By Lolly Daskal
We all tend to believe who we are today is the same person we were 10 years ago and the same person we’re likely to be 10 years from now. But if you think about it, there’s a good chance that you’re a very different person than you were 10 years ago—and that means there’s an equally good chance that you’ll be a very different person in the future.
We consider who we are in the present moment to be the true version of who we really are, but as human beings we are all works in progress, constantly changing and growing.
Growth may be inescapable, but it doesn’t have to be something that just happens to you—it’s something you can direct and control. And if you want to become the best version of yourself, you need to let go of the shackles of today and take charge of your own growth for tomorrow. Here are some good starting points:
Stop labeling yourself. Many of us look back at who we’ve been and decide that’s who we are. Too often that label is tied to some negative trait or experience—but even when it isn’t, it doesn’t leave you much room to change or grow. When you take on a label, you start looking at reality in a way that confirms that label, and you gradually dismiss any alternatives. Who you were may be a part of who you are and who you’re becoming, but it’s not the whole story or your destiny.
Reimagine your future self. Change the story you tell yourself about your future. Instead of thinking about who you think you’ll become, ask yourself who you want to become. Make conscious, intentional choices about the direction of your growth and establish clear goals to shape the process. We are all in a constant state of becoming, so shape your behavior not around your past but around your desired future self.
Measure your development. To take even more control of your growth, make regular measurements of the gaps between who you are and who you’re working to become. Once you’re feeling more at home with the distinction between your present and future selves, you can start to make more detailed comparisons and identify the areas you want to focus on.
Create desired outcomes. We’re driven by all kinds of motivators—from faith and hope to obligation and ambition to the desire for something new. Lean into the motivators that will help you reach the future self you desire. When your future is clear, your behavior will reflect that clarity.
As we all know, change is inevitable and growth is unavoidable—but that doesn’t mean it’s out of our control.
Lead from within: The best way to take control is to be deliberate about who you want to become and start behaving today for your future identity.