A few days ago I got an email from a lovely reporter who was doing a cover story for a local magazine. The topic was "How to Live Your Best Life." She asked me if I could answer a few questions, which I happily agreed to do. As the title indicates, it's a topic I love. After all, this is what being a therapist is all about: To help people find a way to live their best possible life. I can't think of a better goal. Below is the interview we shared.
1) What do you think are a couple of reasons that prevent people from living their best life?
One of the main reasons which stop people from living their best life is that they don't know what living "their best life" means. "Best Life" can often be associated with achieving unending happiness, great fame or great wealth. It can mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people. And to complicate matters, there's no one right path to take to achieve this goal for everyone. This can make achieving the goal of a "best life" a bit confusing in terms of the best way to get there.
Achieving one's best life is a combination of having goals, being in touch with one's passion, striving for something bigger than one's self and having love in our life. These goals can take time, and those pursuing it, can experience some roadblocks along the way. These roadblocks can confuse or frustrate the seeker, sometimes to the point of questioning if he or she is on the right path. The other factor making it challenging to achieve one's best life is self esteem. Low self esteem and the tempting tendency to experience one's self as a victim or powerless can also complicate this admirable goal of one's best self and thus one's best life.
2) How can you take that first step toward living your best life?
First you have to ask yourself these questions:
"What do I want in life?"
"What's important to me?"
Once you've figured out the answers, then you can take small, achievable steps to move in the direction of your goals. It's really just that simple!
3) Many people say fear holds them back from things. What advice do you have for facing your fear and moving through it?
Experiencing fear may always be a part of trying to achieve one's life goals. The key is to follow your goals not your feeling. If you follow your feelings, your goals will be that much tougher to achieve, because our feelings are constantly changing. I always tell my patients, "Don't follow your feelings, follow your goals!"
4) Some people say they'd be happier if they knew their purpose or felt passionate about their life. Any advice for finding your purpose?
For the people who don't know where to start, start with looking at your childhood dreams and wishes. Also examine your daydreams and fantasies. Look around, and ask yourself, "If anything were possible, what would you want to do?" Is there anyone doing something, where you say to yourself, "Hey, that looks like it would be really a fun thing to try." The answers to these questions can be really valuable information to help you find your life purpose and passions.
5) Some people you talk to say they're living their best life. Are there any common traits these people might have?
This is a really good question. People living their best life, have an attitude of gratitude. They appreciate who and what they have in their life. They experience love and are tapping into their natural talents and dreams. They feel like they are meeting their life goals and are where they should be in life. They probably also feel challenged by life and are continually growing and learning.
6) Any tools you recommend for people to improve their life such as journaling, creating a vision board of the life they want or writing out goals?
I like all of those ideas. Journaling, vision boards and writing out goals. Whatever works, is perfect! The major key is to realize if you want a goal it probably wants you too. We all have talents and skills we are meant to share with the world. It's important to see our goals and wishes from this perspective. Then the best way for people to improve their life is to ask themselves the following questions:
"What do I want?"
"What's getting in the way of me getting what I want?"
"What can I do to positively move myself in the direction of my goals?"
Then just go out there and do it!!!"
The final piece of valuable information is to put people who act as your mentors in your life who encourage you, believe in you, and support your desire to live your best life. Living our best life is something we all deserve to pursue for ourselves and all the others it will benefit. Living your best life is closer than you think, so go out there and achieve your fabulous goals!