Do you ever feel that time is passing you by? Perhaps you’re sitting around and you realize that you haven’t accomplished all the things that you’d like.
Those feelings are completely normal and incredibly common. Most people have at least a few regrets in life.
But, it’s never too late to make a change.
You can start living a happier life. You can add more value to your daily interactions. It just takes a little planning, motivation, and perspective.
When you have purpose and direction, you’re actually excited about what each day will bring. You wake up excited that another day is about to begin. While that may seem like a pipe dream, it is within your reach.
Here are 7 points to help you live a happy and valued life.
1. Goals and Dreams Provide Purpose and Direction
It’s hard to know where you’re going without directions. Goals help give you this direction. Decide what you want to get out of life. What are your dreams, goals, and ambitions?
Don’t be afraid to dream big. Nothing is out of bounds.
Write down your goals. Place these goals in a spot where you’ll see them several times each day, such as your fridge or cubicle. You could even paint them on a wall.
The idea is that you need to continually see these dreams in front of you. They shouldn’t just be abstract thoughts in your head.
2. Financial Security Can Reduce Anxieties and Boost Happiness
What’s your biggest worry in life? For millions of people, it’s financial security. When you’re living paycheck to paycheck, it’s hard to see a way out.
The first step to achieving financial security, other than getting a job, is to start setting aside a portion of your paycheck. You need to start building a nest egg.
Most banks will allow you to automatically transfer a portion of your paycheck to a separate savings account. You could automatically set aside 5 or 10% of your paycheck.
The reason that you need to make this an automatic transfer is to avoid seeing the actual transfer of money. This may sound silly, but if you don’t see the money transfer, you’re not going to miss it.
3. Prioritization Makes It Easier to Remember What’s Important
Do you have your priorities in order? This is an important question. If your priorities are in the wrong place, you’ll struggle to achieve happiness or reach your goals.
Determine what matters most to you. If you have a family, they’ll likely top this list. But, there are other aspects of your life, such as work, hobbies, and other things you’re passionate about.
You need to decide which of these are most important. Which of these will help bring the most happiness? Prioritizing work over hobbies can help you with the previous issue, financial security. Thorough prioritizing can help relieve daily stress.
Once you prioritize, you can set boundaries. When you need to choose whether to give your time to one of these categories, you choose whichever task is higher on your list of priorities.
This is commonly referred to as creating the perfect “work/life” balance. Though, you should keep in mind that you’ll never truly achieve a “perfect” balance. Instead, of worrying about perfection, you should simply try to do the best that you can.
4. Focusing on One Task at a Time Increases Performance
Whatever you’re doing, give it everything you have. It doesn’t matter if you’re brushing your teeth, going on a family vacation, or attempting to meet a work deadline.
The task at hand should always receive your undivided attention. There are several reasons for this:
- Multitasking doesn’t work
- Your family deserves your attention
- You are more productive when you focus on a single task
- You are less likely to make mistakes
At the heart of this issue is the fact that multitasking doesn’t work. When you split your attention between more than one task, then each task gets less of your focus and performance suffers.
At the same time, focusing on multiple tasks will force your brain to go back and forth. Each time you go from checking your email to talking to your spouse, there is a delay before your brain gets back on track.
So, focus on one task at a time. This goes hand in hand with prioritization.
If you prioritize correctly, it should be easier to remain focused on a single task without dealing with other distractions.
You’ll discover that previously complicated tasks or challenging situations become easier when they get your full focus. This can improve your work performance, which could be an important step in reaching your goals or achieving financial security.
5. Not Being Able to Forgive Can Keep You from Moving Forward
Anger and grudges can easily get in the way of your happiness. It is a waste of time to hold onto grudges and anger over past mistakes. It can keep you from moving forward with your life.
You need to learn how to forgive and move on. To do this, you must understand how forgiveness works.
When you forgive someone, you don’t need to forget. You don’t need to excuse someone’s actions or even tell the person that they’re forgiven. Forgiveness isn’t about the other person, it’s about you.
While you may never truly accept a person that angered you back into your life, you shouldn’t allow the anger to interfere with your life.
Forgiveness doesn’t always come easy. In fact, it’s a gradual process, similar to grief. Here are 3 steps that will help you learn how to forgive:
- Acknowledge the incident and how it affected you
- Acknowledge the fact that you’re still here, you survived
- Acknowledge that the other person is flawed
The past is in the past. Your happiness is in the present. If you hold anger over a past incident, acknowledge the impact that it had on you and then acknowledge that you’re still here. The incident didn’t destroy you. You may have even learned something from the experience.
Forgiveness isn’t just for others. You also need to learn to forgive yourself.
Don’t beat yourself up over past actions. You should never forget the mistakes you’ve made, but you shouldn’t let them stop you from living the life you want.
6. A Hobby or a Passion Can Offer an Outlet for Stress
How you spend your free time will directly impact your happiness and sense of self-worth.
If you work 50 hours a week, you may not feel like doing much of anything after work. But, a hobby or a passion that you can pursue will give you an outlet for letting go of stress and anger.
Find a hobby that you can enjoy. You could go golfing on the weekends, take up painting, learn a new skill, or work toward your passion or goals. This gives you something to look forward to each week.
7. Giving Back to Others Can Add Value – In Your Eyes
Living a happier, more valued life begins with your own personal happiness. Start with the first 6 points. You’ll have purpose and direction, which will put you in the right state of mind to begin helping others.
The old saying is true. You can’t help others until you’ve helped yourself. Helping others can be incredibly rewarding and help add more value to your life. At a minimum, it adds more value to your life in your own eyes, which is all that really matters.
Find a way to give back to others. You could contribute to a charity or volunteer at a local non-profit organization. Or, you could start small by donating some of your old clothes to a local goodwill store.
If you don’t want a life full of regrets, you need to be proactive. You can’t expect things to change when you’re doing the same things day in and day out.
When you’re stuck in a rut, remember these tips. Start by setting your goals. Decide what you want in life and then reach out and take it.
Prioritize your time each day. Deal with the tasks that help you work toward your goal before handling trivial matters. Focus on what’s important to you.
Also, don’t forget to look at the bigger picture – don’t let the little stuff bother you as much. Life is too short to sweat the little stuff.