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9 Ways To Live But Not Merely Exist You Need To Start Doing

9 Ways To Live But Not Merely Exist You Need To Start Doing

Life is like a road trip without a map; as you travel along the highway of life, you stop at different places, veer off down unknown roads, change direction every now and again and sometimes, although you hate to admit it, you get lost. Sadly, there are some of who insist on taking the map with them, making sure that nothing is uncertain, that all roads are clearly mapped out and getting lost is never a possibility.

Merely existing in life is like being on automatic pilot; eyes wide open yet not seeing anything, arms out in front, yet never really feeling or experiencing anything and you travel one foot in the front of the other going in only one direction. There is no feeling, no challenge and certainly no excitement you simply go through the motions doing what you have always done, yet expecting something different.

Except you have this feeling in the back of your mind that life isn’t meant to be like this, that there is more to it and you need to make some changes. I’m all for change so I’ve come up with a few actionable pointers to help you live a great existence, so that you can start loving every moment of your life again!

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1. Invest the present and do what matters most to you.

Life is short—there I’ve said it, but it’s true. You can’t waste a single drop of it, so while you are here on this wonderful planet, why not make sure you do right now what matters to you most. What you do every day matters more to you than what you do every so often, like, for example, what you do for work or your daily routine. It’s time to really decide if it makes you happy or not. Ask yourself what makes you really come alive and start to invest time in being able to do that.

2. Live the way you preach.

If you harp on all the time about being kind to other people, giving to charity and helping the needy, and yet you are grumpy all the time, moan about having to give to charity and are selfish with your time, it might be time to rethink how you live your life. The best way to live is to live with purpose and being true to your word, you’ll not only gain respect from others but you’ll also respect yourself too. What you’ll also find is that you’ll live your life in a more meaningful way, you’ll feel more fulfilled and you’ll become an inspiration to others at the same time. Wonderful don’t you think?

3. Write your own story of your own life.

Guess what? Your life is in your hands and nobody else’s, so it’s up to you how the story of your life goes. Once you understand that no matter what happens to you, no matter what people think of you and what other people are doing with their lives, your life is your own responsibility and if you want to enjoy it, it’s down to you. Start the new chapter of your life today; create, dream and then take action. Step into your own life and make an intention to re-write, start over and live rather than exist!

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4. Appreciate all the wonderful people and great things already in your life.

How often do you not even notice what you already have in your life: your family who loves you, your partner who adores you and your home, which you are so lucky to live in? Be ever so grateful for all those people that care about you no matter what you do, and appreciate them every day as you’ll never know when they might no longer be around. Remember, the more you are grateful for the more you will receive things to be grateful about.

5. Be who you really are.

There is really no point in pretending to be someone you are not or hiding that unique and special person behind someone else. You were made as you and there is, after all, only one of you. If you were to believe what people say in this crazy world, being like everyone else is better than being who you are, don’t you dare believe it!  Hold onto your individuality and wear it with pride. Embrace your differences and brush off any criticisms, those who criticize are only envious of you, so be brazen about it, step forward and be you!

6. Embrace change and love watching your life unfold.

So many times, I’ve seen people struggle, complain and moan about things in their life when stuff doesn’t go the way they want it to go. Life is meant to be ever changing, ever growing and it can be tough to let go of how things used to be and move forward with something new. Here’s where you stop worrying, fretting and trying to control. It’s time to have a little bit of faith in the unknown and start trusting that life will unfold on its own whether you like it or not. Believe that what’s around the corner is the best for you, even if it doesn’t seem that way, and laugh or cry but live consciously from now on and see how wonderful life can really be.

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7. Always listen to your heart.

There is no doubt about it—this is the most important step. Life can be an exciting, spontaneously exhilarating journey if you let it be, or it can be nothing at all. You can learn new ways to live. Begin today by making some changes and listening to your heart. Forget what other people think. Be brave enough to go it alone if you have to. Do what is in your heart and follow it with commitment, pride and love. Appreciate every step you take and be mindful of everything around you. There will be bad days, good days and days that will teach you how to deal with difficulties, because they will come. Life is after all one big learning curve. Treat it like that and you’ll never be disappointed.

