Do you want to improve your life before you die?
You want to improve your life before you die.
To leave this world and your loved ones in a better place. To enjoy the ride more and maybe even extend the ride.
But what do you want to accomplish in life? What are your goals and dreams? Maybe you have New Year’s Resolutions you’ve yet to hit or procrastinate on year after year?
Chances are some if not all of that resonates with you.
Of course, it goes without saying that kicking bad habits like smoking would be on the list. But what are the best ways to improve your life and live your dreams? In this post, we’re going to explore some surprisingly simple, yet powerful tips to improve your life.
What are your dreams for yourself and your family?
Before we just randomly set goals for ourselves let’s dream in color! You see goals are a dry, often boring list of things on a piece of paper. Sure we want to accomplish them. And they would make our life better. But they aren’t exciting. They don’t motivate us.
Thus many times we fail to achieve things we aren’t excited about.
But when we visualize our dreams we get emotional! When we can see, feel and touch what our life would look like, THAT’S when we get fired up and start to make things happen.
That’s when you can improve your life.
My vision started lik this small model Corvette. A small dream bcame a big reality. What you VISUALIZE you materialize; good or bad. You can’t harvest a 10-speed Corvette when planting a Honda Civic seed. You sow what you reap; big or small. pic.twitter.com/jdyx3udDzo
— Brand Boyd (@boyd_brand) January 5, 2019
So I want you to visualize your dreams. Be specific. Make it something you can measure. If it seems too lofty or impossible, just break it down into a series of small steps.
Almost any goal or dream can be broken down into baby steps. When we baby step, we don’t get paralyzed by fear of failure. We don’t procrastinate. Analysis paralysis can stop you cold.
But break down that seemingly impossible goal into 10 steps over a 1, 5 or even 10-year period and you can achieve almost anything!
What’s the one thing we all wish we could leave in the past and forget?
We can’t talk about how to improve your life without addressing letting go of the past.
We all have baggage from the past. It affects us in the present and we don’t want it negatively impacting our future.
Whether it’s childhood trauma, neglect or abuse or something from adulthood, we all need to let go of that one thing that’s holding us back.
These things can damage our relationship with our spouse and kids. It can hamper our careers and bring out bad habits. We must acknowledge, heal and leave these things behind.
We’ll never forget these traumatic incidents, but we don’t have to be controlled by them.
How to move forward and heal the pains of the past
To heal emotionally from past damage we have to:
- Acknowledge the issue/incident
- Accept that it happened (accept does not necessarily mean we have to understand why)
- Own whatever role we played in it (not applicable if you suffered abuse as a child obviously)
A psychotherapist is a great way to help move through these stages, get some clarity in your thoughts. They can also be a great way to let go of anger, pain, and disappointment without having to worry about being judged or about hurting other’s feelings.
How to get motivated to actually make changes
As I said above in talking about the difference between a dream and a goal, we get fired up to make changes when we get emotionally invested.
For me, I want to get to a place where I’m no longer trading my time for money. A place where I work hard, but when, where and how I want to. I want to spend more time with my wife and kids; even more so now that I have a 3rd child on the way.
Becoming a dad again motivates me!
If I just said “make more money” on a list, that’s not very exciting. But working on a laptop by a pool my kids are swimming in? THAT motivates me!
Why do most people fail to get new habits to stick?
Just saying “I want to be a millionaire” is too vague and too lofty. But visualizing yourself a millionaire in retirement, working when, where and how you want to on a laptop in Costa Rica starts to get specific!
Then you can start to baby step your way to that goal.
— Joe Johnson (@JoeJohnsonPhD) July 11, 2017
Let’s break down that goal to be a millionaire into baby steps.
If you’re 35, simply start to invest 15% of your income each month into a Roth IRA. Even if you max out your $5,500/year contribution, if you’re married, your spouse can do the same.
Just that one decision will get you almost $870,000 if you retire at age 67. If that’s not quite 15% of your income, just put the rest in a regular IRA and you should be well on your way to being a millionaire! Calculated using a calculator courtesy of MoneyChimp.
Need help with your financial goals? My most loved post is called 11 Proven Keys to Financial Success & Living Your Dreams! and it’s well worth taking a minute to check it out!
So what are my . . .
11 Ultimate Ways to Improve Your Life You Probably Didn’t Know?
1. DON’T LET THE PAST CONTROL YOUR FUTURE
We all have a past. Things we’ve done to others. Or bad things that have been done to us. We can’t change the past. In fact, the ONLY thing you can change is yourself; your attitude, actions, and reactions.
Thus when we don’t allow ourselves to heal from past things then we allow the past to control our present and our future. Want to improve your life? We have to find a way to heal past trauma so it no longer controls us.
See my 11 Powerful Tips to Let Go of the Past & Move Forward if you need help here.
2. SET REALISTIC GOALS FOR EACH DAY
You know what happened to the guy with 20 things on his daily to-do list? He either didn’t accomplish most of them, got discouraged and didn’t even try or procrastinated and moved them to another day.
You need to be intentional with your day and time. Set goals. But be realistic. You may well have 20 things you want to get done. But prioritize them. Decide what MUST get done today and what would be nice to get done.
Have only 1-3 goals for each day. Make them specific, measurable and achievable. It’s totally OK to have other lists for the week, month and year, but be narrowly focused on your daily tasks.
3. BE GRATEFUL
Don’t focus on what you don’t have. Don’t focus on what the neighbors have. Be grateful for what you have and appreciate that. It’s totally OK to set goals for what you want to achieve, but don’t make the lack of those things be a negative.
