The Psychology of Challenges: Why Do Challenges Work?

Everywhere you look, you’ll find a challenge.

Pushup challenge. Mental toughness challenge. Digital declutter challenge. Meditation challenge. And on and on and on.

So, I was curious…

Do these challenges actually work? Why do so many exist? Are they an effective way to change behavior? And, if so, how can we continue to implement the desired behavior even when the challenge is over?

How do these challenges work?

Typically, a challenge is associated with a timeframe.

75HARD (75 days), Whole30 (30 days).

You engage in the behavior(s) you want to change for a set amount of time. You are making no commitments about what you’ll do after the time period is up.

These challenges are typically associated with behavior that has long term benefits but might be more difficult to do in the short term. (For example, I have yet to hear of a “30-Day Check Social Media Challenge” or a “30-Day Smoking Challenge.”)

Seems simple enough, right?

How long does it take to form a habit?

To understand these challenges, it might first make sense to explore habits.

Because the purpose of a challenge, after all, is to change your habits.

Sometimes, it’s to change your habits for a specific time period but, most likely, it’s to change your habits for the long term.

You are doing X but doing Y might prove more beneficial.

So, the question becomes, how many days does it take for you to build a habit?

Many people believe it is 21 days.

The “21 days” myth comes from Maxwell Maltz – a plastic surgeon in the 1950s – who wrote a best-selling book called Psycho-Cybernetics.

In the book, he suggested it took a minimum of 21 days for his patients to notice the physical changes that were made. Along with his own observations about himself, he stated:

“These, and many other commonly observed phenomena tend to show that it requires a minimum of about 21 days for an old mental image to dissolve and a new one to jell.”

It wasn’t 21 days. It was a minimum of 21 days.

It turns out the research backs this up.

A 2009 study on habit formation might be the best indicator Maltz was onto something.

It took individuals anywhere from 18 to 254 days for the behavior in the study to be considered a habit. On average, it took participants 66 days for the habit to form.

Perhaps the most interesting part about this study was that missing one opportunity to perform a behavior did not affect the habit formation process.

Meaning, if you goal is to go to the gym three times per week, and you only go twice, there’s no reason to beat yourself up. From a practical perspective (there’s nothing you can do about it now, just focus on the next action). But, also from a scientific one as well (it will have no impact on your long-term goal of going three times per week).

Why do these challenges exist in the first place?

1.  It’s good marketing.

The reason it’s popular is because it’s easy to market.

10 days. 21 days. 30 days.

These are all figures we can wrap our heads around.

Have you heard of a 66-day challenge though?

Of course not.

Even though the study quoted above found this is the amount of time, on average, it takes to form a habit… it doesn’t sound as good.

2. The frog in boiling water.

There was once a popular notion that if you stuck a frog in a pot of boiling water, it would jump out. But if you put a frog in medium temperature water and slowly increased the temperature to boiling hot, it would stay in the pot and boil to death. (Although modern science has disproved this fable, it is this same principle that is at work when you are trying to change your habits.)

If someone wants you to engage in a different behavior, it’d be hard for them to say…

“Do this forever!”

That would be the equivalent of sticking you in boiling hot water. You’d never want to do it. It seems hard.

Instead, they change their approach…

“Try this for 30 days.”

This is the implicit agreement you are making when you decide to do the challenge is that it won’t be forever.

It seems easy. It seems doable.

But perhaps by the time the 30 days is complete, you could actually see yourself doing the challenge “forever.”

3. It helps those around us understand.

Jordan Syatt is a personal trainer.

In 2019, he made the decision not to drink alcohol. It’s not that he was addicted to alcohol. He simply found the behavior unnecessary and expensive. He wanted to change it.

His anecdotal evidence about his own experience is certainly interesting…

When he was at the bar, he would tell the people he was with he wasn’t drinking.

But it was hard for them to accept…

They tried to pressure him into having a drink: “C’mon man! Have a drink. It won’t kill you!”

However, when he told people it was a “challenge,” they understood and didn’t question it.

Now, of course, Jordan is a sample size of one.

But it does help explain the psychology of challenges, why they work, and why they are so popular.

They are not just for us, but to help explain in a succinct way to other people why we’re not acting like them in that particular moment.

What are the downsides to challenges?

