Are you living your best life? If not, why not?
“You are really living your best life”. I have had several people make that exact comment to me recently. After the third time, I started thinking about it and realized they are right. But what does that really mean?
I believe the term “living your best life” means different things for every person, but only if you look at the “thing” that you expect to make you happy (e.g. car, house, fitness model spouse) . You may think that you are living your best life if you have “x” dollars in the bank, have your fantasy house, the perfect job, etc. But it is not the tangible thing that really matters, it is the feeling that tangible thing gives you that you are searching for. For example, assume that your ideal for life is having $1,000,000 in your bank account. But what does that really represent? Arguably, you could say that the money gives you security, and that security is what you are really seeking, not the money per se. Another example would be having the car of your dreams. What does that give you? Respect? Prestige?
Living your best life is about understanding the emotions behind those desires and boosting those emotions, regardless of where you are now. There are a few intangibles that apply to everyone…security, love, purpose. But what is the feeling that are searching for? There are a few tools that you can use to live your best life now, even if you are still not quite to the tangible “thing” that you think will bring that emotion.
Value your values: Do you know what your top 5 values are? If not, this is a worthwhile exercise. If you are not living a life that aligns with your values, it is virtually impossible to reach your best life. As an example, assume that integrity is one of your top values. If you work in an environment where the business practices are less than ideal, you will never feel aligned with the work. If you understand what is truly important to you, you can align all facets of your life and live authentically.
KISS (Keep it Super Simple): The best things in life are simple. For each layer of complexity you add, there is the potential for additional work, worry, or lack of time to enjoy it. Maybe you have your beautiful house on the beach with designer furnishings, a boat, kayaks, and any possible thing you could ever need. But you only get to enjoy it for a week a year because you must work all the time to afford it. Is that living your best life?
Control control: Do you have a clear understanding of what you can control and what you can’t? Do you spend hours ruminating over things that you absolutely can’t control? The reality is that the only thing you can control are your actions. Rather than worrying about the items on your “can’t control” list, what if you brainstormed how you can adjust your reaction and response to those items. You are losing precious time by trying to change something that you can’t change. Focus on positive emotions. Emotions such as jealousy, anger and hatred harm you, but there is nothing that impacts the target of those emotions. If all else fails, focus on one emotion…love.
Embrace your inner Rocky: Every time I hear the theme song from the movie “Rocky”, I feel like going out and accomplishing something. Anything worth having is worth working for. We have all had the fantasy of winning the lottery, but the reality is, you get more satisfaction from working for something (achievement) than having it given to us. If you really want something, never be afraid of working for it. I actually keep a mental treasure chest of people who have accomplished greatness against odds. It adjusts my perspective. Live a life that will inspire others.
The “I want it now” button: Similar to controlling control, we can’t control the timing of things. My “I want it now” button is completely and totally worn out, and it didn’t make a bit of difference other than to provide stress. Learn to enjoy the journey rather than rushing to the destination. It is amazing what you can learn on your path. In fact, I recommend that people F.A.I.L. often.
There are times when the path doesn’t go where you expect, but that is a success! You have learned what you don’t want…a lesson that is sometimes hard to find. So, forget about the feelings of failure and learn what it taught you.
Live TODAY: Do you live in successes of the past? Are you stuck in the pain of the past? Do you constantly worry about the future? This can be best summed up by a quote from Bill Keane:
“Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift of God, which is why we call it a present.”
You can’t do anything about the past, except apologize TODAY for what you have done. You can’t control the future. You are wasting time and creating additional stress by worrying about anything that isn’t happening today.
Protect Your Most Valuable Asset: What is your most valuable asset? That one thing that, without it, would make everything else useless? Your health. You can’t buy it, and, if you lose it, you are limited in your enjoyment of everything else you have. Unfortunately, too many of us put our health at the bottom of our list of priorities. You have hundreds of choices every day that will impact your health. It is not about perfection…it’s about making a few more positive choices today than you did the day before. Its understanding that small changes today can impact your life in years to come.
Attitude of Gratitude: There is absolutely nothing that was achieved by a single person. Even if the only help you had was the freedom to make choices, you had some help. No matter where you are, be thankful for it. If you have air in your lungs and a heartbeat when you wake up in the morning, you have more to be thankful for than many others. If you have shelter or even one meal a day, you have more than many people in the world.
What are your words for living your best life? They aren’t really car, house, job, etc. Your words are the function behind them. For me, my life words are faith, love, hope, gratitude, family, purpose, learning, and security. Find your words and start living them today. Live your best life, now.
Coach Laura, NBC-HWC www.LOLLiving.com