I’ve always been preoccupied with the saying “Live your Best Life” made popular by Oprah Winfrey and as I flew home from a mini trip with my husband, I looked out the window of the plane. It occurred to me, I was looking at things from a different perspective.
On the ground, I could see the bottom of the fluffy white cumulus cloud, but now over ten thousand feet in the air, I was looking down at the beautiful, cotton balls of glory made of water & dust!
Yes, it is true… If you open your eyes you can see many things from a different perspective, personal finances being one of them. I, once a “stuufoholic” used to desire many things and thought buying more “stuff” would make me happier. However, I’ve thus learned the problem with this type of thinking is no matter how much you have, you always want more! Yet, the more you have, the more clutter you deal with and life begins to feel out of control. It can be a never-ending cycle.
We all marry our spouses for different reasons. My husband is a kind, caring person with a good heart. He has taught me many things in our life together, but perhaps the most important is how he prefers experiences over stuff. He would much rather take a trip or take our kids to a new museum than buy a bunch of clothes at the mall. His perspective got me thinking about what we could do to make our lives richer and more fulfilling. Could we all have a goal to live our best life with contentment and happiness? And what’s more, how can we achieve this “best life”?
According to a study done by Nobel Peace Prize winner Angus Deaton happiness peaks at an average income of $75,000 (source Forbes.com). After that, our happiness levels off. Research shows money does not necessarily equal happiness.
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Yes, having money gives you security and you are able to pay bills. But owning a bunch of trinkets, cars, clothing, and collections doesn’t make you a happier person. Therefore, it is important to find ways to live your best life and find contentment without being a “stuffoholic” and collecting items that clutter your life.
With that in mind, I’ve devised a list to help you with your quest to live your best life! Life isn’t always perfect and living and learning are part of the journey, but if things aren’t going the way you imagined lately, you are going to want to try some of the tips below!
Live Your Best Life: 15 Life-Changing Tips
1. Get your Finances in order
Paying off debt can make you happier. Yet, there are some money experts that may disagree because of the whole “good interest” versus “bad interest” debate. Nonetheless, studies show debt is a main cause of stress and if you follow financial guru Suzie Orman she advises people use their money in a way that will make them comfortable. If you are more comfortable living debt-free than dumping debt could be a key factor in living your best life.
It is also wise to create a budget and plan for your future (college, retirement). Set aside money for an emergency fund and eliminate stress when the “what ifs” of life pop up.
Suggested Reading: How to Get Out of Debt: 11 Actionable Steps to Live Better
Suggested Reading: No Money to Pay My Bills, Help!
2. Set goals
Yes, it is true that 80% of New Year’s resolutions go by the wayside after February (source: Business Insider), yet did you know that according to a Harvard Business study people who set clear obtainable goals are 10 times more likely to carry out what they intended (source: Bigger Pockets). It is not hard to set goals for yourself. All you need is a pen and paper. Jot down what you would like to accomplish and write three feasible steps for each goal.
Download your free goal setting sheet here: Goal Setting PDF Goal Setting
Suggest Reading: Epic Goal Setting and Productivity
Exercise is a key to happiness. The human body, bones, and joints were not meant to be sedentary so get up and start moving. If you are new to exercise, always consult with your doctor. Exercise may seem like a chore, but if you start small and build up your stamina, you will begin to enjoy exercise and the results. Try working out for just 15 minutes a day and slowly increase your time. When I started running, I could not run a mile and it seemed so out of reach. Nonetheless, I slowly added .25 miles a week and before I knew it, I was running a 10K – that’s 6.2 miles for all you non-runners. Move your body! You can do it!
Suggested Reading: 15 Free and Frugal Workout Ideas
4. Do things you enjoy
Make a list of things you enjoy and start doing them. Research shows it takes around 21 days to form a habit. Unfortunately, many people do not make themselves a priority. The whole “put on your oxygen mask first” thing rings true. If you start making time for things you enjoy, it will become a habit and you will walk around a much happier person. I love reading. My goal is to read for at least 15 minutes a day this year.
5. Say NO!
Saying “NO” can be so freeing. You do not have to commit to everything everyone asks you to do. Trying to please others will only make you feel exhausted and resentful in the long run. I believe it is an amazing feeling to help others and say yes to things you truly want to help out with, but if the things you are always saying yes to do not add value to your life, it is time to learn some polite ways to tell others no. For example, maybe you have a friend that continues to ask you do things, but when you are with he or she they are an energy drainer and you feel worse after. It is best to spend your time with someone that uplifts you and treats you well. Every energy-sucking minute you spend, will never be given back.
