Making the most of your life often means being appreciative of what you have. For instance, you could be the picture of health right now, but this may change. Research has shown that being grateful actually improves your health: those who enjoy the positive things in life every day are happier and less likely than others who concentrate on things that give them little pleasure to suffer from anxiety and depression.
Writing a Live It List is a concrete way to organize your goals. It’s a list of all the things you want to do and places you want to visit in your life, just like a bucket list. There is one distinction, however. The Live it List takes lofty targets and makes them bite-sized, easily achievable bits, unlike a bucket list. Say that a visit to Barcelona is your wish. Not only would you write “Barcelona” on your Live It List, you would also write down the little steps you might take to make this trip a reality.
These steps could include learning basic Spanish, renewing your passport and putting aside a specific amount of money every month. By focusing on one small step at a time, you’ll steadily move closer and closer to your goal.
Now that you have a clear vision for the future and strong motivation, you’ll still need some other tools before everything can fall into place.
You’re likely to face times where nothing seems to go right, and stalls of improvement. It’s vital you remember to think positively during these periods. It might sound quite absurd, but it has been shown that how we think about an event or a circumstance affects its outcome.
Researcher Masaru Emoto conducted one famous analysis. With an equal measure of cooked rice and water, he filled three cups, and for 30 days he directed different emotions to each cup. He gave the first cup positive feelings, the second cup negative emotions, and totally ignored the third. Emoto noticed that after the period was over, the rice in the first cup had started to ferment and smelled sweetly, while the rice in the other cups had started rotting.
Your thoughts function like a prophecy that is self-fulfilling. You will make it a possibility if you stand by yourself and your dream. Staying centered, though, isn’t always easy. You need to work to reinforce your positive thinking. Before you actually do it, one method includes living something in your mind and imagining all the information, emotions and feelings that you will encounter until you accomplish your goal.
Say that you’re worried about a company meeting. To emotionally relax and imagine the situation in as much detail as you can, take some time the night before the meeting. How do you get in and greet your colleagues in the room? What are you saying, listening and seeing? When the meeting is over, how do you feel? This mental rehearsal allows you to practice multiple situations and helps you to feel more secure when the real situation happens.
Never underestimate the power of your thoughts. What you think can have a huge effect on your success!
Now you know how constructive thinking will help you achieve the outcomes you want, so what keeps you from going out there and living your dreams? The trouble is it is difficult for many of us to throw off our pessimistic, restricting convictions. One exercise to pin down what you really believe is to envision your 80th birthday. How are you going to feel and what have you done by then?
The product of the direction you’re taking right now is whatever you see. If you’re slow and sluggish, then this is probably the future for you. If you’re energetic and involved, then chances are you’ll be that way. If you hold limited beliefs about your future, it is possible that you will do so in your present life, too. How much did you, for instance, not take action because you felt you were too old or not talented enough?
To enable focused, consistent action, you need to exchange your limiting beliefs for empowering beliefs. Rather than focusing on what you think you can’t do or have, focus on what you can do! Use positive thoughts as a mantra, by telling yourself “I have done that once, I can do it again” or “I know how to do it.”
These mantras hold remarkable power. Think back to President Obama’s campaign in 2008, and how his slogan, “Yes, we can” motivated and inspired people all over America.
Instead of using it for all at once, the easiest way to use this strategy is to focus on one thing at a time. We’re not really made to multitask, despite what everyone says (when we operate like this, we’re really only going from one job to another quickly). So stay focused on one job at a time and work!
If you want to drive from Los Angeles to San Francisco, the smartest thing to do would be to look up the highway to San Francisco on a map before you leave, and refer to the map during the trip. The same applies to your life. You can only achieve your goals if you have a clear, detailed roadmap of your future.
Think back to your view of an ideal day once more. Stretch the vision this time, from just one day to the next 20 years. Where are you going to be And who’s with you? What do you do? How’re you feeling? Take into account each of the main areas of life; your wellness, your investments and your experiences.
It’s best to split each factor into a few sub-goals in order to see this clearly. See the goal of your life as the marathon finish line, and your sub-goals as the milestones along the way. For each big target, think about what steps you should take to move closer to achieving the goal this week, this year and in the next five years.
If you picture living in a tropical country in 20 years, you could spend a little time this month researching which country interests you the most, and sign up for a language course perhaps later in the year.
Then your goal may be to visit the country in the next five years to see if it is really where you would love to live. Along the way, monitoring your progress and adjusting and updating your vision is always necessary. Think of it as a guitar that is out-of-tune; you don’t have to throw it away! To make it work again all you need to do is alter or tune the strings.
With a good vision for your future, deep encouragement and an awareness of your goals, you can see that what you felt was impossible will absolutely come true—living your perfect life. To get there, it only takes some patience, engagement, constructive thinking and a deep belief in yourself.
Check out my related post: How will you measure your life?