by Justin Miller
Okay, so your cubicle is boring, you haven’t had a good date in what seems like decades and every day is the “same old, same old” with nothing happening to make you feel revved up and excited.
Clearly, that’s no way to live.
But the key to getting the life you want is to make changes in your routine and kick it in the a** a little bit, so our days aren’t spent like Bill Murray in “Groundhog Day” — experiencing the same thing over and over again, day after excruciating day.
In less time than it took Murray to learn the life lessons of “Groundhog Day,” you can do the same, starting the ball rolling on a new, improved life that looks much brighter…no matter what challenges you might be facing.
First of all, let’s admit that it’s finally time for that voice in your head to shut the hell up.
Sure, it’s been through a lot of stuff. And of course, it remembers every single disappointment and failure. But it can’t see the future, so you can’t let it play a part in how you perceive what’s to come.
When the voice says, “No, I can’t,” unleash your inner actor and find a way to tell that voice “Yes, you can”. After all those years of thinking you’re not good enough, it’s time to stop. Build your confidence slowly. Set small goals and take on tiny challenges that allow you to build the confidence it takes to tackle the monster ones.
Negativity harms you and keeps you from really living life. It doesn’t matter whether someone dealt with you unfairly or not. Harping on injustice (outside a brief period of venting) destroys your life and erodes precious time you could use to really start living. It’s best to decide or plan how to remedy the problem at the root of your negativity — and then take action to remedy it. Whatever you do, don’t stay in a negative or gloomy funk for long. Just start living.
Take stock of the good things and be grateful
You might not have the most challenging job, but in a troubled economy you do have a job — so that’s a blessing worth counting. And even though your romantic life might be as exciting as a trip to the dentist without Novocaine, remember that the good friends and great family you do have are special gifts, and their love will help see you through hard times.
One of the best ways to take stock of what you do have is to start a gratitude journal. Every morning write exactly what you are thankful for on a daily basis. Then at night, write about what went well in the day. Focus on the positive and you will attract more of it.
Recognize where you are lucky and you will create a sense of optimism that will spread into all other areas of your life.
Most people have heard the expression “taken for granted”. Too often we take so many blessings in our lives for granted. We fail to take stock of the many good things. Instead we focus on the handful of items that are unpleasant or despicable. If you take a few minutes to make a list of the positives in your life, you’ll soon see that:
- the negatives are greatly outweighed by the positives and;
- you have so much to work with and live for.
Take stock, be grateful, and start living.
Discover your purpose
Whether we believe it or not, we all were put on this earth for a reason. Finding yours will be one of the first steps toward making big changes in your life.
Think about the things you’re good at, the things that you feel passionate about, the things that you enjoy most and get the most satisfaction from doing. These things might be key to what will make you happy and give you a life that feels fulfilling.
Say you love nothing more than riding your bike. You might not have the training under your belt to become a professional rider — but you could work in a bike shop, sharing your passion for the sport with other riders. If you love to read, find a way to surround yourself with books. If you always wanted to be a firefighter but thought it was impossible, sign up for a First Responder class and get started.
Call to Action: What is one thing you can do right now that will have the most positive impact. What can you stop doing right now that has the most negative impact. Now go and do it!
Finding a way to make our work feel like play is essential to true daily happiness. Discovering your purpose will make sure your life is on the right track and you’re headed in the direction of your own choosing. You’ll begin seeing the excellent opportunities in your present work — or you’ll start enjoying a type of vocation or work that’s more purposeful to you. Living your life according to your purpose makes for a very enjoyable life.
One step at a time
But remember that taking action is the vital key to the equation.
If you dream of something bigger, it’s not likely it will come to you. You will have to go out and get it. It takes hard work.
And even if you do make that move, it might take time and lots of patience to reap the rewards of your initial act of bravery. Jenna Fischer, who plays “girl next door” Pam on “The Office,” made the trip from Missouri to Los Angeles expecting a great job within a year. The truth is, it took much longer for her to capture the attention of her new bosses at “The Office”, a high-profile gig that ultimately led to movie roles and producing. But she was patient…and her rewards finally came.
Remember, if you’ve taken that first critical step, you’ve already done the hardest part. Don’t become overwhelmed by everything that has to be done. Just take one step at a time. With consistency, moving one step at a time will cause you to live and achieve the life of your dreams.
Find your Zen
To live a peaceful, happy life – and I mean truly live it – sometimes you have to do things that are totally against your nature.
That means if you’re carrying around grudges that are filling you with anger, it’s time to let go and forgive those who have wronged you. The negativity harms no one but yourself, and letting go will be sweet freedom from pain that’s simply unnecessary.
So how, than, do we forgive someone who damaged us and our lives?
- Get away from the problem. While it might seem like running away, if you can move somewhere where troubled memories don’t follow you wherever you go, you open the door to a new mindset, and that, coupled with a new environment, can lead to better things that can turn a negative into a positive.
- Get spiritual. While some are best served by attending church to find their introspective side, others can head out into the woods and find a sense of peace that is a good move toward thinking that isn’t done in anger, regret, or despair. Practice meditation. Personally, it has done wonders for me.
- Use your bad experiences to help others. Share your story to prevent other people from making the same mistakes.
One of the best ways to jolt yourself out of a disappointing life is to do something completely different.
Whether it’s signing up for a ballroom dancing class or trying kick boxing, horseback riding, singing lessons or gymnastics, doing new things challenges us mentally and physically, and sparks a new interest in living by giving us a new reason to get up in the morning to a day that’s fresh and full of possibilities.
Many people are afraid of trying anything new. Others feel as if there’s nothing new worth trying. And then there’s a whole different group of folks who say they “hate surprises.” What they’re all saying is they hate change and prefer structure. Structure is good; however, most people would be pleasantly amazed at how trying something new will add a real spark to their lives. Try something new, surprise yourself, and start living.
Revisit that Bucket List…or rather, that LIVING List
If you have a list of things you want to do before you die, don’t sit around waiting for a reason to do them. Try to find one thing on that list that you can accomplish if not today, then tomorrow.
Order the classic movie you know you need to see on DVD, and start looking online for car rentals if you’ve always wanted to drive a Mercedes or Rolls Royce.
If your list includes an exotic adventure, but you’ve been waiting around to become part of a couple before you take that tropical vacay because you don’t want to travel alone, rethink the plan. Maybe you have a good friend who’s been feeling the same way. And who knows? The love of your life could be planning the same vacation right now, and will be sitting on the same beach when you arrive. The thing is, you’ll never know unless you go.
The best way to make life worth living is to find ways to ensure that you really are living. And making every moment that we live and breathe count – appreciating that we are indeed living and breathing — it the best first step.
What can you do everyday that would make it impossible for you to have a bad day? Now go and start doing that….today.