You went to bed last night thinking “tomorrow’s going to be a great day.” The world’s your oyster and all that jazz.
Then your alarm goes off at whatever time and morning smacks you in the face.
You struggle out of bed after a few snoozes and drag yourself begrudgingly to start your day.
All that enthusiasm is gone and it’s just another long to-do list of items that are important to someone else, but do little to light your fire.
Surely, there’s got to be more to life than this, right?
I believe there is.
In fact, I feel so strongly about it that I wrote a book on the subject.
The truth is, you don’t have to wake up dejected and dreading your day.
You don’t have to stay stuck in an endless cycle of living someone else’s dreams, doing work you don’t love, and merely struggling to get by.
You can build a GOOD LIFE, one that you can’t wait to live each day.
Here’s 10 ways you can start building a good life, today:
Do you know what you want in life?
Perhaps you did when you were younger, but you’ve forgotten what that is now.
There’s a small window of time between childhood — when everything’s on the table…astronaut, musician, forest ranger — and adulthood — when you get stuck choosing responsibility over passion.
To be clear, I get that you have to earn a living and be responsible. I have a business degree because I knew I needed an education and that offered me the most flexibility.
But it’s time to get clear on what you want your life to look like.
Write it down!
There’s something about putting pen to paper or keys to keyboard or marker to dry erase board and articulating your dreams. It gets what’s in your head out and where you can see it.
You’ve probably seen this before, but grab a sheet of paper and answer this question:
If time and money were not a factor, what would you be doing today?
I hereby give you permission to dream. Write down the answer to this question and if it doesn’t match what you are doing now, it’s time for you to make a change.
Quick, what was the first thing you looked at on your phone this morning?
Was it email? Social media? A text from someone?
Now how did it make you feel?
Did it encourage you? Discourage you? Make you feel stupid or inferior?
We all suffer from the fear of missing out. Someone once rightly said we compare our average, ordinary, daily lives to everyone else’s highlight reels.
But what you put in will come out.
It’s true whether you eat a spicy bowl of chili and it’s true when you fill your mind with negativity.
An easy way to be sure you are pursuing the good life is to read things that are uplifting.
The beauty is that what’s uplifting to you might not be uplifting to me. That’s ok. Have you ever been to a library and seen all the books?
Trust me, there’s one for you there.
Find it, read it, and fill your mind with good things.
“It is well to remember that the entire universe, with one trifling exception, is composed of others.” — John Andrew Holmes
You, my friend, are that trifling exception.
So am I.
It’s easy to get a big head and think we are the center of the universe. We start to believe our own hype.
I’m a person of faith so I start each day praying and talking to God. It helps me humble myself, get my act together, and focus on God’s plans for my life.
Sometimes that’s painful, but it’s always what’s best.
The good news is, God created you to do something that only you can do. He formed you with a certain set of skills, gifts, talents and abilities. Ask him to show you what those are and put you to work using them.
I don’t have to say this, because you already know, but I’ll say it anyway.
Life is tough.
Someone once said everyone is fighting a battle you know nothing about. When you think about your interactions with other people — especially those people that annoy you — it changes your perception of them.
What if tomorrow you started encouraging others and building them up?
What if you found something nice to say about everyone you meet?
That might be just what they need to get through the day.
And it might just make your day a little brighter too.
Be an encourager. It’s what this world needs more of.
When’s the last time you laughed? I mean, really laughed.
Mark Twain said, “Against the assault of laughter, nothing can stand.”
When you do and say things that make you laugh you just feel better. Laughter has a way of connecting souls and creating shared memories.
If you aren’t laughing, you aren’t living. It’s as simple as that. (I’d Tweet that if I were you.)
Remember, life is hard. You can make it a little easier by laughing — and helping others to laugh.
It’s just good medicine.
Endorphins are those happy little things that make you feel better after you exercise.
It’s easy to get in a rut of inactivity or rationalize why you aren’t moving.
But there are mountains of statistics that prove the benefits of exercising.
Ultimately, taking care of your body takes care of every other part of you. Your body is the engine that drives everything else.
You don’t have to run a marathon or set a record for bench press. Just standing up and moving around helps. There’s a method called the Pomodoro Technique that can help you get moving.
It’s simple. Just set a timer for 25 minutes and do your work, whatever that may be. When the timer goes off, stand up and move. Run in place, do some pushups, walk around your house, or climb some steps.
After a few minutes, go back and reset the timer. After 25 minutes, rinse and repeat.
You’ll be more productive and get more done and you’ll feel better too.
What’s the last “new” thing you learned how to do?
We have more access to information than any other generation that’s ever walked the earth.
Want to play bagpipes? Want to replace your hot water heater? Want to knit a blanket? Want to code? Want to communicate better? Want to restore a 1974 Ford Bronco?
There’s an article, video, book, or guide to help you.
So what’s stopping you?
Your mind is a sponge that will soak up whatever you give it — both good and bad.
That’s why it’s so important to fill it with things that reinforce why you are here and equip you to do what you are meant to do.
Do this and you’ll feel better, smarter, and ready to tackle whatever life throws your way. Like a boss.
There’s a tendency to spend a lot of time chasing things that are unimportant.
Even as I write this article there’s a little red notification on my Slack app staring at me. I want to check it so badly, but I’m not going to because it will derail me from what’s important — finishing this for you.
If you want to kick butt, take names, and start living the GOOD LIFE, you have to learn the power of the word NO.
If you’re a people pleaser (like me) this one will take some work, but it’s worth it.
Setting boundaries gives you the margin you need to do what is important.
Someone will set your agenda.
It’s either you, by being proactive and saying no to things that aren’t important or someone else by not respecting your time.
Who will you choose?
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. Yet we wear our weariness like a badge of honor.
You load up on tasks, committees, commitments, and extracurriculars and as a result you are worn out, beat, dejected.
When’s the last time you did something fun?
It sounds counterintuitive but scheduling time for play will actually make you more productive. It goes hand in hand with laughter. Play can provide a release for the burdens you didn’t know you were carrying.
The best part is, you can always find someone else to play with. It may be your friends, your kids, your spouse, or someone from work.
Play connects and creates memories.
So stop being so serious all the time. Don’t be ashamed to play.
Guess what? On this great big rock we live on there are 7 billion other people.
That means you don’t have to go it alone.
There are people out there just like you. They understand your struggles. They’ve had your worries. They’ve been where you are. They’ve gone where you want to go. They have wisdom you need to hear and an ear that is willing to listen.
Find them and connect.
I have a friend who always says, “Life’s better connected.”
It’s true. Connections form the tapestry of your life. Some are short lived and for a season. Others are for the duration. Either way, they weave in and out of your life and add a richness and depth that would otherwise be missing.
You don’t have to go it alone. You weren’t meant to and it certainly isn’t what’s best for you.
So now you’ve got a choice to make.
I want you to take these 10 things and put them into practice in your own life. I try to everyday. Some days I succeed, other days I barely get by.
But the goal is to get better, do things that matter, make a difference in the world, and be the best version of you.
That’s what the world wants.
What’s stopping you?
I’ve created a free cheat sheet that will help you make an impact each day, provide focus and clarity for your life, and make a difference in your world. It’s a free, fast, and effective way to Start Living the Good Life.
Originally published at medium.com