10 Tips to Start Living Your Best Life

So often we put off being happy until we have everything we want: money, a great job, a loving relationship, etc. But here’s the rub: mood follows action.

When we start doing the things that make us feel better, happiness arrives without us even thinking about it. It won’t always be easy (obviously), but it’ll totally be worth it.

Plus—and this is the really cool part—the things we thought were hard and didn’t enjoy that much to begin with, become the habits we enjoy the most.

It’s all about making the connection between the new habit you’ve adopted and the ‘feeling great’ feelings that result from it. When happiness is no longer conditional, magic happens.

Where to Start?

start living your best life

If you try to implement all 10 of these tips into your life right away, you’ll be back on the couch binging on Netflix and Oreos before the day is out.

Whichever analogy you prefer, eating an elephant and walking a thousand miles both use the same premise: start small and focus on the now. One step at a time, one mouthful at a time, one new habit at a time.

Pick just one of the tips below—they’re in no particular order, so just choose one that appeals to you—and map out a game plan for how you’ll approach it.

Figure out your ‘why.’ Knowing your ‘why‘ will help you stay the course even when you’re having a rough day or week.

When will you begin? Deciding on a start date gives your mind time to come to grips with the challenge that lies ahead.

By when will you achieve your goal? Not all of the tips require a finish date, but for the ones that do it’s important to know what that is. It’s how you’ll hold yourself accountable and stay on track.


1. Declutter Your Home and Office

When your home and office environments are cluttered, it can be really difficult to get anything done. Decluttering reduces stress and makes you more productive. By creating space in your physical world, you’re also clearing a bunch of mental cache for the things that really matter: relationships, art, service or whatever.

Blogs like Becoming Minimalist, Real Simple and The Spruce have plenty of helpful tips on how to get started. Remember though, once you’ve decluttered it’s just as important to stay on top of things and not revert back to your old ways.

“Any half-awake materialist well knows—that which you hold holds you.” —Tom Robbins

2. Declutter Your Habits

Decluttering doesn’t just extend to your physical stuff, you can downsize any area of your life that needs it. Take a moment to assess your habits. What are you doing that isn’ serving you? Are you watching too much TV, spending too much time on social media?

Adopting new habits and letting go of old ones does take work, but the payoff is huge. Take the time to figure out what your fundamentals are, and then make a point of incorporating them into your daily life.

“How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” —Annie Dillard

3. Become an Essentialist

Greg Mckeown, author of Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, says we spend too much time on busy work and not nearly enough time on the things that matter. Stop saying “yes” for the wrong reasons and learn to say “no“ for the right ones.

“Sometimes, we need to say no so that we have more time to say yes.” —Suzette Hinton

4. Create a Budget

When last did you take a long, hard look at your spending habits? A lot of times we think we’re doing a good job of managing our money, but it’s only when we begin paying close attention that we realize how much room there is for fiscal improvement.

Whether your goal is to get out of debt, retire early or simply save for a rainy day, a budget is a non-negotiable part of the plan. It needn’t be a prison sentence however, you can live richly on a budget.

“You must gain control over your money or the lack of it will forever control you.” —Dave Ramsey

5. Follow the Blue Zones Diet

Eat like the world’s longest-lived people and you’ll not only feel much better, you’ll save money, too. Their philosophy is simple: eat a variety of mainly plant-based foods. While diets vary from region to region, people living in the Blue Zones share a common approach to eating.

These folks eat almost no meat, avoid sugar and consume dairy in small quantities. They focus on whole foods such as fruit, vegetables, legumes and grains and steer clear of processed foods and take-out.

“Nothing will benefit human health and increase the chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.” —Albert Einstein

6. Move Your Body

There are many benefits to exercise, but you don’t have to go to gym to enjoy them. The key is simply to move your body. Our longevity experts in the Blue Zones favor gardening, but you could find your own ways to keep active, such as yoga, dancing, stretching or focusing on functional fitness. It’s really up to you, just make sure you break a sweat.

“For me, fitness is not just about hitting the gym; it is also about an inner happiness and an overall well-being.” —Rakul Preet Singh

7. Walk More, Drive Less

We’ve become so habituated to driving that it often doesn’t even occur to us that we could walk somewhere. Plus, we’re lazy. It’s easier to drive, so why wouldn’t we hop in the car to go to the store?

The problem is, the more you drive, the harder walking becomes. Suddenly even a mile seems too far to contemplate. Walking is better for your health (obvs), but it’s also better for the environment and your bank account.

Heading out on foot is less stressful too, because you don’t have to deal with traffic and it gives you the an opportunity to meet people. If your car is your go-to form of transport, why not challenge yourself to walk more?

“Walking is the best possible exercise. Habituate yourself to walk very far.” —Thomas Jefferson

8. Hang out with People Who Make You Feel Good

We’ve all been around people who leave us feeling drained, uninspired or less than. On the flip side, we’ve all known someone whose positive nature leaves us feeling similarly upbeat about life.

Happiness is an inside job, but it’s also true that surrounding yourself with happy people will make you happy too. This is yet another aspect of life that the the world’s longest-lived people have mastered. They make a point of spending time with their ‘tribe’ on a regular basis. These strong social networks have had a positive impact on their health behaviors.

“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” —Jim Rohn

9. Stop Watching the News

Given the rate at which bad news is replayed, it’s little wonder that watching an event on TV can be even more stressful than witnessing it firsthand. If you’re stressed or suffer from poor sleep, then a news fast is the best thing you’ll do all year.

We’ve been conditioned to believe that we need to watch the news, but that’s not true. News of important events will reach you regardless of whether you watch TV or read the newspaper. Quit the news and you’ll notice that you feel better almost immediately.

“Bad news isn’t wine. It doesn’t improve with age.” —Colin Powell

10. Meditate

Most people use meditation as a way to calm the mind, but it’s a powerful tool for self-healing as well. Learning how to meditate isn’t nearly as difficult as you might imagine and the benefits far outweigh the perceived effort.

The science behind meditation is solid: it reduces stress, increases your sense of wellbeing, improves focus and memory and makes you more creative. Spend time each morning focusing on your breath and these are just some of the benefits you can expect.

“Meditation can help us embrace our worries, our fear, our anger, and that is very healing. We let our own natural capacity of healing do the work.” —Thich Nhat Hanh

There are, of course, many other things you could do to live your best life, such as journalling, practicing gratitude and being of service. Ultimately, it boils down to this: either you make life happen or it happens to you.

make it happen

Related:
5 Ways to Practice Happiness
What 100-Year-Olds Say About Aging, Happiness and Positivity
How Going Zero Waste Made Me a Better Person

Photo credit: Thinkstock

321 comments

joan s
joan s21 days ago

TYFS

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Diane McMahon
Diane McMahon1 months ago

TY!

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Jim Ven
Jim V2 months ago

thanks

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Jim Ven
Jim V2 months ago

thanks

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Jerome S
Jerome S2 months ago

thanks for sharing

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Jerome S
Jerome S2 months ago

thanks for sharing

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Ian C
Ian Crory2 months ago

:0)

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Julia S
Julia S2 months ago

Thank you!

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Richard A
Richard A2 months ago

Thank you for this article and tips.

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Renata B
Renata B2 months ago

Oh yes, both my husband and I do meditation, we walk ... we shield from the news (partially of course). People who make us feel good? Not easy to find seeing the level of the average human suck into their own petty egos. We do not have debts (never had) although we are certainly not rich and we have a simple life enjoying our home; we just know where to stop. How good all this is? I don't know, I really do not know.

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