I think all of us have, at some point in our lives, stared into nothingness and wished our life was better. I used to do this very often while growing up and during my college days, until one day I realised that I couldn't depend on any external force to magically appear and make life better for me. Change had to come from within and I was the only one responsible for my happiness.
The realisation wasn't easy, its actualisation even harder. But over the past few years, I have read a lot of books and taken a lot of self-improvement courses to help me be in the mental space I strived for. I have prepared a 7-point list to achieve a better life.
Are you ready for my secret recipe? Here goes, and I hope these will help you as much as they helped me.
- Focus on the positive: As humans, we often tend to focus on what we don't want. A sure-shot way to turn our lives around is to focus on what we want rather than repeating what we don't want. For example, instead of thinking "I hope I don't wake up late," we can train our brain to think, "I will wake up on time." Or, instead of "I hope I don't fail in the exams," we can think, "I am going to pass all my exams." A simple change of perspective will put us in the right frame of mind to achieve what we had set out to do.
- Act: Planning can only take us halfway through. It cannot make us win. To turn our dreams into reality, we need to Instead of waiting for tomorrow, start working on that project now. Instead of waiting for the new year to fix your resolutions, start making a list in December.
- Be proactive: Opportunities don't come to us arranged on a silver platter. If we want something, we need to be proactive and snatch those opportunities from life. Try new things, think of new ideas, take up projects that feel daunting – be a leader, not a follower.
- It is okay to disagree: You are a unique individual. You don't have to agree to whatever is perceived as "normal". If your friends go for parties or shopping sprees every weekend, that doesn't mean their lifestyle is the only healthy one. If your wishes are different from the crowd, it is okay. This world is big enough to accommodate everyone's personalities. Being different is the new cool.
- Identify excuses: There are times when we are mentally and physically incapable of completing a task, and then there are others when we are simply making excuses. Your life will improve greatly when you understand all the times your brain is making up an excuse. Don't indulge in them. You are better than whatever is telling you otherwise.
- Show up: How easy it is to say no when you are asked to try something new (or attend a meeting or take up a new project)? You never know the pandora's box of possibilities it might open up if only you show up. So, the next time you get the chance to do something different, don't shy away from fear of losing. Regrets are harder to digest than the memory of failures.
- Learn to let go – No matter how much time and energy you might have invested in a project (a relationship, a friendship, a degree), sometimes, things aren't meant to work out. Learn to identify when something is a lost cause and know when to give up. But then again, treat every ending as the beginning of something new – a new opportunity, a different job, a new skill. Life is full of possibilities for you to constantly keep beating on a locked door.
- Be physically active: Your mental health is closely linked to your physical health, so it is important to stay in shape. Go for walks, take the stairs, drink lots of water so you have to take a pee break every half an hour – keep your body moving and never forget to eat healthy.
- It is okay to take breaks: No matter how much work you have to accomplish, understand that it is not possible to be productive 100% of the time. Take breaks, relax, and do something that fulfils your soul. It is okay, you can pick up the project where you left with renewed vigour at the end of your break.
- Don't listen to naysayers: No matter how much you have achieved, there will always be people who will question your abilities. Learn to identify pessimists and don't give them the power to affect your positive mindset.
If you look at the list closely, living a better life is simple. But it is often the simple things that are the hardest to implement. But if I have done it, so can you.
Don't just read and move over to the next article, do it: follow this secret mantra. There are better things and brighter days up ahead.