If you are unhappy, or not as happy as you think you could be, maybe all you need are a few simple changes to your life. Nothing major, just a few tweaks here and there. Here are 11 little changes you could make that will improve your life.
1) Discover Your Life’s Purpose
Stop for a minute and focus on the reason you do what you do on a daily basis. Figure out the “why” if you will. Why were you put on this earth? What are you to accomplish? As a way to find their life’s purpose, some people choose an exercise like yoga or running because of its meditation element and through it they can learn how to go deep inside their self and find their purpose. Others choose to get out more in nature. Whatever works for you!
Once you connect with your purpose, you’ll have a whole new outlook on life. Your energy level will go up, you’ll have a new spring in your step and you will feel like you could conquer the world! Sometimes we get so wrapped up in our daily life that we lose track of why we are here in the first place.
2) Focus on Health and Fitness
Frequently you hear the phrase “If you have your health, you have everything!” It is so true, because if you don’t have good health, it can make everything else in life seem harder to achieve.
Yet we see people every day abusing their health. They smoke, drink too much alcohol, eat too much unhealthy food, gain weight to the point of becoming obese and then become couch potatoes, and complain about the bad hand of life they were dealt.
Don’t be that person. Decide to live a healthy lifestyle. Focus on eating a clean diet of fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats, fish and whole grains. If the food comes out of a package or from a drive-thru, avoid it.
To keep your body strong, get some exercise. The American Heart Association recommends getting at least 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise to maintain your health. If you are overweight, you will have to do more than the minimum until you get down to the weight that is proportional to your height. Focus on cardio to burn fat and strength training to build muscle. Find a type of exercise you like to do and stick with it.
Oh… and the excuse of not having the time to exercise won’t work either. Everyone can find time to exercise; it is just making it a priority to do it. Exercising has a way of making you feel good. It will also improve your outlook on life and your emotional health, increase your productivity, and give you some clarity on your life purpose.
3) Get Enough Good Sleep
When we sleep, it is a time when our body recharges itself. Repairs are made to muscles and bodily systems; the mind and body are busy all night trying to get you ready for the next day. But what happens if you don’t get 7 to 8 hours of quality sleep? You start out the day with a half-full tank of gas instead of a full one.
Look at why you are not sleeping as long or as well as you should. It could be you are thinking about something that is keeping you awake at night. Or it could be environmental. Look at the quality of your mattress and bedding, temperature of your bedroom, the amount of light coming in through the window, noise outside… everything. Change what is causing you issues and get the rest you need.
4) Be Grateful
Use this daily practice to appreciate everything around you and what you have in your life. For example, take a 20-minute slow walk outside. Smell the air, listen to the birds sing, feel the heat of the sun on your skin. Revel in Nature and all she has to offer.
It helps some people if they write down their thoughts and gratitude in a journal. There is something about the act of writing on paper that is so much more satisfying than typing on a computer. Your journal can be one with prompts on writing about your gratitude or just a plain notebook. It really doesn’t matter as it is a vehicle to store your thoughts. The act of writing your ideas on paper is what’s important.
5) Always Have a Goal
Having a goal ties in with finding your life purpose. Some people flounder in the sea of life the whole time they are here on earth without ever accomplishing anything. Having a goal gives you a purpose for getting up in the morning. It gives you a focus for the day and another opportunity of working toward your goal. And what do you do when you reach your goal? Set a new and loftier one!
If you are overweight, your goal could be to lose weight and live a healthier lifestyle. That one will keep you going for a while! Or maybe you are reaching the end of your career and want to downsize and travel.
Just make sure your goal is SMART:
• Specific – State exactly your end goal or what it is that you want to accomplish.
• Measurable – How are you going to gauge whether you are making progress?
• Attainable – Are there things that could get in your way and prevent you from reaching your goal? Clear the roadblocks before starting.
• Realistic – Can you achieve your goal? Do you have all the assets and resources that you need to be successful?
• Time-sensitive – Set a timetable with an ending date when you plan on being at your end goal. Set smaller mini-goals or mileposts in between so you can track progress. Celebrate each accomplishment with a reward. Just make sure the reward does not sabotage the goal.
6) Choose to be Happy
Yes, it is a choice! The mind is a powerful thing. None of us use it to its fullest capability. However, we can use part of it to establish a positive mindset. One goal all of us should strive for each day is to improve and enhance the quality of our life… even by just 1%. It is just as easy to have a positive mindset as it is a negative one.
7) Keep a Stop-Doing List
Many people keep a to-do list, but not many keep a stop-doing list. Yes, this is just what it sounds like, but once you start doing it, you will be amazed. Start by writing down habits you have that are unproductive and basically a waste of time. Remember the excuse “I don’t have the time.” Actually, you’ll find you have lots of time one you start documenting how you are spending it and identify the things you no longer need to do. Now you have that time you need to exercise. No more excuses!
8) Connect with People
Human beings are social animals; in other words, we generally like to be in the company of other people. Yet for some reason some of us divorce ourselves socially from others. This is a mistake!
Multiple study results all show that people are happier when they are around other people – especially positive-minded ones. Whether you connect on social media, call on the phone or meet in person, fill your social cup daily with an interaction with other people. Tell them how much you appreciate having them as a friend, relative… whatever. It will be good for both of you!
9) Make Life-long Learning a Habit
Strive to learn something new each day. In doing so, it’ll keep your mind sharp and healthy longer than if you stagnate and do nothing. If approaching retirement, do something that you have always wanted to do, but never seemed to have the time or took the time earlier in life to do.
And it doesn’t have to be book-learning. Some people like to travel. For them, experiencing new sights, sounds, cuisine and culture is learning at its finest and all the new activity keeps their mind sharp.
10) Reduce Stress
Physiologically we need stress to survive as a species. But what was an occasional response our ancient ancestors had to a “fight or flight” situation, has become an all day, every day event for many of us.
And that is when it becomes an issue, both mentally and physically. When under stress, your body releases a hormone called cortisol. It is meant to reduce potential pain from an upcoming situation, increase your awareness and resolve, sharpen your senses, etc… all things you need to either stand your ground or to run.
But our body today is interpreting everyday stressful situations and in response, dumping too much cortisol into our systems too often. This is leading to health-related issues because of it. Reduce the amount of stress you are under… even if it means getting a different job.
11) Focus on What You Can Control
Too many times we see people, and maybe you are one of them, that seem to waste a lot of thought and energy on things they have no control over. Don’t do that! That is an unproductive behavior that you will never benefit from… except getting more frustrated.
For example, global warming is a big topic of discussion right now. But how much effect can you have over it? Yes, do your small part, but don’t waste the time and energy thinking you are going to solve this global issue single-handedly. Instead, focus on the things you can control, like how you spend your 24 hours each day being productive, helping others, happy and living a healthy lifestyle.
These are 11 ways you can use to improve your life. Some of you may only need a few of them to get to a quality of life that you choose to have; others may have to use most or all of them if looking for big changes. Regardless, you only have one life to live, so live it well, and happy.