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Last Updated on January 25, 2021

How to Live Your Best Life Starting Today

How to Live Your Best Life Starting Today

As human beings, one of our deepest-rooted desires is to have a meaningful and happy existence. You’ve probably heard of the saying, “Live your best life.” It’s good advice.

We all want to feel connected to both ourselves and others. We want to feel that we’re part of something important and that we’re making a difference in the world.

We want to look back at our lives and our achievements and be proud. In short, we want what the saying says: to live our best lives.

But what does it really mean to live your best life?

You are a unique individual, so living your best life is exclusive to you. Your best life will reflect your true values. It will be made up of what makes you happy and will be colored by what making a difference means to you.

What Stops You From Living Your Best Life?

While living your best life is all about you, what other people think can have an impact on your quest to live your best life.

Social media, for example, puts us under a lot of pressure. There are specific expectations of what “happy” looks like, and we’re under pressure to conform to what society expects.

For example, we are pressured to look a certain way, wear the “right” clothes, have exciting adventures with eye-catching friends, eat ethical and healthy food, and do charity work.

These are only a few of society’s expectations. It’s a long list.

Social media claims to connect us, but often it can do the opposite.

We can spend so much time worrying about what other people are doing, trying to live the life that society expects of us, that it can be easy to lose track of what makes us happy and what our best life actually looks like.

Start the Journey

What does it look like to live your best life? The following are some practical tips and tools to move from living your current life to living your best life.

1. Be the Best Version of Yourself

To live your best life, you must be the best version of yourself. Don’t try to be something or someone else. Don’t try to be what other people want you to be.

Focus on who you want to be. Play to your strengths and be proud of what makes you different. You are brilliant.

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Gretchen Rubin, in her book Happiness Project, created her own commandments. The first one was “Be Gretchen.” This gave her permission to follow her gut feeling and make up her own rules.

For example, she stopped forcing herself to enjoy parties, cocktails, and fashion just because that’s what she thought society expected.

So, inspired by Gretchen, create your own commandment: “Be more YOU,” and remind yourself of this every day, unapologetically.

2. Observe Yourself

To work out what the best you looks like, you must get to know yourself better. It’s your best life after all – not anyone else’s.

Start to notice how you respond to various situations. What are your habits? What makes you happy? What frustrates you? How do you behave under pressure? What gives you energy? What drains you?

Spend a week simply noticing. Write your observations down so you remember.

3. Identify Your Bad Habits

As part of your observations, start to notice your bad habits. Consider the things that don’t ultimately make you feel good.

Does scrolling mindlessly through Instagram make you happy? For 5 minutes, perhaps, but for longer?

That last glass of wine was delicious, but do you pay the price later?

That chocolate was enjoyable at the moment, but now that the sugar high is over, are you feeling regretful?

Observe yourself first. Then, start to deliberately do more of the things that make you happy and give you energy.

At the same time, work on reducing then eliminating the habits that squander your time, drain your energy, and ultimately don’t make you happy.

Need help conquering your bad habits? Read How to Break Bad Habits Once and For All.

4. Set Intentions

After having thought about what makes you happy and what drains your energy, focus on what living the best life looks like for you.

One of the keys to this is being intentional about it. When you deliberately set intentions, you are more likely to act with purpose and drive.

Setting intentions is different from setting goals. Goals are your list of things you want to achieve. You can set them daily, monthly, yearly, or a combination.

A common practice is to define goals and write them down. This makes them more tangible and makes you more accountable, therefore, making the goals more likely to happen.

The subtle yet important difference between goals and intentions is that when setting intentions, you decide what kind of positive feelings and emotions you are seeking.

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For example, “This week, my intention is to approach my admin tasks with gusto in order to complete them more quickly.”

Intentions can be more motivating than goals because if you don’t achieve your goal, it can feel like a failure and can ultimately hold you back.

If you don’t achieve your intention to approach something in a specific way, you can more easily regroup and have another try.

Write down your intentions every month, week, or day, using whichever time frame works best for you.

For example, “I intend to enjoy going swimming three times this week” or “I intend to assertively build my network in my local area this month.”

