10 Ways to Improve Your Life…No Matter WHERE You Are Right Now

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1. Decide what makes you happy. ON YOUR OWN. Often we base our own happiness on others and what they have. Doing this not only prevents you from achieving your own identity, but you lose sight of what you truly want out of life. I’ve encountered so many people who aren’t pleased with their lives and when I ask why, most of the answers they give are based on someone else and what they have or where they are. Decide for YOURSELF what YOU want. Basing your happiness on others is nothing more than a vicious cycle. Deciding on your own happiness puts all the control in YOUR hands and you won’t be stuck comparing yourself to some other person and what they have every single day.

2. When you wake up in the morning, start with YOU. Don’t jump on Facebook or Twitter and look at what everyone else has going on. That’s exactly how the “cycle” starts. Before your day even begins, you already turn over the control. If you’re one of those who wake up and before you determine how your day is, you see how everyone else’s is going, you already put yourself behind. Before there was social media, when we didn’t feel like waking up after slapping the alarm clock off the nightstand, we’d roll over and attempt to go back to sleep. Now, even though you may still be tired, you’re obviously not too tired to check everyone else out. Not only is time wasted, but your alarm was set for a reason…to wake YOU up. You’re putting yourself on the back burner, even if it’s for just a few minutes, when you dig into everyone else’s business first. Not the best way to start a day.

3. Think about those less fortunate. We all like to think that the problems we have trump everyone else’s and that NO ONE could possibly understand us. It makes us feel just a little more important. This may sound contradictory to #1 and #2, but this doesn’t mean to spend several minutes staring at your phone and getting into their business as you would be with your friends. This also does not mean that your problems are not important, but they could always be worse. I’m in Afghanistan right now. My wife just spent a year in Korea and we only got about 2 ½ months before I came out here. I could pout every day or I could realize that at least I’m still alive and as of right now, my wife and kids can expect me back home sometime. There are a lot of families out there who had loved ones come here and they will never come back, at least not under their own power. I am not kidding at all when I say that I am VERY thankful for each day I wake up out here. To think of someone having it worse than you may not fix your problem, but it could allow you to feel that you are NOT as close to rock bottom as you may think.

4. Stop comparing yourself to everyone else. We’re told at a very young age that we’re all different and that it’s okay to be different. Why do we throw that concept away now that we’re adults? Why the need for jealousy just because your friend bought that new car, or that new house, or is thin because she hits the gym every day? Everyone is not at all meant to be the same and we could never be the same no matter how hard we tried. The more you embrace your differences, the better you will feel. You don’t need to measure up to someone else. That person or those people you are trying so hard to measure up to may not even be around later on, but you will still have yourself. That’s where the focus needs to be.

5. Stop listening to society. Society has so many “rules” and in my opinion, most of them are ridiculous (Maybe that’s a blog post for another time). These “rules” are based on nothing more than what everyone else is doing and there’s no sensible need to follow that. It’s the reason women starve themselves. It’s the reason people have the latest iPhone, but their kids don’t have a decent pair of shoes. Saddest of all, it’s the reason many of us give up on our dreams. There’s a saying that the fastest and best way to mediocrity it to follow what society is doing. Society as a whole is so busy following everyone else that many don’t have goals at all. Following that will have you right there with them.

6. Say this, “People will judge me. I will NOT be afraid.” Then repeat as often as you need to. People are GOING to judge you. There is no need to try and avoid it. You’ll just be delaying the inevitable. It WILL happen. Do NOT allow that to stop you from what’s rightfully yours. So many give up on dreams because they’re afraid of what someone else is going to say about it. The thing to remember is that most of the time, those who aren’t going anything with their own lives are the main ones to judge. Those who ARE doing something either don’t have the time to judge you, or they understand what you’re going through and choose not to. People don’t judge you because they’re right; they judge you because of jealousy and wishing they were where you are. Don’t allow yourself to sink to where THEY are.

7. Be prepared to make mistakes. Walt Disney made mistakes and got fired from a job because he was “not creative enough.” Michael Jordan made a mistake 26 times in his basketball career by missing the game-winning shot. Mistakes WILL happen. Stop trying to avoid them. It’s a shame that some would rather not try and get nowhere than to try, make mistakes and get far. Anyone who is ANYONE has made mistakes. If you’re paying attention, you learn the best from making them.

8. Let go of those people who drag you down. Everyone does NOT have your best interest at heart, nor is everyone in your corner. Don’t be fooled. It doesn’t matter who they are. Don’t think that just because they’re family or you’ve known them for a long time, then there’s “no way possible” that person could be against you. Many times, those are the main ones to worry about. Family members and close friends can get jealous and hateful just as much as anyone else and many times, they do. Be especially careful of those who seem to be around only when you’re down. You’ve heard the belief that “real” friends and family are there when the going gets tough? Watch out. If that’s the ONLY time they’re there, make sure it’s not because they enjoy seeing you down.

9. Stop ignoring good advice just because the “right” person isn’t saying it. There are people who will either not read this or will read and ignore just because it’s me. It would be something different if you ignored because this is bad advice, but don’t be foolish and ignore people just because of who they are. I understand how comfort zones get and how we’re more likely to listen to certain people, but let’s say someone wrote a note on a piece of paper that said something you desperately needed to hear and it got to you without knowing who wrote it. At that point, would you really go out of your way to find out who it was? Probably not. If the note said to go after something and you started, would you really stop if you found out along the way that the “right” person wasn’t the one who wrote it? I doubt it. Even people we don’t like or care for can give good advice. Be smart, be an adult, and know when to take it.

10. Don’t be afraid to have a positive attitude. A positive attitude is NOT a mindless belief that everything will work out and you’ll live happily ever after. It’s the feeling that things aren’t always as bad as they seem and that you have a chance. Some people like to avoid this as well because they don’t want to feel foolish in thinking that everything will work out. So let me get this straight…you don’t want to feel silly by thinking positive, but quitting before you start makes more sense? It doesn’t. Not if you REALLY want whatever it is you’re going after. No one has ever gotten somewhere without trying. Not trying is the best way to NEVER achieve whatever you’re going after. There’s nothing at all wrong with waking up and feeling positive about the upcoming day. It doesn’t guarantee that you’ll have the best day possible, but it guarantees that you’re walking out of the house with the right attitude to handle whatever the day throws at you. It guarantees that you’ll be ready for whatever LIFE throws at you.

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