04/29/2016 05:09 EDT | Updated 04/30/2017 05:12 EDT

12 Ways To Be Your Best Self And Live Your Best Life

Living your best life means maximizing the possibilities for happiness and success in six key areas: career, creativity, leisure activities, relationships, spirituality and wellness.

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African American Woman

What does it mean to be your best self and live your best life? In my mind, being your best self is coming as close as you can to fulfilling your innate potential; being the best version of yourself that you can be.

Living your best life means maximizing the possibilities for happiness and success in six key areas: career, creativity, leisure activities, relationships, spirituality and wellness.

Here's my list of 12 attributes for being your best self:

1) Altruism: Giving to others without thinking about the cost to yourself

2) Authenticity: Being real; expressing your truth; knowing how you feel about things and what you really need

3) Compassion: Demonstrating loving-kindness to yourself and others

4) Flexibility: Having an open heart and an open mind; being receptive to new ideas; being able to change your mind; having no obstacles to giving and receiving love

5) Generosity: The joy of sharing what you have with others

6) Honesty: Telling the truth, but always with kindness and consideration

7) Integrity: Doing what you said you'll do; always keeping your promises

8) Passion: Engaging in life with energy, enthusiasm and excitement

9) Responsibility: Not blaming others for the difficulties you're facing; doing what you're supposed to do, when you're supposed to do it

10) Self-Denial: Letting go of greed, self-indulgence, hedonism and the desire for instant gratification

11) Self-Love: Accepting and validating yourself; knowing that you deserve the best in life

12) Skepticism: Looking at things with a critical eye; not just believing what you're being told

And here's my list of the 12 ingredients necessary for living your best life:

1) Collaboration: Working with others to do more than you could have done alone

2) Connections: Social and emotional support make it possible to achieve happiness and success

3) Creativity: Thinking outside the box; trusting your intuition to solve problems; exploring new ideas

4) Freedom: Being guided by your inner wisdom vs. dogma or propaganda; having healthy skepticism

5) Learning: Seeing yourself as a student in life; always using your experiences as opportunities to grow and develop as a person

6) Optimism: A glass half-full attitude that helps you keep moving forward despite setbacks

7) Participation: In your family and community; a sense of belonging and interdependence with others

8) Patience: Not needing everything now; being able to work toward a major long-term goal

9) Persistence: Not giving up; investing time and effort to create your goals

10) Resilience: The ability to bounce back from adversity; to learn from your hardships and heartache; to turn lemons into lemonade

11) Self-Care: Paying close attention to your mental, physical, emotional and spiritual well-being

12) Self-Discipline: Hard work to break bad habits and to envision and accomplish positive goals

These are my "top twelve" lists for being your best self and living your best life. Can you think of any other items that you'd add to either of these lists?

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