post written by: Marc Chernoff

25 Things You Should Never Stop Doing for Yourself


25 Things You Should Never Stop Doing for Yourself

Sometimes you have to do what’s best for you and your life,
not what’s best for everyone else.

When I was 16 years old and too young to fully grasp the sensitivity of the situation, I interviewed my grandmother’s friend, JoAnn, who was terminally ill, for a school project entitled “The Speed of Life.”  About five minutes into the interview I began questioning JoAnn about her illness and her life situation.

“So,” I tried to delicately ask, “What is it like to wake up every morning and know that you are dying?”

“Well,” she replied, “What is it like to wake up every morning and pretend that you are not?”

Whoa!  In an instant, JoAnn’s response opened my young eyes to one of life’s greatest truths:  Today is the oldest each of us has ever been and the youngest we will ever be again.

In other words, life is short and the clock is ticking.  It’s kind of scary, but it’s true.  If there was ever a perfect day to stand strong beside your values, your ambitions, and what’s best for you, that day is today.

So today I challenge you to…

  1. Never stop stretching and improving yourself. – Always dream and shoot higher than you think is possible.  Do not bother trying to be better than your peers or predecessors.  Try to be better than you ever knew YOU could be.
  2. Never stop listening to your own inner voice. – The unhappiest folks are those who care the most about what everyone else thinks – those who let everyone else drown out their own inner voice.  So stand strong beside yourself.  There’s great freedom in leaving others to their opinions.
  3. Never stop walking comfortably in your own shoes. – If you don’t follow the path others want you to follow they might become irritated.  Don’t worry about it.  Let them be.  It’s their problem, not yours.  So many people seem to have a clear idea of how other people should lead their lives, but have no clue how to lead their own.  So focus on your inner callings and keep paving your own path.  Remember that it is more useful to be aware of a single strength or weakness in yourself than to be aware of a thousand strengths and weaknesses in others.
  4. Never stop working through your fears. – Fear kills more dreams than failure ever will.  So don’t let fear decide your future.  In the end, you can be comfortable or courageous, but not both at once.
  5. Never stop being a little unrealistic. – To be successful, you have to be a little unrealistic.  You have to believe that something totally different than what has happened for an eternity CAN happen starting now.  Think about it.  Being realistic doesn’t change anything – being unrealistic does.  Doesn’t it seem a bit unrealistic to be able to use a mobile phone to instantly research any topic imaginable, watch movies, get perfect driving directions to anywhere you want to go, and see your friends face-to-face no matter where in the world you are?  Fortunately a small group of computer scientists didn’t think so.
  6. Never stop doing what needs to be done. – You were born to be a success.  Although to be successful, you must plan to be, prepare to be, expect to be, and work to be, every day.  (Read The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.)
  7. Never stop embracing your struggles. – After each struggle you once faced in the past was overcome, you grew stronger and more able to meet the ones you face today.  Likewise, the struggles you face today are preparing you for the challenges of tomorrow.  As this process of growth takes place, remember that there are no mistakes.  The events that arise as you journey forward, no matter how unpleasant, are necessary steps in order to learn what you need to know to reach the places you’ve chosen to go.
  8. Never stop being willing to make mistakes. – Making mistakes is far more productive than never moving.  You can learn great things from your mistakes when you aren’t busy avoiding or denying them.  And no matter how bad of a mistake you make, there comes a time when you have to stop thinking about it and move on.  No regrets in life – just lessons that show you the way forward.
  9. Never stop getting back up. – The strongest and most accomplished people are not those who always win, but those who refuse to give up even after they lose.  You might think you’re not good enough, but you’ll surprise yourself if you keep trying.  What defines us is how well we rise after falling.  At the end of the day, to win, all you have to do is get up one more time than you fall down.
