We’ve all seen those motivational social media posts urging us to pursue our best life. But, let’s be honest here, what even is a best life? Here are the 3 personal traps you need to escape to build your best life.
We all have different barometers by which we judge ourselves and others and something that defines success for me may be deemed failing by someone else. The point is, trying to define what a best life looks like may be a bit of a time waster. Instead, it can be useful to look at the route towards a best life, because although the endgame may look different, the early stages find us all needing to escape the same 3 personal traps stopping us from getting started. So what comes first?
Escaping the traps in our mind.
Our mind is like a supercomputer of incredible scale. It takes responsibility for the running of most of our bodily functions and helps facilitate most of our experiences. I mean, could you imagine trying to remember to breathe every other second whilst also concentrating on any daily task? That’s just one, tiny function of our brain. A process so simple, yet so vital that without it we would quite literally die in our sleep.
Our mind can also retain a huge amount of historical information as memories. It can remind us that eating unidentified berries from a bush in a field is a bad idea and that crossing the road when the light is red could kill us. All useful information when navigating the day to day.
But there’s a catch, the information we base our decisions on isn’t infallible. In fact, over time our memories become less and less dependable. They become framed and re-framed by our current, evolving perspective of life and as this changes, they do too. Eventually, our memories become caricatures of themselves and we find ourselves re-living the same life challenges over and over again. As we make the same decisions repeatedly, the experiences we have further cement our belief that things can’t change and eventually we become totally trapped.
To build our best life, we must find a way to break out of this mental prison.
So how do we do it? Well, it sounds easy on paper but it can be a little tricky in practice. For this to work, we need to realise the fallibility of our thoughts and start to question why we are allowing the past to stop us from taking new actions in the present. We must then take bold new actions to break the cycles we found ourselves trapped in before. New actions, new data, new memories, new results… new life.
Escaping the traps in our health.
The second trap we must escape in order to build our best life is to do with our health. Now I can already hear you cry, ‘But my best life involves me sitting in a hot tub eating cake and nachos!’. And no, I will not deny you that fantasy. Nor will I turn you down if you invite me to a cake and nachos hot tub mixer.
But here’s the thing, many of us don’t consider our health as often as we probably should. We also tend to not heed the warning signs from our body that we could be doing a better job at maintaining it. We blame work stress for our lack of sleep, but never change our job. We use middle age to excuse our extra pounds, but haven’t exercised in longer than we would like to admit. We blame our sweet-tooth for our candy habit and never take the time to wonder why we feel the compulsive need to eat candy in the first place.
To live our best life we must listen more closely to our bodies and we must consistently take the simple actions that we all know will improve our health. Sleep well, eat a balanced diet, drink more water, smile more and move our bodies in a way that brings us joy and gets our heart pumping.
Always remember too, our best life is not something we attain once and then never change. It’s a continuous process of building and improving. So don’t try and change everything at once. Change one small thing every week and within 52-weeks you’ll be 52 times healthier as long as you keep those changes implemented!
Escaping the traps in our time.
‘Well it’s all fine and good for you’, I hear you say. ‘But once I’ve done all that I need to do in a day I don’t have the time or energy to work on my mind or health’. And I hear you. The process of building a best life can seem very daunting at the start. But here’s a question for you, Could you find 20 minutes a day to do something that indulges your heart, or makes you smile or helps you grow?
Just 20 minutes a day adds up to around 122 hours in a year! And if 20 minutes is just that little bit too much, how about 10? 10 minutes a day still adds up to 61 hours a year doing something you love. Let’s be honest, If you don’t have 10 spare minutes in a day are you even living?
Ultimately, the process of forever building your best life is one that takes a time commitment. If we cannot make the time to change then we will never change, and change we must if we are to build something new. It is through changing our mind, health and time that we can build something more beautiful and meaningful, something that closer resembles our best life.