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5 Ways to Live a Life You Love

5 Ways to Live a Life You Love

According to a 2013 Harris Poll, only 1/3 of Americans are very happy. The problem isn’t only in America. Millions of people are frustrated with their lives and desperately long to make some big changes.

The good news is you really can design a life you love. No matter who you are, or where you’re from, it’s possible to design a life where you spend your time doing more of what you love and less of the unimportant junk. It takes a lot of work, but you really can take steps every day to live a fulfilling life on your terms.

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Here are some ways to live a life you love.

1. Search for what lights you up

Discovering your passion can take a while, and it involves a lot of self-discovery, effort, and experimenting, but the journey is well worth it. When you find and do what lights you up, life is so much more fulfilling. Here is a helpful free workbook to help you discover your passion. If seeking your passion seems overwhelming, remember that it is often an ongoing process. You don’t have to quit your job, leave your family, and move to a deserted island to find your passion. Start looking for things you enjoy, no matter how small they seem. Pay attention to what fills you with energy and what leaves you feeling drained. Continue to take frequent, small steps forward to learn more about who you are and what excites you.

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2. Be intentional with your time

One daily habit I use that has really helped me to spend my days doing what I love is writing out my schedule for the day. It doesn’t have to be exact, but having a tentative plan for my day helps me maximize my hours and minimize time spent on unimportant junk. In order to live a life you love, it’s important to intentionally set aside time to do what you love, and to design your days so you minimize time wasted on things you don’t enjoy. It’s very easy to get stuck in the daily grind, following a similar routine day after day and feeling like you don’t have time to do what you really want to do. Start setting aside time to do things you enjoy, even if it’s just a small amount of time to start.

3. Choose awesome friends

The people you hang out with influence your life in huge ways. They affect your habits, how big you set your goals, and what you believe is possible. By choosing a circle of amazing, inspiring friends, and by being a great friend to others, your life will be much more enjoyable. If there is something you want to accomplish, start hanging out with people who are already doing what you aspire to do. There are clubs for all kinds of interest groups, and if you can’t find one near you, join one online, or consider starting a group yourself.

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4. Set big goals

As Michelangelo said, “The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.” Do you set goals? If so, how big are they? I challenge you to set goals that are out of your comfort zone, so you can continually grow. Set your goals as specifically as possible, write them down, and create an action plan so you are regularly taking small steps toward your giant goals.

5. Discover and maximize your strengths

Many people don’t have a clear understanding of what their strengths are, or how to best maximize their strengths. One book that has greatly helped me discover my strengths and learn how to best utilize them is Strengths Finder 2.0 by Tom Rath. The book explains that functioning in your strengths zone affects multiple areas of your life, stating, “a strengths-based approach improves your confidence, direction, hope and kindness toward others.” Rather than leaving your natural strengths untapped, I highly encourage you to read this book and develop your strengths.

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It takes self-discovery and massive intentional action, but it’s definitely possible to design a life you love. The steps above will help you start closing the gap between your current life and the life you dream of living.

Featured photo credit: Capture the Uncapturable/Smiling portrait via flickr.com

More by this author

Dr. Kerry Petsinger

Entrepreneur, Mindset & Performance Coach, & Doctor of Physical Therapy

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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…

If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:

1. Breathe

The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:

  • Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
  • Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
  • Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.

Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.

2. Loosen up

After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?

Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.

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3. Chew slowly

Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).

Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.

Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.

4. Let go

Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.

The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?

It’s not. Promise.

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Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.

Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:

21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

5. Enjoy the journey

Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.

Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.

6. Look at the big picture

The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

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Will this matter to me…

  • Next week?
  • Next month?
  • Next year?
  • In 10 years?

Hint: No, it won’t.

I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.

Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.

7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself

You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.

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8. Practice patience every day

Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:

  • The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
  • Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
  • Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.

Final thoughts

Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.

Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.

Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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