Think you need a definite plan to create a life you love? Maybe you think you are too old or too any other thing to have a better life? Forget that stuff! Here are my favorite (and much used) ways to continually move in the direction of a life you love. Not only will this benefit you; it will benefit everyone around you!
After working with over 10,000 people in education, I believe that we are hard-wired as humans to grow. Our growth or our versions of a life we love are as unique as we are. Even as we simultaneously appreciate all the we have or have done, we also want more.
Sure, some of us get stuck or feel like we’re in a rut. But it’s not because we don’t want to grow or change; it’s usually because we aren’t sure how we can or even if we can.
On most days it feels like not much is happening. To outside observers, it may appear that nothing is happening. Yet, over time, change does happen and I feel in many ways I am living a life, that if not “better” is more in line with my true self.
And that feels like a BETTER LIFE! A life I can love.
Having a Think Big Life is amazing. To be truthful though, it often looks like a very ordinary life. That’s because much of life is made up of very ordinary moments. However, those moments all hold the seeds of your future life. That’s why it’s so important to spend time in the ordinary moments creating the foundation for a future that you love.
If you too are trying to create something new in your life; there are three things to remember.
Positive change can take some time. And that can be frustrating. Yet, it’s for our own good. Just think how crazy our life would be if every single change could be made at the snap of our fingers. Real and substantial change takes time and commitment.
That’s a good thing!
Also, positive change starts in your own mind. Change begins with you and your thoughts. Today, you might not know how to do it or how long it will take. Yet, you can begin with a belief that it is possible.
Finally, change CAN be accomplished in small steps. TV and movies show huge changes happening overnight. Yet, that’s usually not the case. Committing a tiny amount of time, each day to something you desire can help you create a life you love.
Here are my 10 Tips to Create a Life You Love
Take Responsibility for Your Own Actions
When my children were young, we lived next door to another family. One day we heard the dad yelling at one of the boys, “Johnny, take responsibility for your own crap!” (It sounds way worse in writing than it did in person. He was a very loud but extremely good-hearted man.)
We loved that phrase. It kind of became a motto for our family.
Take responsibility for you own actions and results. Yes, there are jerks out there and stuff happens. However, if you can try to own and understand your own part in every single thing that happens to you; you actually gain power.
In my dating life, I’ve had a couple of not-so-pleasant relationships. I could easily blame those clowns for being jerks. (Yes, I CAN still call them names!) Yet, with self-awareness and analyzing the part I played (and the red flags I blatantly ignored!) I learned and accepted that I played a part in my own bad experiences.
Usually, in any experience of mine that doesn’t go well, I can pinpoint some of my own actions that contributed to my own results. Of course, it’s easier to see these in hindsight. I like to think though that by taking responsibility for my own actions—I’ll be better prepared the next time to make better decisions. Better decisions in the now create better results in the future!
Forgive and Forgive Often
Along with accepting my own part in any situation or relationship, forgiving is probably the most essential thing I do. In fact, forgiving is such a cornerstone to the way I live, I’ve written three posts about it and produced one guided meditation.
Forgiving is not to benefit the other person or say what they did is okay. It is for your benefit. It is so you can release that energy and not have those situations again.
When you hold onto crap that people did to you, you keep it active in your own energy. Have you ever wondered why the same things keeps happening to you over and over? It’s because you haven’t resolved it yet. Taking responsibility for your part and forgiving the other parties goes a long way in clearing that stuff out.
Actively Look for Ways to be Thankful
I am so thankful that I had parents that always actively looked for ways to be thankful. They were openly appreciative of anything beautiful, of different kinds of people, of their family, of the blessings they received. They did not live a charmed life. They suffered through many set-backs and my dad came close to being killed or disabled for life. In his thirties, with three children and one on the way, he was in a work accident that put him in the hospital for months and left him disfigured. This accident was caused by another person who was not hurt and never took responsibility. And it was during a time, when you didn’t sue and you received no benefit. My parents felt lucky that he had a job to go back to after 11 months of recovery.
Talk about things that you could be negative about.
My dad’s accident was a huge part of my life, yet I never heard my parents express hatred or bitterness. They never ever sugar-coated it for anything but a horrible painful event. But they both made the decision to not let this terrible event disable them in any other way.
They stayed positive about their lives and continually looked for things to appreciate and be thankful for.
My parents taught me to see beauty, love, and value in ordinary things: a beautiful garden, the love of a special pet, in the people in our lives.
My mom, especially can find something to appreciate in the most mundane of things: a cup of coffee, a bite of something delicious, or a call from a child.
Release Toxic Relationships
Even with an attitude of love, forgiveness, and appreciation, sometimes you’ve got to release people from your life. I struggled with this. I had some relationships that were not serving me but I was loathe to totally release them.
