In preparation for our next learning series, it is time to examine what it means to live a full life and living life in the moment.
In our last series, Reaching Your Full Potential, the emphasis was placed on the ultimate goal; reaching your full potential. Well, now I am going to back up a bit. Rather than focusing on the end goal, I will be encouraging U to examine what it means to live a full life and how to live in the moment in this next series.
it is a cliché to say “life is a journey, not a destination” but it’s also very true. Living your life to the fullest is a process that will take U your whole life to experience and develop. Often, in life, we fail to celebrate and enjoy the journey. Arrival happens once, the destination being a singular goal.
The process and the journey, however, can be realized in so many different ways. Understand, your hopes and dreams are different from everyone else and the path U take towards your destination can be very different, too. U have a long road ahead so I encourage U to fill your cup, sit back, relax and enjoy your travel time while you experience your life’s journey. There will be much to see, do and experience each and every step along your way!
Write down what it means for U to live a full life?
What life moments have been extremely gratifying for you? How so?
If we are to reach our full potential, we must embrace spirituality and compassion.
The principles of compassion, which lie at the heart of the Golden Rule, encourage U to treat all others as U wish to be treated AT ALL TIMES. To be compassionate is to treat every human being, WITHOUT EXCEPTION, with kindness, respect, love, and, most importantly, without judgement.
Compassion is essential to human relationships and to a fulfilled humanity. It is biologically imperative for each of us. Compassion and kindness promotes emotional and physical wellness. These attributes have been found to produce many of the positive emotions that help bring happiness and meaning to our lives.
Did You Know? There Are Scientifically Proven Benefits of Being Kind!
Kindness is Teachable “It’s kind of like weight training, we found that people can actually build up their compassion ‘muscle’ and respond to others’ suffering with care and a desire to help.” — Dr. Ritchie Davidson , University of Wisconsin
Kindness is Contagious The positive effects of kindness are experienced in the brain of everyone who witnessed the act, improving their mood and making them significantly more likely to “pay it forward.” This means one good deed in a crowded area can create a domino effect and improve the day of dozens of people!
The Love Hormone Witnessing acts of kindness produces oxytocin, occasionally referred to as the ‘love hormone’ which aids in lowering blood pressure and improving our overall heart-health. Oxytocin also increases our self-esteem and optimism, which is extra helpful when we’re in anxious or shy in a social situation.
Energy “About half of participants in one study reported that they feel stronger and more energetic after helping others; many also reported feeling calmer and less depressed, with increased feelings of self-worth” — Christine Carter, UC Berkeley, Greater Good Science Center
Happiness A 2010 Harvard Business School survey of happiness in 136 countries found that people who are altruistic—in this case, people who were generous financially, such as with charitable donations—were happiest overall.
Lifespan “People who volunteer tend to experience fewer aches and pains. Giving help to others protects overall health twice as much as aspirin protects against heart disease. People 55 and older who volunteer for two or more organizations have an impressive 44% lower likelihood of dying early, and that’s after sifting out every other contributing factor, including physical health, exercise, gender, habits like smoking, marital status and many more. This is a stronger effect than exercising four times a week or going to church.” — Christine Carter, Author, “Raising Happiness; In Pursuit of Joyful Kids and Happier Parents”
Pleasure According to research from Emory University, when you are kind to another person, your brain’s pleasure and reward centers light up, as if you were the recipient of the good deed—not the giver. This phenomenon is called the “helper’s high.”
Serotonin Like most medical antidepressants, kindness stimulates the production of serotonin. This feel-good chemical heals your wounds, calms you down, and makes you happy!
Pain Engaging in acts of kindness produces endorphins—the brain’s natural painkiller!
Stress Perpetually kind people have 23% less cortisol (the stress hormone) and age slower than the average population!
Anxiety A group of highly anxious individuals performed at least six acts of kindness a week. After one month, there was a significant increase in positive moods, relationship satisfaction and a decrease in social avoidance in socially anxious individuals. — University of British Columbia Study
Depression Stephen Post of Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine found that when we give of ourselves, everything from life satisfaction to self-realization and physical health is significantly improved. Mortality is delayed, depression is reduced and well-being and good fortune are increased.
Blood Pressure Committing acts of kindness lowers blood pressure. According to Dr. David R. Hamilton, acts of kindness create emotional warmth, which releases a hormone known as oxytocin. Oxytocin causes the release of a chemical called nitric oxide, which dilates the blood vessels. This reduces blood pressure and, therefore, oxytocin is known as a “cardio-protective” hormone. It protects the heart by lowering blood pressure.
Compassion is not religious business, it is human business, it is not luxury, it is essential for our own peace and mental stability, it is essential for human survival. If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion. ― Dalai Lama
Compassion allows us to bear witness to that suffering, whether it is in ourselves or others, without fear; it allows us to name injustice without hesitation, and to act strongly, with all the skill at our disposal. To develop this mind state of compassion…is to learn to live, as the Buddha put it, with sympathy for all living beings, without exception.” ― Sharon Salzberg, Lovingkindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness
Living in the moment is not always easy. If U find yourself living in the past or regretting past circumstances and actions, U will be immobilized to live for today or plan for the future. In order to live in the moment, you need to keep your mind focused on the present.
