Live your best life!
It’s one of those catch phrases we see popping up everywhere – from memes to hashtags to Instagram influencers (who, let’s be honest, are literally being paid by brands to “live their best lives”). The world is pretty convinced that you need to live your best life – now!
Living your best life is a nice idea, but sounds more like a substanceless motivational battle cry than an actual instruction for life.
Most people are waiting for certain milestones to click into place in their lives.
Maybe for their career to take off, or for their debt to be paid off. To meet their soul mate. To start a family. To finish their degree. To pen that book or write that song or paint that painting.
And in the midst of that, when you’re scrolling through Instagram and you you come across some dippy, pink-and-gold meme shouting at you to “Live your best life!” it can seriously grate.
Your best life is still to come. Right? It’s on the horizon, but you’re not there yet. You can’t live your best life until x, y and z fall into place…. Right?
(I think you know what I’m about to say…)
Living a happy life is something you should be striving to do right now. Before everything has fallen into place. Before you’ve gotten your life together. Because can I tell you something?
Once you’ve achieved “that thing” that you’re waiting to achieve, you’ll (almost instantly) start waiting to achieve the next thing.
It’s how we’re wired, and it can seriously dampen our satisfaction with our lives.
But the good news is, you can absolutely live your best life right now… WHILE you wait for the other stuff to click into place and take you where you want to be.
How To Live Your Best Life… Now!
Build solid relationships
Human beings need other human beings. And when you’re young, friendships and family relationships can feel pretty easy to maintain. Unfortunately, the older (and busier) we get, the more surface-level many of our relationships become. It can be easy to coast in our relationships – social media and text messages can actually help us fabricate our relationships, and feel as though we’re more involved in each others’ lives than we actually are. Unfortunately, the more we coast, the less important the relationships begin to feel. And suddenly we wake up and we’re 40 years old and can’t honestly say who our best, closest friends are any more.
It’s essential to invest in the relationships that we want to still have in 10, 20, 30 years time. We need to give time when it doesn’t always feel convenient, and support when it doesn’t always come naturally. We need to actively reach deeper into the people we care about.
Because the reward – a firm, beautiful, occasionally messy relationship with an awesome, flawed human person – is one of the richest gifts we can have in life.
Try new things
When was the last time you tried something new? And I don’t mean the new Netflix original you watched six episodes of last weekend.
I’m talking about a new hobby. A new recipe. A new path for your morning jog. You could try a new outfit that really branches out from your usual style. Or you could sign up for a workshop or a course on a topic you’ve been wanting to learn more about.
A willingness to try new things on the reg is seriously good for you. It helps you build a better understanding of what you like (and what you don’t like!). It keeps things a little flexible, a little fresh, and breaks you free from the mundane day-to-day.
You don’t always have to be building toward something big – get used to trying new things for the pleasure of it, as well as the personal growth opportunity.
Change is a pretty divisive topic – generally, people either adore it, or they fear it. But it can be a SERIOUS key for you to live your best life.
If you can sense an opportunity for change on your horizon, be a little bit brave. Use common sense, of course – and if your head tells you that the change will ultimately be healthy, good, or beneficial in any way, let your heart follow suit. Step out and embrace the opportunity.
Avoiding change is a sure-fire way to get stuck in a rut. And a rut is an endless cycle. On the other hand, once you get past the fear of instigating one change, you’ll find that the decision to make more changes becomes easier and easier.
Give your best
It can be tempting to coast – to put in a bare-minimum effort – when something feels more like a stepping stone than a destination. It can feel pointless to give your all to something that doesn’t look as though it will give back in any special way.
But giving your best to everything you do is a seriously healthy habit to get into; one that will pay off tremendously in the times when putting in a decent effort actually counts.
So don’t half-ass your current job. Show up to work each day with the same attitude you would show up with in your dream career. If you commit to doing something, don’t put in a mediocre effort. Give it your best, even if it doesn’t feel that important.
This attitude shift will serve you so well in the future.
Avoid the mindset of “When X, Y, Z falls into place, I can finally start saving some money.”
That living-paycheck-to-paycheck life is no fun. And it feels pretty endless when you bust your butt at a full time job and have nothing really to show for it. If your budget is tight, evaluate it and find out what you can sacrifice in order to open a savings account and start pocketing a few dollars here and there. Your daily coffee habit? Your penchant for shelling out big bucks for concert tickets? Your cleaning lady?
Once upon a time, Chris and I were very bad with money. Without fail, we would get to the end of every pay period with a couple of dollars left in our account. We couldn’t save even a dollar.
