You know that you live an extraordinary life if you feel healthy, free, satisfied, and fulfilled. A good life isn’t wasted through mundane activities, but it’s full of joy, love, and contribution.
Above all, a great life contributes to your own growth. It helps you unleash your hidden talents and the potential you’ve been born with. And the good news is that you have the power to do anything with your life. If you’re not satisfied with your current reality, you can start making changes now.
Yet, according to the World Happiness Report, negative feelings and dissatisfaction are rising globally. However, the report also shows an increasing gap between those who report feeling better and happier and those who aren’t content.
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Too often, we define success by vague metrics such as academic titles, bank accounts, or social media followers. Yet, none of these will matter on your very last day.
When taking your last breath, you’ll care about the relationships you built, the memories you made (or missed), and the hearts you broke. These are not assumptions but the findings of Bronnie Ware, a palliative nurse who supported dying people on their last days.
After working in palliative care for many years, Ware realized that the regrets of dying people were similar, regardless of their background, bank account, or career. On their last days, dying people don’t care about all the things that bother us throughout our daily lives. Instead, they have the following five regrets:
I wish I had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
I wish had the courage to express my feelings.
I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
I wish I had let myself be happier.
I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.
Even though living a great life might sound daunting and too good to be true, it can be easier than you might think. Although we all have different dreams, hopes, and fears, there are a few must-haves and some no-gos to live a happy and fulfilled life.
And quite often, it’s our daily routines and tiny habits that define the quality of our lives. It’s indeed possible to be organized, relaxed, productive, and still spend time with our loved ones and ourselves. Yet, living a great life comes at a cost: it takes effort. And above all, it takes consistency.
- Play to Your Strengths
- Cross Something Off Your To-do List
- Support others
- “No” Is a Full Sentence
- Tame Your Ego
- Be a Super Sleeper
- Mind Your Own Business
- Start and End Your Days Like a Pro
- Be More Grateful
- Get Mentored
- Good Environment = Happy You
- Remind Yourself of the Good Times
- Increase Your Energy
- Choose Minimalism
- Be On Time
- Take a Break (Without Feeling Bad About It)
- Final Thoughts
Play to Your Strengths
According to the Gallup Institute, less than a third of all employees can use their strengths at work. Yet, those who do use their strengths every day are six times likelier to be engaged in their jobs and more than three times likely to have an excellent quality of life.
Even if you’re not aware of them yet, you have unique strengths and skills that distinguish you from anyone else. Using these strengths during work can improve the quality of your life significantly, but if that’s not possible, you can also use them outside of your workplace.
You can use your strengths to pursue a hobby, do voluntary work, or join projects during holidays. Your passions and strengths don’t need to contribute to your paycheck, but they contribute to a good life.
It doesn’t matter how you use your strengths. What’s important is that you make use of them in some way.
“Success is all about knowing your strengths and playing to them. “
— Sophia Amoruso
Cross Something Off Your To-do List
Do you need to complete everything that is on your to-do list right now?
Many people feel social pressure to be busy all the time. But here’s a little secret: You don’t have to be busy all the time.
You can relax. You can take some time for yourself. You can spend some time on activities that don’t make sense.
Have a look at your current to-do list and ask yourself the following questions:
- Do you really need to finish all these things?
- What’s the outcome of them?
- Do these to-dos make you happy?
- Or are you just keeping yourself busy?
If you struggle to set priorities and cross something off your to-do list, the Eisenhower Method can help. It’s simple and effective: you categorize your to-dos according to their urgency and their importance. And if a task is neither important nor urgent, you delete it.
Reflect on your to-do list, see if there are items you can cross out, and spend that time doing something you genuinely love.
There is a Chinese saying that goes:
“If you want happiness for an hour, take a nap. If you want happiness for a day, go fishing. If you want happiness for a year, inherit a fortune. If you want happiness for a lifetime, help somebody.”
Yet not only anecdotes but also scientific research proves that giving to others can help us to live better and even longer lives. Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh found that supporting others activates a neural pathway in our brains that boosts wellbeing.
Supporting other people on their path to success is not only fun but a sustainable way to live a great life yourself. Spread joy, love, and support whenever you can. In the end, it will find its way back to you.
“Help others achieve their dreams and you will achieve yours.”
— Les Brown
“No” Is a Full Sentence
Saying “No” more often could be the missing link between you and a great life. Yet, most people fail to say no because saying yes leads to more approval from others.