There are some simple strategies that will help U live in the here and now. Old habits die hard and the tendency is to try to make them go away as soon as possible. Instead of expecting change overnight, “plan small” and set achievable goals.
Practice Self-Reflection and Become More In Tune With Yourself
Be objective and take a hard look at your habits and your life. Write down what is working and what isn’t.
Begin your day by spending five minutes in front of the mirror in the morning and have a serious talk with yourself. Make sure U are resonating with positive self talk versus negativity. Be honest with yourself. Some days the conversation may be difficult.
Spend time on U. U deserve to treat yourself as U treat others. U may be spending so much time taking care of others that U have failed miserably at caring for yourself.
Get out paper and pen and tell your “story”. How has life been for U? How have your early life experiences, people and events influenced who U are and where U are on your life’s path? Research shows that writing about your life can improve your physical and mental health. How have U dealt with life’s challenges and setbacks? Have they weighed U down? Do U consider them to be a burden or a challenge?
Practice mindfulness. Clear the mind and spend time daily in self-reflection. Mindfulness takes many forms but the goal is the same ; create a habit that leads U to inner understanding and provides meaningful purpose in your life. Whether U prefer to keep a daily journal, exercise, meditate or spend time in prayer, create a time and place daily where U can become more in tune with yourself.
Use a mindful cue. It is very easy to become distracted with the responsibilities of life and U may find yourself forgetting to follow through with these recommended tasks to help U remember to be mindful. Place a note on your bathroom or bedroom mirror, add another to your refrigerator and your computer and TV screens. You may wish to make a mindful bracelet or choose a habit that U already engage in to help U remember to stop whatever U are doing and replace it with some form of mindfulness.
Change up your routine. If you are stuck in a negative pattern of behavior, change up your morning or evening routine to promote mindfulness. i.e. Turn the TV off at a set time to allow for time to practice mindfulness. Get up an hour earlier in the morning so U have time for U before heading out the door for work.
I will spend more time discussing these positive changes as U move through the learning sessions in this series. For now, make it a habit to practice mindfulness daily and change up your daily routine to spend time living in the moment.
Without reflection, we go blindly on our way, creating more unintended consequences, and failing to achieve anything useful. ― Margaret J. Wheatley
Do U ever get the feeling that living a meaningful life is just a passing trend? Just one of those buzz phrases that captures everyone’s attention for a hot minute before something else crops up to take over. We understand the feeling, but the truth is there really is something to it. The problem lies in understanding what it really means and how U can get it for yourself.
What Living Meaningfully Means
Is it enough to savor the pleasures of life and engage in your hobbies? Is it enough to live positively and be in touch with your emotions? Is it enough? The majority of thought leaders don’t believe so. While all of those points are important to your overall happiness, so too is looking outside yourself. You see, to live a happy life that is filled with satisfaction U need meaning, as well as pleasure.
How can you give your life meaning? The answer for U likely won’t be the same as it will be for your neighbor or your best friend. For many people, their meaning is in raising their children, while for others, it is rooted in their religion, and for others it’s all about contributing to the community.
No matter what it is, what we know is that U can enhance your well-being by being part of something bigger, by engaging in things that last long beyond your life.
We all want to leave our stamp on something and be remembered positively by those we leave behind. The truth is that unless U cure cancer or invent something incredible the only people that will remember U when you’re gone are the people U knew. There’s nothing wrong with that, that’s part of humanity. Death is as inevitable as life.
That doesn’t mean U can’t make a difference to the people around U right now. Researchers in a Hungarian study found that there was a connection between a state of well-being and having a sense of meaning or purpose in life. The study invited participants to take a survey where they rated statements on well-being and life meaning. A linked study also found that people with a strong sense of meaning in their lives were more protective over their lives, thus smokers scored lower than non (and former) smokers on the life meaning scale.
Living a meaningful life is as simple as discovering your strengths and understanding your values and then using them for something that is much bigger than U.
A meaningful life, a strong sense of well-being, and happiness are three components that foster each other. Living meaningfully isn’t the same as pursuing activities and experiences that engage U and bring you joy – it means also looking outside of yourself. We are all on this planet just trying to get by, but living meaningfully is about thriving and truly living life, rather than merely surviving.
Are You Living Meaningfully?
What about U? Are U living your best life and leading a meaningful one? Or, are U still in search of something greater?
If yU feel as though you’ve changed and you’re no longer living your purpose then it may be time to reassess your values. Don’t be surprised if they do change, the truth is what was important to U at 25 probably won’t be the exact same as what U care about at 50.
It’s natural for U to evolve as people and see our views, thoughts and aspirations shift. It’s okay to tune into that and make changes in your life accordingly.
Life was meant to be lived, and curiosity must be kept alive. One must never, for whatever reason, turn his back on life. ─ Eleanor Roosevelt
To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all. ─ Oscar Wilde
The ability to laugh at yourself and laugh, in general, has many health benefits.