  10. Never stop making the best of it. – When you lose something, don’t think of it as a loss, but as a gift that lightens your load so you can better travel the path that was meant for you.
  11. Never stop ignoring the naysayers. – When someone undermines your dreams, predicts your doom, or criticizes you in any way, remember, they’re telling you their story, not yours.
  12. Never stop taking small steps forward. – The moment you give up is the moment you let someone else win.  So keep going.  You don’t have to have it all figured out to move forward.  (Angel and I discuss this in detail in the “Adversity” chapter of 1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.)
  13. Never stop giving yourself a chance to soar to new heights. – You’ll never be able to fly if you hold on to what holds you back.  So respect yourself enough to walk away from what no longer grows you.
  14. Never stop smiling. – When you lose your smile, you lose your footing.  So be determined to be cheerful and happy in whatever situation you may find yourself.  For you will eventually learn that the greater part of your happiness or unhappiness is determined not by your specific circumstances, but by your attitude and outlook.
  15. Never stop thinking positive. – Thoughts are power.  They create and destroy.  What is possible is everything.  What you do is up to you.  Look around and you will see that almost your entire life has been born out of your thoughts.  Know this, and plant your seeds accordingly.  You can change your mind at any moment.  So go ahead.  Change it right now.
  16. Never stop laughing at yourself and your life situations. – All self-misery has its roots in self-pity, and all self-pity is rooted in taking life too seriously.  If you take everything too seriously, especially yourself, you’ll wind up fearing every new step you take.  Loosen up and laugh it off if you can – especially when things don’t go as planned.  People with a good sense of humor have a better sense of life.  You grow up the day you have your first real laugh at yourself and your circumstances.
  17. Never stop appreciating the life you’re living right now. – Stop rushing.  Breathe.  Be where you are.  You’re where you’re supposed to be at this very moment.  Every experience and step is necessary.  (Read The Power of Now.)
  18. Never stop indulging in life’s little daily joys. – Notice what you love, not what you hate.  Smile more.  Happiness is enjoying the small things in life, all while chasing after the big ones.
  19. Never stop spreading your kindness. – How you make others feel about themselves, says a whole lot about you.  So treat people right.  Kindness IS a gift you can afford to give.
  20. Never stop giving what you can. – Exercise your talents to give back.  Do so whenever you can, because you can.  And when you get tired, remember all those people who can’t do what you can do.  Think about what they would be willing to give to have the abilities you have right now – a simple gift you take for granted.  Then strive harder just for them.  And know that there are others out there with different gifts who are doing the same for you.
  21. Never stop giving your important relationships a fair chance. – It’s impossible to find someone who will never hurt you, so go for ones worth the pain.  And remember, without a little pain, joy wouldn’t feel so good.
  22. Never stop doing little things for your own happiness. – Remember, happiness comes from your own choices and actions.  Waiting for someone else to make you happy is the best way to be sad.
  23. Never stop opening your mind to new perspectives. – Don’t hate what you don’t understand.  Give things a fair chance.  Your mind is like a parachute; it doesn’t work unless it’s open.
  24. Never stop evolving. – Just because you liked something at one point in time doesn’t mean you’re required to always like it.  You can change your mind.  You don’t have to pretend to like something as an act of loyalty to who you are as a person, based on who you once were.  To be sincerely loyal to yourself is to allow yourself the freedom to change.  The only thing you ever are for sure is unsure, and this means you’re growing, and not stagnant or imprisoned by old ways of thinking.
  25. Never stop writing your own story, your own way. – When writing the story of your life, never, ever let someone else hold the pen.  Make conscious choices every day that align your actions with your values and ambitions.  Because the way you live each day is a sentence in the story of your life.  Each day you make a choice as to whether the sentence ends with a period, a question mark, or an exclamation point.

