How do we know if we are living our best life?
I mean, no one wakes up in the morning saying, “Today, I’m going to live my worst life!” Or, “Today, I’m really going to screw my life up.”
And yet we constantly find ourselves straddling the world of “shoulds” and our reality.
I have to do this today, but I really should…
I’m going to do this now, but I really should…
When I think about my best life, I think I should volunteer more, donate more, exercise more, eat better. I should go see my grandma. I should play a board game with my kids, and I should clean my storage room.
How do we turn off the shoulds? Is this what they mean when thought leaders talk about living in the present moment? How do we accomplish the shoulds and simultaneously exist in the proverbial present?
Can you live your best life if you aren’t striving for the shoulds? I mean, wouldn’t avoiding the shoulds just mean you are lazy?
If you intentionally strive to cross the shoulds off your daily or long-term to-do list, does that become the root cause of stress and anxiety? Are the people who are maxed out and miserable the should-achievers of the world? If we boycott the shoulds, are we saving our soul and sidestepping a life of overachievement and self-induced misery?
Those people who appear to have it all together, are they actually living their best life? Or are they stressed to the max, living a facade, and striving to give off a certain public perception?
I want to be the person who lives their best life. I want to be intentional in my day-to-day actions, but there are just so many shoulds that overwhelm me. I don’t want to be a miserable, stressed-out overachiever!
So, I make lists. I turn my shoulds into “to-do” items that I can cross off my list. Yet, the shoulds never end. They pile up. They grow and evolve and morph into bigger shoulds.
So, I meditate, exercise, drink wine, and spend time with friends in an attempt to restore balance in my life. That helps. But, then the damn shoulds pile up.
So, I try gratitude—and then I feel like a Flintstone, driving a car with my feet spinning and shuffling, but the car doesn’t go anywhere!
I’ve concluded that my shoulds merely serve as my motivation. They are my reminder there is always more I can do to be better, be healthier, be kinder, and be more productive. My job, in order to live my best life, is to strike a balance.
If I’m lucky, I will have 100 years to work through my shoulds, because at no time did I ever have a should that demanded it be done right now. My shoulds are usually future-oriented which offers the gift of time. I can plan them into my life, on my schedule, when it works. I can prioritize my shoulds and achieve them over time.
The beauty of a should is they generally aren’t time-bound, and the rush, or sense of urgency, comes from where we place them in the hierarchy of priorities. And that, my friend, is the secret to living the metaphorical “best life.”
People who have the ability to balance their shoulds use them to cannonball themselves into their best life. Those who unveil the best version of themselves have the ability to prioritize.
We are already doing the shoulds. When you know you need to meditate or go for a walk before you can be a great parent and play that board game with your kids, you are conquering the shoulds—one by one, in priority order. Taking the time to notice our accomplishments is the part we often forget. And my guess is, if we stop and pay attention to all we have already accomplished, then we would find we probably already have a degree in mastering the shoulds in our life.
And the shoulds still remaining will all happen in good time because we have our whole life to conquer them.
So are you already living your best life? Is your inner awesome already shining? Stop and look at all you have done this week. Look at all you have accomplished.
My guess is you tackled a lot of shoulds. Now the question is, what’s your next priority?”