Setting intentions gives you something to focus on, and it also helps to manage the feeling of being overwhelmed that often happens when we set ourselves goals.

5. Visualize Living Your Best Life

Visualization can help you to cement your intentions. It involves visualizing how it would feel to live your best life once you achieve it.

It can help you to further establish what you want and allow you to settle into a positive mindset.

To visualize, first choose your focus. Choose a specific intention and how you will feel once it is accomplished. Then, take the time to daydream and allow your imagination to wander.

For example, if your intention is going swimming three times a week, imagine what you will look and feel like:

  • What will you wear?
  • How do you get there?
  • What time of day do you go?
  • How do you feel when you’re in the water?
  • How do you feel afterward?

Ask yourself these little questions and allow yourself to feel the same feelings you would feel if you were currently fulfilling your intention.

10 Ways to Live Your Best Life

Now that you’ve decided and visualized what your best life looks like, let’s look at some more practical steps you can take to achieve it.

1. Focus

Whatever you do, focus. If you swim, swim. If you study, study. Multitasking is a myth. It’s not possible to do more than one thing at a time well. Focused work is the least tiresome and the most productive type of work.

Michael LeBouf, the author of The Millionaire in You, said,

“Winners focus, losers spray.”

2. Take Responsibility for Taking Action

Taking action can feel scary. We fear failure, but we can also fear success. It can be easy to feel too busy to achieve your intentions.

However, you have the choice to take action and live your best life or stay the same. It’s up to you, so take responsibility to take action.

3. Live in the Present

Every day is a new opportunity to live your best life. We so often get stuck because we put things off.

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We can think, “When I’ve lost 10 lbs I’ll go swimming,” or “When I feel more confident I’ll look for a new job,” or “When I get my new running shoes I’ll start running.”

How about starting from where you are? How about using what you already have?

We often put off taking action until we have the newest phone/camera/game/course/book/shoes as if they are the keys to happiness. In the process, we forget about what we already have.

Grab the camera that you have, put on your old running shoes. Go and do something interesting today with what you’ve got. Fancier gadgets, better clothes, or a slimmer body won’t make you better.

Action will.

4. Declutter

This applies to the environment you live in as well as the people you spend time with. Use Marie Kondo’s decluttering method of asking, “Does it bring you joy?”[1]

If your answer is yes, you keep the item. If you hesitate or say no, you donate it or throw it out. Simple.

This also applies to people. If there are people in your life that make you feel bad, drain your energy, and don’t bring you joy, let go of them.

Instead, spend time with the people and activities that give you energy and make you feel good.

5. Relish the Simple Things

When we’re busy, we can forget to appreciate what we have. Take time to focus on the simple things. Even when you’re feeling low, there’s always something to be grateful for.

In positive psychology research, gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness.[2] Be deliberate in being grateful for what you do have, rather than resentful of what you don’t.

6. Journaling

Journaling

is simply writing your thoughts down.

According to the University of Rochester Medical Center, writing your thoughts and feelings down on paper not only helps you get your thoughts in order, but it can also help ease symptoms of depression and manage stress and anxiety.[3]

In the chaos of life, it is easy to overthink, feel anxious, or not appreciate what you do have. Journaling can help you manage your thoughts and feelings and productively cope with life.

Be curious and keep learning. Ask more questions and keep pushing yourself to step outside of your comfort zone and learn.

What are you interested in or curious about? Perhaps it’s learning more about where you live, or reading up on a particular topic? Maybe it’s traveling to a new town or country?

According to Dan Pink’s research, learning is a key motivator.[4] Whether you feel like you’ve gotten stuck in a boring routine or you’re stressed by the tasks of daily life, learning something new is a way to step outside yourself and your comfort zone.

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Create a bucket list of all the things you’d like to do and learn and the places you’d like to go to, and start ticking them off.

7. Make Someone’s Day

Being kind to others makes them feel good, and it also releases chemicals in your body that make you feel good. Think about a time you gave someone a gift that they loved. How did you feel?

You don’t have to start giving people gifts to make someone’s day. Think about small, thoughtful gestures: a genuine compliment, opening the door, offering to help someone.