When we finally took hold of our finances and made a couple of sacrifices, we magically found a bit of room to save. I can’t tell you the giddy feeling of triumph we experienced when, a few weeks later, we were finally able to buy some blinds for our living room because we had $150 in the bank. It was a massive milestone for us, and made the sacrifice of saving money so worthwhile.
Even if you can only save $20 a fortnight, that will add up. Avoid touching it, and soon you will have $100, then $200, and eventually $1000 and more. From little things, big things grow.
“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty.” – Henry Ford.
Learning shouldn’t stop the day you graduate from college, or finish that internship, or reach your dream career. Learning should be ongoing throughout our lives – learning for pleasure, learning for job advancement, learning so we can teach others. It keeps your brain ticking over and keeps you feeling inspired.
So make it your business to actively learn something. Take courses, read eBooks. Learn a new language or a new style of cooking. Learn about whales or global history. An interested person is an interesting person.
Surround yourself with focused people
A lot can be said for the company we choose to keep. As a writer and blogger, I’m most in my element when I spend time with like-minded people, who are pushing themselves toward a goal. Whether they’re at a similar stage as I am, whether they’re miles ahead or whether they’re just starting out – if they’re focused and goal-oriented, I get a LOT out of being with them.
I love spending time with all my friends, of course. I need those relationships. But I also need the relationships I’ve developed in the creative community of business owners, entrepreneurs, dreamers and fellow writers I’ve found a place in.
If someone is working towards their dream, it’s no accident. It hasn’t fallen into their lap. There’s a very specific set of circumstances that have aligned in order for them to have the courage and the means to chase their passion.
So find a mentor. Go to conferences. Network. Follow influential people in your community on social media who will remind you of what it’s like to be working towards a goal. Their mindset will help your mindset.
Quit comparing yourself to others
Comparison can be a serious killer of progress. How many times have you found yourself in a good place, only to be deflated when faced with someone who you perceive to be in a better place than you are? This goes for career goals, but also for personal circumstances – financial, family, lifestyle, anything.
An example? Chris and I have recently had to start over financially after selling our money pit of a house. As in, saving money from scratch – in our 30s – because we have nothing from the sale of a home that we spent 10 years paying off and fixing up.
We have a plan. Before selling the house, we made sure to put all our ducks in a row. We have a budget, and very specific bank accounts, and a method for saving. So despite the fact that we have very little to our name, it’s not the disaster it seems. We’re being smart, and we have the assurance that if we stick to the plan, eventually, we will claw our way back to where we need to be.
It feels good… until we cast our eyes over where our friends are at. Our friends with double incomes, or who invested more wisely when they purchased their homes, or paid cash for their cars instead of taking out big loans like we did before knew better. Our friends who are financially secure and miles ahead of us.
That’s when our situation – that we are so meticulously working on – feels hopeless. Like we’ll never “catch up” to them.
But it’s pointless comparing someone else’s chapter five to your chapter two. If you want to live your best life… ditch the comparison game. It will only serve to bring you down.
Don’t let yourself grow comfortable if you’re in a place where you don’t feel like you’re “there yet”.
Sometimes we go through seasons where it’s just too hard to push ourselves. We convince ourselves that the hustle isn’t worth it. That life is somewhat comfortable now, and we can just accept the mediocrity.
If you’re satisfied with your life as it is, that’s great. But if you’re feeling like you aren’t progressing because you can’t be bothered, that’s something else entirely.
Living your best life does not come from being complacent. It doesn’t come from avoiding challenges that come your way. Every challenge is an opportunity to grow, however uncomfortable that might be.
Be proud of yourself
Just because you haven’t achieved that thing you’re working towards, it doesn’t mean you have nothing to be proud of.
It will take practice, but it’s completely necessary for you to unashamedly own some pride. Pride in your work, pride in your home, pride in your ability to be a good friend, pride in your hobbies and the beautiful things you create.
Be humble, but be proud. You absolutely deserve – and are extremely worthy of – self-pride.
Not sure where to start? I love the suggestions in this article – 12 ways to make yourself proud.
Stop waiting for your life to start
Because guess what? It’s started, baby!
If you let time pass you by because life hasn’t reached that picture-perfect vision you’ve created for yourself, you’re wasting it. Live your best life NOW. Do it boldly, do it without shame.
It’s important to continue working towards your goals.
Our goals keep us moving forward, and very few things beat the satisfaction of kicking a big goal right in the ass.
BUT. Your best life can ABSOLUTELY be achieved well and truly before those big milestones click into place. Life can be rich, and full, and SO GOOD. No matter what stage you find yourself in right now.
So go live your best life. NOW.
Don’t forget to pin this article if you think these ideas can help you!
And if you’re looking for a quick mood boost, check out my ten easy pick-me-ups to add a little spark to your day.