Everybody loves to laugh. Laughter is contagious and the sound of it provokes more laughter.
How can laughter improve your health and help U live life to the fullest?
Laughter releases tension and lowers anxiety. Laughter changes your stress response by reducing the level of your stress hormones and providing U with a relaxed feeling.
When U laugh your brain releases endorphins which creates feelings of joy and euphoria.
Laughter gives your heart and lungs a work out which reduces the physical impact of stress.
People who laugh often have lower blood pressure. The act of laughing helps lower your blood pressure and reduce the likelihood of heart disease.
Fifteen minutes of laughter per day can be as beneficial to your heart as 30 minutes of exercise three times per week.
Laughter releases endorphins into our system which act as a “natural high” which provides temporary pain relief.
Laughter has been shown to improve sleep by reducing stress and promoting mind and body relaxation and calm. Sleep allows U to have a clear and alert brain which will improve your focus, ability to learn, grow and be creative and productive.
In the workplace, laughter can improve improve your relationships with your co-workers.
Improve your social relationships. Friends love to hang out with others who are able to laugh and have a good time.
Belly laughter can speed up your metabolism and help you shed pounds. Stress increases cortisol and cortisol increases your appetite. Ten to fifteen minutes of laughter can burn approximately 50 calories.
Laugh often and ward off the physical appearance of aging. Promote laugh lines versus frown lines by laughing more. Smiling and laughter engages a number of different facial muscles which help promote a youthful appearance.
Laughter can improve creativity and productivity. The saying “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” is true. If U need a break, don’t hesitate to take one. Laughter increases oxygenation to the brain and improves your creativity and productivity.
Laughter can improve a bad day and allow for the opportunity to inject some fun when things are difficult.
Laughter boosts the immune system and produces antibodies which protect us from infections and illness.
With all this having been said, it is important to recognize that laughter is something that happens to us unconsciously. Try to laugh spontaneously on cue. Consciously, it is extremely difficult to initiate, control or sustain laughter. It feels forced and disingenuous.
Therefore, in order to promote more fun and laughter in your life:
Give yourself permission to have a good time. If U are sabotaging yourself from having a good time U need to ask yourself why and address it. U are worth more than living a life without laughter!
Don’t take yourself too seriously.
Recognize that children laugh approximately 300-400 times per day because they are JOYFUL. Adults only laugh, on average, 17 times per day. That is a startling and significant difference! If laughter and joy are missing in your life, U need to find the joy U once had. It’s there, U have simply forgotten what joy and happiness look like.
Surround yourself with people who make U feel good. Hang out with friends U love to laugh with.
Rent funny videos or watch your favorite comedies on TV.
If U are finding it hard to laugh, make time to have fun by engaging in enjoyable experiences and activities. Do the things U love and do them often.
Laughter is healthy, we need it to survive and thrive. Keep laughing!
“There is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good humor.” — Charles Dickens (A Christmas Carol)
Do You Enjoy Your Life? Are U Happy With Your Life?
There are only 24 hours in a day, and some of those hours U get to dedicate to the things that make U happy in life, while other hours may leave U miserable. While there will always be a mix of the two, there are too many people who are only just existed, rather than living. Rather than chasing dreams, they are simply accepting their circumstances.
While the thought of living happily or obtaining your dream life may seem ridiculous, there are people that manage it. Some people are in survival mode, living from paycheck to pay check, unable to consider dreams, hopes, or what a happy life may look like.
It shouldn’t take a tragedy for U to be able to admit what you want out of your life. Everyone will have different dreams and goals, and all anyone really wants is the freedom to obtain them. Do U long for a life that U can live on your own terms, spending your time on what matters?
Here are five signs that U may not be enjoying life and that U are not happy:
U Hate Your Job
If U are working a job that truly makes U miserable, it is going to have a negative effect on the rest of your life. It can increase your stress levels, and leave you feeling angry and resentful. It also forces U to spend time away from your family. U spend a lot of your time working, so U can’t really afford to hate your job so intensely. While U might not be living in the greatest economy, there are always opportunities to find jobs that will fulfil U.
You’re In A Toxic Relationship
While love can be an incredible feeling, it can also swing to the opposite extreme. It can be difficult to let go, even when you’re in a situation that U know is toxic. This is true of romantic relationships and platonic ones. If your relationship is fraught with fear, anger, and complacency then U should be moving on. You won’t find happiness if you’re floundering in a toxic relationship that is sapping U of all of your energy.
You Embrace The Negativity
Just like a toxic relationship, a negative attitude can derail all of your plans and progress. It often results in U starting to think your situation is good enough. That negativity isn’t necessarily just your own attitude; it could be other people, your environment, or even your habits. Take stock of your life and purge anything that is negative.
You Allow Fear To Take Control
We all struggle with self-belief, whether it’s because of a past failure or just our upbringing. If U allow that fear in, it will paralyze U from taking action. If you’ve allowed fear to limit your life, it’s time to say enough!