1. Psychologically, it creates a light switch in your head.

There is the time you are “on the challenge” and time you are “off the challenge.”

This is potentially troubling.

Yo-yo dieting is a cycle in which something triggers you to lose weight, which causes you to start an exercise/diet plan, you lose some weight, then life gets in the way and your old eating habits return.

The problem with yo-yo dieting is you only introduce healthy eating habits and exercise when you have a problem. This means constantly experiencing drastic fluctuations in weight, going up and down – like a yo-yo.

When you are “off the diet,” you feel free reign to eat anything you want and stop exercising. When you are “on the diet,” you strictly adhere to everything.

Challenges may work in similar ways. Instead of adapting the habits for a better life indefinitely, we assign days to be “on” or “off”. Then, when the day the challenge is over, it gives us the “out” to go back to our normal habits.

2. Habit change may not have occurred by the time you are done with the challenge.

As we know, it might take anywhere from 18 to 254 days for a habit to form, depending on the individual and the habit.

Many challenges you’ll find are on the shorter timeframe – 10 days, 28 days, 30 days. As previously discussed though, there are few people who are marketing a 66-day challenge. This is, on average, how long it takes for habits to form. But it’s not catchy though.

3. A challenge might give you a “quick fix,” but will it create sustainable progress?

Take a 10-Day Juice Fast, for example.

Although you will certainly lose weight if you follow this protocol, will it make you more likely to binge on Day 11?

Our society often rewards short-term fixes as opposed to slower and more sustainable.

How can we continue to implement the desired behavior after the challenge is over?

The intent of challenges is to change behavior.

If we accept the purpose of a challenge is not to only do the activity while doing the challenge, but also when you’re off the challenge – then we must consider how to optimize for when you’re off it.

1. Associate triggers for certain activities.

Before we do certain activities, we are triggered to do them. Sometimes, these triggers are conscious. Other times, we are completely unaware of them.

For example, some people take pre-workout powder before they go to the gym. This is their cue that they are about to exercise.

How you can apply it: Let’s say your challenge is a 30-day workout challenge. Consciously make your cue something easy. Something as simple as putting on your gym clothes or listening to a song. Then, immediately after you do this, go to the gym or start your exercise. This way, you will associate putting on your workout clothes or listening to a specific song (something that takes little effort) with doing the workout (something that may seem hard). Once you’ve made this mental connection, you will associate your trigger with the actual task you want to accomplish even when your challenge is complete.

2. Use the Paperclip Strategy (via James Clear).

Trent Dyrsmid was a rookie stockbroker, so nobody expected much out of him in Canada. But he quickly closed big deals, rising through the ranks of his company.

So, what was his strategy?

Here’s what he did:

He would begin each morning with 120 paper clips in one jar. Then, as he made sales calls, he would move the 120 paper clips from one jar to the other.

This visual cue was enough to make a massive difference.

How you can apply it: If you are doing a 30-day challenge, have a paperclip for each day. Then, add some more paperclips. The key is to add more than the number of days the challenge is for. After the 30 days are complete, you will be inclined to keep putting paperclips from one jar to the other.

3. The “10 Minute Rule.”

This rule takes advantage of Newton’s first law of motion:

Object at rest stays at rest, and an object in motion stays in motion.

If you don’t feel like doing an activity, try doing it for only 10 minutes. Give yourself absolute permission to stop.

The reason why challenges often exist is because they make us do hard things we otherwise wouldn’t want to do.

But if you only have to do an activity for 10 minutes…

Often, you’ll want to keep going.

I shamelessly stole this from Josiah Novak (who first tweeted about it on April 22, 2019):

How you can apply it: Let’s say your challenge is reading 10 pages per day for 28 days. After the month is complete, try getting yourself to read for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, you can stop.

***

If you used this post to help you make a decision on whether or not you should pursue a challenge, drop a comment down below.

Why A Holocaust Survivor & Navy SEAL Share The Same Mindset (Thoughts on COVID-19)

Light can come out of darkness.

The statement might seem odd.

But our world is facing a particularly troubling reality. The likes of which we have not seen in generations.

It is a dark reality.

However, if history is any indication, lightness will come out of the dark.

Viktor Frankl once wrote:

“We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”

Frankl is describing the light that occurred during one of the darkest periods of humanity – the Holocaust.

