Are you living your best life? The answer has surprised many people because the last few years have shifted focus, priorities, and understandings of what the best life may look like.
In this article, we’ll share ideas on what it means to live your best life and exercises to help guide you to yours.
The holidays offered the chance to talk with family and friends in ways we haven’t been able to do in a while. One of these conversations led to the disillusionment of a younger relative. He started school with the vision of launching a business, but professors, co-workers, and other circumstances had him done. “I just want to find a way to live off the grid and not deal with people.”
If you’ve lived for any amount of time, you probably have run into similar feelings. Your vision of your journey and the reality of your current situation don’t align. It leaves you frustrated, exhausted, and sometimes ready to head to the hills.
Burn Out Is Real
Too much can cause you to burn out: too much work; too much debt; too much direction: too much oversight. When you can’t do what you know you need to do because of too much holding you down, it will cause you to burn out.
On the flip side, too little can cause burnout as well: too little income; too little help; too little understanding; too little encouragement. You don’t have the motivation to keep going or to get started again if you stumble along the way.
Don’t Worry. Be Happy.
If only it were as simple as this. Yet, in some ways it is. Without worry, you can focus on the things that you enjoy, that makes you happy, that bring excitement to your life. In short, you can be your best self and live your best life when you are embracing the art of happiness.
Worry hinders all of that.
“Too many of us are not living our dreams because we are living our fears.” – Les Brown
Where you focus makes the difference. If you want to be happy and live your best life then you have to shift your focus from your fears.
Living Your Best Life is a Choice
When you talk to people who are enjoying the journey they will have something in common. They choose, every day, to enjoy the journey. If you want to embrace the best life you have to choose to live a happy life.
Being happy isn’t about ignoring the problems. It is about finding the possibilities as you go through the problems and focusing on those possibilities.
What is Your Best Self?
Professor Laura King came up with the exercise in a 2000 study and it had such an impact it has been used prolifically by others. This exercise provides an avenue for implementing possibility focus.
The exercise goes as follows:
“Think about your life in the future. Imagine that everything has gone as well as it possibly could. You have worked hard and succeeded at accomplishing all of your life goals. Think of this as the realization of all of your life dreams. Now, write about what you imagined.”
Research has shown that when you imagine your possibilities and then write them out, you shift your focus and begin living out a happier life.
Put the Best Self Exercise to Work
1. Set Aside Some Time.
You need time to let your imagination run wild, to fill in the blanks of your best life, and to be honest with yourself about what your best life truly entails.
2. Look Beyond Limitations.
You aren’t there yet. And if you try to judge your best life based on your current life then you hinder your imagination and limit your dreams. Once you make a plan for your best self then you can address the limitations currently holding you back from living it out.
3. Get Detailed.
When determining your best self and defining the path for living your best life, you have to be specific and as detailed as you can. Instead of writing out how you want to live in a “big house,” be specific in how it looks, where it is located, and even how it is furnished. The more details you put into your best self exercise, the better you will be prepared to plot a course for living your best life.
4. Evaluate the Vision.
Once you have a detailed explanation of your best self, determine what it will take to get there. What strengths are required? What resources will you need? What do you currently have that can be directed towards living your best life? Don’t forget to include any connections you have and their strengths as well.
5. Make a Plan.
Determine how you will gain the strengths you need to fulfill your best self plan. Look for avenues to acquire the resources. Make notes on which connections you can reach out to for help in either gaining resources or improving your strengths.
The mind is a powerful tool. When you implement that power into envisioning your best self and living your best life then you are one step closer to bringing that vision into reality.
How Can I Live My Best Life?
There has never been a better time to start living your best life, but getting there can be a challenge. The more obstacles you face, the more difficult (or even impossible) it may seem to step into your best life.
In 2005, the book “Live Your Best Life” came out. It was comprised of articles and interviews from Oprah Magazine. Although the points and tips offered in the book were not formulated through scientific research, they still provide powerful ideas for walking out your best life.
In other words, you can go about discovering your best self through the scientific method, or you can choose to listen to the stories of those who have gone before to discover how to live your best life. Either way, you will find that you have to find your way and then choose to walk it out.
It won’t happen to you.
It won’t happen for you.
It won’t happen without you.
Living your best life is as simple as one, two, three.
Step One – Recognize that your way is unique to you because you are unique.
Not even Oprah can tell you how to live your best life. You can learn from her experiences. You can gain insights from the phycologists that created the Best Self Exercise.
Robyn Okrant authored “Living Oprah: My One-Year Experiment to Walk the Walk of the Queen of Talk.” She invested a full year in doing everything that Oprah recommended. In the end, she says she learned some lessons but found doing what others said to do wasn’t worth the effort.
You aren’t supposed to do it like anyone else. You have to find your way. You can’t blindly follow the way of others because that is not your way. Your best life is firmly grounded in your best self – not someone else’s best.
You define your BEST life. You determine your BEST self. Dr. Joy Bradford, in her Therapy for Black Girls podcast, recently challenged listeners to define not only what your life should be, but also whose story you are trying to fill. Authenticity is vital to determining your best self.
Step Two – Determine to take your steps.
No matter where you are or where you want to go, you can’t get there without going. You have to take the steps. And you have to believe you can take the steps in order to be able to step.
It takes confidence in yourself – and for your journey – to unlock your best self. It is about being bold in your direction and refusing to be willing to settle for anything less than your dreams no matter if they are impractical, impossible, or scary to others (and sometimes even to you).
When you believe, you are then empowered to move.
Step Three – Start living your best life now.
As long as you wait to start, you won’t go. Tomorrow will always be a day away.
As long as you hold back until things are perfect and secured, you won’t move. Being your best self and living your best life should be a little bit impossible and a little bit scary. You have to move outside of your comfort zone to move into new possibilities.
As long as you are stopped, you won’t have the motivation to get going. Even a little movement forward can provide the momentum to do more.
You are one step away from living your best life. What about you? What are the areas you want to flesh out your Best Possible Self?
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Kathryn Lang believes it is simple, and as an award-winning author and natural-born hopesmith, she shares tips on how to find your why, pursue your purpose, and live a bold, intentional life – always with a dash of twisted encouragement.