual “someday.” We waste time, we make poor decisions, and we lose money. We’re ungrateful, unmoored and uninspired. Here’s a fact: if we dedicate time to habits that have been proven to spark personal development and improve quality of life, we simply cannot lose. As in the financial realm, small, continual investments lead to exponential growth.

As in the financial realm, small, continual investments in personal betterment lead to exponential growth. Click To Tweet

Level 10 Success

“People want Level 10 success but have level 2 daily practices”

This one paraphrased quote from Hal Elrod succinctly expresses our common struggle. We have grand aspirations but pitiful follow through. We are seldom doing the things every day that propel our progress. Our daily habits are a reflection of the life we’re living, but very rarely are our daily habits a reflection of the life we’re envisioning. Something isn’t adding up; we’re expecting results without doing the required work.

“Look closely at the present you are constructing: It should look like the future you are dreaming.” — Alice Walker

Are you consistently (and by consistently, I mean daily) bettering yourself? For most of us, the answer is no. If motivation is pretty low, we might be at a Level 1 or 2. If we’re putting in some effort, but are inconsistent or missing some elements, we may be pulling a 4 or a 5. What are we missing? The key is to identify proven habits that promote growth and implement them on a daily basis. We need to prioritize the process so as to avoid it being perpetually neglected. If we want to see improvement, it’s essential to dedicate a block of time to the development of these practices.

Our daily habits are a reflection of the life we’re living, but very rarely are our daily habits a reflection of the life we’re envisioning. Click To Tweet

Wakey wakey!

Making time vs. finding time

Although we are all different, we have global tendencies. Days get away from us, afternoons whizz by and, before we know it, it’s time to go to bed. If we don’t commit to making time for something—and dedicate a specific slot in our agenda—it’s likely to be forgotten, replaced, and set aside. “Finding time” necessitates a calm day with no surprises. The problem is that most of our days don’t pan out like that.

Early morning is the perfect time to get things done: very few people are awake, so there are few distractions; nothing is open, so there’s nowhere to go; the day has just started, so fatigue and busyness have yet to creep in. This isn’t a new concept. There is a host of famous personages who tout the benefits of rising early, from Benjamin Franklin and Napoleon Hill to Oprah Winfrey and Richard Branson. The early bird does indeed get the worm.*

By getting the important things done in the morning, the day is a success regardless of how it progresses. We’re able to point back to something productive—no, not just productive, something that is shaping a better human. It fuels our whole day. This is doubly beneficial as it has an impact on a personal and societal level. Imagine if we had people—worldwide—getting up an hour earlier every day to take care of their mental, emotional and physical health. We would solve an incredible amount of global issues in one fell swoop.**

Imagine if we had people—worldwide—getting up an hour earlier every day to take care of their mental, emotional and physical health. #Level10Habits Click To Tweet

Ok, I’m up…So, now what?

Let’s say we’ve made a commitment to devote one hour each morning to being better. How should we use that time? In honour of efficiency and effectiveness, we’ll avoid wasting that precious hour doing something that won’t produce results. 

I’ve researched and tested various “Level 10 practices” that are sure to boost your growth, motivation, mindfulness and gratitude. If you want to discover—or rather, be reminded of—some tried and true techniques to take your daily development to the next level, keep an eye out for the next blog post where we’ll be exploring Level 10 Habits. I’ll take you through morning and evening routines that have helped me in my personal development journey.

In the meantime, review your goals and intentions and explore the effectiveness of your current approach!

Question Time:

What are you doing daily that will contribute to your growth?

On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate your daily habits?

*Motivation to work after dinnertime and before bedtime is often quite low, so beware of leaving things to the last minute. However, a small percentage of us are more nocturnal, so perhaps it’s no problem to squeeze some more things in before going to sleep. As long as we’re carving out a spot in our schedule that we know won’t be intruded on, we’re on a good path. For the majority of us, despite our initial resistance, mornings are the sweet spot.

**It’s important to note that by suggesting an earlier wake up time I’m not advocating for less sleep. Study after study has shown the importance of good sleep hygiene. As an athlete, I pay close attention to how many hours I get so that I know my body is properly recovering from the daily physical stress I put it through. If you need to get up early, shut everything down early the night before. Adjust your sleeping patterns accordingly and take care of yourself!

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