I was talking with a friend recently about how my current training program was going. After every conversation, he would end by saying “every day a little better”. Every time it would make me smile and make me feel good about my training. This phrase continued to stick with me and I started to relate it back to other facets of my life. I often would tell myself to “be the bigger person”, or “practice patience”, and “do just a little more”, but this phrase really encompasses everything! I decided I wanted this phrase to be part of my permanent mindset!
We often think about doing more in regards to training, but there are so many other ways we can work towards being better! When you begin to practice this, you realize its all related and being better in one part of your life will only feed good things back to other parts of your life. Here is a list of ten ways I have been working on being better every day!
1. Lift just a little more/do just one more rep
Ok, So I started with the obvious one, but it still is a great way to practice bettering yourself in the fitness world! Its important to remember that no one goes from squatting 100lb. to 300lb. over night. Strength is earned not given. It takes time, patience and consistency to build results. Its so much more rewarding to look back on a journey towards success rather than focus on just an end outcome!
2. Focus on how a move feels (pain, efficiency, flow, etc.)
We sometimes forget that its not just about how many reps, how much weight or how fast. Take time during your workout to recognize how a move feels. Are you experiencing pain or tightness? Maybe you need to work on mobility. Is the move feeling efficient? Maybe you need to work on form. Does it feel like it flows? Maybe you need to practice some drills to make it feel more natural. I would say this takes importance over how much, how many, or how fast!
3. Educate yourself (listen to a podcast, read an article, read a book)
As busy as all our lives are, we all have at least a 5 minutes a day to further our knowledge. Whether its when you’re in the shower, driving to work, working on other projects, cleaning your house, on your lunch break, or before you go to bed, we can all fit in a form of learning into our day. Even the highest skilled people in their fields say they are a “student for life”. I like to practice the same mentality.
4. Try something new (food, restaurant, city, drink, route, music, hiking trail, hobby, sport)
Life is to short to do the same thing, eat the same food, and play the same CD (am I aging myself by still using CDs?) day in and day out. Just by trying one new thing a week you can open your mind to entire new worlds! You just might find your favorite new thing! And even if you didn’t, you now know yourself a little better.
5. Take the time to listen and be kind to others.
Personally, I find this one to be very important! We are often so wrapped up in our own $#!% that we don’t notice everyone else is going through their own $#!% too! I try to take the time to listen to anyone who express the need for an ear to listen to them. I focus on their words, their expressions, and their overall vibe, making sure not to look at my phone or what is going on around me. If applicable I will give my advice but more often than not, everyone just wants to feel heard and to know they are not alone. Its amazing what connections you can make with people when you just listen.
6. Breathe deeply and practice patience.
Patience is a virtue for a reason. It takes a lot of practice to be patient. Its something I have consciously worked on for years and continue to everyday! One of the best tools I have found in practicing patience is breathing deeply. This slows down your heart rate and allows you to react in an effective, patient manner instead of reacting with aggression or brashness. Practice this while confronting a challenging task, handling a difficult individual, while in traffic (I think everyone in Boston can relate the this) but most importantly, practice patience on yourself!
7. Confront the issues that have been bothering you
Most of us try to avoid conflict; we don’t want to ruffle any feathers or create drama. Especially as a woman, we fear people will call us a b!&$# (am I right ladies?) But it's important that we speak up and advocate for ourselves! Because we can’t rely on others to do it for us. Now I am not talking about going around yelling at everyone, saying you should be given whatever you want. I am saying that if someone says or does something that bothers you or doesn’t sit right with you, speak up. Let them know in a calm manner how you feel, why you feel that way and how you think the issue can be resolved. We can practice this with our personal relationships, work relationships or others we come into contact with on a daily basis. Don’t allow yourself to be a doormat or let others bully you around.
8. Spend time with people that make you feel good about yourself
Motivational Speaker Jim Rohn says, "We are the average of the five people we spend the most time with." When you hear this you start to think more consciously about who you spend your time with. I choose to spend my time with those that make me feel good about life when I am with them and influence me positively even when they are not around. I am very lucky that I am surrounded by amazing, inspirational and hilarious people!
9. Set Goals
I am a big fan of setting goals! But its not enough to just say you want something. I keep personal, fitness, and financial goals for myself. To make my goals more conceivable I have action steps for each goal. I keep them posted up on the notes section of my computer so that I look at them often and check in with myself to see if I am keeping up with my action steps or if I need to change them around a bit. Right now my goals include drinking fewer alcoholic beverages (darn you pinot grigio), sleeping more (blame it on the FOMO), and training for the StrongFirst Iron Maiden Challenge.
10. Set a personal mantra
As I stated before I have a few. I repeat them to myself throughout the day or keep them posted in places I look at daily. The most important one to me is a quote by Charles R. Swindoll. "Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it." I have kept it on a post it note in my wallet for the past 5 years. It reminds me that I am in control of how I want to react and feel about any situation I come across. My latest mantra has been to be a little better every day! (Hence this article) As soon as I wake up I try to repeat this to myself. Instead of dwelling on how tired I am, the weather, or the challenges that I will face later in the day, I repeat this to myself. Starting the morning off with a positive mantra sets the tone for an awesome day!
These are just some of the areas I have been focusing on to make myself just a little better every day. What is amazing is to see how improving one area helps you better yourself in another! For example, creating a mantra helps me be more patient which helps me listen to others, which helps me spend more time with people that make me feel good! These reciprocating gains keep me working to be better and better every day!
You may find that there are other areas more important to you that you want to focus on and that’s fine too! Find you own ways to improve your mindset. None of us are perfect and we can all work towards being just a little bit better in different ways! What is important to remember is you don’t have to do all of these things every day, but everyday work on something! You will be amazed how it adds up!
Learn more about getting fit with the Unify Approach, a new, four-part fitness methodology.