This week, I discuss how to become a better individual in 2023.
Table of Contents
- What Does It Mean To Be A Better Individual?
- Self-Improvement Is Painful Yet Essential
- How To Improve Yourself In 2023
- 1) Understand Your Life Goals
- 2) List Your Vices
- 3) Appreciate Your Responsibilities
- 4) Set Clear Goals And Systems That Support Your Growth
- Let’s Make 2023 Your Best Year
- Reading List
What Does It Mean To Be A Better Individual?
“We should be too big to take offense and too noble to give it.” – Abraham Lincoln
Individuals start the new year wanting to be better people. Often, they fail. Usually, a few weeks in and they’ve abandoned most of their goals or are back to their age-old habits.
How do you break this cycle?
Today, I want to outline easy-to-follow and sustainable ways individuals can self-improve.
Self-Improvement Is Painful Yet Essential
Despite the excitement at the beginning of a new year, improving yourself is arduous. To get better, you must seek fresh and meaningful challenges while discarding the comforts you have grown accustomed to.
These realities make self-improvement difficult.
Additionally, you exist in a culture of plenty and vice. Material advancements, social improvements, and technology have made our vices more accessible. Instead of curtailing their vices, most people dive in, eager to indulge. Because such indulgence creates shame, most people justify excesses instead of pursuing better behaviors.
Thus everything, from celebrities to governments, will support and codify the love and pursuit of vice. Because of this justification, our society is nihilistic, small, and pathetic.
With a culture that promotes decadence and rejects virtue, you will not find much external support when you try to improve yourself.
How To Improve Yourself In 2023
Despite the above issues, you should improve yourself. Everyone benefits when you reject vice and pursue what is meaningful.
I must be clear that your goal is not to become a new person. Your successes and flaws build upon one another and have made you who you are. Reinventing yourself is a fantasy not worth pursuing. Embrace your mistakes and use them as the fuel needed to push forward.
Therefore, my advice concerns recentering yourself, keeping track of who you want to be, and building a life that supports your desires.
1) Understand Your Life Goals
Our culture believes life is only for pleasure. Anything long-lasting is “fascism” or something else stupid.
Who you want to be on your deathbed when you are 80 will determine what you should be doing right now. You must understand what you are to do with your life. Everything flows from this understanding.
Therefore, have a vision. What are your life goals? What would you want to do before you die?
Narrow that list to three to four goals. If you’ve already listed life goals, see if they still matter to you. Are you pursuing them? Do they define how you live your daily life?
2) List Your Vices
Your vices will harm your attempts at progress and success. Therefore, you must eliminate or fiercely regulate your iniquities.
Ask these questions:
- What vices do you have?
- What do you continue to pursue, even though such pursuit does not produce the best results?
- Why do you continue to pursue them?
- How do they make you feel?
- What are the costs of these vices in terms of time, energy, money, and self-respect?
Understanding your vices is critical to forging a better tomorrow. Most people do not see their vices as bad. Thus, they keep them around. But your vices compete with your virtue. They take your time, energy, and resources, robbing your mind of greatness and meaning.
3) Appreciate Your Responsibilities
“Pride, then, seems to be a sort of crown of the virtues; for it makes them greater, and it is not found without them. Therefore it is hard to be truly proud; for it is impossible without nobility and goodness of character.” – Aristotle
Discarding your responsibilities or pretending they don’t exist is a recipe for disaster.
You must do many things, including eating, sleeping, and grooming.
But there are also responsibilities such as attending to your children, working, fixing your car, etc. Setting up your life without thinking about these obligations is an exercise in futility.
Your responsibilities must be done, so they will need your resources. If you plan your life without accounting for resource management, you will fail to see results. Your standards and goals will be unrealistic, and failure is all but guaranteed.
Therefore, think about the following:
- Who do you have to attend to?
- What is your job?
- How much time, energy, and money do you spend eating, sleeping, and exercising?
4) Set Clear Goals And Systems That Support Your Growth
You can create the daily habits and systems needed to succeed with a deeper understanding of your life goals, vices, and responsibilities.
Every goal you set should accomplish one of three things:
- Fulfillment of your life goals
- Addressing how you overcome your vices
- Attending to your responsibilities more effectively.
Every goal should start small. Defeat a small, bad habit here, and adjust your expectations there. Let’s say you start reducing your time watching the news. You get more time back, and you reduce your emotional highs. You can now redirect your increased time and energy toward your family.
Focus on goals AND systems, but let your systems serve your purposes. Your goals should help you determine your daily to weekly habits to improve yourself. For example, I want to be the best husband and father. That means watching my weight and attending to my health. That means eating right and working out regularly – habits that improve my overall well-being. By having clear systems, self-improvement is easier.
But I know exercising is good because it fulfills my life goal (to be virtuous and happy) and helps me with my obligations to my family. Also, exercise provides a clearer head which helps me sleep, and sleeping reduces my chance of anxiety and finding degenerate ways of regulating that anxiety.
Everything snowballs, and it all starts with defining your life.
Let’s Make 2023 Your Best Year
Happiness is achieved through self-improvement. No one feels better when they stagnate or wallow in their mediocrity.
The lie of the modern era is that comfort will bring you joy. No, it is only through productive discomfort, brought about by the honest pursuit of your most virtuous ends, you will experience true happiness.
- What do you hope to accomplish by the end of the year? How do your 2023 goals support your life goal?
- What’s one bad habit you want to rid yourself of this year? What makes it bad? What are the costs of this habit?
- How can you better appreciate your responsibilities instead of seeing them as a burden?
Here are some books from magnanimous individuals. There are more reading suggestions on the Reading List page.
Please remember that it’s important to do the actionables. You’re not on this earth to simply read but to do. To become an individual, you must act more than you consume.
*Image credit to Unsplash.