If ever anyone asked us how we were doing, it would be so lovely if we could say, “Well, here I am, living my best life!”
Unfortunately, reality doesn’t always work that way. Many of us are stuck on autopilot, just going through the motions. Each day looks like Groundhog Day – same sh*t, different day.
Does that sound familiar to you? Would you like to know if you’re in fact not living your best life?
In this article, I’ll share 10 clear signs that should confirm that nagging feeling. Hopefully, they’ll serve as a wakeup call to be intentional and shape your life the way you want it to be.
Let’s dive in!
1) You feel stuck in a rut
I’ll start with the most obvious sign there is – that trapped feeling like, as I said earlier, you’re living the same day over and over again.
Like nothing ever changes. You get up in the morning, go to work, do the job, get back home. Day after day, it’s the same thing.
You can’t even say right away when the last time you did something new or exciting was. You’d have to dig deep in your memory bank to recall those fun times.
The only way out of that rut? Shake it up.
There’s nothing stopping you from picking up a new hobby. Or joining a club, even if it’s just online. Or making time each week to check out a new cafe, restaurant, or museum.
Little moves like these can infuse your life with a dose of freshness. Not only will they shake your boring routine up, you’ll learn new things, too. That always keeps life interesting!
2) You’re not excited about your job
You know that feeling I was talking about earlier? That do-your-job-on-autopilot feeling?
That points to another sign that you’re not living your best life – your job does not excite you.
Okay, “excited” might be too strong a word. The reality is, not all of us have jobs that are exciting and fun. More often than not, we’re in it just to pay the bills, not for some lofty desire to change the world.
And that’s not a bad thing, really. It is what it is.
Still, as much of a “mere necessity” our job might be, there does need to be an iota of interest in it. Or at the very, very least, we don’t hate it.
I was once in that very position: stuck in a job I hated. It took me some time to realize that life is too short to be stuck in a place that didn’t light a fire within me.
You see, when the work you do matters to you, it becomes less of a chore and more of an exciting adventure.
If your job does not spark any interest in you, it might be time to consider switching jobs. Or even switching careers.
Who knows, that empty feeling might be due to the fact that you’re not yet where you’re supposed to be!
3) You constantly feel overwhelmed
What if your job does make you feel a lot of things…only, it’s all too much? That’s another sign you’re not living your best life.
For me, the “best life” is a balanced life.
You might be earning a lot of money, or maybe you do love what you’re doing. But if there’s no sense of balance, it’s still not the best situation.
And you know what? Being in a constant state of stress is never sustainable. There’s a tremendous cost attached to it.
So take the time to pause and reflect. Is that huge paycheck worth your health and your personal time? Are you heading towards burnout? Is a little more attention to self-care called for?
Believe me, sometimes just a tiny tweak – time for self-care – can get you feeling your best!
4) You rarely have time for things you love
That section above reminds me of a recent conversation I had with a friend. She had recently accepted a top managerial position at a big corporation.
She had everything she’d ever dreamed of: a seven-figure paycheck, unparalleled benefits, access to the best places…
Except for one thing – time to enjoy the things she loves.
She’d be at work by 7am, then be back home at 9pm, barely able to stay awake for a decent dinner.
The result? She was feeling empty, despite all these perks and fat paycheck.
Think about your own life: Do you remember the last time you picked up that book you’ve been meaning to read? Or hoisted your tent out in your favorite camping spot?
If your hobbies and passions have been gathering dust, you might not be living your best life.
Gentle reminder: life isn’t just about work and productivity. The things that don’t earn money but which you love doing anyway are there to nourish your soul and bring you joy.
Which brings me to my next point…
5) You rarely experience joy
Joy? What’s that?
Well, if you have to ask, that’s your sign right there!
Obviously, if joy seems like a distant idea to you, you’re not living your best life.
The good thing is, joy is accessible to everyone, anywhere. You don’t have to go on a hot air balloon ride or travel to an exotic destination just to get it. (Although those are great for breaking up the monotony, too!)
With a simple intention, you can find joy right where you are.
What’s the intention? To be grateful.
Is it really that simple? According to researcher Brené Brown, it is. There’s a link between joy and gratitude.
In her years of research, she found that the people who described themselves as joyous were the ones who actively practiced gratitude.
She further states that it’s counterintuitive. Meaning, you don’t become grateful when you’re joyful. You become joyful when you’re grateful.
Does that make sense?
So, give it a try. Look around you for things to be grateful for and see just how fast you can get to living your best life!
6) You constantly compare yourself to others
Now while you’re looking around you, take care not to fall into the trap of looking at what other people are doing and measuring yourself against that.
If that’s something you regularly do, you’re not living your best life yet.
See, comparison can be helpful in a way – it helps us assess if we’re on track. But taken to the extreme, it stops being helpful and becomes a joy-zapper that knocks our self-esteem down.
And what’s more, those benchmarks you’re using may not even be real. Because you’re comparing your insides with other people’s outsides.
And that’s a huge leap.
Your best life will come when you’re focused on doing your own thing and not measuring your worth against others.
You’re happy to see other people succeed, but you understand that you don’t necessarily have to be on the same path.
7) You’re not in touch with your values
What exactly is your path, then?
It’s simply whatever rings true to you. Living your best life means aligning your actions with your core values.
The times in my life when I felt empty and running on autopilot were those times when I was trying to fit in and meet other people’s expectations.
It got to a point where I had to ask myself, “Is this really me? Is this really what I want to be?”
I figured out that the only way to feel happy and purposeful was to stop trying to contort myself into these shapes that didn’t suit me.
If your life feels hollow, take that as a sign that you may need to reflect and clarify what really matters to you. Then, go and do that, whatever else other people might say.
Otherwise, it might come to a point where…
8) You don’t feel healthy
I don’t just mean physically healthy, but mentally and emotionally too.
I think that one of the clearest signs you’re not living your best life is when you’re not at peace.
If you’re constantly battling with fatigue, stress, anxiety, or negative thoughts, it’s a sign that something needs to change.
9) You’re always waiting for the future
Do you constantly tell yourself, “When I get that promotion/I lose weight/I find a partner…then I’ll be happy”?
In short, are you placing conditions on your happiness?
Well, here’s another question: What’s wrong with being happy now?
I’m sure you’ve heard it all – life is short, life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans…
For me, this one from Scottish revolutionary William Wallace says it best: “Every man dies. Not every man really lives.”
Simply put, if you’re always waiting for the perfect moment or the next big thing to be happy, you’re not living your best life now.
Don’t be a “when-then” person. Happiness is not a bus stop you get on and off at intervals. It is the bus you ride on.
10) You neglect your relationships
Finally, we get to the last clear sign you’re not living your best life, and it has to do with the quality of your relationships.
According to Vanessa King, the author of 10 Keys to Happier Living, other people matter.
To design a happy life, we need to stay connected to others, whether we’re an introvert or an extrovert.
I learned this the hard way. Back when I was younger, I was so overly focused on my career that I barely had time for real, deep human interaction.
Naturally, my relationships suffered, and after a while, I began to feel its effects. I felt more and more lonely. That period was definitely not my best life.
So, make time for the people who matter to you. Keep your connection strong, and your life will be so much richer for it.
If you’re stuck in a rut today, don’t worry. Every day is a new day, and it doesn’t have to be Groundhog Day.
All you have to do is to make the choice to be more intentional about where and how you spend your energy.
Dig for joy everyday, love with all your heart, and live authentically. And pretty soon, you’ll find yourself living your best life!