How To Be The Best Version Of You A Lot More Often

Happy Woman

“In chaos, there is fertility.” ~Anaïs Nin

Are you a calm creature in your yoga class, then you get home and yell at your kids?

Do you ever read a really inspirational book or blog and think, “Yes! That makes total sense, and I’m going to start doing that!” Then life gets busy and it never quite happens?

Do you ever feel like you’re two different people living in the same body? Saying one thing, doing another?

Me too.

For the past fifteen years I’ve been a self-development junkie.

I’ve read tons of books and I’ve attended courses and loads of amazing workshops. These covered everything from parenting to time management, relationships to getting organized, healthy eating to setting up a business, plus anything to do with spirituality and personal growth.

All of these have inspired me with an array of fantastic ideas—but often they remained just ideas, floating around in my head without any action plan behind them.

On the mat at my local yoga center I was the calm, peaceful, positive soul I craved to be. Yet, when I got home and re-entered my chaotic reality, it felt like just a temporary illusion.

I was straight back to my grumpy, irritable, impatient “other self.”

What was wrong with me? How could I be so Jekyll and Hyde?

How could I more consistently be the “me” I loved being around?

I was writing in my journal one day when I began to list the qualities I show when I’m being my best version of me.

  • Kind
  • Lighthearted
  • Playful
  • Calm
  • Relaxed
  • Positive
  • Present

I knew what brought out the best in me—yoga, inspiring workshops, running in nature, laughing with friends, dancing my socks off, getting stuck in an amazing book.

Then I listed what the poor version of me looks like.

  • Irritable
  • Impatient
  • Snappy
  • Short-fused
  • Negative
  • Mind spinning in overdrive!

I asked myself, “What brings out the poor version of me?”

  • Feeling overwhelmed, with a lot on my plate
  • Too much on my mind, trying to figure things out in my head
  • Rushed, running late
  • Tired
  • Not enough “me” time

And it occurred to me that, since I know what brings out the worst in me, why not look at each of these things and find ways to make them happen less often?

I realized that I needed to get a handle on the day-to-day “running the show” stuff.

To tackle overwhelm and having too much on my plate, I began to take a deep look at my time management. I learned how to say “no,” to delegate, and to structure my days better.

I began to prepare for success by meal planning, laying clothes out for myself and the kids the night before, and always thinking one step ahead about what I’d need to take with me before going out the door, so I could feel calm and confident that I wasn’t forgetting anything.

I began to feel less rushed. I was on time.

Then I got back into a regular journal writing habit. I also had weekly scheduled brain-dumps to get things out of my head and onto paper so I could figure things. I crafted step-by-step action plans to get organized and on top of everything that needed doing.

Instead of spending my evenings slumped in front of the TV or scrolling mindlessly on my phone, I started having regular candlelit baths and getting into bed earlier, curled up with a good book.

It was the “me” time I always craved but never thought I had space in my day for. And I was consistent with it. I was finally implementing a lot of the great things I’d read about (hurrah!), and I felt the best version of me coming out more often.

Once I got on top of the logistics, I felt less stressed and overwhelmed. It was easier to be more mindful and present. I began a daily practice of checking in with myself, asking, “How am I feeling?” listening to the answers and using them to guide me.

After a lifetime of telling myself “I’m not a morning person,” I began to wake fifteen minutes before the children and used this quiet time to write in a gratitude journal or meditate using an app on my phone.

It’s helped me stop being so cranky at breakfast and send my kids off to school peacefully, and with love.

It took recognizing what brings out the worst in me to turn things around. It didn’t happen overnight, but by taking baby steps in the right direction I got there.

Now I’m able to be my best version of me in my everyday life—not just on the yoga mat.

If you want to be your best version of you more often, write your answers to the following questions:

I feel like my best version of me when…

How I feel about myself when I’m the best version of me…

It’s easier to be my best version of me when…

I’m a poor version of me when… 

What can I learn from these insights? What new habits can I create to make it easier to be my best version of me?

Inspired actions I will take this week:




Share in the comments below: What brings out your best and worst you? What can you do to bring out your best self more often?

Happy woman image via Shutterstock

About Kelly Pietrangeli

Kelly Pietrangeli is the creator of Project Me for Busy Mothers, helping women find a happier balance between the kids - and everything else. Mixing practicality with self-awareness, Kelly helps mothers get on top of their endless to-do’s and see life beyond the laundry pile. Grab her free Life Wheel Tool for discovering what needs your focus first.

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  • Chris Kriag

    Hey Kelly, you’re story is a lot like me. I try to improve myself. Want to go for workout, but the mind always says next time. Sometimes I feel why things aren’t working well and I have realize that the mind is one thing which stop us from our goal. Do you have any remedy for this?

