As we settled in to watch the Super Bowl this past Sunday, we watched the players enter the playing field and Kathy leaned over and asked, “Will all the players on the sideline play tonight?“ She just wants to know that everyone will have a chance to play in the big game. While specific play calls and even injuries will impact who does play, unfortunately for some, they will not get on the field.
After weeks of preparation and anticipation, to finally be there only to watch has got to be tough.
The question Kathy asked, perhaps motivated by her maternal instincts and sense of fair play, isn’t just relevant for football players but for each one of us. What do you think? As you consider your current life and circumstances, are you playing or watching? Another way to put it is, “Are you living your best life now?“
Over the next few weeks we’ll consider how to “Live Your Best Life Now” by breaking it down word by word. 5 words. One at a time…here’s the first.
KEY #1 LIVE Your Best Life Now
Can I ask you a question? I guess I just did, but here it goes…
Do you like your life?
That’s it. Do you like your life? Don’t rush past it or dismiss it, take your time. I believe it’s an important question. Are you as healthy as you want to be? Are your closest relationships as good as you want them to be? Do you have meaningful friendships? Are you fulfilled in your work? Do you take time for hobbies or activities that feed your soul, renew your spirit and strengthen your body?
I meet people on a regular basis and they may not say it, they often are communicating that they are unhappy, discouraged or stressed out. Kathy and I own a cafe and we meet hundreds of people every week…some awesome, incredible people. But many are rushed, stressed, busy, exhausted, distracted, bored, defeated and restless.
Maybe you have resigned yourself to the fact that your life is what it is and that’s that. In fact I’ve met people who would argue that finding fulfillment and any level of satisfaction is this life is impossible. I’m not saying isn’t challenging, difficult and even painful, but in the the midst of that, is it possible to still experience meaning, satisfaction and purpose? I think we can.
What if there is more? What if you could live your best life now?
More Living, Less Watching
I’ve grown up during the advent of “reality” TV. But I’ll be honest with you, I don’t understand the appeal. I guess I’m just not interested in who survives, wins the race or losses the most weight. But the truth is, from big people to little people and all walks of life in-between it seems that we have a fascination with watching other people live their lives.
I understand that we can be interested in others. I learned a long time ago that if I want Kathy to be interested in watching a football or hockey game, to tell her something of interest about one of the players or players spouse etc. Once she gets even a glimpse into the personal story of a player, she’s more likely to stay engaged.
We love stories…I get it. But what about our own story? The danger becomes when we spend more time watching others live their lives, and less time living our own.
When did binging become an acceptable pastime?
Growing up the word binge always referred to something that was deemed bad or addictive. Drinking, eating or spending were often the culprits. Binge drinking on weekends or binge eating after a breakup or binge spending to ease the pain of failure. Whatever the context, binging was always a way of coping with life in a negative, self-destructive pattern.
But now, we are encouraged to binge. I recently saw a blog post encouraging it’s readers to binge on a particular podcast…all weekend! It’s not uncommon to see people post a question on FaceBook like, “Hey, looking for something to binge watch on Netflix, any suggestions?”
I live in Canada and Canadians watch an average of 30 hours of TV a week. That’s over 4 hours a day. Seriously? And this doesn’t include working on computers and other screens.
What if we put the same time and energy we spend on watching others, on ourselves instead? I wonder if that would change things for the better?
Life Assessment Exercise
In order to answer the question, “Do you like your life?” you must begin by assessing where your life is now.
For each life category below, take a moment and rate your level of satisfaction. Don’t think too long about it, just consider things as they are now. On a scale from 1-10 (1 = poor, 10 = excellent) circle the number that reflects your level of satisfaction in each of the following life categories.
Consider the following areas of your life and give each one a score out of 10.
Marriage/family relationships Career Health & fitness Personal growth & development Friendships Finances
Hobbies & recreation Spiritual life (Add your own)
Evaluating the many areas of your life is an important process in evaluating our level of fulfillment, but on it’s own, it is incomplete. Consider the following steps:
1. Pause. Take a moment to reflect on your responses. What surprises you? What stands out to you? Where are you living out your values? Where are you ignoring your values?
2. Prioritize. Which areas of your life do you want to change? What are priorities? Please note: you cannot change everything…and trying to would be demoralizing. Focus on two to three things that you would like to change in the next 6-12 months.
3. Plan: Once you have identified areas you want to change, you will want to set goals and steps to take that will help you reach your goals.
Set a goal: a goal needs to be SMART (specific, measureable, action oriented, realistic, time sensitive). “I want to get healthier” is not a goal. “I want to lose 10lbs by June 15” is a smart goal.
Once you have a goal, determine the steps you will take in order to reach your goal. Using the health goal you may decide to 1) research exercise programs (online or by talking with those who are already successful in this area) 2) set aside 30 minutes each morning for activity 3) Go to bed by 10pm and wake up at 6am 4) Choose a healthy eating plan
4. Prepare: Making positive changes in any area will require some decisions; for example, if you want to spend 20-30 minutes exercising each morning…you may have to go to bed earlier, get up earlier, decide on an exercise routine etc. You may want to share your plan with someone who will encourage you are participate with you.
5. Proceed: What is one thing that you can do today to move you toward your goal? Keep your goals in front of you…post them in a prominent place…review them…make changes when necessary. Celebrate progress.
What are the first changes you want to make?
What steps will you need to take to see them through?
How will you begin to Live Your Best Life Now?