You Avoid Difficult Decisions
It’s easy to tell yourself you’ll take care of something later, so that U don’t need to deal with it now. The issue there is that later never actually comes and U keep avoiding the difficult decisions. You’re not going to live forever, so now is the time for U to claim the life you want. Making a change in your life starts with U, and it starts with your beliefs. If U believe that your life is hopeless and that you’re helpless then U will struggle to overcome your situation, and remain as U are. U will paralyze yourself from taking the necessary steps to lead a happy life.
Anything in life that is worth having will take hard work. It’s the journey that will make U grateful for what U have once U reach your destination. Life isn’t for settling, it’s for happiness and fulfilment.
Ask yourself- are U happy with your life?
List everything that makes U happy?
List the obstacles in your life that are preventing enjoyment and happiness.
Decide what it will take to begin to be happy and live life to the fullest.
Begin to develop small goals each and every day that will move U towards happiness and living a full life.
“Life is a journey, not a destination.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson
“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.” — Eleanor Roosevelt
When there is a deep need for U to change your way of life,
U will find that U are being presented new opportunities to change.
One of the common desires U may be experiencing in your life can be summed up as a well-known saying – “I want to thrive, not just survive.” This saying is often interpreted as enjoying life as opposed to simply existing.
Unfortunately, U might miss these opportunities due to being restricted by your own negative mindsets and self-imposed limitations. Negative mindsets and setting limitations upon yourself limit your ability and desire to seek change.
I am going to explore this a bit, in hopes of helping U overcome self-imposed limitations and negative thinking.
I Can’t Get No Satisfaction
The most important thing for U to understand when U want to transition from a life where U are merely existing, to a life that U truly enjoy is the idea of honesty and self-reflection. U cannot begin to think about enjoying your life if U don’t first learn to understand yourself deeply. What does this mean? It means U must understand your needs and desires at a very fundamental level. Once you have a clear idea of your needs, U will be able to focus your life and mind in a way that work towards your desired goals and attainments.
On the other hand, if U ONLY focus on your desires and look at your needs, U may go about causing more harm in hopes of going after what U want. This self-inflicted harm will leave U feeling worse even if U do somehow manage to attain your desires. When U focus upon your needs first, U ensure that all the fundamental requirements for your life are met. This gives U a stable foundation to build upon, whereby U can then set about developing yourself in a way that leads U towards your desires.
Stable Terrain Versus Rocky Terrain
It doesn’t matter what kind of foundation U build for yourself, if it is built on an unstable terrain it will eventually come crashing down U. Ensuring that your essential foundation is safe and secure means U will be able to build upon it in a way that allows U to experiment and make necessary changes as U move forward.
When U have built a way of life that takes care of your essential needs, this can be considered a stable foundation. Once U have this in place, your desires can then be sought after. Your desires sit on top of your needs, and so you can remove them at any point and simply return to the stable foundation.
If you approach this problem from the other way around though, you are going to find great difficulty at every turn, because the energy you put into your desires will not be giving you the things that you really need.
You absolutely must consider your needs, making them your number one priority. Work to attain these first, and once they have been attained then set out to achieve your added desires. This will allow you to enjoy your life more because U will have a concrete knowledge that no matter what happens while U are chasing your dreams, whether U succeed or fail, your essential needs are always met. From here, U are free to explore, dream and grow and U will never be really concerned if things don’t go as planned because your foundation is solid.
This is the key to enjoying your life, to thriving, as opposed to simply existing or surviving.
“Surviving is important. Thriving is elegant.” – Maya Angelou
“Resilience is all about being able to overcome the unexpected. Sustainability is about survival. The goal of resilience is to thrive.” – Jamais Cascio
“If human beings are perceived as potentials rather than problems, as possessing strengths instead of weaknesses, as unlimited rather that dull and unresponsive, then they thrive and grow to their capabilities.” – Barbara Bush
I would like to ask U a question. If U could do absolutely anything and there was no risk of failure, what would U do? The answer probably won’t surprise U all that much, but what it shows U is just how much U have allowed fear to hold U back. Fear causes U to bide your time, to wait, to wonder about what U should be doing with your life.
So, what is it? If there was nothing standing in your way, what would U be doing? If failure wasn’t an option, what would U do if you could do anything? There’s a good chance it’s wildly different from what your life looks like right now.
Would U go bungee jumping? Skydiving? Or would U rather go surfing or scuba diving?
Would U travel the world or take a road trip across America?
Would U make more time for your family?
Would U quit your job and chase the career U always wanted?
Would U start a business?
Would U go to college and get a degree?
Nothing Is As Bad As U Expect It to Be Despite your fear of failure, more often than not U succeed when U take action and put your mind to doing things. The worst case scenario is rarely the outcome that U experience. Yet, U may still be allowing fear to hold U back. It’s something that U need to overcome, just as U would any other obstacle; a single step at a time. With every step, your confidence will grow and U will start to truly believe in yourself.
When U were young and learning how to ride a bike U were afraid of falling off. So, U relied on your training wheels and most likely for a bit longer than was necessary. Yet, when those training wheels were removed, U still had that initial worry that you’d fall… but U didn’t (and even if U did, it probably wasn’t as bad as you had imagined, though it may have felt as if it was at the time).