  • Melanie

    You say some good things. But it sounds like you have an entirely different problem on your hands. If you’re getting snappy and irritable, I imagine you are probably like my boyfriend and you get snappy and irritable over things that are truly inconsequential in the end. If that’s the case, you’ve got a lot more work to do. Try losing everything you thought gave your life meaning… the harried, overbooked, self-important schedule, failing that big exam, losing your cute apartment in the hip part of town, no job, no money. And then tell me how I can be the best version of myself under those circumstances. I will say this: losing everything forces you to dig deeper into your soul, and you really do learn what is most important. Health, family, love, faith/confidence, sleep, and the ability to still laugh at myself or otherwise. Life isn’t all about figuring out how to bring happenstance more within your control. It is a lot about learning to let happenstance be itself, and either not letting the bad get to you or enjoying any unexpected gifts or lessons it may hold. You’re a Type-A; I get it. But the world is a very big place, and there is only so much power you can have over it.

  • Abby

    Hi Kelly, Thank you for that post it was brilliant. I l have been rather overwhelmed recently. I’ve moved into a new apartment with my partner. We also work together. So getting any time to myself almost never happens. I’m still trying to find that balance between home and work. Although thanks toyour super brilliant post. I will start checking in with myself more often and try to be my best self as much as I can.
    Thanks again
    Abby 🙂

  • I realized that the secret of becoming the greatest version of yourself is to let go of whatever doesn’t serve you. But it’s also about where you place your focus.

    You turn into what you’re tuned into.

    Additionally, many people do not feel they deserve to be great, they do not feel worthy. So, to become the greatest version of yourself, you have to say “I am worthy”.

    The perception you have of yourself is greater than the perception other people have of you. To allow yourself to become the greatest version of yourself you have to strip away the layers until you reach your true authenticity.

    Finally you have to let go of whatever people think of you. You can’t control that.

  • KayJay149

    Thanks so much for this post! Could you share what app you use to meditate?

  • Eric O. Nelson, III

    Kelly, this is very helpful. It should be noted that men have all the same issues. We try to fix everything and we try to do it on time. We think of ourselves as problem solvers so any problem that can’t be solved immediately is an issue.

    I personally resonated with the action items -these are things that can make a difference for me. I like the idea of writing down what works and what does not work and then addressing it individually. These are very helpful thoughts.

    I also enjoyed one of the previous poster’s comments about being worthy. Having joy and happiness in your life has a lot to do with our own interpretation of being worthy. This is an area that I think is very very helpful to most of us.

    thank you for the posting and for sharing. I really enjoy this article.

  • lv2terp

    Great post! I love how you broke things out so clearly and concise! 🙂 Thank you for sharing your wisdom! 🙂 Fantastic perspective and practice!

  • ccrgirl

    The best article I’ve ever read on tinybuddha!

    Feeling overwhelmed, taking too much responsibility, losing my cool over the things I cannot change, not enough ‘me’ time, those are the things that bring out the worst in me. When I engage in reading, walking in nature, creating jewelry, accepting life as it is, knowing I can only change my attitude, that’s when I feel at home. It’s not always easy to practice being the best version of yourself, but your tips are spot on and I’m fitting them into my everyday schedule.

    Thank you!

  • Hi Kelly
    I loved reading this post and I think it will resonate with a lot of people. I think a lot of us have that experience of taking in all this information in its various forms, and it can easily trick us into think we are becoming different but when we step back, we realize we have been engaging in a whole lot of ‘doing’ in terms of ingesting information but not a whole lot of ‘being.
    I love the idea of making that list…anything that gets us off auto-pilot and thinking deliberately is going to be super helpful. In many ways, changing presents its challenges but in many other ways, it is easier than we think. We just need some practice in gaining control of our thoughts and choosing to focus more positively. We are so conditioned to let outside circumstances control how we feel and being in a constant state of reactivity. This article is a great reminder that we can change that. Great stuff!

  • Keya Williams

    Beautifully written. I can relate to all of this and having a “system” of when you will fit the important things in to my schedule has been a life saver. I”m also realizing that some “moodiness” is just a part of the human experience so I give myself a break more if i’m in a bad mood instead of feeling like i ALWAYS have to be positive. Being angry, sad, annoyed etc is normal human emotion. When I started to embrace that fact some of the overwhelm also disappeared.

  • Inge Scott

    I thought I was the only one! I will do what you suggest starting right now. It’s my pre-New Years Eve resolution. Thank you for sharing 🙂

  • Question for you Kelly, when you did your scheduled brain dumps, what did you do with what was dumped out of your brain? Did you take that piece of paper and create action steps for each item? Did you crumple the paper up and recycle? Store the file in a “black hole” or “get to later” file? Very curious to learn your process. Thanks.

  • I agree! We have to love ourselves before we can be our best self. Letting go of what others think of us is a huge challenge too, but it’s such a relief once you can manage this more consistently.