We usually agree on projects, people, and occasions that don’t excite us out of courtesy, and sometimes we just lack the confidence to decline.
But to live a happy life, you need to reject anything that doesn’t serve you. You only have 24 hours per day, and it’s up to you to spend your time doing things that excite and fulfill you.
Of course, you need to get unpleasant things done now and then, yet, most of the time, you can choose whether you accept an invitation, a new project, or an appointment.
“Half of the troubles of this life can be traced to saying yes too quickly and not saying no soon enough.”
— Josh Billings
Tame Your Ego
Most people confuse confidence and ego. While being confident is crucial to living a great life, being egoistic can cost you everything. Ryan Holiday defines ego as the following: An unhealthy belief in our own importance. Arrogance. Self-centered ambition.
Those who live an extraordinary life can let go of their ego and work for the common good while being confident and believing in themselves.
Being egoistic won’t ever benefit your career, happiness, of wellbeing. Supporting the common good, however, will find its way back to you.
Be a Super Sleeper
According to bestselling author Shawn Stevenson, there’s no facet of your mental, emotional, or physical performance that’s not affected by the quality of your sleep.
High-quality rest improves our wellbeing on all levels and allows us to produce better results in less time. Numerous studies found that sleep deprivation leads to less creativity, more stress, and lower performance.
If done correctly, sleep can be the ultimate performance hack and help you to be more productive and have more time for the things that truly matter in life.
Here are some simple yet effective ways to improve the quality of your sleep:
- Calm your mind and let go of negativity before going to bed. Meditation, reading, or journaling are great ways to be more mindful before bedtime.
- Avoid excessive exercising shortly before bedtime; choose yoga or stretching instead.
- Avoid or reduce blue lights that are emitted by screens.
- Avoid big meals for at least two hours before bedtime.
- Darken your room and minimize all noises.
- Reduce the temperature in your bedroom.
- Avoid caffeine in the (late) afternoon.
Mind Your Own Business
Most people waste more time talking about the life of others than working on their own. Yet, spending more time with yourself, being self-reflective, and minding your own business are crucial for living a great life.
Successful people focus on themselves. Instead of judging others, they keep their eyes on their own goals and keep giving their best.
Comparing yourself to others barely leads to better results. Instead, you might end up in a doom loop of analyzing what others do instead of focusing on your own growth.
Stop looking at the outside and focus on the inward: What do you want? And how can you get it?
Start and End Your Days Like a Pro
How you start your mornings and how you spend the last hours before going to bed have a significant influence on the quality of your life.
Your mornings set the tone for the rest of your days. If you start your day in a bad mood, with low energy, and consuming burdening information, you’ll probably keep that low energy for the entire day.
But if you start your days consciously and do things that make you feel more energized, you’ll not only be more productive and happy, but also more relaxed.
Even a 10-minute morning routine can have a significant impact on your entire life if practiced regularly.
And it’s the same with your evenings: If you spend the last hours of your day in a bad mood, you’ll take the bad vibes to bed and probably even wake up with them.
While we sleep, our experiences of the day are processed and what we hear, think, and feel right before going to bed plays a significant role. That’s why it’s important to take a few moments to wind down, relax, and let go of tension before going to sleep.
Be More Grateful
Practicing gratitude is one of the most powerful ways to shift your energy and raise your vibration. If you feel grateful, you can’t be angry, disappointed, or frustrated.
Gratefulness means that you are present in the moment and focus on your blessings instead of being concerned about the future. You can, for instance, practice gratitude by writing down what you’re thankful for, or you can tell your loved ones that you’re grateful for their presence.
“Gratitude is a powerful catalyst for happiness. It’s the spark that lights a fire of joy in your soul.”
— Amy Collette
Being mentored is one of the most reliable ways to improve the quality of your life. A mentor can help you to find hidden solutions whenever you feel stuck in life.
Plus, mentors can save you hundreds of hours by guiding you to the most efficient solutions. If you ask the correct people for advice, you can save time, energy, and even money.
“Mentoring is a brain to pick, an ear to listen, and a push in the right direction.”
— John Crosby
Good Environment = Happy You
Becoming your best self and living an extraordinary life is so much easier if you’re surrounded by like-minded people.
Abandon anything in your life that might hold you back. Getting rid of things that hold you back can be challenging, but keeping them is even more toxic.
