How to Create the Perfect Life
Updated: Mar 2, 2020
We live in a society that values achievement. From a young age, we're expected to be physically attractive, get good grades, excel in sports and other activities, go to the best college, choose a noteworthy career and strive to reach the highest level. At some point in adulthood, we’re also expected to find and settle down with our soulmate (who should ideally be wealthy, successful, charming and good-looking), have a couple of perfect kids and go on fabulous, Instagram-worthy vacations twice a year. That may not be the exact description of what you want out of life, but it might be close to what you think you “should” be doing.
As women, we’re bombarded with so many messages about how to have a “perfect life” that it’s no wonder we often feel like we don’t measure up. When everyone around you seems to be marching to the same beat it can be tempting to try to keep up with the crowd. The truth is, that everyone’s definition of happiness is different and your life shouldn’t be defined by what everyone else expects.
What if, instead, you decide what’s truly important and then focus on creating a life that has meaning and purpose for you? What if you prioritize finding true happiness and fulfillment from within? If you’re having a hard time picturing what that might look like, here are some ideas to help you craft a life that brings you happiness.
Define your values. Whatever you’re setting out to accomplish, it’s important to get clear on your own values and priorities so you’re not chasing an external ideal. Ask yourself: am I living my life to impress other people or to create true happiness for myself and my loved ones? Do I want to achieve more because it brings me joy and is a manifestation of my passion and purpose, or am I chasing a sense of accomplishment when I tell people about my new job title or my child's GPA? Sometimes it can be hard to tell where your motivation comes from. If you’re used to constantly trying to keep up with the people around you, it may take some extra soul-searching to figure out what you really want. But getting to the heart of your motivation is essential if you wish to live an authentic, happy life.
Look behind the façade. Unrealistic expectations are everywhere. Social media is full of people proudly displaying their accomplishments through carefully chosen, strategically edited images. Whether it’s showing off our kids’ successes, our enviable vacations, our promotions, or simply what we ate for lunch, social media is all about creating the impression of a successful life. When we see other people’s curated versions of themselves it can feel like our own lives should be better – triggering us to try to do more, have more, get more, be more – to feel good about ourselves. Watching other people have what you want can be tough, but the truth is no one’s life is what it seems on the outside. All that really matters is what’s true for you. Commit to living a life that you feel proud of and let go of everyone else’s judgment – yours is the only opinion that matters.
Cherish the present. You only get one life. This may sound like just a cliché, but living in the moment can set you free. Focusing on being present for life’s experiences as they happen can make you calmer, happier and more at peace. So, stop “should-ing” on yourself and go spend some time with people you love doing things that you enjoy. Who cares if your hair isn’t done or you’re not wearing the perfect outfit? Does that make you any less fun or beautiful? Try turning off your phone and simply basking in the joy that comes from connecting with people in real life. Remember, it’s your experiences that give life meaning.
Know that you’re worthy. There’s nothing inherently wrong with achievement. But putting pressure on yourself to constantly achieve can also be a way to cover up feelings that you’re not good enough as you are. If you find yourself using your accomplishments to create feelings of self-worth it might be time to change your core beliefs about who you are and what makes you unique. Even without meeting you, I can say with 100% certainty that your status and belongings are not what makes you special. You’re amazing simply because you're you. That’s it. You don’t need any embellishments, certificates, medals, likes or other external nonsense to validate your worth. So let go of trying to impress everyone and just be yourself.
The next time you feel like you have to keep up appearances, remember that there’s magic in the unknown. If you dare to define a different set of expectations for yourself and let go of unrealistic ideas, you'll be free to craft a life that’s truly fulfilling and lives up to exactly what you want in your heart of hearts. You’ll also be an inspiration to other women – and proof that there’s more to life than selfies.
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Eva Bart-Williams is an elite performance coach who helps clients worldwide achieve excellence in sport, career and life. Eva owns Ignite Confidence Coaching, a practice that’s dedicated exclusively to helping women own their power and reach their true potential. She is also the co-owner of CBW Soccer Elite, where she trains athletes to master the mental side of the game. Eva is available for video consultations and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.