You and I may or may not share some things in common, but I know one thing is for sure: We are always on the hunt to constantly improve our lives and be the best version of ourselves. Sadly enough, so many people have lived their lives without any change or betterment, even though we are fully capable of making both small and large transformations that hold great significance. To do this, I’ve compiled a list of positive things to start doing for yourself — now.
We’re already half way through the year. What better time than now to step away from our current way of life and embrace new habits? It is our duty to live true to ourselves in the most authentic manner possible. This means expressing ourselves strongly, creating what we love, and loving what we create. It’s also about broadening and living the ultimate vision we have of ourselves — until we have reached the greatest possible expression of who we are.
Now, find your why.
“He who has a why can endure any how.” — Frederick Nietzsche
Clarity is essential, as it’s the best way to really dig deep into ourselves to find out what it is that makes us come alive. Knowing our “why” will help us acquire the courage to take the risks needed to get ahead and stay motivated when we’re feeling down. It reignites our inner spark to keep us moving forward.
Don’t worry if you’re still struggling with figuring this out. Millions of others are still trying to find out what they want to do with themselves and lives, and that’s completely A-OK. Self-discovery is a unique journey and it can take time. As long as you are curious, open to explore the unknown, and ready to embrace new wonders that come along the way, you’ll be ready to gain clarity about your own life’s purpose and do the things for yourself that will better you in the short and long run.
I hope you’ll read through this list with the prospect of creating a new positive journey for yourself, or continuing the one you’re already on. Take your time — there’s no rush, this is your own exploration.
- Start being honest with yourself. This is a good place to start, right? Being honest about what’s right as well as what needs to be changed is crucial in bettering yourself and your life. Be honest about what you want to achieve and who you want to become. You are the one person you can always count on, no matter what. Once you are honest with yourself, you’ll have a better understanding of where you are now, how you got here, and what to do in order to take the next steps in the right direction.
- Spend time with the right people. The moment I distanced myself from anything and anyone toxic in my life, I felt so much better and happier. I can’t stress enough how important it is to only surround yourself with people you enjoy, who love and appreciate you, and who encourage you to improve in healthy and exciting ways. Life is way too short to spend it with those who contribute nothing positive to your life, or worse, drown you in negativity.
- Make your own happiness a priority. I’ve always thought the saying “you can’t love others until you love yourself” holds such true meaning, and I still feel this way today. It saddens me when I see others pay way more attention to those around them and end up completely neglecting their own happiness and sanity. Your needs matter. If you don’t value or look out for yourself and do what makes you happy, you’re only causing destruction to yourself. It is 1000% doable to take care of your own needs while simultaneously caring for those around you. Once your needs are met, you will be far more capable of helping those who need you most.
- Live in the now. Do you know what’s happening in the world around you? Any big events coming up at work or with friends and family? Birthdays? If you can’t answer “yes” to any of these, something is wrong. It’s nice to take a trip down memory lane especially when it comes to happy, positive events. However, when the past ends up consuming your present and stops you from moving forward to a better future, something is wrong. Right now is the only moment we have guaranteed. Stop thinking about how great your life use to be or how it will turn out in the future. Stop dwelling on what did or didn’t happen in the past. Learn to be here and now and experience life as it’s happening. You’ll be able to appreciate the world for what it holds and not miss out on your surroundings.
- Start facing your problems. How you react to and recover from any problems definitely says a lot about your character and which direction you’re headed in life. Problems will not disappear unless you take action. I’m not saying they will be fixed overnight, but it’s so important to do what you can, when you can, in order to see results. It’s all about taking baby steps in the right direction.
- Create your own happiness. If you have been sitting around waiting for someone else to make you happy, let me tell you — you’re missing out. Of course, others can contribute to and be a factor of why you are happy, but ultimately, you are the creator of your own happiness,. Happiness is often found when and where you decide to seek it. So if you look for it within opportunities you already have, you will eventually find it. On the other hand, if you are always seeking something else on the opposite end of happiness, unfortunately, you will find that too.
- Start enjoying what you already have. I know so many people who think they’ll only achieve happiness when they reach a certain “level” in life — a level they see others operating at — a coworker who’s been graced with a corner office, that friend who owns a mansion on the lake and a boat to go along with it, everyone on your friend’s list getting married and/or having kids, etc. These things don’t happen overnight, though! It takes a while before you get there, and oftentimes when you do, you’ll have a new destination in mind. Quit spending your entire life working toward something new without ever stopping to enjoy what you have now. Sometimes the best things come into your life unexpectedly, too, and end up lasting forever. I know I can say that about my current life (:
- Be yourself, genuinely and proudly. This goes along with being honest with yourself. “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken. – Oscar Wilde” Trying to mold yourself into anyone else is a waste of time and a waste of the person you are and meant to be. Embrace the individual within that has ideas, strengths, and talents unlike anyone else.
- Mix up your routine. It feels great to get yourself out of your current routine and switch it up a bit. This means finding alternatives to your go-to coffee shop, favorite restaurant, usual hang-out spot, etc. It doesn’t have to be a drastic switch that takes you way out of your comfort zone, but it’s nice to open yourself up to new experiences that life has to offer.
- Give your ideas and dreams a chance. You’ll never know until you try, right? Life is about taking chances, and even if we aren’t sure that something will work, at least we know that doing nothing never works. You may even surprise yourself by discovering you’re great at something you never even thought about. Or something amazing may come along the way while you weren’t even searching for it. No matter how anything in life ends up, it always ends up the way it should — either you succeeded or learned something. I see that as a win-win.