All these things can make a big difference in someone’s day.

8. Look After Your Body

Eat what nourishes you, including plenty of vegetables and fruit and food that’s natural and unprocessed. Drink plenty of water.

Exercise because you like it, not because you’re supposed to go to the gym.

Reject the idea that you have to push yourself really hard at exercise, and instead try out a variety of things – for example, walking the dog, gardening, yoga, swimming, or dancing.

Find what you enjoy. When you enjoy something, you’ll be motivated to do it more.

Get good rest! We’re all different in terms of the amount of sleep that we need. However, most adults need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep.

If you’re not getting that much, then check out healthy sleep tips from the Sleep Foundation.[5]

More tips for staying healthy: Powerful Daily Routine Examples for a Healthy and High-Achieving You.

9. Manage Your Inner Critic

Most people have an inner critic that tells them they are not good enough, that they’re a fraud, and that they are going to be found out.

This happens especially when we step out of our comfort zone and change things. If you are living your best life, your inner critic likes to jeopardize that.

The next time it appears, acknowledge what’s happening and call it out. Whatever it is telling you, list all the reasons it’s wrong.

10. Be Prepared to Change the Plan

You may have set intentions to live your best life. However, life is not linear, nor does it work in lists. You must expect to be flexible and change the plan as life throws things at you.

The end game remains the same: to live your best life. It’s just the route to get there that will inevitably change.

Conclusion

Live each day like it counts, and remember, it’s your choice. Your best life is unique to you. Don’t compare yourself to others – focus on living your best life, and enjoy the learning, exploration, and experiences along the way.

More Tips on How You Can Live Your Best Life

Featured photo credit: Juliana Malta via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Kon Mari: Tidy your space, transform your life
[2] Harvard Health Publishing: In Praise of Gratitude
[3] University of Rochester Medical Center: Journaling for Mental Health
[4] Daniel H. Pink: Dan Pink on Motivation
[5] Sleep Foundation: Healthy Sleep Tips

More by this author

Lucy Gower

Founder at Lucidity. Coach, trainer and consultant as well as a best-selling author and international speaker.

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Last Updated on April 22, 2021

7 Daily Habits to Balance My Day (And My Life)

7 Daily Habits to Balance My Day (And My Life)

We live in a success-obsessed world. Many of us chase after success in our careers or business at the expense of family, relationships, health, and spirituality. We fail to understand that success cannot be compartmentalized. When one area of your life suffers, all the other areas will follow suit sooner or later. If you want to be successful in life, and not just in your career, you need to strive for balance.

The good news is that you can get closer to balance in your life with 7 very simple daily habits:

1. Start your day with prayer or meditation

Achieving balance in your life starts with your personal choice and decision to change the way you live your life. It requires your attitude and discipline to make it happen. That’s why achieving balance in your life requires that you have a very strong core. If you don’t like who you are, where you are, or what you do, chances are you won’t like the other areas of your life either.

Make it a habit to start your day by praying or meditating. Praying or meditating in the morning helps you feel that you are more than you think you are, that you can do more than you think you can, and that there is more to life than what you’re currently doing. Connect with yourself, know yourself, affirm yourself more, and understand that you are meant for greater things.

2. Be fully present when you’re with your family

Family life is the area most often associated with work-life balance. Having a great family life is like the pinnacle of achieving work-life balance. After all, it is your family who sticks with you through thick and thin. When all is said and done, some friendships fade, but your family will remain.

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Start making a difference in the world by first making a difference in your family. Spend more quality time with them. Eat breakfast with them. Be more physically and emotionally present in their lives. Do one thing with your family today in which you’re fully engaged. Yes, you can make a huge dent in other people’s lives, but start small by making a dent and being more involved in the lives of the people already around you.

3. Reach out to one person you already know

In business, having a strong network helps you spread the word about your company. It also helps you get more things done. In your personal life, a strong network helps you grow in the different areas of your life. Which is another way to help achieve balance. By expanding your network and building strong connections, you get to learn from other people, widen your perspective, and even stretch your vision for your life.