In his book, Man’s Search for Meaning, Frankl outlined the notion that human beings can withstand the most brutal forms of darkness so long as they can imagine a brighter future.

The situation we face today is not the Holocaust. It is not human beings torturing and killing other human beings.

However, it is darkness, nonetheless.

It appears out of darkness, infinite wisdom can come.

Because there is another man, who has come face-to-face some of the darkest aspects of human nature.

His name is Jocko Willink.

He created a video entitled “GOOD.

More than ever, the video applies to our present conditions today.

The premise is this:

“When things are going bad, there’s going to be some good that comes from it.”

Jocko addresses the reality:

If you can say the word “GOOD,” guess what? It means you’re still alive. It means you’re still breathing. And if you’re still breathing, well then hell, it means you got some fight left in you. So, get up, dust off, reload, recalibrate, reengage. And go out on the attack.”

Jocko is a light that has come out of the Iraq War.

Personal Perspective on COVID-19

Now, I’ve lived quite a sheltered life compared to the men highlighted above. These are two brilliant thinkers, who have been through some real shit.

I’m grateful for their ideas, because, in many ways, my philosophies have been shaped by them.

But nonetheless, two different friends have asked me…

What’s your take on this whole situation?

First off, it’s gratitude. It starts with gratitude. It always starts with gratitude, right? Grateful that I got the opportunity to go to sports games with them. Grateful that I got the opportunity to go to bars with them. Grateful that, at one point, we could enjoy each other’s company without a care in the world. Grateful for what appeared normal. Grateful they are safe, in this moment, because this moment is all there is.

Secondly, it’s that life will get better. As a society, we will find ways to adapt. And although it may not be easy, we will grow from this. We will take advantage of new technologies, we will figure out new ways of doing things, and we will become stronger.

This, I am absolutely sure of.

All we need to do is look at the past 20 years. Since 2000, the world has been shocked twice. First, 9/11. Second, the 2008 recession. If you are able to use these two as case studies, you can see that the world did in fact “revert back to normal.”

Who knows if the reality we live in past 2020 will be what we considered normal before, but we shall keep in mind that this, too, will pass.

At this moment, the world might appear dark.

If previous examples tell us anything, it’s that the darkness will eventually evaporate. And we will overcome.

But, now, more than ever, you can be a beacon of light.

You can be someone who spreads love, even if just for a second.

Because that second can bring someone joy for longer than we might be able to comprehend.

No story better illustrates that concept than this one:

The city of Leningrad was surrounded for 872 days by Germany during World War II. It caused extreme famine due to the loss of utilities, water, energy, and food supply.

During that time, a young girl went out to pick up her serving of bread.

After she picked it up, she fell on the slippery roads. Her bread dropped into the mud.

She wept.

Another woman walked up behind the young girl. The older woman picked the young girl up. She tore her own bread in half and gave the piece to the young girl.

Afterward, the young girl said that the older woman’s gesture gave her the spirit to continue on for the next year and a half.

This is why, always, it is important to be kind to our fellow human being.

Opportunities like today, where the world is going through pain, remind us how important it is to pick each other up when we fall.

Practical Ways To Become The Light

The question becomes…

How can you become that light?

Here are some tools that have helped me (that I go back to whenever I feel darkness creeping in):

  • Stop for a minute, twenty, or sixty. You can call it meditating if you want. Limit your inputs to connect you to all that there is. This has been the best way I’ve found to reset in these hectic times.
  • Go outside. Observe nature. If you stay inside all day, you’ll lose your mind. Smile at the diversity of all that was created before you were born and all there will be after you die.
  • Feel the presence of your neighbors outside. Give them a smile. Say hi. Saying hello to others connects us.
  • Understand routines might be broken. Smile at your old habits and help yourself create new ones. Maybe these will better serve you?
  • Reach out to friends and family you haven’t spoken to in a while. Especially your grandparents or older relatives. People are more isolated than ever before, but we don’t need to be more disconnected as well.
  • Offer to get groceries for your elderly neighbors. They might not be able to go to the supermarket. And they’ll appreciate it.
  • Remind yourself to smile at least three times per day. It’s been proven scientifically that smiling creates happiness. Which is weird. Try being unhappy while smiling. It’s more difficult than you think.
  • Stay active. I’ve never done home workouts for any significant amount of time until recently. It’s been nice to use this as a time to be productive, not to wallow.
  • Do a challenge. You can do 75HARD (there’s no better time) or create/make your own. Get some likeminded people and be accountable to each other. That way you’ll stay connected while moving yourself forward in some way.