6. Take a trip
Traveling opens your eyes to so many things. If you are going to invest in yourself, travel is something you should save up for. Seeing the world will make you think differently. Seeing how other cultures live and interact will teach you about yourself and the world around you. Try going somewhere you have never been this year and expand your mind.
7. Do something outside of your comfort zone
This can be hard but it helps open your mind to things you may have wanted to try but are afraid of. Take that hot air balloon ride or go horseback riding for the first time. In the end, you will not regret it.
8. Embrace change
This is always a hard one. Our human brains love rituals and routines. We get comfortable with the way things are but sometimes change is for the best. It is hard to break old habits but new habits await and we only have so much energy in one day to make this all happen. It is best to focus that energy on the positive and look at the bright side of change.
Tip: Read the book The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business. Click the link to check out this book on Amazon. It has been one of my favorites in 2017 and teaches you about forming new, positive habits.
You will never learn if you do not fail. If you go through life without taking any chances because you are afraid of failure, you may never learn the potential of what you can do. If you have a dream, start taking steps to achieve your dream. Start today. If you fail, get back up and keep trying.
10. Eat that frog
This is an old saying by Mark Twain and a favorite book of mine by Brian Tracy – Check out the book here: Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time. This expression means if you have something you don’t want to do, do it first thing in the morning and get it out-of-the-way. Brian discusses how most people use their energy for small tasks that are of less importance and procrastinate the most important tasks that could really be life or career-changing. His book teaches prioritizing skills to stay productive and carry out the task that will really make a difference. Yes, it is easy to fill up our days procrastinating big task that would help improve all aspects of our life or business; however, if we continue to fill up our days with smaller, less important stuff, that big stuff will never get done.
11. Be more minimal
Decide what minimalism means to you and stick to it. You do not have to get rid of everything to become a minimalist. However, start weeding out clutter and free up some clear space in your place. Buying all of the stuff in the world will not make you happy but having a clutter-free home will give you peace of mind because the clutter competes for your brain’s attention. If you have a baseball card collection that is near and dear to your heart, keep it. Yet, that old baby stroller that is not being used could be put to good use somewhere else.
Suggested Reading: Useful Tips for Decluttering Your House and Gaining Perspective
12. Stop trying to keep up with the Joneses
The only person you should be competing with is yourself. How can you be better every day, every month, and every year? Set your goals and do a goal checkup. Don’t worry about what your neighbors or friend have. You do not know the massive debt that lives behind that BMW or fabulous house. Also, you will never be able to keep up with someone who has a spending problem. Learn to be grateful for what you have.
13. Eat well
Okay, so by eating well, I do not mean go out to a 5-star restaurant every night (budget killer). I mean, eat healthy foods and lay off processed foods. Financial health and body/mind health go hand in hand. So make a pact with yourself to start eating better. This may just be the push you need to get you out of your slump. Processed foods usually contain higher amounts of fat or sugar and many of the nutrients are taken out. If you eat fruits, vegetables, and lean meats not only will your body feel better but you will have more energy.
14. Sleep is important
According to The Nation Sleep Foundation, it is not clear whether depression causes sleep disorders or the other way around but there is a correlation between the two.
Whatever you need to do to get more sleep, do it! Exercising daily will help you sleep better. Put yourself first and go to bed on time. Turn off the trashy T.V. (I know, I know – SO hard) or put the device away. Did you know, blue light from these devices actually effects your natural melatonin production (sleep causing chemical) and messes with your circadian rhythms (sleep patterns). Find ways to relax in the evening like reading or journaling and try to go to bed 1/2 hour earlier every night until you have reached your full eight hours of sleep. I realize some people can function with only seven hours, but I am certainly not one of those people!
15. Be grateful
Learning how to be grateful has proven to increase happiness. Why? If you learn to be content with what you have, you will not be down on yourself for the things you want or see others flaunting. The great news is you can retrain your brain to be more grateful. Wake up in the morning and write down two things you are grateful for. Do this for an entire month. You will notice your perspective will change and you will feel much better about your life.
Live Your Best Life Conclusion…
As we continued the flight, I saw a partial rainbow from the sky! It quickly faded but left a brief smile on my face for in that moment I felt so content. To think about the world below me carrying on with all of the hustle and bustle, and I up here in the sky looking down gave me peace.
You can live your best life and make your life better every day. The tips above will help you stay productive, enjoy your life, and create better habits to live by! Your family members will notice a change and you will be in a place to do the things you have always wanted to do in life. You only get one life and this is your time to shine. Use every moment to BE AMAZING. You can do it! I know you can. Happy New Year, Everyone!
As Always…Take Care, Sarah
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