post written by: Marc Chernoff
30 Must-Do’s While You’re Young Enough to Read This
“Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come.
We have only today. Let us begin.”
This morning I received a new thank you email from a reader named Claire. She said our blog and book helped motivate her while she was fighting cancer over the past 18 months. Although her entire email was both heartbreaking and inspiring, this one paragraph made me pause and reflect on my own life:
“When I found out that I may had breast cancer, the strangest thing happened… It seemed as though I was given a new set of eyes. Suddenly I looked around at my life in the face of possible death, and my life seemed so full of color and happiness. And I began to pray that I would beat my cancer and have more time to enjoy it.”
I think this is such a bold reminder that far too many of us wait too long to live our best lives. We keep putting everything off until tomorrow. Then, before we know it, we find ourselves asking, “How did it get so late so soon?”
Thankfully, for Claire, the final line of her email read, “I’m happy to report that my Oncologist just gave me a clean bill of health this morning. Right now I’m cancer-free! I’m just so grateful I get to implement the positive principles you’ve taught me, as I dive headfirst into my second chance at life.”
So let’s wake up! ALL OF US! If you can read this, it’s not too late. Like Claire, make today the beginning of your second chance at life. Take time to figure yourself out. Take time to realize what you want and need. Take time to take risks. Take time to love, laugh, cry, and learn. Life is shorter than it often seems. Here are 30 must-do’s you can start working on today:
- Accept every unique piece of yourself. – The secret to happiness and success is the acceptance of yourself. You will never become who you want to be if you rely on everyone else to qualify you. Own yourself completely, just the way you are, flaws and all. Once you love and accept even the worst possible version of yourself, you are free. So always go with yourself, never against yourself. Be who you were created to be and you will set the world on fire.
- Make yourself a priority. – Truth be told, there are only a few people in this world who will stay 100% true to you, and YOU should be one of them. Prioritize your own needs into your daily to-do’s.
- Take positive action. – Don’t sit back and let things happen to you. Go out and happen to things. You are what you do, not what you say you’ll do. Stop saying “I wish” and start saying “I will.” Turn your cant’s into cans and your dreams into plans.
- Do the work. – You can’t underestimate a person who always works hard. Be that person. In life, you don’t get what you wish for; you get what you work for. Always remember that the task ahead of you is never greater than the strength within you. Do what’s right, not what’s easy. Your dreams are worth it.
- Focus on priorities. – Don’t be busy; be productive. The purpose of life is to live a life of purpose. Make your time and presence count. Focus on what matters and let go of what does not. (Read Getting Things Done.)
- Take calculated risks. – Why not go out on a limb? That’s where the fruit is. You know this. In life, if you don’t risk anything, you risk everything. All growth begins at the end of your comfort zone. So take a step in faith today. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.
- Keep on stepping. – Focus on the small things you can do right now, not the big things you can’t. SMALL changes can make a BIG difference in the end. When in doubt just take the next small step. Sometimes the smallest step in the right direction ends up being the biggest step of your life.
- Give yourself all the approval you need. – If you want to achieve greatness, stop asking for everyone’s approval. You don’t need anyone’s approval to be happy or to follow your heart.
- Fight hard for what you believe in. – Great strength comes from overcoming what others think is impossible. And sometimes you have to lose the battle to win the war. So if you believe strongly in something, fight for it. In time things will fall into place… maybe not today, but eventually… maybe not exactly how you planned, just how it’s meant to be.
- Allow life to happen like it’s supposed to. – You can’t force things to happen; you can only drive yourself crazy trying. There’s a time and place for everything. So don’t force what’s not yet supposed to fit into your life. When it’s meant to be, it will be. Work hard, be patient.
- Embrace every experience for what it’s worth. – For everything you have lost, you have gained something else. In fact, sometimes life doesn’t give you what you WANT because you NEED something else. And what you need often comes when you’re not looking for it.
