An important part of self-improvement is having a road map to follow. In other words, who do you want to be?
It is hard to get somewhere if you don’t know where you are going. Thus, in order to get to the place you want to go to — that is, the person you want to be — it is crucial to know in advance who that is.
Maybe you feel it best to be a good partner, or parent (or grandparent), or maybe a good employee. You might want to be the kind of person who reads every day, or someone who sees the world. The possibilities are nearly endless.
One way to determine which traits you wish to have or to develop is to look for role models. If there are people around you who behave the way you want to behave, try to figure out what it is that helped them get there. You may even want to ask them.
There are also many books extolling one virtue or another. You may want to read up on someone you admire, to see what makes them tick. How do they lead a creative life, or make money, or increase empathy, or whatever you wish to emulate?
Once you decide on what you wish to improve, there is the secondary task of actually doing it. If you think that, for example, punctuality is important, ask yourself: how can I be more punctual?
Reaching your potential, and becoming the person you desire to be requires that you put some thought (and eventually some planning) in place. Who do you want to be?
The parent-child relationship is an important one for most people. Can you think of ways you have been influenced by your parents?
The first relationship that we have is with our mother, followed shortly by our father. For most people, they remain of primary importance throughout our development and into adolescence.
Because of this, the relationship we have with our parents helps to define who we are, what we believe, and often how we think and what we like.
Related: Listen to an episode of the Intellectual Roundtable Podcast, where Lee and Michael discuss this question: ‘What makes you you?’ We also discuss another question as well, ‘What gives a person value?’
Of course, that fact might also lead to problems. There is a reason that many therapy sessions deal with understanding the way we were treated growing up, and how it might impact our behavior as adults. Additionally, many people end up with romantic partners that have behaviors similar to a parent.
Some people have a complicated relationship with their mother and/or their father. Even if you don’t, you can probably trace some of your likes and dislikes, as well as some of your beliefs, to one or both of your parents.