Many make new goals at the start of each year. Not everyone does, but many who do tend to make the same ones year after year. I’ve certainly ridden my own yo-yo in that regard. But not this year.
I typically make all sorts of goals for the year, and then my effort slowly but surely diminishes as the year progresses. I might make a valiant try at a comeback, but that’s never really worked for me.
But 2017 will be different. This year I am making only one goal: To live my best life.
I know. That leaves a lot undefined, so it’s not exactly a SMART goal. But I’m focusing more on process than product. That’s all part of what it means to live your best life.
Living your best life doesn’t mean your life conforms to some plan. Many LDS singles can say their lives have deviated significantly from plan. I’m certainly one of them. But so are many marrieds. How many couples find they can’t have children as they planned? How many parents find their children turn out differently than they hoped? Life isn’t perfect for anyone.
Yet you can live your best life regardless of your circumstances. That’s because living your best life means finding joy from living life as best you can within the framework of your circumstances.
It’s about the journey
We make New Year’s resolutions ultimately because we want to live our best life. Resolutions simply express what you find lacking, what separates you from your best life.
But your best life is not a perfect life. Church leaders have long defined the perfect marriage not as the union of two perfect people but rather the union of two imperfect people striving together towards perfection. In like manner, your best life is not a compilation of perfect elements but rather your balanced approach to strive towards perfection.
This definition doesn’t depend on marital status. Of course, many LDS singles consider an acceptable marriage part of their perfection. But from a happiness perspective, striving for your best life can count just as much as having the perfect one. It all comes back to your approach, and you don’t need to be married to have the right one.
Your best life is not so much about a destination as it is about the journey there. It’s that focus on the journey that allows you to release the joy in each moment along the way. Not all experiences are joyful at first, but even the most heartrending moments can in time be turned into joy (see Jeremiah 31:13).
It’s about balance
The journey of your best life involves you striving after the elements you feel are missing. We all have different elements missing from our lives. That means the concept of best life is highly personal.
For instance, we all need sociality, but some need it only occasionally, while others need it constantly. The extent of our needs differs, but we all have the same standard set patterned in a model I presented previously regarding the four aspects of life.
Each individual will embrace these aspects differently, but you live your best life when you find your balance in each aspect. That balance is a key element to the best life, but again, that’s highly personal. My balance probably looks very different from yours, and that probably looks very different from someone else’s.
It’s about approach
That’s why it’s about process. All my past (failing) efforts were focused on product — I needed to weigh only so much, or I needed to master a new skill, or I needed a specific relationship. When those “products” didn’t materialize, I easily felt discouraged with myself and my life.
But that’s like saying I should be equally discouraged if I’m not translated into the Celestial Kingdom by next year. We all know that’s silly. Now, let’s apply the same logic to other goals. This life is about the journey to eternity and not arriving there. We’ll have much more to do after this life before we arrive at that glorious end.
I’m taking a balanced approach with my life in 2017. I have one and only one goal: Live my best life. That’s something all of us can have if we balance our approach towards the elements missing from each of our four aspects. As we do so, we’ll not only live our best life but also have more joy in our journey.
Howdy! I'm Lance, host of Joy in the Journey Radio. I've been blogging about LDS singles life since 2012, and now I produce a weekly radio show to help LDS singles have more joy in their journey and bring all Latter-day Saints together. Let's engage a conversation that will increase the faith of LDS singles and bring singles and marrieds together in a true unity of the faith.
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