All too often we hear people say “I wish I could..” and it trails off into one of the many regular statements, such as be more productive, procrastinate less, lose weight, get out of their comfort zone, etc. This leads me to a question that has been bugging me for the past year: I wonder what it would be like if we all decided to live our life to the very fullest that we could? To be the best version of ourselves possible? Trust me, I understand how much of a struggle all of those things mentioned above are. I’ve been fighting with them for a long time now! But when it really comes down to it, we only have one life here on earth, so why not give it our all and live to be the best that we can be? One of the most terrifying things to me is that I will get to be 95 years old and look back at a life full of regrets and missed opportunities. This kind of thinking is exactly what unconsciously led me to focus on becoming the best version of myself I could this past year. Granted, I couldn’t do everything I wanted to at once, but I started with a few simple changes to my daily routine and gradually, things have expanded from there! Because I’ve been doing some of these things for quite awhile now, I wanted to share with you a few tips and ideas that might be helpful for you to add to your own life. Before I share some practical ways to improve life, here are a few of the ideas and questions I’ve been asking myself recently. Sometimes it helps to get a new perspective of life and these are some great thought provokers: Instead of looking for reasons as to why you can’t do something, ask yourself why shouldn’t you give it a try? (Within reason!) Look for new opportunities. Branch out and take a leap out of your comfort zone. After all, our comfort zones aren’t even a real thing. It’s just something you've perceived to be in your mind. Be practical. You can’t take on the world right away, nor can you fix every detail of your life overnight. So just do the best you can and take small steps! Realize that more than likely, you will need help from someone else. So be open to talking to other people, getting a mentor, listening to other wise people, etc. Now here are some practical suggestions to help improve life (feel free to tailor and customize these to meet your needs):
1. Have a Quiet Time
First thing that’s on my daily to-do list is to sit down and have some quiet time. For me, this would be reading my Bible and working on my Bible quilt (a topic for another time!). After that, I like to work on a book I’m currently reading and then I’ll start a podcast. Now granted, all of this very rarely gets done each morning, but I try to get a little done everyday.
Part of the reason I decided to try to do this each morning (besides the fact that it’s a good time to read my Bible!) is that I heard over and over again from different people how important their quiet time was for them. It was what helped to set the mood and tone for the rest of the day. Granted, it’s not always easy to do, but it sets you up for getting more things done throughout the day when you’ve already got these three things checked off your list within the first hour you’re up!
2. Don’t Keep it in Your Head. Write it down!
For as long as I can remember, people around me have said “remind me later to…” and when later finally comes, we’ve both forgotten about it! Why is it that people try to remember all 352 tasks that they need to do that day instead of just writing them down?
It’s a proven fact that trying to remember tasks or things throughout the day while trying to work on other projects wastes your mental energy and leads to exhaustion and more mistakes being made. This is why I have a two-inch thick daily planner on my desk. I write lists down in it, make notes, and jot everything that will be happening during the next week in it.
I have two routines that I use for working in my planner. The first one is to designate a day to sit down and write out the next week. This doesn’t take even close to a full-day, but I usually take an hour or two to think through my future plans and tasks. I actually love to work in my planner, so this is what I try to do every Sunday afternoon. It’s relaxing for me, and sometimes I’ll have a few colored pencils lying around that I will use to color code things after I write them all out.
Secondly, I make a habit of checking it throughout the day and then again every evening right before I lay down in bed. This way, I won’t miss deadlines and meetings I have scheduled, as well as I can “dump” everything out of my brain each night. Trust me, you’ll sleep much, much better if you don’t have to-do lists being made mentally.
If you’re looking for a specific planner (or just have no idea where to turn), check out this review right here with a bunch of different options.
3. Listen to podcasts!
The second tip I have for you to become a better version of yourself is to listen to podcasts. Start by figuring out where you want to be in the future (approximately). Maybe you feel God is calling you to start your own business or join someone else’s current venture, so make note of what skills and knowledge you will need for that. I’ve started a couple of my own small businesses and I’m looking to grow them. So, I like to listen to different marketing and business related podcasts. One of my favorites is “This is Your Life” by Michael Hyatt. His podcast was actually one of the first ones I ever listened to, and it’s been so helpful for me in not only the business/marketing side of things, but also in daily life. His podcast topics range from how to be more productive and happy to how to grow your website and the best ways to market your product. You can find more info about him/his podcast, here.
4. Find a Mentor and Someone to Hold You Accountable.
Finding a mentor never seemed like a big deal to me until I started learning more about life coaching and started college. I have heard so much (even outside of Lumerit) about how important a mentor is, and now I realize how valuable they are in my own life. But pause for a second, a mentor isn’t just someone that you can talk to, but they’re someone that holds you accountable while at the same time pushing you to grow and exceed your goals. This is a key point for not only students, but everyone in life. Almost every “successful” person today will tell you about the importance of a mentor standing in the background of your life. Even if it’s just buying them a cup of coffee and getting to visit every couple of weeks, you still will have a connection there knowing that they are watching your progress. Be sure that the person you choose to have alongside you in life not only helps remind you to meet your goals, but encourages you to succeed and bypass them.
5. Read A LOT.
We’ve all been told this over and over again, but learning to soak in the information and knowledge around us is one of the most beneficial things we can do. I’ve started reading a lot more books about blogging, writing, and growing your business. While I really like Christian fiction, I also find that self-help or nonfiction can be a bit more inspiring. I’ve tried reading a couple of chapters a day, but found that it was just another thing to try to cram into the day, and reading shouldn’t be a chore! It should be relaxing and fun. So, I’m aiming for reading a few chapters every other day. Even if you don’t want to read a nonfiction book or something like that, just reading a few chapters of anything is better than not reading at all!
6. Become Involved.
It’s so easy (especially when you work remotely) to get caught up in your day-to-day work and life, and not interact with other people as much. It’s important though to be at least involved with activities at your church and, if possible, in your community. Now, I live in a very rural community and everyone knows everyone. We work together and play together, so it’s easy to be involved in projects locally. But, even if local events aren’t as easy for you to be involved in, look into joining an online club, such as one dedicated to writing, photography, gardening, etc. Anything to get you interactive with other people! The more you work with others, the more inspired you have the chance to be! If that doesn’t motivate you to be more involved, just think of this: Every time you bump into someone at a meeting, in the store, etc. you have a chance to witness God’s amazing love to them. How many opportunities are we missing by simply staying home to watch Netflix? Just another thought!
In conclusion, strive to be the best you can be, live the life God has given you to the fullest, and be active in working with and witnessing to others! You never know what God has planned for you...
Written by Ashleigh Hett