Then one day, I decided to do it. Remember the bad boyfriends from above? I decided one day that I knew I did not want to see them again and I was tired of politely answering texts or phone calls. I blocked both of them.
I felt immediate relief. You see, our phones are always with us. Allowing someone the privilege of having your phone number gives them access to you at any hour, day or night. And in that access, they can cause us to have some distress. Even though I wasn’t seeing either of these guys, their messages caused me to not feel so good.
I didn’t want that. So, without any fanfare, I blocked them both.
Seriously, it was one of the BEST decisions I have ever made. I didn’t even realize at the time that it would be life-changing. I mark that point as the beginning of THINGS GETTING BETTER.
Follow Your Own Compass
This is your life to live. Sometimes we buy into how we need to live because so many other people are doing it. We buy houses, drive cars, choose jobs, and have certain relationships based on what is culturally accepted.
And while none of these things are inherently good or bad, many of us are on auto-pilot about what we should do and when.
It takes true courage to live, even a little bit outside of the box.
However, it is outside the box where the magic happens. It is only by following our own compass in our own time, that we create that special feeling of being comfortable in our own skin which is essential to creating a life you love.
Buy Less Stuff!
In my previous life, I was the buyer of stuff. I had a big house full of stuff. Now, I am not anti-buying all stuff but I am definitely more careful about it. I’m also not the judge of how much stuff anyone needs. It’s your business. Some people need more at a particular time in their life and others need less.
Just because I have become a less-stuff kind of person doesn’t mean you need to do that too. However, I can tell you that living with less and buying less is freeing in a way I’ve never known before.
Remember, following your own compass? It’s much easier to do with less stuff.
I live with less and because of that, I can live in a nicer place in a part of town that makes me happy. I don’t feel like I am living just to buy more stuff or to have nicer stuff. I am simply living.
Nurture Your Relationships
Some people are better at this than others. I fall into the not-so-great at this group. I tend to be very self-involved and introspective. I like people and I’m fairly social but I forget birthdays and important dates. I get paralyzed over what to do when someone is going through bad times.
Yet, in the past few years, I’ve made the conscious decision to do better. I call people. I make plans to get together. I really really try to remember important dates.
Relationships usually don’t end because of one thing. They often end because of long periods of neglect. My relationships are truly one of the reasons I live a life I love. I nurture relationships with family, with friends, with online acquaintances, and with co-workers. All relationships don’t have to be of the best friend quality but all can be better and enriching.
As a blogger, I express myself almost daily. I love this experience of finding ways to express deeper parts of myself. I have always been drawn to art and writing. Writing publicly has taught me to express myself in personal relationships better.
It’s tough sometimes to say what we mean or to say what we want. I believe in civility and being polite. I also believe it’s important to express the truth as best we can.
Speaking your truth leads to conversations and opportunities you couldn’t have otherwise.
Take Care of Your Body
Your body is your vehicle that you’ll need to get you to a life you love. It’s fairly resilient for a while. But without proper care it begins to break down and get sick and we are seeing that happen at earlier ages.
When I was growing up, almost every kid was healthy, thin, active, and energetic. I don’t remember any kids that were obese. We didn’t have special diets and most of us weren’t involved in organized sports.
It’s just how it was.
I’m not going to get all preachy. Eat real foods. Eat meat, eggs, vegetables, and healthy fats. Avoid sugar and grains. Your body will thank you.
Reach Beyond Can’t and Don’t Want to Have Fun
Over the years, I have avoided doing or learning certain things. Because I was told early that I didn’t have rhythm or musicality, I’ve avoided most things related to music. As it turns out, I really love music. For a long time, I believed that I couldn’t dance. I can’t and because it doesn’t come easy, I didn’t even want to try.
I can’t even tell you how many things I haven’t done because of the belief that I can’t or that I didn’t want to.
However, FUN dwells in doing things that are beyond Can’t and Don’t Want to.
In the past half year, I’ve gone to two huge music festivals, sailed, ridden a bike, and danced. Lots and lots of dancing—even in public. These things make me happy. They make me smile. They make me laugh with joy.
Each time I go beyond what I thought I couldn’t do or what I thought I didn’t want to do, I expanded my life experiences and felt a joy like I had never felt as an adult.
How to Create a Life You Love
Loving your life allows you to bring your best to everyone you interact with. It’s not selfish to want to have a life you love. Most of my steps to creating a life I love—have benefited the people in my life as well.
Yes, most of the time life is ordinary. Yes, there are times of pain. However, by consciously taking these steps, you create a life you love and you become a person that other people love to be around.
Keep showing up my friends!
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Need a little help with forgiving. Read this to help get in the spirit and use the guided meditation to make it happen. Forgiving is SO GOOD for you!
Gratitude is the cornerstone of a life you love.
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I'm a former counselor, career services leader, and college advisor. Now I coach and write at My Think Big Life promoting health and personal growth.