To Succeed U First Must Try It is very easy to blame where U are right now on external circumstances. Maybe U have thought U can’t do what U want because the economy is too unpredictable right now. Perhaps U have felt U can’t start a business because U don’t have enough spare time to get it up and running and U certainly can’t leave your job before it would turn a profit.
Or, maybe U have told yourself U can’t make your idea a reality because it isn’t marketable enough? It is very easy to shift the blame. That takes some of the pressure off. However, removing the discomfort of trying simply leaves U living a life that U didn’t sign up for, you’re left languishing in an unhappy existence where you are merely treading water.
In that, U start to tell yourself lies about how you’re too lazy to do better, U become careless and lose the faith. Yes, life can be difficult and exhausting and it easy to do whatever is the easiest to get U back to your comfort zone. What if U decide U have had enough of living an average life and U decide to pursue your dreams? What if your life could change for the better and U could find yourself happy and satisfied? What if a single decision could lead U to take action and that made all the difference in how U lived your life? Do U want to continue with the exhaustion or are U prepared to make a change and overcome your fears?
So, ask yourself the question again – what would your day look like if U could do whatever U wanted without worrying about failure?
Would U act with courage?
Exercise your imagination?
Embrace your dreams?
Chase after your goals?
Redesign your life?
Cast your fears aside and just DO IT! Even if it’s just an experiment – take a risk and live an entire day without worrying about failure and see what can happen when U learn to let go and chase your dreams. If U truly want something then start by envisioning it and learning what steps U need to take to chase it and capture it for yourself. U can do it, U can do anything… the only thing that’s stopping U is yourself.
“If you are not willing to risk the usual you will have to settle for the ordinary.” – Jim Rohn
“The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.” – Walt Disney
“Leap, and the net will appear.” – John Burroughs
“The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.” – Joseph Campbell
Something that humans enjoy is having control – we would do just about anything to prevent that terrible feeling of uncertainty… but in life, it’s unavoidable. At times, uncertainty isn’t just unsettling, it’s crippling. However, it’s vital for growth and, when U find yourself faced with a change or period in your life that is challenging, U can ask yourself what lesson is in it. What is it that U need to deal with directly and conquer?
Your uncertainty could be due to anything – it could be a difficult trend in your industry that is making U rethink your career choice and wonder if you’re truly capable. It might be a shift in your finances that has left U worrying about your cash flow. It could be uncertainty in your relationship that is forcing U to be more honest.
Uncertainty doesn’t always have to be negative, there is a lot of good to be found. U can’t see what the future holds. The only thing U can do is plan and be prepared to embrace whatever change comes to U.
Putting A Plan In Place
Build Your Self-Respect When U make promises to yourself and others, learn how to deliver. If it’s financial insecurity, then create a budget, balance it, and stick to what you’ve set for yourself. If you’re chasing a new job then promise yourself, you’ll make five new contacts every week. If you’re ready to settle down and find a long-term relationship then follow through by going on at least one date a week with someone who is a potential match.
It starts with being honest and building trust in yourself and in your relationships with others. The more frequently U make promises and keep them, the more U realize how strong U are and how U can handle any storm. It’s all about building self-respect and learning how to trust yourself.
Creating certainty for your finances means being honest about your income and your outgoings and learning how to deal with your spending habits. When U achieve peace with regards to your choices (whether it’s moving home, leaving the country, starting a new relationship or getting a divorce) U should be able to communicate your decision to others who will be impacted by it. One of the most upsetting and scariest parts about life’s situations is the reaction/impact on others. The uncertainty as to how others react may be more difficult than the uncertainty surrounding your situation. Be prepared to listen, but be prepared to state your case and move on.
Understand Uncertainty Every journey is laced with risk, pain, laughter, celebration, and loss. Unfortunately, we can’t cherry pick life and experience only the parts we choose. The ride is all-inclusive and part of embracing uncertainty means understanding that it will always be there.
Fear will keep U stagnant. If U are afraid of giving up stability, U won’t chase opportunities. If U are unhappy today and you continue to engage in the same behaviors and live the same life, U will continue to be unhappy tomorrow. If U are afraid U won’t find another person to make U happy and love U, U will not break up with the person who is making U miserable.
U can let discomfort and fear hold U back or U can work through it to find joy and purpose. It is important to understand that U will continue to hang on to undesirable outcomes if U fear taking risks and accepting challenges.
Seek Change Life-changing moments often occur when U are simply going with the flow. Sometimes by letting go of comfort, change comes naturally because U have stopped trying to control every situation that U find yourself facing. There is strength in letting things unfold without intention.
With change comes excitement and progress, it isn’t something U should fear.
“Stop clinging and embrace change as a constant ” – Isabelle Cholette
“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new.” – Socrates
“When the winds of change blow, some people build walls, others build windmills.” – Chinese proverb
According to Wikipedia, procrastination is the avoidance of doing a task which needs to be accomplished. It is the practice of doing more pleasurable things in place of less pleasurable ones, or carrying out less urgent tasks instead of more urgent ones, thus putting off impending tasks to a later time. Sometimes, procrastination takes place until the “last minute” before a deadline.
