It’s like the old saying: “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. ” The same philosophy holds true for making changes in your life. Trying to bite off more than you can chew will only make you choke. But taking smaller, manageable bites, one at a time – eating a little healthier, exercising a little, creating some simple productive habits, for example – is an amazing way to make positive changes and get excited about life.
- Use words that encourage happiness. – Typically, when I ask someone “How are you?” they reply, “I’m fine” or “I’m okay.” But one lazy Monday afternoon last month a new colleague of mine replied, “Oh, I am fabulous!” It made me smile, so I asked him what was making him feel so fabulous and he said, “I’m healthy, my family is healthy, and we live in a free country. So I don’t have any reason not to be happy.” The difference was simply his attitude and his choice of words. He wasn’t necessarily any better off than anyone else, but he seemed twenty times happier.
- Try one new thing every day. – Variety truly is the spice of life. You can see or do something a million times, but you can only see or do it for the first time once. As a result, first time experiences often leave reflective marks in our minds for the rest of our lives. Make an effort to try something new every day for the next 30 days. It can be a whole new activity or just a small experience, such as talking to a stranger. Once you get the ball rolling many of these new experiences will open doors to life changing opportunities.
- Perform one selfless act every day. – In life, you get what you put in. When you make a positive impact in someone else’s life, you also make a positive impact in your own life. Do something that’s greater than you, something that helps someone else be happy or suffer less. I promise, it will be an extremely rewarding experience. One you’ll likely remember forever. Obviously your options here are limitless, but if you’re looking to assist an ordinary person in need without leaving your chair.
- Learn and practice one new skill every day. – Self-reliance is a vital key to living a healthy, productive life. To be self-reliant one must master a basic set of skills, more or less making them a jack of all trades. Contrary to what you may have learned in school, a jack of all trades is far more equipped to deal with life than a specialized master of only one. And besides, learning new skills is fun.
- Teach someone something new every day. – We all have natural strengths and talents that can dramatically help those around us. What comes easy for you is no doubt challenging for others. We tend to take these gifts for granted, often hardly noticing what we have to offer, and thus we rarely share them with others. Inner happiness and zeal come from using these inherent gifts on a routine basis. What do people thank you for? What do people routinely ask for your help with? Most people’s passions and talents help others in one way or another. Perhaps for you its painting, teaching math, cooking a good meal or leading an exercise class. For the next 30 days devote some time each day to sharing your talents and expertise.
- Dedicate an hour a day to something you’re passionate about. – Take part in something you passionately believe in. This could be anything. Some people take an active role in their city council, some find refuge in religious faith, and some join social clubs supporting causes they believe in and others find passion in their hobbies. In each case the psychological outcome is the same. They engage themselves in something they strongly believe in. This engagement brings happiness and meaning into their lives. Treat everyone nicely, even those who are rude to you. – Being nice to someone you dislike doesn’t mean you’re fake. It means you’re mature enough to control your emotions. Treat everyone with kindness and respect, even those who are rude to you – not because they’re nice, but because you are. Do this for 30 days and I guarantee you’ll see the rudeness around you dissipate.
- Concentrate on being positive at all times. – The real winners in life cultivate optimism. No matter what the situation, the successful diva is the chick who will always find a way to put an optimistic spin on it. She knows failure only as an opportunity to grow and learn a new lesson from life. People who think optimistically see the world as a place packed with endless opportunities, especially in trying times. Try to spend the next 30 days looking at the bright side of things.
- Pay attention and enjoy your life as it happens. – When I watched the Academy Awards a few months ago I realized that most of the speeches actors and actresses make when they accept an award go something like this: “This means so much so me. My whole life has been leading up to this moment.” But the truth is, our whole lives have been leading up to every moment. Think about that for a second. Every single thing you’ve gone through in life, every high, every low and everything in between, it has led you to this moment right now. Ask yourself this: How much of life are you actually living? If you’re like most people, the answer is likely: “Not enough.” The key is to concentrate on a little less on doing and a little more on being. Remember, right now is the only moment guaranteed to you. Right now is life. Spend the next 30 days living in the now, for real
As you progress through these challenges remember, personal growth is a slow, steady process. It can’t be rushed. You need to work on it gradually every day. There is ample time for you to be who you want to be in life. Don’t settle for less than what you think you deserve, or less than you know you can be. Despite the struggles you’ll face along the way, never give up on yourself. You’re braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, smarter than you think, and twice as capable as you have ever imagined.