by Kimberly Pangaro | Kimberly is a mom of four daughters and the owner of the lifestyle parenting media company Atomic Mommy. When she’s not running her company or momming all day, she’s writing about family life.
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People have this innate ability to blame every one else for the way their lives are going. Accountability has died. Self-pity is trending.
But what if I said you could be living your best life and the first step to doing so, required some serious self-love and an extra dose of forgiveness? Would you consider taking the required steps to live your best life? I hope so! Because that’s what living your best life means… taking the steps to get there.
Here are 10 steps that helped me live my best life AND hopefully, they’ll help you learn to live your best life, too!
#1 Love Yourself Enough to Accept Your Flaws
Living your best life starts with this first step. Sure, it sounds easy, but for those of us who are not so great at this… it’s actually really tough to do. That’s because we tend to focus on our flaws rather than what is beautiful about ourselves. People like you and I, focus on the negative parts of our lives like our imperfect bodies, our depressed or fizzled personalities, our lack of career success, and our disfunction with money.
If this sounds like you, then I have a little trick for you. Start manifesting love for yourself by letting go of all the strings you attached to yourself. There’s a few ways to do this. For me, it’s telling myself daily (similar to a mantra), while staring at my reflection, that my life is what I make of it and I’m the one who has to make it what I want. For you, it may be writing down all of your flaws on pieces of paper and burning them (safely) or perhaps, writing in a journal the things you have control over, to make better about yourself.
#2 Say Good-Bye to Toxic People
Toxic people are the worst and weigh the most in your life. They cause pain, heartache, depression, brain fog, self doubt, self hate, depreciation of yourself, make you feel guilty for your choices, and worst of all, make you feel unworthy. Get rid of these people because they rather enjoy putting you down.
There will always be people in your life who project their inadequacies, their negativity, and their fears on you. These people parade around like they’re “trying to help”. The reality is that they don’t approve of your life’s choices or your lifestyle and so they feel it is necessary to get you to change your choices. Toxic people come in all forms — parents, family members, community members, friends, co-workers, etc. They do and say all sorts of things that mask as helpful, like troll your social media posts, police your weight, criticize your outfits, de-prioritize your importance, ignore your voice, or tell you about how your career choices aren’t “acceptable”. That’s why, it’s so important to be confident in the life you are living and to remove the toxic people trying to get in the way of you living your best life.
#3 Invest in Your Personal Growth
Personal growth can be blocked by toxic people. It can also be hindered by a lack of knowledge. The best way to grow in your life, is to invest in the tools and resources that will provide you the best life. Tools like self-help classes, books on positivity, classes to learn new skills, updating your resume for that new job, talking to a professional, and so much more!
The goal of investing in your personal growth is to guarantee that you will not be stuck in the same spot for too long, especially if that spot is degrading or worse, has you regretting your life’s choices.
#4 Forgive Yourself and Do It Often
Sometimes we do things to ourselves or we allow things to happen to ourselves without acknowledging the role we play in our own lives. Are you too busy to have a social life? Haven’t had a meaningful relationship in a long while? Feel overwhelmed at work?
These are all products of choices we made for ourselves. We got ourselves into these situations and we can certainly get ourselves out of them! How? Three ways: (1) acknowledge that you are responsible for the choices and the outcomes of those choices, (2) understand that you are bound to make mistakes no matter how awesome you are, and (3) forgive yourself for messing up.
When you acknowledge, understand, and forgive yourself, you are taking responsibility for your life’s choices and are making yourself accountable. These actions will let you grow into a happier and more positive version of yourself.
#5 Let Go of the Small Stuff
When small things happen that cause negative consequences, we tend to harbor on those small things, often wishing that we could change them. What if we let the small stuff go? What if we never gave the small stuff the time of day?
You see, when we get upset over the small things, we lose sight of the bigger picture. And the bigger picture is to enjoy life and everything in it. Maybe it’s when your spouse puts that coffee mug somewhere you don’t like or perhaps, it’s how your boss talked to you nastily. Either way, those are small upsets that require too much negative energy. Rather, turn your eye to those tiny things, and focus on the positive effects that the small things can create.
#6 Make Small Attainable Goals
Having long term goals is a great idea, if you’re able to stay focused on them for long periods of time and you get to achieve them. But not everyone is built the same. Some of us have a hard time figuring out how to manage our daily lives let alone trying to accomplish long term goals. So, the best thing to do for people like us, is to focus on smaller, daily goals. These kind of goals can include reducing daily calorie intake, adding daily exercise routines, doing small acts of kindness, and so much more. So, whether you want to spend 15 minutes exercising or cut your daily calorie intake by 500 calories, the point is that you can achieve these very easily. By making small attainable goals, you will build your confidence and feel good about your choices. Thus, changing how you think of yourself and your life.
#7 Learn to Say No
We all like feeling needed. Heck, we may even get a thrill from being other people’s saviors. But there is a consequence to always being there for others and that’s familiarity and comfort. People often take advantage of those who lend out their helping hand too much and that can cause undue pressure and stress in our lives. Maybe it’s a family member that keeps calling you to intervene in their problems. Or maybe it’s a friend who always needs that ride to work. Either way, the art of saying ‘No’ can be a huge stress-relief. That co-worker can find their own ride to work and family members are more than capable of handling their own problems. Remember, it’s perfectly okay to tell people ‘No’.
#8 Ask for Help When You Need it
Asking for help is not a sign of weakness. It doesn’t mean that we are incapable or that we are helpless. Asking for help means that we’ve reached our limits. Knowing our limits helps us understand that we can outsource tasks to be done by others who are better at completing certain things. We should not think we can do everything or can handle everything on our own. We should know that in life, there will be things that we are simply not good at doing or handling and there’s nothing wrong with that. All we need to do is ask for help and if we don’t receive any help from our immediate circle, then we should aim to seek help from other sources.
#9 Remove the Negative Thoughts
We’ve all had these. They sound like this: “I can’t”, or “It won’t work”, or “I’m not good enough”. If you’ve ever said these things to yourself, it’s because you’re letting the negativity rule you. Living your best life is not only about achievements or healthy living. Living your best life is also about getting rid of the things that hold you back and that includes the negative thoughts we have about ourselves. Instead of the limiting mindset we put on ourselves, we need to become our own promoters. Promote yourself to yourself. You can do it. You are capable. And You will be better than ever before.
#10 Pat Yourself on the Back, A Lot
Let’s face facts. If we don’t congratulate ourselves or pat ourselves on the back, we miss out on an important process of self growth. We have to be proud of the life we are cultivating and that means we show up to celebrate our own amazingness! Sure, there may be people that want to celebrate with us and that’s good. But we need to make time to celebrate ourselves. Maybe you’ve just quit eating fried chicken or you’ve picked up a new hobby. These are small wins and they deserve to be acknowledged.
The key to living our best lives is to just live. Live fully. Smile at the small beauties of the world. Soak up the sunlight, even if it’s gray out. Look at the rain clouds with imagination. Eat that chocolate cake because you want to and can. The point… life is what you make of it. Never let your mindset or others, get in the way of you living your best life!