3-Step Upgrade: How To Become a Better Me

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Years ago, while selling management training, I showed a demo video to a prospective client. During the presentation, she made an unsolicited comment about the training instructor on the 13-inch “box” TV I’d lugged into her Minneapolis office. The trainer on the screen was named Bill, a man in his 50s.

She stated, “I like this Bill guy. He’s clearly comfortable in his own skin.”

It was 1992 and I’d never heard the phrase before. To be honest, I think I resented it because she said it about Bill and not … me.

I remember wondering, Am I comfortable in my own skin?

The answer that came back was … probably not.

The Upgrade Journey

I am now, though. It’s been a journey—I haven’t arrived, of course—but I’m happy with me. Over time, I’ve become … better. I’ve “upgraded” by becoming a better husband, father, professional—and now, a better grandpa.

That’s why the whole “New Year, New Me” message is wrong. I don’t want a brand new me. I don’t wish to be someone else. I don’t regret being John G. Miller. I don’t need an entire makeover.

I just want to be a better me.

So, let’s do a “New Year, Better Me” exercise—right here, right now. Are you with me?


I can and will become a better me in 2020 by employing a classic—and worthwhile—exercise. Here are the three keywords:

  1. STOP
  2. START

So, let’s begin our upgrade right now!

1. STOP Doing:

I can break negative, self-destructive habits—if I’m willing to be honest about what they are. Could be anything from smoking to cussing to “flying off the handle” when things don’t go my way. Maybe sarcasm—“the mask of anger”—has crept into my life. Possibly, I’m quick to play the victim, frequently whining and blaming. Whatever it is, I can STOP any bad behavior because it is MY behavior. I am in full control of my behaviors. 

So, I will STOP doing something today. Will you?

I will STOP doing _________________________ .

2. START Doing:

Though I don’t want to be someone else, I can do like someone else. Do you have friends, co-workers, or family members you admire? Choose one of their fine behaviors and emulate it! Do they show patience? Are they slow to anger? Do they ask good questions? Are they compassionate toward people? Do they get up early and attack the day? Eat well? Strive to be fit?

Ponder who and what you wish to copy—the sincerest form of flattery—and START doing it today.

I will START doing _________________________ .

3. CONTINUE Doing:

Ponder this: What is it that I do now that is worthy of continuing to do? Each of us undertakes actions that are right, positive, and worthy. They make me the quality person that I am. So why wouldn’t I CONTINUE doing them? Said another way, what is it that you like about you?

Keep doing and being that.

I will CONTINUE doing _______________________ .

The Change Journey

As we write in the QBQ! book, “Learning equals change. When I have changed, I have learned.” Are you ready to be better in 2020? All it requires is stopping some behaviors, engaging in a few new ones, and continuing others.

Easy peasy, right? Who can’t get comfortable with that? ?

How will you apply this message? Share your thoughts!

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2 Responses

  1. This is well done John and I especially like how you have focused on what to STOP doing as well as Start.

    I also appreciate your basic acknowledgement that YOU genuinely think that you are a “good guy”, not a perfect guy, but basically a good one. In addition you are pleased that the person you are represents many of the skills, values, and habits that you honor and respect.

    Good stuff John and congratulations on a healthy self-image.


  2. I love how simple it really is. I can stop being a victim, I can stop being negative, I can be more grateful, I can focus my mind on God and serving Him at home and at work and I can continue talking to God and focusing on God (just do them more)!

    Thank you, John! This is awesome!
    Happy 2020 to everyone!

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