Increase the quality of your life by being intentional about how you use your time and energy.
The older you get the faster time seems to pass. So instead of reaching the end of your fleeting life and wishing you had done things differently, take some simple steps right now to be intentional about your thoughts and actions.
1. Cultivate gratitude.
Find a time every single day to consciously acknowledge the many good things you have, even the stuff everyone takes for granted. Imagine what your life would be like without running hot water, for example. When I’m soaking up to my ears in my hot bath with electricity powering the time-saving devices in my home I count my blessings. Think of the billions of people throughout the millennia who have lived and died on this planet without ever haven experienced such luxuries.
2. Focus on others.
In this narcissistic culture it can be easy to become self-absorbed. Instead, what can you do to bring a little sunshine into someone else’s world? A simple way to do this: Aim to make three people smile every day. Just be open for the opportunities around you to make it happen.
3. Be generous.
Jesus said “It is more blessed to give than to receive” and if you make it a habit you’ll find it’s true. I recently got sucked into a seven-minute video floating around on Facebook that shows the reactions of a stream of grocery store patrons whose bills were paid by a mystery man. All were shocked, some wept. It’s a cool concept–the meme has been viewed more than 27 million times.
4. Choose family over work.
You know that feeling of having the choice of working more or doing something with your family? Choose the latter. Your work can wait, and no one in the history of the world has ever come to their deathbed and wished they would have worked more.
5. Practice humility.
Are the braggarts and chest thumpers in your life your favorite people? Don’t be like that and listen more, ask for help and try to be open-minded. Humble people are likeable and with likeability comes a wider network of connections, which brings with it increased opportunities.
6. Get serious about being healthier.
According to InsideTracker, a company that looks at up to 30 biomarkers in a person’s blood to determine his or her real biological age, on average people have an InnerAge 3.13 years older than their chronological age, but can become significantly younger on the inside by changing habits. In other words, don’t be older than you are! Eat more vegetables, drink more water and no soda, and make sure you’re getting enough vitamin D–nearly half the population is deficient which can lead to heart disease, cancer, depression and lots of other nasty conditions. And most importantly: Exercise every day. Hate working out? Biking is a relatively painless way to burn calories and build leg muscle, which will result in increased metabolism. Throw in 25 pushups a day and you’re doing vastly better than nothing at all.
7. Don’t stay in a job you hate just for the money.
This is your life you’re wasting here. If you can’t make as much income somewhere else, look at your lifestyle and start cutting. Do you really need cable television, a gym membership and a fancy car? Instead, find ways to simplify so you’re not chained to a sucky job.
8. Be a good friend.
Research has shown a correlation between strong social ties and happiness. It’s easy to invest in your friendships by simply helping others know you remember them. Send buddies a postcard when you’re traveling, a text message for no reason whatsoever, or a phone call on a birthday. And of course, be there in good and bad times.
9. Exude positivity.
This means being honest 100 percent of the time, refraining from gossip and forgiving people. Stop hanging around with energy vampires and spend more time with happy, smiling people.
10. Take more risks.
Regrets are often things we wish we would have done, but didn’t. Apologize even though doing so is uncomfortable. Practice doing things that are scary. Say those three words to the people you love.