- Value the lessons your mistakes teach you. Accept the fact that you will make mistakes. They are the stepping stones of progress and if you don’t have them, you’re not trying hard enough nor are you learning. It’s good to take risks even if you fall, so long as you get up and try again. You’ll know that you’re pushing yourself to learn, grow, and, ultimately, improve. One of the mistakes you fear and end up making may just be the link to your greatest achievement.
- Quit making excuses. Have you been wanting to do something but your excuses keep getting in the way? I’m definitely guilty of this but have traveled far from where I use to be into a much, much better place. If your excuse has anything to do with laziness, tiredness, telling yourself you “can’t”, or anything of the like — stop. You are so much better than that! How can we allow ourselves to be so lazy, exhausted and down on ourselves to the point where it prohibits us from living our lives to the fullest? It’s time to stop letting our excuses halt our life.
- Give new people a chance. I know it can be difficult to embrace anything new, particularly people, especially when we’re use to the same ol’. The reality is, we cannot keep every friend we’ve ever made. Harsh, but true, as people and priorities change, for better or worse. Appreciate the possibility of new relationships as you naturally let go of ones that no longer work and/or are only adding toxic energy to your life. Be ready to learn from someone new that just might drastically change your life.
- Focus on the things you are in control of. You can’t change everything, but you certainly can change something. Don’t focus your time, talent and energy on things that are beyond your control. You’re only asking for a recipe for frustration and exhaustion. Instead, invest your energy on what matters — the things that you can control — and act on them immediately. You’ll feel better knowing that this was your doing and wasn’t a result of anyone else.
- Compare yourself to yourself. Never, ever compete with or compare yourself against anyone; be inspired by, appreciate and learn from others instead. You are in competition with you and only you, to be the best version of yourself. Aim to break out of your former shell and blossom into something amazing. Aim to beat and be better than the previous version of yourself.
- Listen to your inner voice. It’s nice to ask for advice from those you trust, but it’s important to allow yourself to listen to your own voice and follow your gut. Doing what you know in your heart and mind are right is what matters.
- Accept things when they are “good.” Perfect is the enemy of good. So many people are aiming to achieve perfection in every aspect of their life, while failing to see that their lives are actually pretty damn good. It’s important to learn to accept things as they are, rather than trying to make everything and everyone around you conform to a ridiculous and impossible ideal. This is especially important when there are so many people in this world living a life that isn’t as fortunate as yours. I’m definitely not saying to accept a life that isn’t the one you are meant to live, but learn to love, appreciate and value things when they are simply good.
- Look for the silver linings. There is good in all the bad. When you feel down and are faced with a difficult situation, take a deep breath and look for any small glimmers of hope. Remember that you can and will grow stronger from these tough times. Remain conscious of your blessings, all the things in your life that are right and good, and focus on what you have rather than what you don’t.
- Start taking better care of yourself. Of course, this entire list is about bettering yourself and caring about yourself in general. This particular note refers to taking the extra steps to pamper yourself, improve your health and do anything that will make your body and mind feel better than ever before. For me, this means spending a few hours a week indulging in a feel-good face mask, yoga sessions, short bike rides and being outside as much as I can. It feels good to make yourself feel good, especially when you’re treating your body in a healthy manner in return.
- Lessen your stress and take short breaks. Give yourself permission to pause and regroup in order to move forward with a clearer mind and purpose. When you’re at your busiest, even a short break can rejuvenate your mind and body, fueling you with the energy you need to productively complete whatever it is you’re doing. We all deserve a quick recess from time to time.
- Appreciate the beauty of small moments. It can be so daunting to sit around and wait for big events to happen — getting married, having kids, being promoted, etc. Things will happen when they happen (even if it means something you are actively working towards). Instead, try to find instant happiness in the small things that happen everyday. Having a delicious cup of coffee first thing in the morning, whipping up a yummy dinner with friends, the pleasure of sharing something you enjoy with someone else, or something as effortless as holding hands with your loved one. Noticing these small but valuable delights on a daily basis makes a big difference in the overall quality of your life.
- Take full responsibility and accountability for your own life. Instead of allowing someone else to choose your path, resulting in becoming captive to their ideas instead of the leader of your own, acknowledge your choices and be willing to take the steps to improve any mistakes you may make. Remember what I previously stated? You are in control. It’s not easy, as we all face obstacles, but it’s important to be OK with being liable for our situations in order to overcome any challenges. It’s better to live than to simply exist, after all.
- Work towards your goals every single day. Even if it takes you days, weeks, YEARS to accomplish something, so long as you are working towards fulfilling that goal is all that matters. I love the feeling of knowing I am taking the steps to achieve something I have always wanted to do, and when it’s finally complete, it’s even more satisfying.
- Focus on positive outcomes. You have to believe that you are CAPABLE of doing something before you actually go out there and do it. Beat your negative thoughts and emotions by developing opposing, positive ones instead that are stronger and more powerful. Regardless of how you may perceive a situation, focus on what you want to happen, and then proceed to the next positive step forward. Of course, we aren’t able to control every single thing that happens in our lives, but we can certainly control how we react to each event. We all have positive and negative parts of our lives — it’s important to focus on the positive in order to live a happy and successful life. (Read more on how to quiet negative thoughts in this previous post of my mine).
- Realize how wealthy and blessed you are. I’m not talking about money. No matter how tough your current life may be, it’s always crucial to keep things in perspective. You ate three meals today. You didn’t go to sleep outside. You decided what to wear this morning. You smiled. You didn’t spend a second in fear. You drank clean water. You have access to the Internet. You can seek medical attention if/whenever needed. Some might see you as the wealthiest person on earth, so always, always be thankful for all that you have, no matter what.