Life is all about taking chances. It’s about doing something you initially thought you could never do. It’s about being a little crazy, following your heart, and not worrying about every detail of what everyone else thinks. And above all, it’s about learning to love who you are and what you have.
Here are twelve things to start caring about on your journey forward.
- Start caring about your own happiness. – It’s important to make people happy, but you have to start with yourself. Your needs matter. Sometimes we get lost trying to live our lives for someone else, trying to meet their expectations, or trying to do things just to impress others. But you’ve got to live, do and love so that YOU are happy. Because when it comes down to it, relationships can end in an instant, but you will live with yourself for the rest of your life. Remember, it is possible to take care of your own needs while simultaneously caring for those around you. And once your needs are met, you will likely be far more capable of helping those who need you most. Read Stumbling on Happiness.
- Start caring about your goals and dreams. – If you want to know where your heart is, look where your mind goes when it wanders. As Steve Jobs once said, “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma, which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice, heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”
- Start caring about how you invest your time every day. – There might not be a tomorrow, not for everyone. Right now, someone on Earth is planning something for tomorrow without realizing they’re going to die today. This is sad but true. So spend your time wisely and pause long enough to appreciate it. Remember, what you do every day matters more than what you do every once in awhile. Use a time management system to control events, rather than have events controlling you. It may take little time to get where you want to be, but if you think for a moment, you will realize that you are no longer where you once were. Do not stop – keep going. You’re getting closer every day.
- Start caring about how you think and what you think about. – In your quiet moments, what do you think about? How far you’ve come, or how far you have to go? Your strengths, or your weaknesses? The best that might happen, or the worst that might come to be? In your quiet moments, pay attention to your self-talk. Because maybe, just maybe, the only thing that needs to shift in order for you to experience more happiness, more love, and more vitality, is your way of thinking.
- Start caring about how you treat yourself. – Your relationship with yourself is the closest and most important relationship you will ever have. When was the last time someone told you that they loved you just the way you are, and that what you think and how you feel matters? When was the last time someone told you that you did a good job, or took you someplace, simply because they know you feel happy when you’re there? When was the last time that ‘someone’ was YOU? The way you treat yourself sets the standard for others. You must love who you are or no one else will either. And when you are truly comfortable in your own skin, not everyone will like you, but you won’t care about it one bit. Read The Gifts of Imperfection.
- Start caring about how you treat others. – Live so that when the people around you think of fairness, caring and integrity, they think of you. Start noticing what you like about others and tell them. Having an appreciation for how amazing the people around you are leads to good places – productive, fulfilling, peaceful places. So be happy for those who are making progress. Cheer for their victories. Be thankful for their blessings, openly. What goes around comes around, and sooner or later the people you’re cheering for will start cheering for you.
- Start caring about how others treat you. – Choose your relationships wisely. Being alone will never cause as much loneliness as the wrong relationship. If you don’t value yourself, look out for yourself, and stick up for yourself, you’re sabotaging yourself. Life is too short to spend time with people who suck the happiness out of you. Love the people who treat you right, and distance yourself from the ones who don’t.
- Start caring about your health. – Exercise to be fit, not skinny. Eat to nourish your body. And always ignore the haters, doubters and unhealthy examples that were once feeding you. To truly be your best, you must give your body the fuel it needs. Toss the junk and fill your kitchen with fresh, whole foods. Run, swim, bike, walk… just move! Good health is essential for having the energy, stamina and outlook to tackle your goals and dreams. Bottom line: Your health is your life. Don’t let it go. Eat right, exercise and get an annual physical check-up. The 4-Hour Body is an insightful and entertaining read on this topic.
- Start caring about your education and personal growth. – Achieving higher consciousness comes from your commitment to personal growth. You’re a totally different person compared to who you were at this time last year; next year will be no different. How much you grow and who you become is up to you. But remember, the acquisition of knowledge doesn’t mean you’re growing. Growing happens when what you know changes how you live.
- Start caring about doing the best YOU can. – Don’t worry about what others are doing better than you. Concentrate on beating your own records every day. Success is a battle between YOU and YOURSELF only. And whatever you do, refuse to lower your standards to accommodate those who refuse to raise theirs.
- Start caring about all the wonderful things you have right now. – Learn to appreciate the things you have before time forces you appreciate the things you once had. No matter how good or bad you have it, wake up each day thankful for your life. Someone somewhere else is desperately fighting for theirs. Instead of thinking about what you’re missing, try thinking about what you have that everyone else is missing.
- Start caring about this moment we call ‘life.’ – When I watched the Grammy Awards recently, I realized that many of the speeches musicians make when they accept an award go something like this: “This means so much to me. My whole life has been leading up to this moment.” But the truth is, our whole lives have been leading up to every moment. Think about that for a second. Every single thing you’ve gone through in life, every high, every low, and everything in between, it has led you to this moment right now. This moment is priceless, and it’s the only moment guaranteed to you. This moment is your ‘life.’ Don’t miss it.
Photo by: Varun Suresh