Humans are inundated every single day with a plethora of information and advice on self-improvement. While trends about what the best diet is and how to more easily make money change regularly, there are a few lessons that are timeless and can change your life for the better no matter what stage of life you’re in. Below are the top 10 best changes you can make and lessons you can learn to ensure that you lead a happy, healthy life as your best self.
1. The less you care about what others think, the happier you will be.
People often say that you shouldn’t care what others think, but how many of us actually listen to that advice? While it can be helpful to care about the thoughts of others, such as your boss’s opinion on the professionalism of your work clothes, caring too much about others’ opinions can keep you so far removed from who you truly are. Let go of what others think of you and focus on what’s important for you.
2. Show gratitude.
Gratitude is key to staying happy, whether it’s allowing yourself to feel gratitude for the small, nice things in life, or showing others that you appreciate their role in your life. Showing others that you are thankful for their presence makes them happy in turn and keeps the good vibes flowing.
3. Actions speak louder than words.
This phrase gets thrown around a lot, but how often do we actually act on it? It’s one thing to promise your spouse that you’ll contribute more to the housework, and a completely different thing to actually do what you’ve promised. To reinforce what you have said, you must always follow up with actions that are meaningful and hold true to your words.
4. Work hard—but not too hard.
Work hard, play hard… But don’t do too much of either. While working hard is generally beneficial for all aspects of your life, focusing too much time on one thing, even if it’s your job, can significantly detract from the other areas of your life that also need attention. Take a breath every once in awhile and take a step back from work.
5. Live for yourself.
This goes hand-in-hand with not caring what others think, but it’s an essential extension of that idea. Living for yourself means not allowing other people’s advice cut through what you believe to be right and true for your life path. Follow your dreams with such fervor that you are able to block out the noise of others’ objections.
6. Failures are lessons in disguise.
This is such an important lesson to learn, even if it takes failing to remember it every single time. Being afraid to fail is what keeps us from pursuing so many things in life, but if we remember that failing is simply a part of the learning process to figuring out what works then it seems much less scary. Don’t be afraid to go after something because you think you aren’t “ready” and might fail; be excited to see what the faults in your plan are and to improve upon them as they occur.
7. Live with no regrets.
Living with regrets keeps us in the past and prevents us from moving forward. This can be as small as wishing we hadn’t gotten a certain haircut or as large as wishing we hadn’t broken up with our “true love.” No matter what the regret is, it’s holding you back and the mental energy spent on wishing we could change our past could just as easily be used in deciding how to better our futures.
8. Live in the moment.
Today, this is called “being mindful.” Mindfulness is the natural extension of the practice of meditation, which encourages humans to take a moment to relax, focus on only the physicality of our bodies, and release ourselves from all the tension and stress we are experiencing by trying to do a million things at once. Living in the moment is essential to our well-beings, as we spend way too much time wishing we could change the past or worrying about the future.
9. If we threw all of our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s too, we would take all of ours back.
It’s never actually helpful to tell someone that their situation could be much worse, so instead let’s pretend that you’re able to exchange your problems with someone else’s. The fact of the matter is that whether that person has less or more problems than you, they are just as draining and horrible as yours because we spend all our time consumed by wishing things were better or solved. Instead of dwelling on what’s wrong in your life, be grateful that you have the mental and physical capacity to handle whatever life throws at you.
10. Procrastination will be the death of you.
While procrastination will not literally kill you (at least, it’s not likely), the practice of procrastination could very well internally kill you. It might seem like it’s easier to put things off until the last minute rather than work hard, but the fact of the matter is that we spend so much time worrying about that task that we’re putting off that we are losing ourselves to the task and the stress surrounding it. Add this to the fact that we are actually procrastinating on dozens of tasks at a time and you might realize that you never actually have time for yourself to do fun things or relax. Do things in a timely manner and you may just be able to revive yourself.