How Do We Become Our Best Self?

Everyone wants to — or should want to — get better. A common expression implores us to “be your best self” but how exactly does one do that?

The end of the calendar year often leads to some reflection on the past, and perhaps even to some self evaluation. In turn, this might lead to new year’s resolutions, or things you may want to change or improve about yourself.

But is change even possible? Sometimes it feels like year after year you have the desire to change, but may not have the capacity to carry through on that desire. Is it just a matter of not having the willpower, or is there something deeper at work here?


Listen to a podcast where Michael and Lee discuss the related question: ‘What do you believe?’ We also discuss a bonus question: ‘What are you willing to sacrifice?’


For example, some people, after thinking about their life, may decide they resolve to be a more positive — or at least a less negative — person in the new year. But some studies seem to indicate that a person’s happiness level is pretty constant. While it might change a bit in the short term, long-term happiness remains mostly constant.

After all, we live in an age of wonder, where we know more and can do more and live longer than at any time in history. And yet, there is no evidence that we are any happier — in fact, the opposite maybe true.

But of course, some change is possible. No one stays the same — at the very least, a person will get older, which is one kind of change. But can we direct that change and make meaningful strides in our desire to improve? And if so, how? How do we become our best selves?

Related questions: What are you doing to improve yourself? How does creative expression help us to know ourselves better? Is life today better than in the past? What are you doing to make the world a better place?

4 thoughts on “How Do We Become Our Best Self?”

  1. The first step, I believe, in the quest for self improvement is to want to improve.

    This is not obvious, by the way. Some people are content with their life and have no desire to get better. The Buddhist philosophy, for example, is not to want anything, including improvement. The way to true happiness, so the Buddhist principle says, is to accept things as they are.

    But let’s suppose you want to improve. I like to think I do. I think the way to improvement — the way to become your best self — is through constant curiosity. Why is the world the way it is? Why am I the way I am? What can I learn from the events unfolding around me?

    Notice that this curiosity takes the form of questions. I suppose it is not surprising that think questions are so important.

  2. I don’t know if we can ever become our best selves. We are fallible human beings, after all. But we can certainly get closer to becoming what we want to be.

    For me, for the most part, it comes down to three things:
    1. taking care of my mental health (i.e., regularly taking my meds and going to therapy when I need it);
    2. forming good habits; and,
    3. evaluating my progress (or regression) on a weekly, quarterly, and annual basis.

    My mental health impacts everything else in my life. Taking my meds as prescribed keeps me at an acceptable baseline (i.e., not experiencing Depression, significantly reducing the amount of Anxiety I must deal with). Therapy has been hugely beneficial to confront, understand, and move past some of the trauma I’ve experienced in my life.

    For making progress on each of my roles in life, my only tried and true practice is forming good habits. It doesn’t matter if it’s intermittent fasting, getting myself to my treadmill each morning, setting aside time to read for pleasure each day, etc.; I’ve succeeded when I started by setting aside time each day for as long as it took for something to become a habit.

    As for evaluation, doing so regularly allows me to keep my good habits as habits and celebrate successes while righting or reassessing regressions.

  3. Three things I try to follow:
    1. Think positive and reject negative thoughts that pop into my head.
    2. Be more considerate of how my remarks and actions make others feel.
    3. Delve deeply into learning about the world around me.

  4. Reflecting on my attitudes and behaviors allows me to see where improvement can make a better me. Then concentrating on being better; whether that is in personal areas, interacting with others, or attaining knowledge and wisdom; is required. Being a Christian, I also pray that God will help me in my quest and that God will give me knowledge and depth of insight that I may be able to discern what is best, and then that I will be attuned to God’s promptings so that a better self will emerge.

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