Examples of Lightness in the Dark

You don’t need to search far or wide to find examples of lightness throughout the world in these dark times.

Here are some examples of it:

  • Woman Helps Elderly Couple Buy Groceries

Even though business is down 45% for The Curry Pizza Co., that didn’t stop owner Malhi Singer from sending pizzas to all health care workers for a week.

“We see all the (healthcare) industry working hard right now, and everybody else is sitting at home,” Singer said. “They don’t have a choice to sit home.”

  • Neighbors Open Windows, Cheer for Health Care Workers And Spread Music

In cities across the world, neighbors have opened their windows to communicate. Together, they spread music, joy, and appreciation for workers on the front lines.

  • Gary Vaynerchuk Looks to Donate Masks to Hospitals While Helping People Who Lost Jobs

*

You don’t need to have money to be a light in this world.

You actually don’t need to have anything at all.

You simply need to open yourself to the possibility of holding love.

The rest will take care of itself.

How To Change Your Life In 75 Days (14 Reasons Why 75HARD Really Works)

Andy Frisella designed a program called 75HARD.

For 75 days straight, you have to:

  1. Take a progress photo.
  2. Workout twice/day (once outside).
  3. Read 10 pages of a non-fiction or self-help book.
  4. Drink 1 gallon of water.
  5. Follow a nutrition plan (no alcohol).

Easy enough, eh?

When I was on the program from September to December 2019, I noticed the benefits almost immediately.

After the program was over, I stopped doing everything on that list consistently.

And it showed.

Since that time, my grit decreased. My workouts have not been as productive. My mind has weakened.

So, I’ve spent some time reflecting on why the program works (because it really does).

1. Your “diet” is more than food.

When most people think of “diet,” they think of only the food they consume. And that certainly plays a big role.

But after doing this program, I realized your diet is everything you consume on a daily basis.

Every piece of content you consume. Every text/phone call you receive. The amount of exercise you do. How much sunlight you get. The meditation you practice. How much social media you consume.

Food is a part of the game – there’s no doubt about it. But it’s a smaller part of your overall diet than you might realize.

2. Struggle creates strength.

If you’re looking for direction, purpose, or a journey…

Look no further.

The truth is in modern-day America, life is easy (okay, maybe pre-coronavirus).

We have the internet. You can order anything you want – at a push of a button, in seconds… and it’ll just show up. Never before in human history has life been this convenient.

But doing the five things outlined in 75HARD forces you to go through some struggle. It forces life to be a little more difficult than you’re used to. Which helps increase your grit muscle.

Which makes you stronger.

3. Do one thing right, do many things right.

Momentum is a helluva drug.

When you’re doing one thing right, it’s easy to do the next thing right.

Why is that?

I believe it’s because doing the right thing builds up your Self-Image as someone who does what they’re supposed to do. If you start to believe it’s in your nature to do the things that will help you, you’ll be more likely to do things that will help you. Not rocket science.

This program facilitates that. There are no days off. You are constantly doing one thing right. Day after the next.

4. Some “hard tasks” may be easy. Some “easy tasks” may be hard.

We often put labels on stuff we have to do to our own detriment.

“Oh, that’s really easy.”

“This is going to be a difficult test.”

Etc.

But many people have broken 75 HARD because of failing to take a progress photo.

Seems odd, right?

This task requires the least amount of time to complete.

But if you’re not thorough, you can easily forget to do it.

So, this program teaches you that just because something seems small, doesn’t mean it actually is. The things that take less time are important too.

5. The quality of your life is based on a bunch of small decisions.

On Day 39 of 75HARD, I wrote the following in my Notes:

“Eating raspberries/blueberries outside grocery store. About to do yoga. Reading. Made the holy fuck realization that life is about making a lot of little choices. And how these choices add up is how your life will be defined as.

Fruit or fries?

Workout or stay in bed?

Read or Netflix?

Your choices define you. And often they’re small (or at least they seem that way). In truth… they have big consequences.”