The floor is yours…

What would you add to the list?  What’s one thing you will never stop doing for yourself?  Please leave a comment below and let us know.

Photo by: Stefano Corso

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54 Comments

  • From this day forward, I will never stop being true to myself. Sadly, I see people I love constantly comparing themselves to others. But it’s important to remember that we are each unique and have our own unique life stories. We must appreciate these moments and not wish our own lives away by wanting someone else’s.

    This is actually something I struggled with greatly before my mom gave me your book last year, which led me to your amazing blog. Thank you for helping me grow.

  • This relates to several of your comments, but here goes:

    Never stop my annual rite of doing something that terrifies me.

  • I will never stop giving myself permission to be imperfect as I grow.

    For too long I wanted to be perfect or achieve success instantly and expected the road to success to be smooth and perfect as well.

    For anyone reading this that has achieved true lasting happiness and success in life, I’m sure you can testify that it didn’t come without a number of hardships and bumps along the way.

  • It’s hard to stop the hard wiring and the behaviors forced on you from the time you could walk and talk. All my life, I’ve been told I’m not good enough by family, friends and teachers. I’ve been pushed down, pushed away. When it happens I’ve pushed back.

    I guess I haven’t pushed back enough. I’m getting tired of all of this. I’m still getting told I’m not enough, I’m not good enough…

  • Loved this one!

    My addition: I will never stop doing my best and accepting the outcomes of my efforts. Which reminds me of one of my favorite quotes from your book:

    “Life is too short to live with regrets. So love the things that make you smile, let go of the things that make you cry, and believe that everything happens for a reason. Follow the path that your heart longs to take; it’s your time to shine. If you get a chance, take it. If it changes your life, let it. You are far from what you once were, but not yet who you are going to be.”

    Thanks again for another wonderful post, Marc.

  • @Julie: Well I’m here to tell you otherwise: YOU ARE GOOD ENOUGH just the way you are!

    Here are two articles I think you may find helpful:

    1. 7 Smart Ways to Deal with Toxic People
    2. 7 Ways to Stop Fearing What Everyone Thinks of You

    @Elizabeth, J.J., Christy King, and Dev: Thanks so much for the additions and insight. Your comments always inspire me. :)

  • Never turn down the chance to touch someone, through a hug or a look! That touch can change a life. A former patient of mine came up to me at a restaurant, and thanked me for saving his life, just because I took a few minutes to touch his life.

  • Julie - I was in your position of being ground down by others, especially my mother . I figured out it was her insecurities and need to be omnipotent, her need to have power over someone. I pushed back too, hated, riled, was consumed by my hatred of her. Then one day I was exhausted at the pushing back. I saw walking away as an option to the abuse. I made a decision that day to be happy. I took control of my life and have never looked back. My mother is what she is. She has the ability to be happy and to change - and that is her job, not mine. When I was able to see this, a great weight was lifted off my shoulders and I saw life and opportunity for the first time. I encourage you to be happy, find a happier place, live your own happiness.

  • Never stop failing.

    The road to success is a series of little and big failures. You won’t succeed to live your dreams until you have failed many time. Which means you need have the guts to move forward and just fail and pick yourself back up again.

  • Very well written… I have nothing to add in the list. If it IS, it is from you. Please add some sugar of knowledge and stir well and serve to all :)

  • Thank you. I needed this so much today. Your words are always an inspiration and motivator for me and I look forward to your blogs every day.

  • I think #16 is really important - reminded me of these quotes I like:

    Laugh at yourself and at life. Not in the spirit of derision or whining self-pity, but as a remedy, a miracle drug, that will ease your pain, cure your depression, and help you to put in perspective that seemingly terrible defeat and worry with laughter at your predicaments, thus freeing your mind to think clearly toward the solution that is certain to come. Never take yourself too seriously.
    -Og Mandino

    If you can’t laugh at yourself, you are missing a really good joke.
    -Unknown

  • This article is really good! I do have just a small suggestion though. I believe the statements would be more powerful if they were expressed as positive affirmations :) I mean instead of using never stop, e.g. “Never stop stretching and improving yourself.” , to say “always stretch and improve yourself.”

    All the best.

  • I will never stop being grateful for the few good people I have in my life, including the good people I get to indirectly interact with here on M&A.

  • Great list! I would add:

    -Never doubt your own strength, for you never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have.

    -Never, never, never, never quit. (Churchill)

    -Tell yourself ever single day “I can.” Don’t allow the words “I can’t” to be part of your vocabulary.

  • Your daily nuggets of wisdom are an inspiration to me always… I look forward to creating time to read your posts.

    I like this statement : “Waiting for someone else to make you happy is the best way to be sad.”

    All the 25 points today are powerful, I will have to digest and live them. Many thanks.

  • Pat (Gotro) Craig
    April 17th, 2014 at 1:43 pm

    I will never throw in the towel just to suit others who go out of their way to try & bring me down. Kinda like # 11. I am 60 yrs old now, & I am tired of the ignorance of others being thrown at me. But I am still a fighter, & refuse to give up or in as the case may be, to others negativity. I am a real person, & I have the God given right to be me. As well as the right to be a free spirited person & do my own thing, no matter what others may think or say about it. I am not a rich person per say, but I trust in a loving Spirit, to keep me going, no matter what, day by day.

