Imagine you’re eighty years old. You have diligently worked all your life to pay the bills and take care of your family. And now, your days go by watching TV, taking medicines, and wondering why your grandchildren won’t get off the phone and talk to you. You sit there and wonder, "what's missing? How does my life matter?"
You could have chosen to live your life any way you wanted, but instead you played it safe and never took risks. You let time slip you by, and you never truly made your life one that was worth living.
Does that scenario terrify you? It should! However you won't have to handle the future pain of regret if you choose to start leaving your comfort zone now. Once you make a firm decision to work on yourself and stop taking life for granted, your life will become much more meaningful.
Here are some ways to create a life worth living.
Get to Know Yourself
Be whoever you want to be in front of the world, it doesn't matter. But, stop lying to yourself about who you are. We put on different faces every time we interact with someone, because we have it in our minds that we should act a certain way around them if we want them to like us. While this is true to an extent, we should never compromise who we are for the sake of trying to be popular with others. You should always stick to your values and morals, no matter the situation. Don't fluctuate on who you are, because people will see right past you and it will only create fake relationships.
This means also taking the time to get to know yourself. When you know your emotions, desires, character, and goals, it is easier to be happy. Do you know your flaws and strengths? What can you improve on to be a better person? Focus on what makes you uniquely you and share that with the world. If someone doesn't like you, that's not the end of the world. What does matter is if you love yourself for who you are.
Appreciate Your Successes
When wanting to create a better life for yourself, you might forget about the successes you already have had. So before you get down on yourself about how your life isn’t where you want it to be, make a list of how far you’ve come. Include everything, no matter how small. Maybe you had perfect attendance in high school, or maybe you’re proud of yourself for managing to get out of bed every morning. Whatever it is, write it down. The things you have done so far in life are already amazing, so don't let yourself forget about them.
In addition, this exercise helps you to be grateful for the blessings you've had. Write down everything you are thankful for, such as your home, your children, your job, and the like. Be specific, and don't leave anything out despite how small it is. Learning to be grateful for what you have will help stop you from always comparing your life to others. Remember you are trying to make a life worth living for you, not anyone else.
Anticipate the Future
We all have things we want to do before we die. Maybe you want to go to Africa, or end world hunger, or learn how to ride a bike. Picture yourself on your deathbed, uttering the words, “I wish I’d…” and then fill in the blanks. It doens't matter how weird your item might be, as long as it's important to you that is all that matters. Don't leave anything out.
We often hold ourselves back from achieving everything we want to do in life and instead make up excuses. Instead of telling yourself "this will never happen", let go of fear and go out and do it. Stop being afraid of trying new things just because you're afraid of making a mistake, or you don't think you can do it. Being afraid of what might happen only ends up leaving you living a life full of regret and bordom. Adventure is out there waiting for us!
Create Meaningful Relationships
Tony Robbins once said "the quality of your life is the quality of your relationships." In order to enjoy life and feel alive, we need to nurture our relationships. You need people who accept you with all the imperfections and still love you for who you are. People that you can truly be yourself around and share your dreams, hopes, and darkest secrets with. These relationships can come in many forms, including your friends, co-workers, family and romantic relationships. Seek out those who you think you can develop a deep, rewarding relationship with.
This also means that you need to learn how to be a good friend, so that these relationships can flourish. That means listening, being honest, and treating others with respect. No one wants to be a part of a relationship that is only one-sided. If you feel yourself not caring about what a friend has to say, you might need to reevaluate if the relationship is for you. People want to be loved and cared for as well, so if you aren't willing to give 100 percent into the relationship be kind enough to walk away.
Handle Stress Better
We all have times in life where we cannot stop worrying. Stress, doubt, and anxiety are simply a normal part of everyday life. It's natural to worry about an unpaid bill, an upcoming job interview, or a first date. However wasting time worrying constantly won't rid you of your burdens for tomorrow.
Constant stress, negative thinking, and always expecting the worst can take a toll on your emotional and physical health. You need to find healthy ways to manage your stress, so that it won't hold you back from being a generally happy person. There are steps you can take right now to hit the pause button on anxious thoughts and give yourself a time out from relentless worrying.
This might mean you need to step out of your comfort zone to ask for help, or it could be as simple as releasing stress while exercising. Simple meditation and deep breathing exercies are always a great way to recenter yourself. Find something that works for you, so that you can begin to let go of the things you cannot control.
Let Go of Grudges
Do you have someone (or a few people) in your life that you are angry at for something they did to you? It could have been something your boss said last week, or your high school bully from decades ago. It's finally time to be a bigger person and forgive them for what they have done.
If you want to feel alive, you need to let go of that ugly weeds you planted a long time ago. No one wants to carry around so much hatred in their heart. It only sucks you dry of happiness, motivation and freedom. Truly let go of what happened, and forgive the person who has done wrong to you because that incident or person is not worth wasting your feelings on. It takes up so much of your energy to hold on to that pain. Move forward and don't let that thing from the past ruin the happiness of your present.
Dictate Your Own Life
Never let another person dictate the terms for living your life. Not your parents. Not your spouse. Not your kids. Leading your life means you can accept the input of other people, but the final decision is yours. This means that career choice, relationships, beliefs and way of life are to be judged by you, not anyone else.
Do you feel obligated to do things you don’t want to do because you think it will make other people happy? Your first duty is to yourself. You can’t please everyone and will only let yourself down when you do this. Even if you are not sure what you want to do with your life? Don’t sit passively and let other people decide for you. Don’t let your moment of doubt become a weakness to be exploited by others.