8. Enjoy the little things in life.

The very best things in life are free and remembering to enjoy the simple things in life will make you feel alive. Things like watching nature, spending time with loved ones and having fun will make you realize that the need for more is just an illusion.  Enjoy these moments today, because tomorrow things could change in an instant, so make the most of now and the little things in life.

9. Learn to let go.

Some things things are meant to stay broken, so rather than trying to fix something that is broken, learn to let go and let it be. Trying to force something into place or back together can make the situation worse.  Sometimes it’s best to leave them be, start over and create something better than before.  Whether it’s a relationship or a certain situation, it’s important to look at it objectively, work out what works and what doesn’t, and then act accordingly. Letting go is never a failure. It’s just a choice to take a new direction and make the best out of what happens next.

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So the question is, do you merely exist or are you living?

Featured photo credit: An Khánh via flickr.com

More by this author

Paula Lawes

Paula loves people and connecting. She writes about communication and relationships tips on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on January 24, 2021

How to Say No When You Know You Say Yes Too Often

How to Say No When You Know You Say Yes Too Often

Do you say yes so often that you no longer feel that your own needs are being met? Are you wondering how to say no to people?

For years, I was a serial people pleaser[1]. Known as someone who would step up, I would gladly make time, especially when it came to volunteering for certain causes. I proudly carried this role all through grade school, college, even through law school. For years, I thought saying “no” meant I would disappoint a good friend or someone I respected.

But somewhere along the way, I noticed I wasn’t quite living my life. Instead, I seem to have created a schedule that was a strange combination of meeting the expectations of others, what I thought I should be doing, and some of what I actually wanted to do. The result? I had a packed schedule that left me overwhelmed and unfulfilled.

It took a long while, but I learned the art of saying no. Saying no meant I no longer catered fully to everyone else’s needs and could make more room for what I really wanted to do. Instead of cramming too much in, I chose to pursue what really mattered. When that happened, I became a lot happier.

And guess what? I hardly disappointed anyone.

The Importance of Saying No

When you learn the art of saying no, you begin to look at the world differently. Rather than seeing all of the things you could or should be doing (and aren’t doing), you start to look at how to say yes to what’s important.

In other words, you aren’t just reacting to what life throws at you. You seek the opportunities that move you to where you want to be.

Successful people aren’t afraid to say no. Oprah Winfrey, considered one of the most successful women in the world, confessed that it was much later in life when she learned how to say no. Even after she had become internationally famous, she felt she had to say yes to virtually everything.

Being able to say no also helps you manage your time better.

Warren Buffett views “no” as essential to his success. He said:

“The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”

When I made “no” a part of my toolbox, I drove more of my own success, focusing on fewer things and doing them well.

How We Are Pressured to Say Yes

It’s no wonder a lot of us find it hard to say no.

From an early age, we are conditioned to say yes. We said yes probably hundreds of times in order to graduate from high school and then get into college. We said yes to find work, to get a promotion, to find love and then yes again to stay in a relationship. We said yes to find and keep friends.

We say yes because we feel good when we help someone, because it can seem like the right thing to do, because we think that is key to success, and because the request might come from someone who is hard to resist.

And that’s not all. The pressure to say yes doesn’t just come from others. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves.

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At work, we say yes because we compare ourselves to others who seem to be doing more than we are. Outside of work, we say yes because we are feeling bad that we aren’t doing enough to spend time with family or friends.

The message, no matter where we turn, is nearly always, “You really could be doing more.” The result? When people ask us for our time, we are heavily conditioned to say yes.

How Do You Say No Without Feeling Guilty?

Deciding to add the word “no” to your toolbox is no small thing. Perhaps you already say no, but not as much as you would like. Maybe you have an instinct that if you were to learn the art of no that you could finally create more time for things you care about.

But let’s be honest, using the word “no” doesn’t come easily for many people.

3 Rules of Thumbs for Saying No

1. You Need to Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

Let’s face it. It is hard to say no. Setting boundaries around your time, especially you haven’t done it much in the past, will feel awkward. Your comfort zone is “yes,” so it’s time to challenge that and step outside that.

