Maya Angelou once said "My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style." Many people, though, fail to live to this standard. They struggle to get what they want out of life - instead staying complacent and giving up on their dreams. They are moving through the motions of life without really growing and flourishing into becoming the best person they can be.
The meaning of life is something you create each day for yourself through your thoughts and actions. It is looking for ways to move forward, reach your dreams, and keeping focus on things that are important to you. What "living your life to the fullest" may look like to you might look different for someone else, but here are some ideas to get you started.
Ditch autopilot mode.
When we get set in our routine we start to go on autopilot, and probably more often than we realize. We make choices out of habit, lack true attention in what we are doing, and feel numb with boredom. Because we are comfortable in our ways, though, it can be hard to change. Our routines make us feel safe and give us structure, but at times they can hold us back. Challenge yourself to turn off autopilot and be present in the moment. Practice gratitude, appreciate the small things that make you happy, and notice the beautiful moments that are strung throughout your life. By doing so, you will feel more vibrant.
Ignore the haters.
What people say about you is not your concern. What is your concern is how you see yourself and making sure that you are happy. As you age, you start to care less and less about what people think. But if you are still in a space where other people dictate your feelings and actions then you aren’t living your best life. By letting go of this stressor, you will feel liberated. It takes time and practice but you’ll soon learn that your thoughts are more important than theirs. Think of all the times you stopped yourself from doing something fun, like wearing a swimsuit to the beach, because you were afraid of how someone else would talk about you. Don’t let that happen again.
Do more of what makes you happy.
This tip sounds obvious, but it is the one that people forget the most. How much time each day are you spending doing things that make you laugh, smile, and feel energized? Or, are you stuck in a dead end job and your only hope for fun is on the weekends? If you want to live your best life you need to stop thinking about all the things you wish you could do and start doing them. Make your happiness your number one priority, even if it is for only a few minutes a day.
Improve your finances.
Having a poor financial situation causes extra stressors in life which makes it hard to be as happy as you should be. Money plays a huge role in our lives whether we like it or not. Money can buy us freedom, and freedom gives us the options to do what we want. A simple way to start getting your finances under control is paying attention to your spending. Are you living above your means? Are you spending too much money on nice material things, rather than saving up for that dream trip you always wanted? Take steps to stop mindless spending and work towards way to become debt free.
So many people want to live a great life, but hold themselves back. On some level they feel like they do not deserve joy – either because of a trauma they experienced or past mistakes. We are the first people to punish ourselves and that takes away our freedom to grow. We are paralyzed by the fear that we might mess up again, or limit our interactions with others for fear of getting hurt. It is okay to give yourself permission to move on, grow from your experiences, and accept joy into your life.
Don't fear emotional pain.
Every one is going to have their heart broken at one time or another. Weather it be a breakup of a relationship or the loss of a loved one, emotional pain can rip you inside out. If you’ve had a really bad broken heart in the past, you might be living in fear to make the leap into a new relationship. But no one should stop building meaningful relationships in their lives out of fear, because then you will just end up alone and bored. We are social creatures that are deserving of love and acceptance. Just because you’ve been hurt before doesn’t mean you’ll get hurt again. Don’t let that one bad relationship determine your future.
When you live life to the fullest, you take chances. You go after what you want. You make decisions that have consequences. And sometimes, these things don’t go the way you’d hoped. Embracing vulnerability, the possibility that things will go differently than we had planned, is crucial to experiencing life in a full, open, honest way. For example, consider the example of Myshkin Ingawale, an inventor who wanted to develop technology to help reduce the child death rate in rural India. Ingawale frequently talks about how he failed the first 32 times he tried to create this invention. Only on the 33rd time was he finally successful. That willingness to be vulnerable, to accept the possibility of risk and failure, is what allowed him to develop this technology that is now saving lives.
You have the choice. Do you want to spend each day growing, chasing your dreams, and living your best life? Or do you want to stay stagnant and complacent in your life. Squeeze the juice out of each day you are alive. Life is short.