As a life coach who focuses on helping women achieve more personal and professional fulfillment, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about what tangible steps people can take to get a deeper sense of purpose and enjoyment out of their daily lives. From my experience working with clients and through my many years of researching personal growth, I’ve identified seven key behaviors and mindsets that contribute toward a woman’s overall satisfaction. Over the next few weeks I’m going to dive deeper into each of these mindsets and behaviors individually, but, for the time-starved lady out there (most likely everyone who’s reading this) here’s my short and sweet list for how to live a more fulfilling life:
1) Ditch the Need to Please
Chronic people-pleasing is an epidemic among women (and moms likely get even worse cases as we must constantly put other’s needs ahead of our own). The thing is, in order to be really, truly fulfilled down to your core, you have to be in touch with your own needs and desires. There is only so much of you to go around, so it’s imperative you build up boundaries and protect your most precious resource: your time. Decide what’s worth your time and energy and do less of the things that suck you dry. As Tina Fey so succinctly put it, “Do your thing, and don’t care if they like it.”
2) Fit in your favorite things
Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens...seriously, few things will bring a greater sense of fulfillment into your life than the small joys that make you uniquely you. If you feel a deep connection to the ocean, make it a priority to get there as much as possible. If you have a favorite color, surround yourself with it or wear it on a day you’re down in the dumps. If you long to travel, make it a priority to start saving and planning your next trip, and in the meantime, bring as much of that place into your life right now as possible. Maybe it’s not realistic to go to Italy tonight, but you can go to that authentic Italian restaurant down the street or watch a movie that takes place there. Your favorite things are not simply luxuries or the “nice-to-haves” on your to-do list...it’s crucial that you make time for these things in order to stay connected to yourself and be fully engaged in your life.
3) Give and get some lady love
Women need other women. We’re genetically wired to connect with each other and can offer a unique kind of nurturing support we’re unlikely to get from a male partner. Studies have shown that women produce a hormone called Oxytocin when around other women that actually reduces cortisol, or what you could call the stress & belly-bloat hormone. So you read that right, hanging with your squad, rollin’ with your homies, twinning with your bestie, snuggling with your sis, actually reduces your stress which could help you lose weight. Make time for your ladies, even if they aren’t local, just a chat is seriously good for your mental and physical health!
4) Know & live what you value
When I start working with a client, we spend a lot of time identifying their core values because it’s essential to know your own conscious and unconscious values and how (or if) those values are being honored in your life. I encourage you to take five minutes to jot down your top-of-mind values. Values can be beliefs, people, places, things & activities. “Love” and “Family” and “Faith” are values, and so is “having close relationships”, “traveling” and “creativity”. Once you’re finished with the list, look for values that may be conflicting for you in practice. For example: You value “comfort and relaxation”--which may take the form of binge-watching your favorite show--and also value “health & exercise” but can’t seem to find time for both. Or you value spending time with your kids on the weekend and but also want to spend more time with friends. Next see how you might be able to honor both simultaneously, for instance: “I only watch my favorite TV show when I’m working out” or “I’ll call my friend and see if she’d like to meet for a play date with the kids”.
5) Invest in you & be grateful
Whether it’s giving yourself some TLC with a monthly mani/pedi, or taking a weekend to go on a yoga retreat, in order to live with a sense of fulfillment you need things to look forward to. You need to give back to you. I’d bet you give a lot to other people in your life, but you can’t give to others what you do not have. If you do, you’ll eventually become so depleted you’ll barely recognize yourself. When we invest back in ourselves-- in honoring our values, in making time for our favorite things--we’re able to live in a deeper state of gratitude for what we have, and gratitude is a mandatory mindset for maintaining overall satisfaction.
6) Have a little faith
Flexing your spiritual muscles can add depth and meaning to your life like nothing else. Whatever you believe, we all long for connection and a greater sense of peace and purpose in the world. Spiritual practices like prayer, meditation, visualization, mindfulness and gratitude are universal and have stood the test of time for a reason: They give us an outlet for focusing our energy in a positive direction and somewhere to let go of things that are out of our control. Tapping into the our spiritual selves also serves us by shushing the voice of our inner critic. When we’re still and choosing to let go of fear and a false sense of control, we allow ourselves to hear our true voice: The one that says, “You’re whole. You’re perfectly imperfect. I love you. Everything is as it should be.”
7) Celebrate progress over perfection
When you’re focused on bettering yourself, it’s so easy to fall into the trap of beating yourself up when you fall short of your own expectations. The problem is that NEVER works to inspire your growth. Remember to be a friend to yourself above all else. As Tony Robbins says, “Most people overestimate what they can do in one year and underestimate what they can do in 10 years.” Celebrate the fact that you’re making time for yourself, listening to yourself, honoring yourself, and learning more about yourself and what makes you feel fulfilled everyday. Give yourself a break and have a little faith that the small steps you’re taking everyday will multiply and result in a better, happier, healthier version of you in the long run.
Here’s to you helping yourself to a better life,