Do This and Ditch THAT!
10 Ways to Start Living Your Best Life RIGHT NOW!
by Sarah Sapora
What are you waiting for? Your best life starts… today! Create your most awesome life from the inside out guided by a few simple (but very powerful) ideas and practices.
10. Ditch… the “all or nothing” goals.
Stop quantifying happiness in life with “hit or miss” targets that make you a hostage of your own expectations!
When you put black and white labels on your joy (like, saying you’ll only be successful when you get that six-figure promotion, only be beautiful when you lose 50 lbs, or only be proud when you secure 10 new clients) you may, literally, strangle your own life with an unnecessary need to control it. Let your life play out for itself, knowing that what is in your highest good and what will, ultimately, make you the happiest could be something entirely different than you anticipate. Allow your life to creatively unfold for you!
9. Do… think about how you want to FEEL instead!
Want to feel bold? Live adventurously? Identify feelings you crave and DO THINGS that support bringing them to life. Less numbers, more feelings!
If you want to experience something in life, you actually have to do stuff to make the experiences happen. As nice as it would be to *poof* wake up one day and have a life that feels exactly like we want, it’s up to us to be active participants in the process. The answer is simple, but not easy; do the things that help you feel the way you want to feel. For example, if you want to feel “energized” in your life, don’t sit back and wait… Instead, identify the actions and thoughts that help put you in a state of energy. Create your feelings from action! Get specific, identifying the behaviors and thoughts that will set you up to live your most “energized” life and then set out to do them.
8. Ditch… putting off fun till it’s convenient.
Life happens; it’s never going to be the “perfect” time to make time for you! Stop waiting for the stars to magically align for fun to drop into your lap.
Here’s how it goes; stop us if this sounds familiar. You’re waiting to find a boyfriend before you go to Paris? Waiting till work slows down before taking that cruise? Waiting for the kid’s soccer league to end before planning a family getaway? The truth is, something is always going to come up that makes life less than ideal. But if you put things off… and put things off… and keep putting things off waiting for life to be convenient, you’ll wait forever! Prioritize. It’s not easy, but it’s worth it!
7. Do…. go on the darn vacation already!
Book it. Now. And, while we’re at it, wear that bikini! If you dream of sunny beaches, honor yourself and schedule that trip. You don’t need the “perfect body” to show up. Just bring sunscreen and a smile!
Fun doesn’t care if you are fat or thin or anything in between. The sand at the beach doesn’t judge you. The real joy in life is making memories in the moment and showing up fully and completely. So pick that beach, circle that destination on the map and make it happen. Big thighs, big dreams, and big memories all at the same time!
6. Ditch…taking your body for granted.
You only get one body; appreciate it for being the badass machine it is! You may not think its perfect, but it’s powerful and gives you the chance to wake up every day to kick ass, rinse, and repeat!
Newsflash. Life gets better when you live it with self-love. No matter what changes you anticipate wanting to make in the future, be thankful for the body you have right now. You may think I’m talking about the idea of body love — think again. This is not about saying “I love you, beautiful body” but instead, being thankful for what your body does for you. Your heart beats for you. Your lungs breath. Your arms let you hug people you love. Your eyes let you see. Yessssahhh your body does all sorts of miraculous things, so tap into that gratitude!
5. Do… find ways to invest in your long-term wellness.
Find small ways to start treating your body right, so you can enjoy it for years to come! Hydrate. Meditate. Add more walking into your day. Small actions = big impact!
This is not about conforming to an unrealistic and, potentially unsuitable cliché of “health” but, instead, finding what makes YOU the best version of YOU. For example, eating lots of processed sugars can make it harder for many people to find a state of emotional balance in their daily lives. Expending physical energy every day simply for the joy of moving (rather than focusing on weight loss) can reduce anxiety and depression. You have one body and, as much as we forget in our 20’s when we feel invincible and unfailingly energetic, fueling our body properly and treating it with the care, will go a long way as we get older.
4. Ditch… the need to control it all.
Stop pulling your hair out trying to get everyone, and every THING, to be exactly as you think you need it to be. Things just are…
Fellow control freaks unite! This one is hard but needs to be stated… control is an illusion. The more we strive for it, the more it evades us, and the more roadblocks we tend to create for our own happiness. And yet the need for certainty drives so many of us! Spiritual teachers like to remind us that the need to control comes from our human desire to reduce our own pain; except that pain and growth are a necessary part of life!
In the words of Pema Chödrön, “When we protect ourselves so we won’t feel pain, that protection becomes like armor, like armor that imprisons the softness of the heart.”
3. Do… focus on what is entirely within your power.
Want to know what you CAN control? The energy you bring to the table every day. How you see things shapes your life and how others perceive you as well!
Peace is a state of mind that we can create in our own lives. It has less to do with the things that happen around us, and how we chose to SEE and interpret the things that happen around us. Have you ever been around someone who had the coolest energy? They could be eating an orange and you want to be next to them! At the same time, someone could just give off that negative vibe that makes you shudder, even if they are saying the sweetest things. That’s all about our energy. Stop and think about how you see the world around you. For example, do you believe that bad things happen to you OR do you see challenges as opportunities to get creative with problem-solving? Remember that keeping our energy in check can be as simple as stopping to pause before we enter a room. Stopping… pausing… and deciding what kind of energy we want to bring INTO the situation? This is especially helpful before business meetings, any kind of gathering you anticipate being stressful, or even when it comes to dating.
2. Ditch… comparing yourself to others.
No. Really. Just stop. You are your own unique woman, designed to be unlike anyone else for a reason.
In 1954, a social psychologist named Leon Festinger came up with, what he called, the theory of social comparison. It explains that our own feelings of self-worth are dependent upon how we feel we measure up to the others around us. Ok, clearly. And we all know that living in a social media-obsessed world where we are bombarded with the “perfect” images of others 24/7 is basically an invitation for comparison. And yet we do it just the same! We mercilessly compare our full lives to the highlights of others and internalize the differences as our own inadequacies. Which can cause stress, high-blood pressure, heart disease, hypertension, and a weakened immune system? Not to mention increasing our chances of experiencing depression and anxiety. As hard as it is, try to see yourself as an entity separate from others around you. Tune out of social media if that helps, but know that you (and only you) should be the judge of your own progress and place in life!
1. Do… breathe.
There is no single element more powerful in shaping your energy than breathing. Watch how a few deep breaths can prevent mid-freak-out stress!
I have a friend who likes to say to me, “Breathe, Sarah” when he senses I’m freaking out or anxious. While, technically, I am already breathing at the time (or else I wouldn’t be alive to have the conversation, clearly) it’s his way of reminding me to keep myself in check. Have you ever noticed when you start to get uncomfortable or upset, your breathing gets pretty shallow and fast? At the same time, when we are in our most relaxed state, our breath is deep and long? Breathing consciously (mindfully taking oxygen in and out) will always help to heal stress or chaos when it starts to take over. I’ve even read that an estimated 80% of our metabolic energy comes from breathing, while only 20% comes from food! To really do your body and soul good, learn some basic yogi rhythmic breathing techniques or learn how to truly, properly maximize your general breathing. Breathe through your nose, sit or stand with the correct posture, inhale and exhale completely etc. There is no single tool we have more valuable than our own breathing! “In your lifetime you will breathe in and out more than a hundred million times. If you can learn to breathe even a little bit better, you will notice immediate, profound shifts in your physical, mental, and emotional well-being.” – Gay Hendricks