Everyday, contact at least one person you already know. It’s always easier to start expanding your network with someone you already know. Tell that person what you’re up to and ask if there’s anything you can help him or her with. Then, ask that person if he or she can help you with something, even something as simple as spreading the word about what you’re doing. People are willing to help more than you think. Asking for help also builds trust. To keep the ball rolling, don’t forget to ask if he or she can introduce you to someone who can help you as well.

4. Spend fifteen honing your expertise

For Bill Gates, it was computing. For Michael Jordan, it was basketball. For Albert Einstein, it was theoretical physics.What did these three successful gentlemen share? They knew what they were great at.

If you want to succeed in life, excelling at one thing is a must. It’s better to be great at one thing and suck at everything else than to be average at everything.

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Spend at least fifteen minutes each day improving what you’re already good at. If you’re into blogging, spend fifteen minutes reading articles on websites like Problogger. If you’re good at marketing, spend fifteen minutes studying the latest marketing tools and trends and visiting blogs like Seth Godin’s. If you’re great at sports, by all means, practice! Whatever you do, make sure you strive to become better each day.

5. Do something creative

Even though the left-brain, right-brain dominance theory has been debunked,[1] the world still enthrones activities attributed to the left-brain, such as logic and measurement,  while “right-brain” activities like creative pursuits get short-changed. Most jobs today require analytical thinking more than creative thinking. Many people also deem creative pursuits impractical and give up on them.

No matter what your job is, you should keep going after creative pursuits. If you’re employed or if you have a business, create a plan to get more customers, to get more things done, to introduce more products, and to grow the business. Notice how your blood will get pumping and your adrenaline rushing. Only “right-brain” activities or creative pursuits have that effect in our lives. More importantly, it is only through creative pursuits that you stretch your vision and redefine what’s possible for your business and for life.

If you’re more of an artist, engage in creative activities that excite you like drawing, painting, playing music, writing music, animating, writing a story, or even starting a blog! It helps achieve balance in and add color to your life after a long, monotonous, “left-brain” dominant day.

Don’t just control, using your analytical “left-brain.”Create using your “right-brain” as well.

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6. Take a 30-minute walk

The first five things you need to do each day focus on your emotional, relational, and personal success. But, in order to achieve and enjoy all those successes, you also need to succeed in the area of your physical health. You cannot enjoy all the success you’ve worked so hard for if you’re lying sick in bed.

Make it a habit to get yourself moving. Take a 30-minute walk,[2] go to the gym, take Zumba classes, or even stretch for ten minutes after every hour of sitting down. Just get yourself moving! There are so many different benefits from physical activities[3] and so many different ways to do it. Find what works for you and do it consistently. Small, consistent action beats one big effort followed by a big crash every time.

7. Do one thing to reach out, give back, or pay forward

We all know the expression, “It takes a village to raise a child.” Whatever successes you are enjoying right now, you didn’t achieve them on your own. You were given unique opportunities by your parents, your family’s history and background, different circumstances, the people you met, and “angels” you’ve encountered along the way. Success is not only a personal achievement. Success is also being given many opportunities to succeed.

Unfortunately, not everyone was given the same opportunities you were given.

If you are reading this article, chances are you are living a more privileged life than many others out there who don’t even have internet access. Be that small flicker of hope to someone today. Be the “angel” who will give that person the same opportunity that you had. No matter how you help, whether in educational, business, or even financial support, keep in mind that what you’re giving someone is an opportunity to succeed.

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Helping someone also doesn’t have to be big right away. You can start small by simply reaching out and giving that person an opportunity to have an emotional support in you.

Finally, Malcolm Gladwell put it very nicely in his book, Outliers: The Story of Success:

“Because we so profoundly personalize success, we miss opportunities to lift others onto the top rung… We are too much in awe of those who succeed and far too dismissive of those who fail. And most of all, we become much too passive. We overlook just how large a role we all play—and by ‘we’ I mean society—in determining who makes it and who doesn’t.”

Put It on Paper and Take Action

Now that you’re finished reading, don’t let your own ideas of achieving balance in your life slip away. Write them down, make a clear, actionable plan, act on it, and live a remarkable and more balanced life.

Featured photo credit: Cristian Newman via unsplash.com

Reference

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