Becoming Your Best Self: Enhancing Your Optimisation and Performance in 2022
What does it mean to become the best version of yourself this year?
And so, the dawn of 2022 is upon us yet again. Many of us are still hours away from the New Year, whilst some of us are on the very precipice…depending on your time zone and the time at which you’ve opened this newsletter.
It’s the time where most of us are prepared to press ready, set, go on our elaborate plan towards the imagined ‘best version’ of ourselves.
But what does that really look like?
What does it mean to operate at your best? To function, as much as possible, to the best of your capability? To really press the gas pedal on fulfilling your potential?
Below, I’ll be outlining the key areas and the key focus points to help you achieve this.
Over the course of the next year, I’ll be doing deep dives on each area, unpacking key concepts, and articulating practical ways you can implement these focuses in your own life.
Improving Your Mental Performance
The core of your decision making faculties, the area that you need to function in order to…well, function. Improving your mental performance involves training the mind to optimise your output in all other spheres in your life.
We’ve been worked to death by productivity merchants and online coaches selling us snake oil. We’ve accumulated dust on our self-help books, which, mind you, we’ve never actually read cover-to-cover. We’ve over-complicated our conception of productive work to the point of catharsis.
It’s time to get to work.
Here’s what optimising your mental performance in 2022 looks like:
Improving your time management skills to enable more freedom: We won’t simply be focusing on increasing your capacity to do more work-related things. Far from it - effective time management in 2022 looks like increasing your time efficiency to allow you to do things you enjoy. That’s right - it’s about time you brought back your hobbies and quality time with loved ones. Time is arguably our most finite resource. Much like money, life tends to be better when we have more of it.
Efficiently increasing your overall output: The key word here? Efficiently. How many of us commit to arbitrary long hours of work to validate our output? We’re saying goodbye to unproductive long work hours, and hello to shorter, more efficient bursts of productive blocks where we can get into the long-coveted state of flow.
Leveraging systems and automation: The best way to get more out of your day by doing less? Leveraging systems and automation. We live in a digital, tech-obsessed age after all. This might look as arbitrary as using the full scope of your google calendar, crafting a solid morning and evening routine, or dedicating a half hour at lunch time to work through your emails. In 2022, we’re going to focus on creating effective systems, and automating menial, lengthy tasks.
Prioritising mental rest: My absolute favourite - we’re going to be prioritising mental rest. We’re going to make our peace with the incessant noise of 24-7 hustle culture, and move into a culture of hustle and rest. Mental downtime can improve cognitive function, attention, memory and overall mood. Performing at your best does not always look like working incessantly. Often, rest precedes your best.
“There is virtue in work, and there is virtue in rest. Use both, and overlook neither.”
Sharpening Your Emotional Intelligence
Emotions are important, needless to say. In an age where we sometimes hone in on our logical capabilities and reasoning, the role of emotions in the human experience cannot be understated.
Emotional intelligence allows you to understand yourself more acutely, build stronger relationships, and make more informed decisions about what matters most to you. Emotions serve as a means through which we navigate, and perhaps more importantly, understand the world and our experiences.
Here’s what optimising your emotional intelligence looks like in 2022:
Improving our emotional awareness: Recognising and processing emotions can be difficult, particularly when you are not in tune with your emotions in the first place. Emotional awareness is key to self awareness, and the capacity to identify and name emotions you feel, in response to stimuli, will help you unlock a deeper sense of self. I’ve included the emotion wheel, pioneered by Robert Plutchik, which is a means by which individuals can find descriptive words to identify the type of emotion (negative/ positive) and pinpoint the an associated word within these pools.
Improve our emotional antenna: Being able to better read our own emotions has the knock on effect of enabling us to better read others. Emotional intelligence goes far beyond unlocking the door to our inner self, but encompasses better understanding the mechanisms which facilitate function in others. Better understanding of others leads to more compassion, empathy, and better navigation tools when it comes to managing difficult situations in our lives.
Take charge of our relationships: From the platonic, to the romantic, to the professional - emotional intelligence is the underdog to ensuring that these relationships in your life are healthy and operating for your good. Operating at your emotional peak this year, involves you taking charge of your relationships and actively working towards optimum health in all these areas.
Working on Your Physical Wellness
I am big on physical wellness. It’s one of the most underrated forms of self-optimisation out there. Now, I’m not suggesting you go out and become a an athlete, but it is worth ensuring that you become far from sedentary, prioritise sleeping, and eat a nutritious, balanced diet.
I’m pretty sure you’re well acquainted with these truths, but just so that they’re not understated, here’s what working on your physical wellness looks like in 2022:
Prioritising rest and recovery: In 2022, we are prioritising physical wellness by taking the necessary rest when we need it. Often, we begin our quest towards physical health by running headfirst into an extreme diet and exercise plan, and forgo what we deem as unnecessary sleep. Research shows that the average adult needs an average of 7-9 hours of sleep per week. Studies also show that taking rest days from heavy exercise, can help restore glycogen, minimise the effects of inflammation, counteract negative mood shifts, and break through weight plateaus.
Ensuring that we move: Let’s take control of our sedentary lifestyles and make it our business to get moving. Resistance training, cardiovascular training, taking up a new sport, or simply going for more walks - we’re getting going! Studies also show that exercise can help improve your energy, mood and cognitive function.
Making better nutritional choices: It’s not just about aesthetics, and going topless/ wearing a two-piece on the beach in summer. It’s about ensuring you cultivate a culture of self-respect by inspecting what you put into your body, when. It’s about providing your body with adequate fuel and nutrients to operate effectively. Eating a whole foods diet can also have extensive benefits on your body, such as reducing inflammation, increasing your overall energy, and maintaining a healthy body composition.
The bottom line? Your body is your vessel. You only get one of them (as far as we know) and prioritising taking care of your physical wellness is at the crux of your success next year.
We’re dumping the fad diets and quick fixes in the bin. Optimising your physical wellness isn’t putting a bandaid on an open wound - it’s gritting your teeth, dealing with the infection, and committing to the process of healing.
Honing in on my physical wellness helped me achieve a lot of things that seemed crazy to me at the time. I dropped 40lbs, and worked my way up to being able to squat and deadlift over 100kg. I’m currently working on chin-ups (of which I can do 3-4) and pushups (of which I can rep 20).
What do you want to be able to do in 2022?
2022: The year you take more and more steps towards wellness, holistic health, and becoming the best version of you.
I hope this Optimise Me newsletter will be an essential part of that journey.
And of course, Happy New Year!