Be better today than you were yesterday and better tomorrow than you are today. — Lorenzo Snow
The only person that you need to be better than is the person you were yesterday.
How often do you see “inspirational” quotes like these floating through your feed?
The concept of constant and never-ending improvement is great in theory, but can set us up for unrealistic expectations.
Even if you’re competing only against yourself, you might end up disappointed if you’re trying to best your best self.
Your self of yesterday is not the same self as today.
Olympic swimmer Katie Ledecky won a gold medal in the 800 freestyle at the Tokyo Olympics, but she is still chasing the world record time that she set in 2016.
After a week of sitting out competition, Simone Biles ended the Olympics by winning a bronze medal on balance beam with a tempered down routine that had a lower start value than her previous routines.
Sometimes we ask, did you do your best?
Maybe the answer is a brutally honest, I didn’t do the best that I know I’m capable of doing.
In that case, perhaps change the question:
Did you do the best that you can do right now?
In any moment, the best we can do is meet ourselves where we are with compassion and acceptance for where we are.
Life doesn’t move backward, so it’s futile to hold on to your accomplishments from the past. Instead, embrace where you are right now and chart a course from the present into a new future.
don’t strive to improve
accept yourself where you are
do your best for now