Procrastination is a serious problem affecting approximately a quarter of the population. If U are a procrastinator then U have probably been wondering why the typical advice just doesn’t work for U. Having someone tell U to ‘get on with it’ is very similar to telling someone who is dealing with clinical depression that they just need to cheer up.
Are U A Chronic Procrastinator?
Do U pay your bills late?
Are U late for everything, whether it’s work or a social gathering?
Do U miss appointments regularly?
Do U make your kids late for school or are U always late to pick them up?
Is your refrigerator always empty because U haven’t gone shopping?
Do U often oversleep and wake up late?
If U answer yes to most of these questions then U are a chronic procrastinator. As it turns out, according to Psychology Today, one of the biggest reasons for procrastination is having had a strict parent. This may be how U have learned to cope; unable to rebel against stern parents this may have been your way to exert some control in a situation where you had very little that you could say or do.
U might procrastinate because U often pressure yourself to obtain perfection. Rather than risk failing and dealing with the judgment of others, U choose to do nothing. In this case U worry too much about what others think about U.
There Is A Cure To help U overcome procrastination U may wish to consider counseling and cognitive behavioral therapy. Counseling and therapy can help U reroute negative or inaccurate thinking that is harming your ability to thrive in life. In addition, U may wish to use some of these self-help techniques:
Surround Yourself With People Who Take Action If U are spending time with other procrastinators then it’s very likely you will continue to keep putting things off until later. Instead, surround yourself with people who take action; they will be a good influence on U. Improve your positivity by being around people who are positive.
Start Doing The goals is to start somewhere and take it one step at a time. If it’s an essay U need to write then get started with a paragraph. If it’s clearing out your old clothing then work room by room – if something feels overwhelming to U and that puts U off, find a way to break it down further.
Develop a Reward System Obviously, it’s more fun to do things that U enjoy, but life isn’t always enjoyable. There are things that U must accomplish. Provide a motivator by creating a reward system to help U get things done in a timely fashion. If U tackle the ironing pile then U can treat yourself to a half hour of doing whatever U choose.
If you’re a procrastinator, then it’s time to take action. While U may think it’s of no relevance, the truth is procrastination can stop U from living the life that U desire. U may feel as though you’re functioning just fine, but just because you’ve gotten through the setbacks thus far doesn’t mean they won’t eventually catch up with U.
Procrastination will reach a point where it becomes disruptive to your life and it will eventually affect how others view U. Living life as a chronic procrastinator can become disabling. In fact, you’re more likely to experience regret. There is far too much life out there to live to miss out on it. Don’t let procrastination stop U from getting things done and living your life to the fullest.
“You may delay, but time will not.” ― Benjamin Franklin
“A year from now you may wish you had started today.” ― Karen Lamb
“My advice is, never do tomorrow what you can do today. Procrastination is the thief of time. Collar him!” ― Charles Dickens, David Copperfield
“Someday is not a day of the week.” ― Janet Dailey
“If you choose to not deal with an issue, then you give up your right of control over the issue and it will select the path of least resistance.” ― Susan Del Gatto
When U were growing up there’s a good chance that your parents told U that U could be whatever U wanted to be. As a child U may have aspired to be an actor, sports star, movie star, astronaut, doctor, lawyer or a teacher. All of these choices are attainable. Some, more than others as demands are different for each of these career choices. As an adult, U may be looking at this list shaking your head and chuckling a bit. That’s OK. It’s important to realize your passions change as U get older and U will start to write off what U perceive as being unrealistic and unattainable. However, it is also important to take a good hard look at the choices U made for yourself then and now and recognize whether U are following your passion. In making your life choices, whether it be in your personal or professional life, it is important to strive for goals that ignite your passion. Reach for something that is of real interest to U and motivates U.
If U wish to live a full life, chase your passions.
We have far too many distractions in our lives, and each of them is pulling your focus from what’s truly important in your life. Whether it’s social media, emails/texting, phone calls, your friends, your partner, your family, your job, U will find yourself being pulled in numerous directions. It’s impossible to give your attention to everything and everyone at all times and U may find yourself exhausted from trying. Your life purpose is not attainable if U go through life running from one responsibility to another. I am not suggesting that U skirt all of your responsibilities, ditch your friends and family or quit your job. However, it may be time to prioritize and eliminate the unnecessary distractions in your life. Focus on who and what make your life rich and meaningful, let go of what is not necessary and the world will tend to fall into focus. It’s easier to see what’s truly important when U begin to allow your passion to become more of a priority in your life.
When U chase and fuel your passion, U fill your life with a sense of purpose that not only fuels your soul but improves your mental health, overall well-being and, most importantly, allows U to live life to the fullest.
U know that old saying ‘do what U love and you’ll never need to work a day in your life’? There’s a lot of truth in that saying. Being passionate about what U do means that your job and what U do in your free time won’t ever feel like work. If you are doing something U love, U will get lost in your work or play for hours, forgetting everything else around U. Nothing feels better than waking up and starting a day that U designed entirely.