6. Books provide energy.

A common criticism of self-help books is:

“Those books all say the same things!”

And I would agree. Many of the messages are the same. But I realized in this program that the purpose of self-help books is not necessarily to learn something new. Rather, it’s to take the author’s energy and apply it to your own life.

When you’re reading books where the author is upbeat, has a positive outlook, and offers an interesting perspective, it will also give you that energy.

7. Alone is good.

I’ve always been comfortable by myself. But this program reinforced the notion that if you want to live an uncommon life, you can’t be doing the same things as everyone else.

This is not to say you will avoid human contact. That is not to say you will have no friends.

But this program forces you to get to know yourself.

It’s hard to do two workouts a day with someone. It’s hard to eat clean when if you’re eating what everyone around you is eating. You obviously can’t read 10 pages with others.

So, you often end up doing these tasks alone.

That’s okay.

In fact, it’s actually quite beneficial. Because you will have different goals than the person next door.

Focus on you.

8. Together is good, too (accountability is underrated).

I did this program with my friend Tej Dosa – one of the most brilliant and kind-hearted people I know.

He started the program one day after I did.

Every day when I finished my tasks, I texted him. Every day when he finished his tasks, he texted me.

Self-accountability is important, but you want to rig the game in your favor.

What does this mean?

It means you want as many factors in your favor when you’re doing hard stuff. And one way to do that is to have someone in your corner.

If I didn’t complete the tasks for a day, Tej was going to be disappointed in me. And vice versa.

It helped me understand that when someone’s rooting for you to succeed, it’s much harder to fail.

9. You gain confidence from doing the things that others won’t do.

Several times throughout this program, I went out to bars without drinking alcohol.

This was the first time I had ever done this, and what happened was surprising to me.

I was more social, more confident, and operating from a different place than normal.

I personally believe a large part of that was because you gain confidence from knowing you’re doing what others are either unwilling or unable to do.

10. Setbacks are guaranteed to happen.

One morning, a month into the program, I had a banana milkshake.

Turns out I’m allergic to bananas.

I was briefly hospitalized.

But that didn’t stop me from completing my two workouts, eating clean, read my 10 pages, taking my progress photo, and drinking my water.

Then again, on Day 51, I got food poisoning.

For the next week, I went from my bed to the toilet… Over and over again.

From my notes on Day 58:

The last week has been difficult. I got food poisoning exactly one week ago (last Thursday). Since then, I’ve noticed a SHARP decrease in motivation, conscientiousness, and desire. Pretty crazy. Nevertheless, I’ve stayed completing these tasks, but I have dropped a lot of weight.

The motivation won’t always be there to do what you need to do. You might be sick. You might be tired. But you can still do something to move you forward.

11. New habits emerge.

I had to complete two workouts per day.

So, I thought it would make sense to have some recovery workouts in there.

Thankfully, there was a yoga studio within walking distance of my apartment.

It was nothing short of life changing.

Physically, it helped me introduce me to an aspect of fitness I had previously ignored (flexibility).

Mentally and spiritually, taking yoga as many times as four times a week gave me a new outlook. The teachers and fellow students I interacted with at the studio were kind, loving, and thoughtful.

It’s hard to imagine that I would have picked up yoga without starting this program.

So, I’m incredibly grateful for that.

12. It’s always a choice.

The program gives you until you go to sleep that day to complete the tasks.

You could be sick. You could be tired.

But you always have a choice to do what you know you need to do.

So, if it’s 2 a.m., you could be in your bed, but as long as you don’t fall asleep… you’re still in the game.

In other words, it’s always a choice.

13. Every time you lie to yourself, you’re hurting yourself.

Lying to yourself is when you fail to do tasks you said you would do.

It could be not completing your to-do list for the day. Or failing to finish a workout.

What happens is your Self-Image suffers as a result. You think less of yourself. You will start associating yourself (consciously or subconsciously) with someone who doesn’t what they’re supposed to.

This is a dangerous place to be.

But this program largely erases your ability to lie to yourself. Because it’s black and white.

You either did the workouts or didn’t. You either drank the water or you didn’t. You either took your progress photo or you didn’t.

14. Nobody will know if you didn’t do it. BUT YOU WILL.

At the end of the day, this program is not for anyone but you.

