A life of regret is no life at all. Sure, we all have regrets for things we’ve done, mistakes made and opportunities lost. But if we make a conscious decision every day to minimize those regrets, we will lead a happier more fulfilling life. And hopefully, those around us will as well. Healthy habits lead to a life of satisfaction. This path isn’t easy. If it were easy, then everyone would have six-pack abs, millions of dollars, and happy relationships. The road to change is paved with blood, sweat, and tears. Your habits define the life you live. Start today.
How would you answer, “What was the happiest moment of your life?” My friends answer this question with events like the birth of a child, a wedding day, or graduation. These moments of joy last surprisingly short. Life goes back to normal the next day. What if these moments of fulfillment were a part of everyday life, rather than one moment? Fulfilled is defined, as “satisfied or happy because of fully developing one’s abilities or character.” Being fulfilled is a process through failures and victories, rather than focusing on one specific moment. A fulfilling life comes from building habits that lead to joy.
The University College of London found that it takes 66 days to make a habit permanent. Try at least one of the habits below for 66 days to create a fulfilling life:
1. Experiment with Failure
A part of human nature is to fail, especially when it comes to starting a new habit. When you experiment with your failures, you can understand what obstacles will come your way and how to overcome them. There is no such thing as a failed experiment. There is only feedback.
2. Take What You Can From Life, But Always Give Back
There is nothing wrong with investing in yourself and your future. For pursuing success in all areas of your life. But one of the best ways to seek happiness is through service to others. Remember that giving time is more valuable than giving money.
3. Never Stop Learning
Children never stopped wondering about the world. Somewhere between childhood and adulthood, my curiosity about life withered. I remember kids harassing me in junior high because I was curious about science. I craved the approval of others, so I steered away from science and killed my curiosity.
The easiest way to revitalize your curiosity is to breathe life into it again. Try things you did as a child. Fly a kite. Play a board game. Research a topic you know little about. Watch TED videos. Keep a journal and write down ideas to research later. In this way, you will never stop learning about our ever-curious world.
4. Adopt Daily Gratitude
Research demonstrates that grateful people have fulfilling lives. Gratitude shifts your focus from your problems (no matter how big or concerning) to what you’ve been given. Practicing daily gratitude helped me conquer my inner negative Nancy.
5. Be Accountable For Your Words and Actions
Accountability is the path to true accomplishment. Personal accountability is infectious and others in your life will follow suit. Always consider the consequences of your words and actions. Not doing so can be a fast track to regret.
6. Be Disciplined in Your Personal and Professional Life
Being accountable requires discipline. Discipline is the only way to discover your best personal self: the cross-section between purpose, talent, and effort. Discipline leads to accomplishing goals and avoiding bad decisions.
7. Expunge Hate From Your Heart
Life is too short. This too requires discipline. Hate will consume you, exhaust you and distract you from the positive aspects of your life. Put your ego aside and replace it with humility.
8. Forgive Yourself and Others Quickly
We all make mistakes, hurt those we love, and meander off the path of righteousness at times. The faster we forgive ourselves and others the more time and energy we have for love.
9. Strive to Improve a Little Bit Every Day
If we can attempt to improve ourselves even 1% each day, at the end of a year we will be 37x better than when we started. Improvement requires regular learning, feedback, and reflection. But don’t forget to take action as well.
10. Don’t Hold on Too Tight
I often find this very hard to do, but sometimes we just have to let go and have a little faith. There are things simply out of our control and we can drive ourselves crazy trying to contain them.
Healthy habits lead to a life of satisfaction. This path isn’t easy. If it were easy, then everyone would have six-pack abs, millions of dollars, and happy relationships. The road to change is paved with blood, sweat, and tears. Your habits define the life you live. Take a few minutes each day to reflect on how to practice these tips and see what happens! Start today.