Are you living or simply existing? Are you just doing what you have to do to get by or are you living life to the fullest? Does every day feel like Groundhog Day where it's just wake up, go to work, go home? So many people are simply just existing from one day to the next with no desires or goals. What kind of life is that? There is so much to see and do and experience if you just step out of your comfort zone! Want a career you enjoy instead of just a job that pays your bills? Want a social life instead of sitting home alone every Friday night? So do it already! No, seriously! Stop wishing and start doing! Choose happiness because the choice is yours to make!
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Jesus Christ.
1 Thessalonians 5:17-18
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God didn't create us to simply exist. He wants us to live life to the fullest and contribute to making the world a better place. His plan for you has already been written but if you aren't able to see it, you will never reach your God-intended purpose. It's time to stop wishing and start doing! Start living the life you want by choosing happiness. Here are a few simple and easy ways to start living and enjoying all life has to offer.
Start with Gratitude
So often, we tend to focus on the negative in our lives and that distracts us from what is truly wonderful around us. Instead of thinking about what is going wrong in your life, focus on what is good. You can start by keeping a journal by your bed and writing down at least one thing you are grateful or thankful for each night before you go to bed. It could be something that happened that day or someone you met. It could be a special someone in your life. You most likely won't have to think long to come up with something to write down. As they add up, you'll start to see how blessed you are! I found this amazing Journal called 52 Lists for Happiness. It has 52 different topics for you to list things (within that topic) that you are thankful for that you can work on adding to each week. This is especially helpful for anyone who may be having a hard time thinking outside the box on things they can be thankful for. Another idea helper is The Happiness 100-Day Planner, which is similar but is focused on daily gratitude inspiration. Whether you use a planner or just a piece of paper, just start writing!It is not happy people who are thankful, it is thankful people who are happyClick To Tweet
Change Your Mindset
Changing your mindset can have a significant POSITIVE impact on your outlook on life. Are you that person that always has something negative to say? Or maybe you tend to look at the glass as half empty instead of half full? Your thoughts determine where your mind stays! The easiest way to get started on changing your mindset is with the words you use. Anytime you feel inclined to use a negative term, replace it with something positive. I know this may seem difficult, but if you really want to be happy you will find the discipline it takes to speak life into everything you say! Wake up every morning and say something positive before you speak any other words. Even just starting the day with “Today is going to be great” will give your brain a boost in positivity – which is just as contagious and negativity! Keep feeding your mind positive vibes and there just won't be any room left for anything negative!
Step Outside of Your Comfort Zone
The word “comfort” is deceiving because it implies a happy place. The truth is that comfort often holds us back from achieving what God has planned for us. Is there something you've been wanting to do but it would require a significant change in your life? Maybe it's a career change but the financial security (comfort) keeps you from taking the risk. Some would say it's fear and yes, fear is part of it. But it's the fear of the unknown (which is not in your comfort zone) that holds us back. Think about this: you aren't happy where you are but you haven't made changes because they are scary…aka “uncomfortable”…right? Choose happiness by doing the thing that scares you the most. After that, everything else is a piece of cake! Not ready for that? Try One Thing Every Day That Scares You is a perfect way to start on a smaller scale. Even tackling smaller, silly comforts will build your confidence towards that big one! Another great idea is the next time someone suggests an activity and your normal response is “I would never try that,” challenge yourself to try it or do it!
Set Goals and Work Towards Them
I often hear women comment things like “I always wanted to do that” or “I had planned to work on that.” When asked why they didn't, the answer is almost always something along the lines of “life got in the way” or “I lost track/site of it.” The ACTUAL reason they didn't accomplish whatever it was they were wanting is that they didn't prioritize it and hold themselves accountable! You can accomplish anything you want if you actually put effort into it! If you want a new job, then do what you need to do to get there. If you want to lose weight, then start exercising and eating healthier. Want to read more then start maximizing your fringe hours! If making more time for yourself is one of your goals, Practicing Self-Care is a great place to start. Whatever it is that you want to accomplish, make it happen!
So how do keep track and not lose sight of your goals? WRITE THEM DOWN!! Studies have proven that you are more likely to act on and achieve a goal if it is written down and not just a thought in your head. Once you've written it down, list action steps that you will take for achieving that goal. You wouldn't take a long trip without routing it on a map so how can you expect to get to your goal destination without a map of how to get there? Also, don't get discouraged and give up the moment you miss an action step or timeline. Here is a little secret: Plan “A” RARELY works out!! So get yourself a journal or planner and start writing down those goals!!
Now that you've written them down with action steps, get to working on them. Hold yourself accountable by checking in with yourself on a set basis. You could even find an accountability partner to work on goals together with. By holding yourself accountable each month, it allows you to see where you may need to make changes to your lifestyle to better enable you to complete the goals you've set. Be sure to check out my post on setting and achieving goals to help you map out your plan!All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them - Walt DisneyClick To Tweet
Get Out and Get Moving
When you are depressed, do you just sit home and do nothing or let yourself go? Lack of fresh air and activity actually perpetuates depression. Simply going for a daily walk around your neighborhood will get you breathing some fresh air and get your heart rate up. If you can't walk in your neighborhood (for safety reasons or other), go walk around the mall! It doesn't matter where you walk, just get out of your house and moving! Doing this on a regular basis may lead to meeting others doing the same thing, which could lead to much-needed friendships! Even if you have medical issues that make walking difficult, most places like malls have wheelchairs that you can use. The whole point is for you to get out of your house! If you really choose happiness, you will get creative and find a way to make it happen!
Volunteering is another great way to get moving. Something about doing for others in need, not only makes you more grateful for the life you have, but it is also a great way to meet other like-minded people. There are always many places and activities needing volunteers to assist. Find one that is related to something you enjoy such as at a local pet shelter if you like animals or the local library if you like books. You never know what other opportunities may come about from volunteering. I started volunteering at an organization called Dress For Success after I got out of the military. I had been battling severe depression and anxiety after my retirement and rarely left my house. My volunteering with them tremendously helped me get past some of my issues and reclusiveness. Not only did I enjoy helping other women in my community, but I met some amazing women that I now call my friends and I'm now serving on their Board of Directors!
Get Right With God
I've saved the best for last! I'll admit, I'm a new Christian and I used to be totally turned off at the mention of God. But you know what? The day I decided to make my life about HIM was the day my true happiness began! Yes, all of the things I mentioned above are important in living a happier life. But, none of them really matter if you aren't living a Christian-centered life because he truly does make all things new again! Happiness comes from within and once your heart is filled with HIS love, you no longer have to actually choose happiness because happiness will choose you! Don't believe me? Try it! No, really! What is one thing we always tell our kids? “Don't knock it until you try it!” So take your own advice because if you are reading this post, chances are that everything else you've tried hasn't worked. Honestly, what have you got to lose but a lifetime of unhappiness? Not sure how to get started down that path? The Key to Living a Prosperous and Successful Life is a great starting point.Every day do something that will get you closer to GodClick To Tweet
Are You Ready?
Are you ready to start living and not just exist? Are you ready to find out what God has planned for you? Are you ready for a major life change? Are you ready to CHOOSE HAPPINESS? Even if you just start off with one of these tips, just start. Start today or start tomorrow. Just start! Just remember that life is a journey of ups and downs but even the downs come back up again. Yes, you can choose to stay down but realize that it is YOUR CHOICE to make. Choose happiness because life is out there waiting for you to take a ride!