What does ‘living your best life’ even mean? Here are my personal commandments for achieving what’s feasible

Now, I don’t usually go for cheesy motivational jazz-hands meme-tastic stuff.

You know the kind of thing – a pithy phrase set against a picture of a cornfield or a cup of coffee next to a rainy window or a silhouette of a person doing yoga on a mountain.

(My favourite inspirational quotes come from Karl Pilkington. Just look at these genius motivational posters and you’ll understand what I mean).

You see this kind of stuff all the time on Facebook and Pinterest.

But sometimes in amongst the cheese you can find a nugget of…something that resonates. Something that captivates and somehow inspires you.

The past couple of years have been, at best, challenging. It’s a marvel we’ve come through it as well as we have to be honest. I think the cost of the pandemic (and the political upheaval…and the cost of living crisis…and the mass strike action…and the fallout from our crumbling health and social care infrastructure) will be felt by all of us for a while yet.

But all this has made me reflect.

What matters to me?

How do I want to spend my time?

How can I live better?

This, I suppose, is my daily mantra:

Trust yourself to do the best you can for yourself and the people around you in everything you say, think and do.

But what does ‘best’ mean? Considering that made me think about what’s possible, what’s realistic and what I can feasibly achieve with my available resources (energy, time, cash).

So here are – for want of a better term – my personal commandments.


  • Be authentic.
  • Stay curious.
  • Take life moment by moment.
  • Be sensitive to beauty.
  • Talk to strangers.
  • Stay in touch.
  • Do your least favorite part of the job first.
  • Avoid debt.
  • Dig deep.
  • Show and tell.
  • Create something that wasn’t there before.
  • Adorn yourself.
  • Be in awe.
  • Help others.
  • Make footprints. “I was here.”
  • Expect a miracle.
  • Play the hand you’re dealt.
  • Recognize your ghosts.
  • Be specific about your needs.
  • Do what matters.
  • Go outside.
  • Move.
  • Feel the danger.


I found writing this list revelatory and I if you’re so inclined, I recommend taking some time to stop, to think, to figure out what you want your best (possible, realistic, feasible) life to look like. To feel like.

It’s a new year with months of potential stretching ahead of us.

We put a lot of symbolic value on December 31st and January 1st.

We look forward to letting go of the old and embracing the new.

But really, every day can be like that. Every day we can do the best we can with what’s possible, realistic and feasible.

Every day can be New Year’s Day, can’t it?

Why not?


Photo by Rahib Yaqubov


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Emma Clarke

Emma is an award-winning voiceover, broadcaster and writer. Want to find out more about Emma?
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