Living Your Best Life in 2019Dec 28, 2018 11:00AM ● By Kimberly Boney
Flourish & Thrive
By Kimberly N. Boney
IT DOESN'T TAKE fancy clothes, sparkling diamonds, expensive trips or popped champagne bottles to live your best life. It simply takes a commitment to making life choices that bring you peace, clarity of mind and happiness. It may seem like a lofty task, but it can be done – and the start of the new year is the perfect time to do it. Follow along as we outline nine ways to live your best life in 2019.
Learn how to say “no.” It’s the shortest, simplest word, but it’s often the hardest to say. Mastering the fine art of “no” isn’t an opportunity to be contrary or dismissive, but it is an effort to preserve your sanity by not overextending yourself. One of the most frustrating, regret-inducing feelings in the world is overcommitting when you are busy. It builds unnecessary resentment for loved ones when you sign yourself up to do things you don’t have the time or energy for. Is it a big event? You probably can’t bypass a wedding or a funeral, but if it’s the monthly family dinner that will conflict with some much-needed rest or something more pressing, your family will understand if you have to sit this one out. Be honest and let them know you’ve got a few things that need your attention. Don’t feel guilty if the thing that needs attention is you.
Take “me time” as needed. It isn’t selfish or frivolous to take a few moments to yourself to recharge. Taking a mental, emotional and physical break from others is absolutely necessary to be able to continue to show the most genuine (not obligatory) love to your dear ones. It doesn’t need to be anything major to help restore you to your former glory. An extra 30 minutes to read and enjoy your coffee in peace, an overnight stay in a hotel to store up a few extra hours of sleep, or an afternoon of shopping can bring you back to a happy, healthy square one.
Do what you love and love what you do. It’s been said that if you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life. While many of us have too many responsibilities to quit our jobs to live our dream of becoming a full-time travel blogger or a race car driver, we can commit to working a job that brings us some measure of joy. Going to a job you hate every day creates stress – and stress has a direct correlation to illness. If the job isn’t for you, look for the windows of opportunity around you. When you find the one with the most promising outlook, close the door on the job that isn’t working for you.
Eat and drink what works for you. Skip the crash diets and temporary binges and find your way to foods that make you feel your best. If there is a particular food that makes you miserable, cut it out of your life. Look for reasonable substitutes and refuse to purchase the items that are making you sick. If the foods you love aren’t something that leave you feeling your worst but just aren’t the healthiest option, consider moderation instead of all-out elimination. Trying to deny yourself the sweet and well-deserved pleasure of your favorite treat is the quickest route to a binge fest. Serve yourself a small portion in a plate or a bowl (as opposed to the whole box or bag) and commit to savoring every delicious bite. Reduce the temptation by buying only a small amount of your treat of choice.
Write down your life goals. Writing down your plan helps you gain a clear vision of what you want and will help you determine the appropriate steps to get there. Keep this list handy and modify as needed. Cross off the goals as you accomplish them. There is something satisfying about knowing you are making moves toward a bigger goal. Years down the line, when you look back on this list, you’ll know you made the commitment to your dream and followed through. And if you ever stray off the path you set for yourself, it’ll remind you of what you are made of.
Pay yourself first. Dad always said it: “Take 10 percent of any and every amount of money you get and save it. And then, forget it is there.” Those words resonate much more now than they did as a young person. Dad was right. Having a little nest egg is a huge comfort in a world full of uncertainty. The trick is to not tap into it for trivial reasons. If you need the money for something life-altering for you or a family member, it’ll be there. If not, let it stack up. Speak with a financial advisor about investing the money in a way that acknowledges your desired level of risk and time commitment.
Get rid of things you don’t need. There is a burden in having too much stuff. Not only can clean and like-new items you don’t use anymore be a blessing to someone in need through donation, but they can also help to subsidize your income. Consider putting unwanted clothing, accessories, home décor and furniture on consignment or list them on sites with buyers looking for that type of product. Put the money toward something you need, save it or donate it to charity.
Speak up for yourself – and others. One of the hardest things in the world to do is live with yourself when you’ve missed the opportunity to be your own advocate. We’ve all harbored regret at witnessing something that wasn’t right or didn’t sit well with us and wondering what we could have done to make the situation better. Speak up on your own behalf or that of another in a calm, gracious and productive way when it matters. If someone is rude to you or someone else in line at a store, gently suggest to the offending individual that a kinder tone would yield greater results - or distract the angry person with a kindness they weren’t expecting. Try not to be roused by someone else’s negativity. Breathe deeply, keep calm, say what needs to be said, move on and counteract the nasty energy by doing something kind for someone else.
Do some good. Find an organization (or several) whose passion you share and support it in any way you can. Financial contributions are wonderful, but they aren’t everything. A commitment of your time, energy or other resources can make a world of difference for those in need. Ask family and friends to join the effort. Offer to provide a service to a friend in need and watch her stress melt away. Small kindnesses can have a huge impact. •