Not everything in your life is necessary, whether it’s appliances, clothing or clutter. When U have that sense of clarity, U understand that less is more and that material wealth isn’t what will fulfill U, rather your actions and activities will help U live a full life. So, why not design the life that U really want to live?
The Pay Off
If U choose to make your passion your career, it will eventually pay off in monetary ways whether U are a blogger, an artist, a musician, or a makeup artist. When U are truly passionate about what U do, it shows and success is inevitable.
Acknowledgement While U don’t need the acknowledgment of others, there is something to be said for people realizing that they were wrong when they said U were crazy for chasing your passion. There will always be naysayers that fight U every step of the way. However, if you’re truly passionate about your life and the choices you have made, then no one will be able to stand in your way.
“Passion is oxygen for the soul.” – Kalpana Chowdhary
“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.” – Harriet Tubman
“There is no passion to be found playing small–in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.” – Nelson Mandela
You could say that in life U are motivated by two basic forces – love and fear. Love opens U to the passion and excitement that love has to offer, while fear will stop U in your tracks. Fear causes U to withdraw from life and hide away, terrified of hurt, failure, rejection and pain. John Lennon said something along these lines and noted that without the ability to love ourselves we can’t truly love others.
If fear is keeping U from tackling life and living life fully it will keep U from chasing your dreams, and often U may not realize what fears are haunting U. U may be terrified of failing, of losing love, of being lonely, of having to change, of being rejected. The reasons are numerous. U may be frightened of the unknown, too. Not knowing what is coming next or what to expect, is often very frightening. It is important to realize U are not alone. Everyone has been a cowardly lion at one time or another in life.
While there is a time and place for fear and it often protects U from truly dangerous experiences, fear can also be destructive. With these six steps, U can put fear to one side and start living your life to the fullest.
Be Clear In Your Goals
Before U can make the most of your life, U need to know what U want your life to look like. What goals are U looking to achieve? Answer this and U will be provided clarity which will allow U to shift your focus to your priorities. Just knowing what U want in life isn’t enough, though. U need to recognize your potential and understand how to leverage it to move U closer to those goals.
Yes, there are plenty of amazing opportunities out there just waiting for U to grab them. Unfortunately we often miss out on opportunities that present themselves because of our failure to prepare. U should be prepared mentally for any eventuality. Then, and only then, will U have the knowledge and the skills necessary to make the most of any opportunity that comes your way.
If you don’t have the skills or knowledge to accomplish what U want, networking is one resource U should use. A strong social and professional network is imperative to unlocking everything life has to offer. Experience life events that are meaningful to U. Often, this will place U with others who have the skillset and know how to help U along your way. Networking with others who U admire and respect and who U wish to emulate will help U reach your goals, dreams and ambitions. Many times it’s about being aware of resources and making use of the resources when they present themselves.
Opportunities don’t come out of nowhere, a lot of the time it will be a subtle opportunity. That’s why it’s vital that U ask questions of everything and force yourself to think creatively and look at life from every angle. Your curiosity could be the key to unlocking opportunity.
A full life is not going to land on your lap gift-wrapped, the greatest opportunities in life are often disguised as something else entirely. Which is why asking questions is important, but it’s equally as important that U are able to recognize the opportunities that do crop up. The reason we fail to recognize them is that we expect them to be obvious and that just isn’t how life rolls.
Not just any risk, though, take calculated risks. When U recognize an opportunity and understand how to take advantage of it then you need to take risks. Before U do so, review the pros and cons and seize the day or move on to the next opportunity. There are no guarantees in life; it is what U make it.
U can use these six steps in business and in your personal life, the truth is that they’re more alike than we care to admit. The key to unlocking your happiness and seizing everything life has to offer is fully within your power. U just have to grab everything that comes your way and learn to practice gratitude for everything you achieve.
“Courage is more exhilarating than fear and in the long run it is easier. We do not have to become heroes overnight. Just a step at a time, meeting each thing that comes up, seeing it is not as dreadful as it appeared, discovering we have the strength to stare it down.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
“You will never do anything in this world without courage. It is the greatest quality of the mind next to honor.” – Aristotle
“Courage, it would seem, is nothing less than the power to overcome danger, misfortune, fear, injustice, while continuing to affirm inwardly that life with all its sorrows is good; that everything is meaningful even if in a sense beyond our understanding; and that there is always tomorrow.” – Dorothy Thompson
Achieving your full potential is about being the best person that you can be. Knowing yourself will be the most beautiful and useful thing U will ever do for U.
Taking responsibility for your life begins with an accurate assessment of your current skills and performance.
Because your sense of who U are determines your actions and what U end up getting out of life, it is extremely important for U to define the terms of success for yourself and have an honest opinion of yourself.
Take a moment to write down your two or three greatest strengths and your two or three most significant weaknesses.
While most people can detail their strengths, they often struggle to identify key weaknesses. This exercise involves meaningful self reflection and an honest evaluation of yourself.