Tony Robbins has a saying. “Trade your expectations for appreciation and your whole world changes in an instant”. In other words, when we stop focusing on what we don’t have or what others aren’t doing for us and simply appreciate all we’ve been given, we experience a mindset shift. We move from a glass half empty person to a glass half full person.
You’ll be amazed how much you can improve your life from this simple outlook switch!
4. FOCUS ON YOUR BREATH
I know that sounds simplistic, but breath is life. Breath is how we move energy throughout our body. Breathing masters like Wim Hof can withstand the bitter cold of climbing Mount Everest only wearing shorts or fight off deadly diseases with no medicine in part, because of breath training.
Proper breath control also is a great way to identify and release stress, tension, and areas in our bodies where we are holding on to past trauma. By bringing awareness to the breath we can begin to focus our breath to specific parts of the body as needed. You will find balance, less stress, a calmer demeanor and increased awareness of both your body and the world at large.
5. DRINK MORE WATER
According to a recent study by the CDC, on average, men and women both tend to drink about a quart of plain water each day. While their total water intake was much higher than that, the vast majority was coming from other foods and liquids containing water.
According to the Mayo Clinic, Men should drink about 3 liters of plain water per day and women a little over 2 liters. Personally, I try and drink 1 gallon per day, starting first thing in the morning and ceasing a few hours before bedtime.
Want to improve your life? Drink a lot of plain water; ideally, spring water that doesn’t have minerals or fluoride added to it; you only want what nature put in it to begin with.
One of the best ways to consume water is having a high-quality water filter at home where you can have an endless supply of water, refilling your water bottle and not contributing to the overproduction of plastic water bottles.
The ZIP Countertop Reverse Osmosis Water Filter is one of the best units on the market. It not only purifies tap water, but it also removes up to 99% of not only chlorine, heavy metals and other contaminants but also fluoride as well, which most water filters don’t remove. It also alkalizes the water increasing the health benefits for your body.
6. PUT DOWN TECHNOLOGY
I know there’s a certain irony in my saying that on a blog that you’re likely reading on a smartphone or desktop computer. We live in a tech-heavy world and there’s probably no coming back from that. BUT that doesn’t mean we have to be slaves to our devices.
Have set times throughout the day where you check email or Facebook. Don’t just hold the phone in your hand constantly scanning those things. Be intentional about how, when and where you use technology, but don’t let it consume your day.
Think you might have a problem? Check out my 9 Signs of Cell Phone Addiction!
7. GET OUTSIDE
Physical exertion, fresh air, and sunlight all play KEY roles in our mental health, our physical body, overall wellness and our mood. Show me someone bitter & unhappy and I’ll show you someone who likely doesn’t exercise or get outside much.
A recent study from the National Institutes of Health found that “outdoor activities reduced symptoms (of ADHD) significantly”. That ties in perfectly to my own post on how the outdoors and play are natural medication for children with ADHD.
Want to be more relaxed, less stressed, happier and well on your way to improve your life? Spend time outside regularly.
8. STOP COMPARING YOURSELF
To quote Dr. Seuss, “There is no one alive who is Youer than You.” Sure there may be others who are more fit, drive nicer cars or have better-paying jobs. But if you spend any amount of time feeling bad about yourself & feeling envy towards them all you’re doing is programming your mind to be unhappy.
Now don’t get me wrong. If you want a better car or job or want to lose weight, go for it! But don’t do it out of guilt, shame or because you want someone else to like you better. Do it for you!
Rachel Cruze, daughter of personal finance guru Dave Ramsey, has an excellent book on this subject called Love Your Life, Not Theirs. If you struggle with comparing yourself to others, I highly recommend that book!
9. STAY AWAY FROM DRAMA AND GOSSIP
Is there anything in this world that serves no purpose, takes up so much time and causes so much strife? I doubt it. Maybe politics. We all have those friends who love to gossip by the water cooler at work. They are always seemingly in the know about who’s life crisis or actions at the company party were worse.
Let’s be honest. Almost all of us have participated in these conversations at one time or another. I don’t want you to be rude to anyone, but if you want to improve your life, distancing yourself from negativity, drama and gossip are crucial. Which brings me to my next point . . .
10. MINIMIZE OR ELIMINATE THE NEGATIVE PEOPLE IN YOUR LIFE
We can’t make anyone happy but ourselves. But sometimes we find friends, family members or loved ones who are broken, damaged or otherwise unhappy. It’s easy to feel empathy for them and not uncommon for us to want to “fix” them.
Often these relationships end up based not on mutual love and respect but on a co-dependent need; the fixer and the fixee. If the “negative” person isn’t actively seeking to better themselves and their situation, it can easily devolve into them bringing us down to their level rather than them rising up to meet us.
Want more on this? Check out my post on how Toxic People Sabotage Happiness
11. GET PHYSICAL
This ties in with my above comment about getting outside. But when we move, be it exercise, dance, yoga or sports, a number of great things happen.
According to the CDC, all of the following are direct benefits from us finding healthy ways of movement:
- Control weight
- Reduce the risk of disease
- Improve strength
- Improve mental health and mood
- Live longer
I don’t care if you hit the gym, but find healthy ways to move and do it often. I practice martial arts about 3 times a week. For me, that resonates with who I am and want to be.
But even if it’s just a morning walk with your dogs or kids; it will improve your life.
Did we cover everything you wanted to know about how to improve your life?
In this post, we walked through some simple, yet actionable tips to really make a difference in your life. Tips you can put in place today for a better tomorrow. We only get one shot at this life, so we owe it to ourselves and our family to live life to the fullest. I know these tips will improve your life just as they have mine.
If you like this post, please consider sharing on Facebook, because if it helped you, it just might help someone else!