I’m constantly reminded in my personal and professional life how precarious life can be. Things can change on a dime and life the way we know it can transform into something wonderful or something horrific.
Over the past week, a patient I’m working with was awarded a merit scholarship for an incredible academic achievement, another patient was diagnosed with late-stage inoperable cancer, and a person I knew as a child from summer camp was viciously murdered.
Life ebbs and flows. Every day is distinct. We experience joy, and often, along with it, human suffering.
Every day can be meaningful. It’s a chance to reflect and contemplate, grow, and make incremental changes as we go along. We want to tap into how to live our “best life.” A life that’s productive, purposeful, and one that we are living fully while connecting to our self and other people.
10 Tips For Living Your Best Life:
- Assess daily whether you are making an effort to lean into your core values and identify what specific action you took to carry it out (e.g., based on your parenting value, you showed empathy toward your child, even though you were exasperated by him or her). Take an inventory of whether you leaned in or out of your respective values at the end of each day.
- Notice your judgements of yourself and others. The moments you throw your “shoulds” around and insist that things be your way. Make efforts to be less rigid, and more open and flexible.
- Do for others and don’t expect anything in return. Do it “just because” it’s who you want to be. Whether your intention is to be thoughtful, kind, or caring.
- Take a meaningful moment to listen to someone who needs to be heard without getting distracted, interrupted or digressing from the conversation by speaking about yourself, something related to the topic, or something off topic (e.g., don’t just turn your phone face down when you’re out to dinner with friends or family, but shut it down and physically put it away).
- Acknowledge when you feel that you’re judging, criticizing or negatively evaluating someone. Go back to just observing them without layering your sentiments with negativity and judgment. Ask questions about their behavior, rather than being accusatory. (e.g., instead of “he didn’t get back to me, he’s so irresponsible and selfish” consider, “he didn’t get back to me. I’m going to ask him and seek to find out why.”).
- Challenge yourself to proactively reach out to someone you have been thinking about or was thinking of further connecting with and have avoided doing so for justifiable or non-justifiable reasons.
- Reach out to someone who is in distress or is challenged in some way. Check up on them and share with them that they were in your thoughts.
- If you cannot find deep passion and meaning in the traditional or non-traditional work that you do, then find something outside of it that drives you, compels you, and you feel passion towards (e.g., volunteerism, creative arts, etc.).
- Assess continually whether if your life ended tomorrow you would feel fulfilled and content. If you have regrets or “unfinished business,” contemplate how you would prefer to live out the rest of your life. Mindfully work toward making life more meaningful for you.
- Assess continually if your life ended tomorrow what people would recall and remark about you. Ask yourself if that is the way in which you prefer to be thought of and remembered.
If there are aspects about your attitude, personality, and behavior that are not in line with your values and who you want to be, then proactively find ways to grow and transform.
As difficult as it is to assess who we are and where we are at – because of the fear and discomfort of facing ourselves – it is necessary for personal growth and personal development.
Efforts toward living our best life comes with concerted conscientiousness and commitment. The willingness and desire to live life more meaningfully is what drives us to do more, sometimes over and beyond what we might ordinarily consider or think we are capable of.
Because life is so precarious, every moment of each day is so precious. We can decide to treat it that way in our intentions and actions. We also get to decide whether we are choosing to live our best life, no matter what span of time we have left to live.