Self-reflection and evaluation should occur often. This needs to be an ongoing process because, as U progress, U will face new challenges and demands and your responses to these difficulties should be continually evaluated to insure you are meeting them in a manner that serves U best.
Sources and Citations
“The only way you can reach your full potential is if you open up and allow your self to be exposed to how you really feel.” ― Turcois Ominek
What do U do on a daily basis to live a full life? If you’re struggling to think of anything, that’s okay, you’re not alone. Here’s the thing – U aren’t going to enjoy every minute of every day, bad things will happen – whether it’s a car accident, a fall, illness, financial struggles or the loss of a loved one.
But that is just a part of life and these things shouldn’t stop U from living your life to the fullest, and there is also no need for a monumental achievement daily to tick that box.
The Big Three Questions If you’re trying to determine what it is that U really want from your life and what will help U live a full life, then ask yourself these questions and rely on your intuition to understand what you’re trying to tell yourself.
What Does Your Heart Want Right Now? Right now, at this very moment – what do U want? Empty your feelings onto a sheet of paper and review it later. At first, it might not make a whole lot of sense; it’s essentially free writing to direct U. It isn’t about doing something because your brain is telling U to do; it’s about relying on your intuition to lead U.
What Are U Feeling Right Now? Follow your intuition and sense where U are being led, no matter where it may be guiding U. Emotions aren’t always wise, but your intuition is, so listen to your gut. This will help U filter out some of what U have written as you’ve let yourself flow onto the paper. It’s part of the process required to make sense of what you’ve written.
What If It’s Different Than I Imagined? Nothing is ever as U expect it to be. If U are truly following your purpose it won’t matter whether it unfolds as U imagined, there’s a good chance that it will be even better. It’s important to remember, though, that even when chasing your dreams there will be bumps along the way. Life can never be perfect, but there is something about life’s imperfections that make it worth living.
What Limits U
We all feel held back by assumptions and expectations at various points in our lives. We are comfortable in the barrier or box that we have created, at least, that’s what we tell ourselves. In truth, we’ve allowed ourselves to become trapped. What assumptions could be limiting U from making progress in life?
I can’t earn less than X to live a happy life
I’m too old for this
I’m not good enough
My marriage won’t survive this change
I don’t have what it takes
I don’t have the necessary skills
I don’t have anything to offer
I’m too tired
My life won’t be better than this
There’s nothing special about me
If you’re considering something career related, why not volunteer in a place related to that purpose? It’s a great way to see if it really is what U want and get a better feel for things. Alternatively, U could shadow someone who is in the career U want for yourself and see what happens.
If your purpose isn’t career-related, it should be much easier to launch yourself headfirst into it. When U are lying on your deathbed, those limits won’t mean much.
The key to living a full life is finding out what really matters to U, determining what U want, and going after it full force.
“We have been to the moon, we have charted the depths of the ocean and the heart of the atom, but we have a fear of looking inward to ourselves because we sense that is where all the contradictions flow together.” ― Terence McKenna
Understand, it takes courage to discover who U really are and to follow your own convictions. From an early age, U are often inundated with expectations as to how U should behave and what U should do with your life. It is easy to succumb to what others want for U and forego what U want for yourself. It takes courage to follow your own personal vision. When you assume other’s opinions of U to be the ultimate truth, problems will arise. No one knows U better than yourself. To forge your own trail, U will need to be dedicated and persevere when the path is not clearly defined. Achieving your full potential is about committing yourself to the process of self-improvement; it’s not a single task. The commitment to discover U is necessary if U wish to be your own person. Following in the footsteps of those who have gone before U, will only lead U to someone else’s destination.
Following your dreams and being yourself requires courage, fearlessness, commitment, conviction, tenacity and the willingness to look in the mirror and take stock in what U really want out of life. Up until now, it may have been much easier to live in denial, than actually explore what U really want and desire. Often, it is much simpler to hold on to what is secure and not ‘rock the boat’.
To live a life fulfilled means standing up to yourself, listening to your innermost self rather than suppressing or denying yourself what U truly love. Granted, it is so much easier to settle for a life that is mediocre simply because we wish to avoid fear and repercussions from yourself and others. However, ‘settling’ is no way to live.
Heart Driven vs. Head Driven
Your heart will tell U what U truly desire because the heart functions by recognizing what we love and truly desire. On the other hand, the head is much more analytical and will soon put the brakes on as it operates on rationale thinking and is more in tune with what is practical and realistic. If U are ready to follow your heart and listen closely then U will need to let go of everything U think you know and understand.
U are unique in this world and U have something special to give to others and to the world. To reach your potential and share the gift of U, U must tune in to your heart and identify what U love.
Own Your Journey and U will Own Your Destination
Exercise To assist U in identifying what your heart wants:
Ask yourself if you are living authentically, truly in line with your values, beliefs and dreams.
Write down your inner wishes and desires.
Take inventory of what you love about U.
Write down everything U love to do.
What is your dream, your greatest aspiration?
If you could have anything in life, what would it be?
“Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” — Steve Jobs