break your own records

This year, break your own records

Breaking our own records help us aim higher and reach for our full potential. It also helps us stay motivated to act on our dreams, old and new.

With every new year beginning, I feel this unexplained excitement towards it. Like it contains within it new chances, fresh strength and high hopes. The twelve months give me a reason to start over, make it the best January I have ever lived, the best February and so on. I almost want the things I do to become stories that I later tell my grandchildren about. While this level of optimism might be the stuff of fairy tales, the emotion I feel has come to me repeatedly with every passing year. What I have realized is that this excitement is actually the will to break my own records. Do better, be better.

Most of us will agree that wanting to break your own records is a good thing. Apart from helping us aim higher and reach for our full potential, it also helps us stay motivated to act on our dreams, old and new. It keeps us positive. But most importantly, it keeps the competition with oneself alive. Not the external world, the fight to be better should be with our own selves. Be a better version of what we were from yesterday. Breaking one’s own records is a grand way to live life.

But just like this understanding came to me after years of wondering, it may take time to understand how exactly we can go about breaking our own records. Many of us might even feel we have no records to begin with. But that is not true. Each of us is living a life that is carved out especially for us. Our hits and losses make us who we are. So instead of wondering away some good years or feeling demotivated, here are a few time tested ways to breaking your own records.

Make a solid plan

It is very important to be clear and not vague. Simply because I couldn’t explain my hopes and aspirations in a tangible manner, I stayed ambiguous about my potential. So, sit and think very clearly on the subjects you are good at and want to be better at.

Is it money? If yes, then how much money in the coming year do you want to earn? Will this amount include your leisurely pursuits? Will this amount also help you in the case of an emergency? Will there be comfortable savings at the end of the year, after you are done getting everything you hoped? Make a solid plan that breaks up the dream into smaller parts. How you earn the money and where it goes are the two important points your plan has to answer.

Similarly, every record of yours that you hope to break, must have a solid plan in order to be executed successfully.

Go for that one difficult dream

So you may have achieved a lot in your life. Earned accolades, got promotions, lead teams, started a family. There may be tons of things that you are proud of. But there is always that one tiny thing that you either regret or keep for later.

For instance, my neighbor recently retired as the headmistress of a school. She is a proud teacher, having lead thousands of children through education to a bright future. She is, today, a happy and content senior citizen and yet one thing that keeps coming up in all her conversations is how she never found the time to pursue fitness. Now, after retiring, her regret has fuelled her to start running marathons. Not to win or get appreciation from her family, completing every marathon she participates in is her only desire. She wants to break her own records, not Usain Bolt’s. Today, her conversations also have her marathon stories in them and she shares them proudly.

Life cannot be figured out with numbers and statistics. Not every record has to have a profitability attached to it. One must chase some dreams that refuse to go even when we are awake. So get hold of that dream and make it possible for yourself to achieve.

Competition with who? Look in the mirror.

Breaking your own records is a healthy practice. It makes us look inwards, polish our own selves instead of languishing at the thought of comparison with others. A child who performs well in mathematics is not competition for a child who is gifted in language. Similarly, a peer, who is a corporate leader stands no comparison with one who is working in an NGO that supports the marginalized. Each of us is gifted in a field where we practice and excel. So it is this field in which we need to keep getting better at. Our competition is not with anyone in the world but with the one looking back at us when we stand in front of a mirror.

All of us have a number of things we do and are good at. For some, its writing, for others it fashion. Some can paint, others can crunch numbers. Many among these are also good at yoga or singing. Some share the common love for trekking. The world has enough space for all of us to improve in our chosen fields simultaneously without getting in each other’s way. Competition is a word that you need to wrestle with only when it comes to you. At all other instances, it’s a term that’s bound to bring you sorrow. So compete with yourself, not others.

An essential part of happiness

We all need to outdo our old records in order to live. It isn’t a luxury but a necessity to live a fulfilling life. Simply answer this – would you be happy to do or follow the same things all your life? Would you like to be in the same position at work as long as you work? Would you want the same smartphone for the rest of your life? Would you like to stay in the same city and never travel to any new place ever? There is an old saying that goes – a rolling stone gathers no moss. This saying means that a stone that keeps moving and doesn’t stagnate doesn’t let moss collect over it.

So to live a life that makes you happy and others around you feel glad to know you or love you, it is important to keep outdoing yourself and breaking your old records. If you are a musician who makes western music, there will come a time when you will want to learn the basics of classical music. If you are a teacher who teaches primary students, a day will come when you will want to upgrade your knowledge to the education more at par with the times. It is natural to want to keep building on oneself, provided we have a solid base underneath us. So the path to happiness is through breaking one’s own records.

Get help, journey together

Working at improving ourselves or breaking our own records in life doesn’t mean we have to do it alone. It is a game changer that works effectively only when we know how to use all the resources we have in our lives. Resources can be anything – the knowledge we earn, the connections we make, the friends we win. When the time comes, each of these resources helps us take the game a notch higher.

Imagine that you want to start your own business. It has been a dream you have nurtured since college. Over the years, you have gained the experience to start one, but without the support of several other people and factors, your ship wont set sail. From finding a place to set your business up, taking the required loan to invest to networking with all the connections who are related to your field of work, there are tons of resources you need to utilize to be successful. So while you go breaking your previous record of being a great employee to starting your own business, you will also need others to help you get there.

There is no hard and fast rule to achieving goals alone and there is no space for ego while creating something of purpose in life. So go ahead, take the advice of your friends, meet the neighbourhood uncle for suggestions, go to your professor for mentorship – choose wisely and climb the ladder of success by getting the help you need.

At the end of the day, breaking your own records comes down to having a winning mind-set in life. One can benefit fully from these methods only when one plans to be consistent, positive and driven while being aware of the challenges that come their way from time to time. Slowly but steadily, it is the tortoise who has a plan that wins the race.




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