Every serious athlete will tell you that in order to compete with the best, you have to train. It takes hours upon hours to just get into the same league, let alone be the best at something. If we really want to excel at anything, we must prepare for it and make it part of our daily lives. It is not something we can just “wing” and see where we end up. It takes dedication, perseverance, and commitment.  It requires effort (lots of it) and a daily dose of attitude.

Isn’t life just as important?

Shouldn’t we be gearing up for bringing our best self to every moment, every experience, and every person we meet?  With all of the negativity in the world, we are bombarded with hate and anger, accompanied by misunderstanding and distrust.

But we all want something better, don’t we? Maybe we won’t say it out loud, but we are all thinking it.

We all want to be happy. We all want to feel alive and that our days here mean something. We all want something to look forward to and to believe in.

No need to get on your latest running shorts or sneakers… you might not even break a sweat, but this training is serious stuff.

Shake it off

There are always going to be things we cannot change though we want to and the past will always haunt us if we let it. If we really want to be happy, we have to move past the stuff that isn’t there anymore or the stuff that isn’t so happy.  Letting go doesn’t mean forgetting — it means, “I’ve accepted it, but holding onto it weighs me down or it makes me better.”  People are going to say bad things regardless of whether or not you are in their favor or not.  You know in your heart if it’s true or not.  As Dr. Seuss said, “Those that mind don’t matter and those that matter don’t mind.”

Positive vibes only

It’s easy to get sucked into the mindset of the “Debby Downers” who lurk around, just waiting for someone else to join their group.  Be mindful of those that sap your energy and those that restore it. ONLY spend time with the people who encourage you, who support you, and make you better.  It may mean saying “goodbye” to people you really care about, but no one can keep from drowning when people are constantly trying to hold you under water.  You can tell when you are with good people — you naturally gravitate towards them and find yourself removing yourself from those who just don’t have the “feel-good” vibes you need.  There is nothing wrong with putting your own needs before someone else’s.

Listen to your heart

Too often, we let our minds get in the way of our hearts.  We do what makes sense instead of trusting the path we already know we must take.  Listening to your heart can be difficult when people try to talk over it.  They tell you that your heart is wrong and that everything you love and want is just a waste of time.  Ignore them!  Your beating heart pounds its echo loud when it wants to be heard.  Your only job is to believe in its message and allow it to guide you where you really need to be.  No matter where it takes you, you will have followed your heart without a single regret.

Believe in magic

Who doesn’t remember being captivated by the circus or “The Wizard of Oz” or even Tinkerbell and her Pixie Dust from “Peter Pan?” Too often we search for a rational explanation and refuse to believe in something until we find the answer why.  Accept that some things don’t have an explanation and no amount of logic will make it so.  Things that seem random really might not be all that random and when we believe in something a little more than only what we can see, touch, and hear, it’s just the magic talking.

Sing out loud

I know it sounds corny, and most people don’t understand why singing makes the list.  The next time you are sitting at a stop light and the person in the car next to you is belting out whatever top 40 hit that’s on the radio, look at their face.  Do they look unhappy to you?  Nope.  They are having a ball.  They don’t care if you laugh or sing right along with them.  Don’t just hide out in your shower or when no one else is at home with you… sing! Try it now! See? Feels good, right?

Find joy in every day life

The negative is always upon us. It’s there — in the news, in the schools, in the political arena.  We can’t escape it, but we can put joy in its place.  The secret is to look for it, buried beneath all of the other crap.  Look for the joy in a laughter of a baby.  Look for the joy found in old friends being reacquainted with one another. Look for joy in the warm cup of coffee you now hold in your two hands.  Look for the joy in a simple “hello” between two strangers.  Joy is everywhere… you just have to find it.

Give yourself away

It sounds boring, but it works.  We cannot feel unhappy when we give of our talents and gifts to someone else for no other reason that we can.  Give to someone without being asked to or for any kind of recognition.  Leave parts of you with unsuspecting people who never even learn your name.  Create a legacy that will long be remembered long after you are gone.  Most importantly, give your time away unselfishly and never request it to be returned to you.  Create value in your message, in the way you live, and how you inspire others to fall in love with life.

The constant pull between just existing and really thriving is where our free will comes in.  Being happy is a choice.  It must be made every day.  Just like the athletes who train for their one shot at something exciting, we need to start “training” for our best event yet… life.

Featured photo credit: Ismael Nieto via unsplash.com

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