  • Thank you Dev for sharing that quote , a good reminder. :) & Thanks to Theresa..for your sharing as well, really appreciate the input. been there myself. I am just grateful for all the 25 points shared here. Positive food for positive thought.

  • Never forget JoAnn’s lesson.

    Death is our constant companion from the day that we are born.

    Death encourages us to love our life and to cherish life fully.

    Love your life as you remember that this life shall pass.

  • Never stop loving. The more you give love, the more you will receive it.

  • Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

  • I’m a Realtor by profession, and apparently I’ve become a counselor to my many friends. I take the time and opportunity to give my opinion. Most often, I simply listen patiently. In my opinion, that’s my way of showing them how much I love them.

  • A friend shared your site with me last night. I will add a thought - Remember to stop and fully engage in the moment, in your relationships, in conversations. Each moment is precious and worth experiencing fully.

  • I always enjoy what you both write about day after day. I look forward to reading. It pays to stick around positive people and places. Thank you!

  • Step out of your comfort zone and take a
    Cultural plunge; share a positive moment with
    Someone who looks and lives differently than you.
    You will discover we are all more alike than
    We are different!

  • This one has helped me get through the last few years…

    Never stop remembering that there is someone out there that has it worse than you so be thankful for what you do have.

    Two years and a couple months ago I was hit by a drunk driver. I was hurt pretty bad, but was alive and didn’t have life threatening injuries. Since the accident I’ve had 4 major spine surgeries, 10 relatively minor spine surgeries, and hip surgery. I’ve got at least 1 more major spine surgery and 1 more hip surgery to go over the next year or so. I will be likely need more spine surgeries for the rest of my life and I will likely be in pain for the rest of my life.

    BUT, someone out there is in more pain than I am. Someone out there is suffering from an injury or illness that is life threatening and I am alive. I owe it to those people to live life to its fullest and not feel pity for myself. Those people would give anything to trade spots with me.

  • Raziuddin Shaikh
    April 18th, 2014 at 12:09 am

    Once again I thank you for such brilliant, awesome, & helpful points. Each post is better than the previous one & when I go back to read the previous ones each seems to be the best. Wow ! This is helping me a lot to lead my life properly despite so many problems.

  • never stop looking at things from a different angle

    for example, the next time i feel full of self doubt and utterly worthless i will remind myself of:

    all the good that I have done
    all the sacrifices I have made
    all the work I’VE put in

    DON’T LET THOSE TOXIC PEOPLE GRIND YOU DOWN!

  • I will never stop following my heart, I will continue to confront my demons.

    Everyday is a reminder that you matter.

    Ever relationship is an opportunity to get more intimate with who you truly are.

    Let every moment be a dare to renew your happiness.

  • The beginning for your post is startling to read and so important to think about. Thank you for a powerful, very emotional story. Your work is so alive and fresh; cuts right to the heart. I love when that happens and I’m surprised.

  • Thank you soo much! Your words are very motivational, it motivates me! I really needed this..thank you so much and i look forward to seeing the next articles from you! :)

  • Thank you very much.

  • I’ll never stop laughing because it’s a light that does away with the darkness of my saddest moments. #16 reminds me of a quote saying `Laughing is better and cheaper than any other medicine.’

  • Great Article!
    My Addition:
    Never ever let anyone treat you bad. You are the one who decides how you want yourself to be treated

  • Inspiring stuff. Just what I needed. I think sometimes we are soo caught up in seeing all the negatives around us and trying to fix everything without just taking time out to breathe and be grateful for what we have!

    Life is too short to let mistakes, failures or hurts dictate our present & future… Learn to let go and just live! This day will never come again, so why ruin it?

  • Wonderful tips, Marc! So many of them I think we learn with life experience and age, such as not caring about what others think, or to never stop being willing to make mistakes. When we’re young we think we should be able to go through life without messing up, and peer pressure makes us very aware of what others think; with age that becomes less of a concern. I would also add to the list to ‘never stop being willing to see the best in others’. If we could all do that, even just a little bit, I think the world would be a far more giving and loving place.

  • Thank you so much!!! It’s 12:46am in Moscow now… And i just woke up now and read your article… so you made my day!!! ;)))) Thank you!
    Happy Sunday everybody!

  • I will never never again let myself be lost! :)

  • Never stop being a listener to others. Listening with your heart and soul, without judging. Listening evolves being authentic and honest with yourself, and have the ability to be quiet inside and out. Just giving what is needed from you, not what you want to give. In silence. Listen and caring. Loving.