- Be mindful in tough times. – Keep calm when things go wrong. You may feel weak, but your spirit is strong. Remember that there are two kinds of pain: pain that hurts and pain that changes you. But when you accept life, instead of resisting it, both kinds help you grow.
- Admit your frustrations and face your fears. – Sometimes what you don’t want is exactly what you need. Sometimes what you’re most afraid of doing is the very thing that will set you free.
- Enjoy yourself. – Be positive and smile right now, not because everything is good, but because you can see the good side of everything.
- Give yourself short morning pep-talks. – One small positive thought in the morning can change your whole day. Make this a ritual.
- Look around in appreciation of your remarkable life. – Good or bad, just smile. You have a lot to be thankful for. Never forget it… Don’t be negative when you have so much to be positive about. Life is “give and take.” Give thanks and take nothing for granted. Believe it, right now someone is praying for the things you take for granted.
- Take guilt-free breaks. – How freeing would it be to not feel guilty about the things you “should” be doing every single second? Yes, it’s healthy to work diligently on meaningful goals, but don’t berate yourself for not doing more than you’re able to. Find your balance between activity and recovery. Learn to let go and relax when you need a break.
- Delete the needless excess. – When things aren’t adding up in your life, start subtracting. Life gets easier when you delete the things and people that make it difficult. Remember that giving up doesn’t always mean you’re weak. Sometimes it means you’re strong enough and smart enough to let go and move on in the right direction. (Angel and I discuss this in detail in the “Adversity” chapter of 1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.)
- Let the people who are already gone, GO. – Some people pass through our lives in a shorter time frame than we had hoped to teach us things they never could have taught if they stayed. Recognize this when it happens, and accept it.
- Enjoy the company of those who lift you higher. – Know that it’s less important to have more friends and more important to have real ones. Sooner or later, you just want to be around the people who make you smile. So spend as much time as possible with those who help you love yourself more.
- Listen at least as much as you talk. – In the end, there is only one rule for being a good talker and a good friend: listening. In other words, we do not always need a mind that speaks, just a patient heart that listens.
- Let love win. – Love conquers all. Share your love. It doesn’t need to be perfect. It just needs to be true.
- Learn to forgive without resistance. – Never let an argument last, never hold a grudge; both will make your heart heavy. Forgiveness is one of the primary keys to happiness. When you choose to forgive those who have hurt you, you take away their power over you. So go ahead and say it: “I forgive you.” Even better yet, go ahead and forgive those who have yet to hurt you, and you won’t have to worry about it should the time come.
- Act out of untethered kindness. – Your beliefs alone don’t make you a better person, your behavior does. Use your voice for kindness, your ears for compassion, and your hands for charity, always. Learn to give without any reason. Make doing so a daily ritual.
- Uphold your strength of character. – Character is how you treat those who can do nothing for you. So today, and every day, do something nice for someone who will never be able to repay you.
- Give the strangers around you a chance. – Be friendly. A simple hello could lead to a million things. And there is a purpose for everyone you will ever meet. Some will test you, some will teach you, and some will bring out the very best in you.
- Stay in touch with reality. – Lies only exist if we believe in them. The truth shall indeed set you free in the end. Whenever negativity creeps into your conscious, ask yourself: Is it true? Can I absolutely know that it’s true? (Read Loving What Is.)
- Learn from the past, but don’t live in it. – Don’t stress about the closed doors behind you. New doors are opening every moment and you will see them if you keep moving forward. Sometimes you have to accept the fact that things will never go back to how they used to be, and that this ending is really a new beginning.
- Worry less. – Stop over thinking and worrying. Life is too short for that. Worry and rumination are the worst enemies to living happily in the present.
- Pay attention to the present. – Realize that the source of most of your frustrations and anxiety are the result of living in the past, or future. Right now is life – the only life you have. Don’t miss it.
All jokes aside, your life only comes around once. This is IT. So do what makes you happy and be with whoever makes you smile, often.
Which of these must-do’s do you need to work on? Are there any others you would add to the list?
Leave a comment below and share your thoughts.