If you need help getting out of your comfort zone, check out this article.

2. You Are the Air Traffic Controller of Your Time

When you want to learn how to say no, remember that you are the only one who understands the demands for your time. Think about it: who else knows about all of the demands in your life? No one.

Only you are at the center of all of these requests. You are the only one that understands what time you really have.

3. Saying No Means Saying Yes to Something That Matters

When we decide not to do something, it means we can say yes to something else that we may care more about. You have a unique opportunity to decide how you spend your precious time.

6 Ways to Start Saying No

Incorporating that little word “no” into your life can be transformational. Turning some things down will mean you can open doors to what really matters. Here are some essential tips to learn the art of no:

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1. Check in With Your Obligation Meter

One of the biggest challenges to saying no is a feeling of obligation. Do you feel you have a responsibility to say yes and worry that saying no will reflect poorly on you?

Ask yourself whether you truly have the duty to say yes. Check your assumptions or beliefs about whether you carry the responsibility to say yes. Turn it around and instead ask what duty you owe to yourself.

2. Resist the Fear of Missing out (FOMO)

Do you have a fear of missing out (FOMO)? FOMO can follow us around in so many ways. At work, we volunteer our time because we fear we won’t move ahead. In our personal lives, we agree to join the crowd because of FOMO, even while we ourselves aren’t enjoying the fun.

Check in with yourself. Are you saying yes because of FOMO or because you really want to say yes? More often than not, running after fear doesn’t make us feel better[2].

3. Check Your Assumptions About What It Means to Say No

Do you dread the reaction you will get if you say no? Often, we say yes because we worry about how others will respond or because of the consequences. We may be afraid to disappoint others or think we will lose their respect. We often forget how much we are disappointing ourselves along the way.

Keep in mind that saying no can be exactly what is needed to send the right message that you have limited time. In the tips below, you will see how to communicate your no in a gentle and loving way.

You might disappoint someone initially, but drawing a boundary can bring you the freedom you need so that you can give freely of yourself when you truly want to. And it will often help others have more respect for you and your boundaries, not less.

4. When the Request Comes in, Sit on It

Sometimes, when we are in the moment, we instinctively agree. The request might make sense at first. Or we typically have said yes to this request in the past.

Give yourself a little time to reflect on whether you really have the time or can do the task properly. You may decide the best option is to say no. There is no harm in giving yourself the time to decide.

5. Communicate Your “No” with Transparency and Kindness

When you are ready to tell someone no, communicate your decision clearly. The message can be open and honest[3] to ensure the recipient that your reasons have to do with your limited time.

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How do you say no? 9 Healthy Ways to Say “No”

    Resist the temptation not to respond or communicate all. But do not feel obligated to provide a lengthy account about why you are saying no.

    Clear communication with a short explanation is all that is needed. I have found it useful to tell people that I have many demands and need to be careful with how I allocate my time. I will sometimes say I really appreciate that they came to me and for them to check in again if the opportunity arises another time.

    6. Consider How to Use a Modified No

    If you are under pressure to say yes but want to say no, you may want to consider downgrading a “yes” to a “yes but…” as this will give you an opportunity to condition your agreement to what works best for you.

    Sometimes, the condition can be to do the task, but not in the time frame that was originally requested. Or perhaps you can do part of what has been asked.

    Final Thoughts

    Beginning right now, you can change how you respond to requests for your time. When the request comes in, take yourself off autopilot where you might normally say yes.

    Use the request as a way to draw a healthy boundary around your time. Pay particular attention to when you place certain demands on yourself.

    Try it now. Say no to a friend who continues to take advantage of your goodwill. Or, draw the line with a workaholic colleague and tell them you will complete the project, but not by working all weekend. You’ll find yourself much happier.

    More Tips on How to Say No

    Featured photo credit: Chris Ainsworth via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] Science of People: 11 Expert Tips to Stop Being a People Pleaser and Start Doing You
    [2] Anxiety and Depression Association of America: Tips to Get Over Your FOMO, or Fear of Missing Out
    [3] Cooks Hill Counseling: 9 Healthy Ways to Say “No”

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