How to Start Living your Best Life
It’s a brand new year, full of promise and opportunity. Everyone is excited and has the absolute best of intentions to improve their lives and to do more and be better. But it’s also a really stressful and overwhelming time, especially if you have ‘failed’ in the past or if you are at a crossroads and you have some big decisions to make about your career, relationships and life in general. Please don’t allow yourself to feel overwhelmed or become paralyzed with fear.
We are all a work in progress. We are constantly learning and growing and all we can ask is that we do better from one year to the next.
I could write an entire book about how to live your life as your most authentic self and find happiness and fulfilment in all you do (in fact, I’m busy writing it and hopefully it will be ready to meet you all, by May). In the meantime, let’s break it down and give you some basic pointers and a place to start. Living your best life is a journey and it helps to have some kind of a roadmap to guide you along the way. These are my top 5 tips to get you started:
Really get to know yourself super well. Your personality type, personal values, communication style and various personal preferences all add up to what makes you tick and these are the things that set you apart from others. The more self-aware you are, the better equipped you are to understand your motivations and behaviours and to recognize destructive patterns or walk away from people and situations which don’t serve you, without feeling guilty about it. Invest some time in getting to know ‘you’. You can start with my free gift to you, – an extract from a 10 week coaching programme that I use for individual and corporate clients – available right here for download.
Your mindset is literally the difference between an adventure and an ordeal. You are in total control of your mindset and in any situation – no matter how dire – you can actively choose to seek out the learnings and the blessings. This is an ongoing exercise and one I am working hard on, especially as I am prone to depression and my brain chemistry plays some pretty mean tricks on my mindset. Practice gratitude on a daily basis and I promise you, you will find more and more things to be grateful for. You will also automatically start becoming a generally more positive person because you are rewiring your brain to see positives all the time.
Detach and Declutter
The older we get, the more ‘baggage’ we seem to acquire – both in terms of emotional baggage and physical clutter and ‘stuff’. In order to be happier, we need to do some spring cleaning in our hearts and our homes and let go of all the things and people that don’t serve us anymore. This is a tough one, especially when it comes to walking away from relationships or giving up sentimental items. However, if you don’t clear out the old, you won’t have space for new people, experiences and things in your life. If you don’t let go of past hurt, you will keep on punishing people who didn’t cause you pain and effectively sabotaging your own happiness. There is a lot of freedom that comes from letting go.
We are social creatures and we all need to find our tribe. Surround yourself with people who bring out the best in you and who inspire you to do more and be a better version of ‘you’. In order to truly and meaningfully connect with others who will elevate you and support you, you’re going to need to be authentic and vulnerable.
Find people who are smarter than you and people who are open-minded and who challenge your limited thinking. Your personal growth isn’t going to come from staying super comfy and never learning anything new or meeting anyone new.
Design It and Do the Work
Nothing great ever happens by accident – it happens by design, through careful planning and consistent work. Whatever dreams you have in this lifetime, you are going to need to get super clear on exactly what you want your life and your career and your relationships to look like. Think of an architect drafting plans for a beautiful building and a construction crew then coming in and doing the actual work to bring that vision to life. Surround yourself with people who bring out the best in you and who inspire you to be the architect of your future and the construction crew of your life. It won’t always be easy, but if you break your goals down into smaller, more manageable milestones, you will definitely achieve whatever it is that you set out to achieve.
As you start your journey this brand new year, please be your own biggest fan and believe in your own abilities, above all else. Your track record in overcoming obstacles and challenges, is enviable and I know that, because you are still here, fighting and hustling and growing every single day, sister. Your best life is a journey and I hope that your journey starts right here and right now.
Deborah Hartung is a Consultant, Coach, Author and Speaker. She has spent almost 20 years advising corporates on matters relating to employee relations, corporate culture and leadership development. Deborah is passionate about people and technology, the human experience in the workplace and the opportunities for the advancement of humanity in the digital age. Deborah lives in Johannesburg, South Africa and is committed to ensuring that her children – daughter, Reagan and son, Owen – have as many adventures and experiences as possible. Amongst her friends she is known as the woman who always needs at least SPF50 sunscreen and someone who can trip and fall whilst barefoot and stone cold sober. A big fan of tequila, craft beer and MCC, Deborah loves entertaining friends and is secretly a rather big fan of baking.