Most of us spend way too much time in places where we don’t want to be. And in most cases, we don’t leave out of politeness. Think of all the meetings, parties, events, and dates you didn’t leave because you thought it would be rude.
Just imagine how much time you already spent in rooms with people who didn’t increase your energy and share your passions. By leaving whenever you feel bad or poorly supported, you respect your own wellbeing.
Keeping your energy and vibration high is essential to attract a better, more fulfilled life. Stop spending time with people who are always complaining, gossiping, or spreading negative vibes.
Your time is precious, and so is your energy. If someone doesn’t benefit you, leave. Instead, surround yourself with those who are motivating, inspiring, and supporting you.
“You can’t control people but you can control who you surround yourself with. Choose to surround yourself with people who believe in you and great things will happen.”
— Robert Tew
Remind Yourself of the Good Times
Genuinely happy people keep a positive attitude, even if things don’t work out. They remind themselves of the good times and focus on their goals instead of wasting time by feeling sorry for themselves.
We all start at the bottom; that’s what makes life so interesting in the first place. But those who live happy lives have figured out their happiness doesn’t depend on their success. Instead, they appreciate every failure as a valuable lesson and keep going.
“Those who dare to fail miserably can achieve greatly.”
— John F. Kennedy
It’s crucial to remind yourself of your past successes and wins, even if things don’t seem to be great right now.
Whenever you find yourself in doubt, focus on the bright side, and remind yourself of all your previous achievements. If you struggle to do so, start a success journal: At the end of each day, take notes of your accomplishments.
Even if it’s just a tiny to-do, appreciate yourself for accomplishing it. Nobody will cheer on you if you don’t do so.
Increase Your Energy
Taking care of your body and keeping a high energy level is the key to a great life.
Small habits like a cold shower or yoga, can help you start your days with more energy. And once you feel energized in the morning, it’s easier to keep that high level throughout your entire day.
Another component that defines your level of energy is your diet. What we eat has a significant impact on how we feel and how much energy we have. If your diet mainly consists of processed, fried, or carb-loaded meals, you will feel sluggish and lack energy.
On busy days, grabbing a sandwich might seem like an efficient choice, yet, the truth is the contrary. Nourishing your body with high-quality foods will not only increase your energy levels but also improve your health in the long run. Instead of grabbing the fifth cup of coffee, choose fresh fruits and vegetables or a cup of nuts.
Additionally, make sure to move your body every day. Even a few minutes can help to stay energized and healthy. And don’t forget to stay hydrated.
“You are what you eat so don’t be fast, cheap, easy or fake.”
Getting rid of stuff that doesn’t serve your happiness is a vital part of living a great life. The more things you own, the more time and energy you need to spend on maintaining them and keeping stuff organized.
You don’t need to be a minimalist, but being more careful about what you purchase and own can help you be more organized and relaxed in the long run.
Here’s how organization expert Marie Kondo suggests deciding what to keep and what to get rid of:
“The best way to choose what to keep and what to throw away is to take each item in one’s hand and ask: “Does this spark joy?” If it does, keep it. If not, dispose of it. This is not only the simplest but also the most accurate yardstick by which to judge.”
Your home can have an incredible influence on your mental wellbeing. If you do it regularly, tidying won’t take more than a few minutes, and you will feel much more comfortable and energized.
Be On Time
Being punctual is so simple yet admirable. It doesn’t only feel good to be on time, but it also shows that you have control over your life. Adding an extra 15 minutes to your commute time to ensure being on time is so easy yet priceless.
In the worst case, you’ll have an extra 15 minutes to relax and collect your thoughts before meeting someone. While this might not sound like a big deal, it can be a game-changer before important meetings such as job interviews or sales conversations.
Take a Break (Without Feeling Bad About It)
Sometimes, a great life means taking a break and fully enjoying each moment of doing nothing.
Life’s not a sprint. It’s a marathon. And if you want to get to the finish line, you need to use your energy wisely.
Satisfaction and happiness don’t happen by chance. Both require consistent effort until they become your daily reality instead of a coincidence.
A great life is defined by all the small habits and routines you built over the past decades. If you do the right things consistently, your success and satisfaction become inevitable.
If you, however, waste the majority of your time and energy on the wrong tasks, people, and activities, you might feel burned out, lack energy, and don’t find joy in the small wins anymore.
Happiness is a choice. A great life is a choice. And you choose your reality by setting priorities every single day.
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