Don’t live the same year 89 times and call it a life. Dream. Attempt. Explore… This moment is the beginning of anything you want.
This morning one of our course students, Monica – a recovering victim of a recent hit and run accident, was smiling from ear to ear the minute our Skype coaching session began. “What has you in such great spirits today?” I asked her. “I’m just thinking of how lucky I am to be alive,” she replied. “Last Friday was almost the end, but now it’s just the beginning again.”
Sitting here at the start of the New Year, her words couldn’t be more relevant.
Right now is the beginning again, for all of us. And we can prevent the wrong ideas, habits and beliefs from getting in our way.
As Monica recently learned, life is rarely easy, but it’s always worth it. There’s no reason to sulk in sorrow, disappointment or regret. Even when you are no longer able to change a situation, you are challenged to change yourself. And that changes everything.
Here’s what we all need to do, DAILY, to avoid needless headaches, heartache and regrets as we journey through the upcoming year…
- Be right where you are. Happiness is letting go of what you think your life is supposed to look like right now and appreciating it for everything that it is.
- Consider how incredibly fortunate you are to be here in this moment. Then get going and make the very best out of that good fortune.
- Tell yourself, “I am ENOUGH!” anytime you begin to feel like you aren’t. What you do in life ultimately comes out of who you believe you are. In other words, it’s not what you say to everyone else that determines your life; it’s what you whisper to yourself that has the greatest power.
- Whatever you do, do it with love and passion, with full attention and awareness. Be present and put all you have into even the smallest of acts.
- Avoid sinking into the comfortable mediocrity of doing nothing (which is always the easiest option). Challenge yourself to live with the passion and richness you deserve.
- Say “no” to good things when you must, so you are able to say “yes” to important things. We can’t do it all. Be mindful and choose wisely.
- Again and again, remind yourself why. With a strong enough reason why, you’ll be able to do what’s required at any time and in any circumstance. (Angel and I discuss this in more detail in the “Goals and Success” chapter of 1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.)
- Doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith. How disappointed would you be to get to the end of your life and discover you were made to enjoy life while all you did was doubt it?
- Stop being afraid of what could go wrong and start thinking about what could go right. Remember, even the wrong choices can bring us to the right places. When you fail to get what you want, consider that it just might be a blessing in disguise.
- Stop focusing on how inconvenient life is, and start focusing on something positive you can do in response.
- Give yourself some extra space. Take a deep breath when you need one. Sometimes you need to distance yourself for a while to see things clearly again. Don’t make a permanent decision for your temporary emotion. (Read The Untethered Soul.)
- Be mindful. Stress comes from the way you react, not the way life is. Adjust your attitude and the stress is gone. You control the way you look at life. Right this moment, your thoughts are setting the direction for your day. Choose thoughts that lead to the day you most desire to live today.
- Let things be less than perfect. Do not dwell so much on creating your perfect life that you forget to live a great one.
- As much as feasibly possible, enjoy yourself every step of the way. It’s not selfish to enjoy life. What’s selfish is to insist on being negative despite all the positive possibilities available to you.
- Set an example. Treat everyone with kindness and respect, even those who are rude to you – not because they are nice, but because you are. In other words, don’t be lazy and make judgments about people. Be kind. Ask about their stories. Listen. Be humble. Be open. Be teachable. Be a good neighbor.
- Pay attention to people’s actions. People may not always tell you how they feel about you, but they will always show you.
- Spend a lot more time with those who make you smile and a lot less time with those who you feel pressured to impress. (And remember, you can be kind to people without choosing to be around them all the time.)
- Walk away from drama gracefully. Wherever there’s lots of drama, there’s usually lots of lying and manipulation.
- Simplify wherever and whenever possible. Clear the clutter in your physical and mental space. Instead of figuring out how to make ends meet, work on having fewer ends.
- If all else fails, the best advice I’ve found is still just to “sleep on it.” Everything changes in the morning.
Ultimately, the biggest difference between gratitude and regret is attitude. It’s all about how you look at life, and what you decide to do with it each day.
You don’t know what the future will bring. So your best strategy for living is to make the best and most positive use of the present. I hope the ideas I’ve outlined here help you do just that.
What do you want to do (or work on) over the course of this year that you know you will not regret? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts with us.
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Photo by: Keith Dixon