I think it’s part of the human spirit to strive for better.
It’s admirable to want to grow, advance, and improve yourself and your life.
But it takes work.
A lot of the things we must embrace are actually pretty simple, but that doesn’t make them easy.
If you really want to change your life, then start saying yes to the following fundamentals for growth…
1) Giving things a try and seeing what happens
If this doesn’t sound very motivational, it’s intentional. Because lofty aspirations all too often freak us out, so we never make a start.
This is ultimately about letting go of our expectations, as we can get far too hung up on the outcome.
Imagine if you could stop worrying about how everything might turn out and see it as an experiment instead.
When we don’t grasp onto any particular expected or desired result, life becomes way more pleasurable and successful too.
Because that way we’re not setting ourselves up for disappointment or failure.
The aim is simply to have the experience in the first place, and there’s no way to “fail” at that.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not in any way about lowering your standards. It’s about allowing us to focus our full energy and attention on the only part we can control:
What we’re doing in this very moment.
Instead of getting caught up in our ego, we can take a curious approach to trying new things.
It’s not about winning or losing, it’s just about following our interests and seeing where they take us.
Giving things a try is far less scary when we cut ourselves some slack. That means we’re usually more willing to give something a go.
2) Noticing what’s already right there in front of you
Part of the reason our species has been so successful is down to our creativity and innovation.
That is driven by our desires to expand and evolve.
Yet the downside to that is this insatiable thirst for “more” that we seem to have developed a habit for.
At its worst, it is destroying our planet through excessive consumerism, but also our individual happiness as nothing you do or get ever feels good enough.
Because when you focus too much of your attention on what you want to have, you always feel lacking.
So it becomes a delicate balance that we need to strike.
Yes, work for more, but simultaneously see what you already have right now — and be so damn thankful for it.
Gratitude gives us a deep sense of peace because it encourages us to stop and smell the roses.
It’s essentially a practice of paying attention, rather than overlooking every single thing that you are lucky to have.
Start saying yes to a gratitude practice in your life, and I guarantee you will see (and feel) some deep changes.
3) Becoming your own best friend
So many life problems will be fixed if you can say yes to this one.
- You’ll have far better boundaries
- You won’t rely on anyone else for your happiness
- You’ll ditch any people-pleasing tendencies that hold you back
- You’ll feel more confident in your abilities
- You’ll have stronger mental (and physical) health
A lot of us live under the cloud of a big bad bully.
And plot twist:
That bully is ourselves.
There’s a little voice inside your head, commonly known as the inner critic, who says quite frankly mean and discouraging things to you all day long.
If anyone else said these sorts of things we’d quickly declare it a toxic relationship.
But because this voice comes from within, it often gets away with it unquestioned and frequently goes unnoticed.
Becoming your own best friend in life involves:
- Finding your voice and learning to stick up for yourself
- Making self-care an unashamedly important part of your routine
- Reducing your negative self-talk and replacing it with positive self-talk
- Actively working on improving your own self-worth, self-respect, and self-love
The bottom line is: Your relationship with yourself is the only lifelong one you have, so honor this. Be on your own side.
4) Opportunities that scare the hell out of you
It’s very easy to confuse fear with legitimate reasons for not doing things.
We may feel like “I don’t really want to”, and so we don’t do it.
But we fail to dig a bit deeper and try to find out why.
Sometimes, it’s genuinely that we have little interest in doing something. And that’s fine.
But if the thought of doing it also gives you some anxious butterflies, it’s worth pausing and giving it more consideration.
Those nerves are really good at talking us out of things that could be good for us. What’s more, we often feel them when deep down, something is important to us.
But we’re afraid.
We don’t want to fail. We don’t want things to go wrong. We don’t like the discomfort of change. And we certainly don’t like the fact that we don’t know how things will turn out.
Pushing your comfort zone in big ways and small is essential whenever we want to make shifts in our lives.
It’s about acknowledging and trying to accept fear, yet finding the guts to act in spite of it.
The more we do, the more we build our confidence and resilience.
There’s no way around this uncomfortable trade-off, because in the words of Wayne Gretzky:
“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”
5) Hoping for the best whilst preparing for the worst
Like yin and yang, this is how you create the perfect balance for encouraging progress in your life:
An optimistic approach to life is a gift that makes us happier, more successful, and even healthier.
Contrary to what some people may believe, taking a rosier view doesn’t leave you more open to disappointment.
Quite the opposite, optimistic people are even more resistant to the stresses of life.
So it actually compliments your ability to become more flexible and resilient.
A lot of the time, when we expect bad things to happen, we inadvertently create them. Our negative thinking impacts our behavior.
Optimism encourages you to keep on going when you feel inclined to give up.
You’re better at dealing with the emotional fallout from life’s knockbacks, so you are naturally more persistent and dogged when going after what you want.
6) Taking care of your body
It can feel like an eye-rolling cliche to be reminded of how important it is not to neglect the basics of our health.
Because we all already know it, right?
Yet finding the discipline to follow through is quite another thing.
I’m not going to sit here and tell you that your body is a temple.
Especially because I myself have a glass of wine most days and a cheese addiction that I should probably consider checking myself into rehab over.
Cheese is life. But anyway, I digress.
The point is, that we cannot and should not ignore how vital looking after the basics is to our overall health and well-being.
You don’t need to punish yourself on some strict regime, but you do need (as a bare minimum) to:
- Get enough sleep to improve your brain performance, mood, and health.
- Move your body to improve brain health, help manage weight, reduce the risk of disease, strengthen bones and muscles, and help you do everyday activities.
- Be more mindful of what you eat to improve your energy levels, mood, and overall health as well as reduce your risk of diseases.
We want magic fixes, but the solutions are already there
It’s the reason that we are so easily sucked into that infomercial promising quick results in under 30 days…or your money back!
We really want positive change in our lives, but we’re less keen on the work involved to create it.
I get it. I feel the exact same way.
But the reality is there are no effortless solutions. The remedies aren’t even particularly complex in most cases.
We don’t need to reinvent the wheel, we just need to start small and commit to ourselves.
Remember that change happens over time but is dictated by the little choices and actions we take every single day.