And you quickly realize… you don’t have to do anything. Nobody is sitting there making sure you do it. Nobody will know or even care if you do half of this stuff.

But you will know.

Deep down, you will not feel as if you gave your all. Deep down, it will hurt.

And at the end of the day, that’s what you’re fighting for.

You’re fighting for respect from yourself.

*

This program is difficult.

That’s why it’s called 75HARD.

But the rewards you gain from doing the work are better than anything I’ve experienced thus far.

If you are thinking about trying it, I’d recommend giving it a go. If you have any questions about it, feel free to shoot me a message about it.

Just Start

Who you are today doesn’t define who you will be tomorrow.

You can be anyone you want to be.

And you can decide to be that person any time you want as well.

You can be someone who reads? Good. You can do it.

You want to be someone who is fit? Great. You can do it.

You see, we’re constantly changing and evolving. Think about yourself just five years ago. Were you the same exact individual?

No, of course not.

You were doing different tasks daily. You probably had a different goal. And that’s okay. Learning, evolving, and changing is part of the human experience.

How do you become the you that you want to become tomorrow though?

All it takes is starting.

And I think that’s something most people struggle with.

Because starting something often means sucking at first.

Starting something is naturally difficult.

The reasons for doing something won’t always be obvious before you start. In fact, if you are consistent and disciplined, the reasons for doing something will often pop up as you go.

Let me explain with a concrete example from my own life.

When I first started going to the gym, I was not strong.

I actually remember it like it was yesterday.

I remember I was so nervous to step inside the gym because I was afraid. In hindsight, I didn’t have anything to be fearful about. Nobody was going to laugh at my form. Nobody was going to laugh at how light the weights are. Nobody was going to say (or think) much of anything about me.

Looking back, my fear was all quite self-absorbed.

So, I really didn’t want to go to the gym when I first started.

So, I made it my goal every week…

Just go to the gym four times a week.

If I did that, I won the week. This made me feel like I could accomplish something. And it was completely within my control.

It wasn’t about looking good for anyone else.

It wasn’t about making progress.

It was simply: If I complete this, I win…

(Almost like a video game.)

And let me tell you – it was hard. I struggled through those first few weeks of workouts. But I knew I was cultivating the habit of going to the gym.

Soon after I cultivated the habit, I was rewarded.

I started lifting heavier weights. I was cashing in on some newbie gains. And it felt absolutely great.

I gained another reason to go to the gym. Not only was I cultivating the habit of going to the gym, I was also trying to push heavier weights. Not just one, but two reasons to go to the gym. Way better than just one. And if I hadn’t started, I wouldn’t have realized either of these reasons.

I was worried though.

Because even though I had cultivated the habit of going to the gym and I enjoyed the gym, I tended to be someone whose environment got the best of him. When my environment changed, I lost my old habits.

So, eight weeks of summer came… and went.

I went from living at home in the summer to living at school for my senior year of college.

Now, when I went back to school.. most of my friends hadn’t seen me in eight weeks (since I began my training).

Their responses to seeing me for the first time in eight weeks was nothing short of incredible. It was a huge dopamine hit.

  • “You’re jacked!”
  • “Dude, are you taking steroids?”
  • “You look great, man!”

I knew I had made a physical transformation. But I didn’t realize that every person I saw would instantly notice a change.

Now, I had a third reason to go to the gym.

Not only did I want to win the week and get stronger… becoming jacked was now a part of my identity.

All of a sudden, I didn’t have to think about going to the gym anymore. It just was.

Eight weeks was all it took to change my life forever.

All of this is a long way of saying the following:

When you begin a journey, you don’t know what reasons will pop up to continue on that path. You can’t possibly predict the future. All you can do is work hard. Embrace a little bit of the suck. And eventually, trust the process that the work you’re putting in will lead to a brighter future.

(Also, lifting weights is a great habit to cultivate. It makes you look good, feel good, and become a better version of you tomorrow than you were today.)

The story above is proof that who you were yesterday does not have to be who you will be tomorrow. It’s proof you can change your life and change your fate if you are willing to put in the work. It’s proof that the reasons will develop so long as you continue to work hard.

So, I beg you to take a hard look in the mirror and ask yourself…

Can I become a better version of myself tomorrow than I was yesterday?