As we begin a new year, it is a great time to take a deep look at how we live our lives and make changes if necessary to make ourselves better.
I do this exercise at the end of every year and look for the best ways that I can live my life, according to my values, and to make the most out of my relationships going into the next year.
As I did my review this year, there were 5 things that seem to keep holding true every year for living a great life, so I thought I'd share them as they might help you live your best life over the next year.
Develop a Love for Yourself
I'm not talking about narcissism or being self-obsessed in this area. What I am talking about is understanding the miracle of you. The miracle that you are even alive. And the incredible capabilities and potential that you have to give this world. You should be somewhat in awe of it. And you should maximize every bit of your being and your potential. Love and take care of yourself. You are a miracle.
Write Down Your Principles and Values
What is it that you stand for and believe in? What are the principles that you hold dear and will not sacrifice for anything? When is the last time you thought about this topic in your life? If you know what you stand for and believe in, you can remain resolute in times of stress or turmoil and live by your principles. For example, one of my principles is that I believe in everyone's right to their thought, opinion, and speech - even if I vehemently disagree with it. I believe that our principles and values should guide us. So, when I hear someone say something vile or ridiculous, I will express my right to disagree - but I will defend both our rights to say what we want to say. That is the essence of true freedom and must be preserved.
Take Time Each Day to Enjoy the World Around You and Express Gratitude
Each day is an adventure in this world. We encounter new things. See beauty in different ways. Meet new people. Learn new concepts. Savor it and enjoy it as we never know when it can be our last day. I was reminded of this this past fall when a good friend of mine in his 30's passed away. He was swimming in the pool doing his weekly exercise routine when he was hit with a massive cardiac event. And just like that, he was gone leaving behind a wife and 4 kids all under 8 years old. I did a tribute to him as a Lesson for Hannah.
So, because we never know w hen it will be our last day - take some time to enjoy the world, enjoy your life, and express gratitude for it and to those around you each day.
Act on Opportunity
We've all had that opportunity in our lives that we "kick ourselves for missing out on." And we always have these great stories of how if we "just would have done this or that," life would be completely different. The funny thing is when we look at those times of missed opportunity, I bet your gut was telling you to do it. To go for it. It is amazing how often our instincts are right, but we look for all the reasons not to follow them, and the majority of time don't.
Don't make this mistake anymore. Act on the opportunity when it comes up. Give a shot. If you fail or it doesn't workout, so what. As Teddy Roosevelt once said "Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat." Act on your opportunities.
Learn, But Don't Regret
As you go through life, you are going to screw up. Sometimes massively. I have met too many people that carry the regret of their mistakes like an albatross around their neck. It holds them back from who they can really become. You must realize that what is in the past is in the past. It cannot be changed. You can change what is happening and what you decide to do in the future. You should not have regret in your life. Don't get me wrong on this. That doesn't mean that you don't learn from your mistakes and do everything possible to make things right and do better in the future. But, letting regret run your life into the future is debilitating to your success and your ability to be the best to those around you.
Think about it. Everything that has happened in your life to get you to where you are right now - had to happen exactly as it did. One deviation and things would completely different. One deviation and maybe you don't have the family you have. One deviation and maybe you don't have your health, and so on. So, letting yourself be saddled with regret is a fool's errand. Instead, learn and do better, but don't regret.
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