    Never stop diving into the inner silence. Once a day, remind yourself that there’s something big and perfect all around everyone and everything. LOVE.

  • All 25 things are essential for a beautiful, meaningful and successful life. I will follow them precisely.

  • Great reading!
    Happy Easter to you.

  • Fabulous article! Thanks for the wonderful suggestions and reminders.

    I would add ‘Always get some kind of daily exercise’ as the resulting endorphins are a free cure for depression, at least the sort that creeps up on me occasionally.

    And ‘Always be creating’. I am a creative person, and if I’m not engaged in several outlets for this at once, I’m not happy. Writing fiction is first, but it is the sort of creation that is never really done, so I also need finite projects such as quilting, sketching and cooking.

  • I loved this post. I have recently felt as if I’ve lost my sense of self as I think I have become too entwined in comparisons of others. I always try to follow my own path but I think it can be difficult when you are in a particular frame of mind. Anyway, I think my frame if mind has changed. Thank you.

  • The sound of self pity is a silence that draws you in like quicksand, followed by the footsteps of others running away.

    The sound of living fearlessly with an unapologetic grin on your face is something that sounds like pots and pans flying out of a window.

    Like Cantonese. With a shot of Yiddish.

    With a finely tuned radar for less-than-excellent anything, including living for the moment, my Mom will unleash her brief and bulletproof order to snap out of it and say,

    “Remember, even though you are just a tiny speck in the universe, you are taking up space that another speck would be so grateful to be in, so get over yourself and make life better, for heaven’s sake. Nobody wants to listen to your jibber jabber.”

    Sounds much more vivid in Cantonese but you get the gist.

    My Jewish mother-in-law provided this Yiddish kicker which translates into:

    “Misery loves company so you should bring donuts.”

    I have always given myself a smack in the head for both of them everytime I feel myself wallowing and weeping and it is so true - to make another person happy is the greatest gift you can give to the universe and to yourself.

    If we can infuse those 25 things with the DNA of creating happiness for others, we will transform not only our own well being, but the universal culture of joy.

    In Cantonese, Yiddish and yes, English.

  • This post is wonderful!! We need a constant reminder not to get bogged down with the seriousness and routiness of life and to have fun, keep setting new goals, be open minded, and to not worry about the what others have say. I especially like #5 “Never stop being a little unrealistic!” At 48, next month I compete in my first every Figure Competition. Who knows what’s next, but it will be something good! Thanks for the inspiration. :)

  • This is an awesome list but I would like to share some too:

    - Never stop loving yourself and others.
    - Never stop showing your emotions.
    - Never stop being yourself.
    - Never stop believing miracles and other unexplainable things that you encountered.

    And most important:
    -Never stop living with hope.

  • @John B.: Great reminder. I truly connected with that.

    @Claire De Boer: Love the way you worded that. So true. Everyone we meet has something to offer.

    @Honngyee: I love it! You’re surrounded by smart ladies. =)

    @All: Thank you for the extremely kind words. Seriously, your kindness makes me smile. Angel and I truly appreciate what you share with us.

  • I’m a 16 year old girl and I love reading these type of posts. I’m young but I can say that I’ve always had a wise sense of what life is about. Everyday I feel like I’m fighting a battle with myself and my thoughts and I forget that I’m wasting every minute of happiness with negativity. I loved reading this, it shined much light into me. :)

  • Thank you so much for this post! I feel so blessed and happy right now!

  • This is so inspiring and so in line with what’s going on with me right now! I’m going to never stop scaring myself and trying new things. Life is for the living. Thanks for the reminder!

  • Thank You! So much for this article! This website will surely help in the future with myself and my family!

  • Awesome list! I’d add to it, never stop moving. Getting old sucks, every spring when I bust out my mountain bike I think, “Why didn’t I train indoors during the winter?” Then I limp for the next two weeks. lol

  • Always count yourself as the highest authority on you. Be careful not to underestimate your own good judgement or give others the power over your uniqueness.

  • I’m sooo happy I chose to read this. I have been out of a job for a while and I can say that ideas and opportunities come to you only when you choose to be happy irrespective of your circumstances. Only when I made that choice was I able to see loads of opportunities. I will only add “Enjoy every day FULLY”!

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