Master the art of continual self-improvement.
“Each person’s task in life is to become an increasingly better person.” — Leo Tolstoy
How do we become better every single day?
We develop practices that will help move us incrementally forward. The idea is to take small but consistent steps, every single day — 1% improvement. Epictetus called this incremental action “fueling the habit bonfire.”
Focus on the following 3 practices, and you will begin to see consistent improvement in your life.
“Ordinary people seek entertainment. Extraordinary people seek education and learning…. It is common for the world’s most successful people to read at least one book per week. They are constantly learning.” — Benjamin Hardy, How to Consciously Design Your Ideal Future
How often do you read?
Hopefully, you make time to read every single day. Even if it’s just one page.
Reading may be the most accessible tool available to us to help us grow. We can learn from anyone in the world, living or not. We can learn from those who have already achieved what we want to achieve. We can learn from others’ successes and mistakes.
Being a perpetual student is key to moving forward. If you’re not constantly learning, how will you grow?
Make reading a priority in your day. Spend 15 minutes in the morning reading a book. Download an audiobook for your commute. Read an article online during your lunch break. Just find the time to read.
Time alone with your journal is time alone in stillness — a chance to get to know yourself on a deeper level, and to understand who you really are.
Journaling allows you to reflect, to plan, to meditate on thoughts and ideas. To always be a better human than you were the day before. This is how you move forward every single day.
You may find it helpful to bookend your day with journaling — having both a morning and evening practice.
The stillness of the morning is the perfect time to reflect on your purpose, to consider your path, and to create a plan for the day.
The end of the day is a great time to reflect on what went well during the day, what you could do differently tomorrow, and where you could be more — more loving, more patient, more valuable. You can reflect on whether you have lived in alignment with your values, and whether you fulfilled your purpose.
Find a journaling template and mode that works for you. Maybe you like the traditional pen and paper. Maybe you prefer a document on your computer. Maybe you’d do best with a phone app. Find something that resonates with you, and stick with this practice.
Bonus: Reflect and Measure
We must always be reflecting on our lives and measuring the important metrics.
With reflection, we can achieve anything. You try something, reflect on it, do more of what worked and less of what didn’t.
This is how you will grow.
A great way to do this is through bookending the day with journaling, as illustrated above. In the morning, write your plan for the day. In the evening, reflect on what worked and what you will do differently tomorrow. In just a few minutes each day, you can massively change your life for the better.
Do this at the end of each week, month, quarter, and year. Growth will become inevitable.
“End your week holding a five-minute meeting with yourself and review what’s working and everything making you miserable. And do more of what works.” — Thomas Oppong
Similarly, keep track of the most important metrics of your life — how much weight you’re squatting, how many dates you went on with your partner each month, how many times you called your mom, how many days in a row you meditated. Identify what is most important to you, and keep track of it. You may be more off-course than you realize:
“If you’re not tracking the key areas of your life, than you’re probably more off-course than you think.” — Benjamin Hardy, How to Consciously Design Your Ideal Future
3. Take 10,000 steps every day
Moving your body is crucial.
And walking may be the most important way to move our bodies. Think of how our ancestors lived — constantly foraging, hunting, and walking everywhere. This is how we have evolved to live.
If we want to move forward, we need to take care of our bodies.
But more than that, movement allows deep access into who we are; what it’s like to be in this body, right now. It’s a powerful form of meditation. You can’t help but feel the breath going in and out of your lungs. The sun on your skin. The grass beneath your feet. Movement forces you to be present in this moment, within yourself.
Dr. Suhas Kshirsagar, author of “Change Your Schedule, Change Your Life,” explains this well:
“Through exercise and movement, you breathe deeply and unblock the body’s channels…. It gives you energy, mental clarity, passion, and a general enthusiasm for life…. When you breathe deeply, you connect your heart and your brain instantly…. Conscious exercise puts your daily problems on the back burner and enlivens the heart and mind.… While it’s tempting to think of exercise solely as a means to fitness or weight loss, it’s really much more about making you feel alive in your body.”
Movement is therefore a tool to help you grow and move forward every single day.
Your body will stay healthy, your mind will remain clear, you will have deeper access into who you are and improved clarity on where it is you want to go.
We can’t expect to continue growing and moving forward if we don’t take care of our body and mind. Move every single day.