This is yet another article I’m writing as much as a reminder for myself as advice for you, dear reader. I’m guilty times a million of standing in the way of my best life in all the ways listed in this article. 😀
What is the best life? Everyone has their own way of looking at it, but here’s what I think. Your best life is not the same as your perfect life. Running after perfection is futile. But your best life is where you feel your best much of the time. Where you are doing things that are meaningful to you much of the time. Where you have meaningful relationships. Where the drudgery of daily life (yes, that will always be there!) is worth it, because you have found a purpose for being here on this earth.
To get there isn’t always easy. If you are not living your best life yet, something needs to change in order to get there. And change is always hard.
Plus sometimes we do things to make change even harder than it has to be. Sometimes we sabotage our own success. We stand in our own way, in the way of positive change. And sometimes that’s ok. Let’s allow ourselves to be imperfect and not always do what’s best for us. It’s part of life. We are only human.
But if we can be aware of the issues I’m about to list – if we can be aware of some common ways we tend to sabotage our own success – then every now and then we can catch ourselves in the act, break through, and take some baby steps that will nudge us closer to where we want to be.
Here are five ways you might be standing in the way of your best life:
1. You Let Yourself Run Ragged
You can’t be living your best life if you are not taking care of yourself. When you don’t eat well, sleep enough, exercise, or find ways to escape stress, you can’t be living your best life, because you are not going to be feeling your best.
And not only that. When you are always running around in survival mode, when you are barely scraping by, you are not in a position to make good decisions. You are not in a position to make decisions for positive change.
Sometimes we are pushed into survival mode by circumstances that are unavoidable – a new baby or a family member with a medical condition or your own illness – and I’ll give you (and me!) a pass for those times.
But whenever possible, make your physical well-being a priority. I know it’s easier said than done. I know it’s said so much that we are numb to the message. I know I might sound preachy and annoying. But I’m going to keep saying it anyway. Because it’s that important. Because I don’t want you to feel like shit all the time. Because almost everything else rests on whether or not you are feeling well physically.
Make. Your. Health. A. Priority.
2. You Are Living Someone Else’s Best Life
You can’t be living your best life if you haven’t even figured out what your best life is.
Some people are born into their best life. They follow the life template handed down to them from their parents, from society. For these people floating comfortably along with the mainstream is the right choice. That’s their best life.
But some of us are itching for a different life. For us, finding our best life takes more work. We need to wade against the mainstream. We need to question the values handed down to us from our parents and society. We need to find our own path and define our own purpose. Until we do, we are never satisfied and we are always seeking. Always feeling like we are playing a role in a movie we don’t belong in.
If you belong in the second group, dare to be different. Dare to dream the dream of a different life. Dare to question and dare to think for yourself. Dare to create your own definition of a good life. Dare to be conscious of your values and what is important to you. Dare to live with intention. Dare to bring your life into alignment with your values.
Related: How To Make Your Brain Happy
3. You Have Big Dreams But No Goals Or Plans
You can’t be living your best life if you haven’t dared to dream it. But dreaming of what you want out of life isn’t enough. A dream will remain just that – a dream. Dreams rarely come true on their own.
To nudge yourself closer to your best life, you need goals. Goals are different from dreams in that they are concrete. They are specific and they can be measured. Being physically fit is a dream. Being able to run five miles six months from now is a goal. Being a writer is a dream. Writing 40 articles and publishing them on the internet by the end of the year is a goal.
Your best life will likely have many components. Some of them might have to do with your physical well-being. Some of them might have to do with your work or with relationships. The dream of your best life can likely be transformed into numerous concrete goals that you can tackle little by little, maybe a few at a time. There will be end goals and intermediary goals.
To reach your goals, you need detailed plans. What has to happen in order to reach your goals? When does it need to happen? How will you schedule your time?
Write down your specific goals and your detailed plans for reaching them. Make them concrete. Make them real.
A dream without a goal will always remain just a dream.
A goal without a plan will always remain just a goal.
A dream turned into a specific goal accompanied by a detailed plan has a chance.
4. You Are An Obstacle Lister
If you are not living your best life yet, something has to change. But every path to change is going to have some obstacles on it. Otherwise you’d already be walking on that path.
Some of us are quite the experts at pointing out all the obstacles. We can go on and on and on and on listing them. We give them our undivided attention and analyze them from every possible angle. We are really proud of ourselves for being so observant and being able to pinpoint exactly what the challenges are: “I can’t afford this. I don’t have the time. So-and-so won’t be very happy. I don’t know how to do X, Y, and Z. And how in the world will I ever find the time and the money?”
We list, and when we get to the end of the list, we start from the beginning all over again. And after not too long, the obstacle list that we have so expertly compiled starts overwhelming us. The list is so long it starts looking insurmountable. And we give up. Because change is hard…
Or we could try a different tactic. Instead of letting yourself list obstacles without abandon, try this:
- Acknowledge one obstacle at a time.
- Brainstorm potential ways to overcome that obstacle. Seek help if you need it.
- Move to the next obstacle only after the first one is resolved. Repeat the process.
5. You Are Waiting For The Perfect Moment
If you are not living your best life yet, something has to change. Maybe you are otherwise ready to make those changes, but you just don’t think it’s the right time quite yet. Too busy. Too many other things going on. Work this. Spouse that. Kids over there. It’ll be easier in a year or two or five.
Now, I don’t claim to know a lot of things for sure, but I do know this: The perfect time will never come. And I don’t want you to waste time waiting for it.
The perfect time is always today. Right now. This doesn’t mean you need to overhaul your entire life today. But you can identify a priority and take the first little baby step today. You can let most of your crazy, busy life stay as it is. But you can carve out a tiny bit of time every day to nudge yourself forward. Even if it’s just 15 minutes every day. Slow progress is better than no progress.
Don’t wait! Just get started! Your best life is waiting for you!
Do you struggle with any of these five things? I would say I have had the most problems with #1 and #2. My husband has issues with #4. What about you? I would love to hear what you think in the comments below. 🙂
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