Live your Happily Ever After
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.
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. 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 looks like.
16 Ways to Live Your Best Life
#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.
#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. 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 – Practice Mindfulness
Research has revealed that a simple way to be happier and live your best life comes from developing the ability to fully experience each moment. Mindfulness is the ability to observe the present moment without judging it. Mindfulness has many impressive benefits for physical and mental health. Diabetic patients who were taught mindfulness skills experienced lower blood sugar and increased happiness. Mindfulness on the job has been proven to reduce exhaustion and increase job satisfaction. Mindfulness is not difficult to learn and is something we can do in a moment. Right now, take a deep breath, and notice how the breath feels as it is going into your lungs. How does your body feel? Are your muscles stiff or relaxed? Do you feel warm or cold? Use your five senses to describe how your body feels and your immediate experience. This is all it takes to be fully present.
#5 – 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?” 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.
#6 – 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. Be deliberate in being grateful for what you do have, rather than resentful of what you don’t.
#7 – 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. 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.
#8 – 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.
#9 – 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.
#10 – 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.
#11 – 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.
#12 – Learn to Flow
One of the most powerful ways to connect with our true selves and experience positive emotions is through flow. Flow is like mindfulness in action. Flow is when we are so engrossed in what we are doing that we get into a zone and stop thinking about anything else. We can experience this when playing an instrument, playing a sport, creating artwork, writing an essay, reading a book, etc. Being in flow increases our happiness, helps us reach optimal performance, and boosts our creativity.
According to researcher Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi and author of Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, one of the best things about flow is it puts happiness in our control. Rather than being happy because of outer events, we are in flow as a result of an inner experience we create for ourselves. Find things that transfer your mind to a flow state in order to start working toward living your best life.
#13 – Hit the Reset Button (Often)
Sometimes, life sends us curveballs we aren’t prepared for. It’s important to know how to get back to the center—to who we are and to reconnect with our goals and priorities. If you ever find yourself feeling off-course or negative, imagine hitting a pause button. It only takes a minute to re-focus. Some great tips for resetting include stretching, taking a deep breath, setting goals or intentions, and then beginning again. Knowing how to reset our energy is important when it comes to navigating minor distractions and major life changes for personal growth.
#14 – Commit to Your Connections
The COVID-19 pandemic showed us firsthand how important our social connections are. Community is an important factor in how happy we are with our lives, and our long-term well-being and health. If you feel disconnected or like you want to strengthen your sense of belonging and improve your life, consider calling a different friend each day; joining a church or spiritual group, support group, or book club; or exploring cultural or community events that might be attended by other people with shared interests. To reconnect with favorite friends, try scheduling a weekly hike, coffee hour, Zoom call, happy hour, or email/text check-in. We get what we put out there. Show up when people you love ask for help or seek connection. Let go and create healthy boundaries with people who drain your energy
#15 – Move Your Body
Exercise is an important key to staying healthy and happy and reaching your full potential. Research shows exercise can prevent depression, limit long-term illness, improve our moods, and increase our longevity.
We now know that it’s not only exercise that matters, but also how we hold and move our bodies when we are going through the motion of our lives, including working at our desks. Recent research shows that simply sitting up straight can make us more likely to think positive thoughts about ourselves and what is possible for our lives.
#16 – Spend Time in Nature
One of the best ways to live our best lives is to spend time in nature. From the benefits of vitamin D from sunlight, to simply getting outside of our own world and connecting with something greater, the benefits of nature are well-established. The more we learn, the more we realize how important it is to protect our natural spaces, parks, and trees, not just for our enjoyment, but also for our physical and mental well-being.
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!♥♥