  • That is a huge compliment given the amount of wonderful content on this site. Thank you for your kind words. 🙂

  • You’re welcome! Thank you for reading. Here’s to your best version of YOU. x

  • Eric, thanks for pointing out that men and women both face these issues. I’m glad you like the idea of writing down what works and what doesn’t for you – now it’s time to put the idea into ACTION 🙂

  • Hi Chris, for me what works is to write down my intentions – what is it I really want to do? Why do I want to do it? Once I have clarity around why it’s actually important to me, I then create a step by step action plan. Using the example you’ve given here of wanting to go for a workout, but then not actually doing it – try writing down the benefits of working out and why you want to do it. Then brainstorm some workouts that’ll be fun/challenging/motivating. Then schedule them into your calendar and treat them like the important appointments they are. Get some accountability if you can (a friend, partner) and tell them what you’re goal is each week and that you WILL stick to it (or they can kick your butt) 😉 Ideas are just ideas until we get some clarity around them and make a plan of action. Good luck!

  • I love it that this has inspired you pre-New Year’s Eve Inge 🙂 Here’s to an amazing year ahead!

  • Such a good point Kaya! Our fluctuating moods are a perfectly healthy part of life. It’s only when our bad moods seem disproportionate to our good moods that we need to take a deeper look at why and see what we can do to about it. Thank you for reading!

  • What a wonderful comment Kelli. So true!

    Thank you for taking the time to read and comment. Here’s to your best version of you!! xx

  • Hi KayJay, At the moment I’ve been using Deepak Chopra’s app Meditation Experience that I downloaded when he was running his free 30 day Challenge. I went on to buy a library of his guided meditations because they are just so good! I’m also looking at other apps in the New Year and have heard good things about Headspace.

  • You’re so welcome! Yes, living and working with a partner means it’s essential you carve out some ME time where you can have some space to check in with yourself. I’d suggest taking yourself off to a coffee shop with a cozy sofa and a journal. Just go through each area of your life (health, family, love, work, money, personal growth, productivity/organization and fun/friendships) and ask yourself how each one’s going. If you get to any areas that could use some focus/improvement, brainstorm some idea and make a plan of action! Good luck Abby! x

  • Hi Melanie, thanks so much for sharing your take on this. We all come at it from different places and it’s always interesting to see what works or doesn’t work for someone else. Sending you love! xx

  • Melanie

    Thank you. I am grateful for your kindness and understanding.

  • Kelly I am very much with you! I really love your idea of brain dumps. I do these when I feel like things are about to spin out of control and I find them so helpful, but I really like your suggestion to schedule them in routinely. I’ll try (i.e. I WILL) to do them weekly and see if that frequency works for me 🙂 Is this also when you work on your to-do list, or do you have a different system for this? Thanks again for the great article – sharing it now.

  • Oooh amazing post Kelly! Isn’t it interesting how we have to “unlock” one level before the next level will present itself in our quest for a better version of ourselves? Its fascinating that these levels are cumulative in the sense that skill set, intuition and confidence are gained with each passing level preparing you for the next.

    Unlike that movie Limitless there is no way that we can take a pill that will allow us to put in a cheat code for life. Or like winning the lottery: you are suddenly ‘there’ but you have learned nothing from the experience because the “cost” of of this windfall was the experience that you would have gained.

    Keep up the great thinking Kelly–and cheers to our next versions for 2015!

  • Hi Catarina! My brain dumps can often lead into to-do lists once I break down whatever’s going on, such as overwhelm. The more I journal, the more in touch with myself I am and the faster the process gets.

    I love that you caught yourself out when you said I’ll ‘try’ and then quickly changed it to i WILL! I too am working on elimanting I’ll try from my vocab. It’s so wishy-washy isn’t it?

    Thanks for sharing this article with your peeps 🙂

  • Thanks for the lovely words Marc! And you had me at mentioning the movie Limitless! For some reason that movie grabbed my attention and I’ve ended up enthralled it in each and every time they re-run it on TV. No magic pills for me – I’m doing it the natural way 😉

  • Michelle

    Love that you actually spell out your strategies, not just a general sentence “have more time for yourself”. So many articles just skim over the “how” part of change so this was really refreshing actually a good starting point. Will definitely try over the next few weeks. Thanks!

  • So many things go into becoming the greatest version of ourselves:

    Who we want to be
    Who we associate with
    What action we are taking
    Where we see ourselves
    What will fill our minds with
    How much exercise we are getting
    What we spend our spare time doing
    Our goals
    Our vision

    And it is our job to keep them all in alignment. The only way to keep them in alignment is to focus on what is important and what isn’t. If your goal is to become a world renown surfer, then television probably doesn’t serve you. However, if you want to become a reporter, it probably wouldn’t hurt to research what other reporters are doing that is working.

    Model yourself after the person/persons that you desire to be. Pay special attention to the things that got them to where they are.

  • Atanas Tetevensky

    I think it’s stupid to think other people will teach you how to be the best you, they’re telling you how to be the best them.The fact that you have your own opinion and way of living makes you the best you.

  • Susan Carey CLC,MCL

    I am my very worst when I am mad at me. When I over reat. When I don’t get outside and move my body. Or any other time I refused to do what is needed for my self care.