I recently lost someone dear to me which has made me think about how short life is. Everyone says that life is short–we all know this–but does this knowledge help us to change the way we live? The death of my loved one has made me realize even more that I don’t want to waste time. I don’t want to live on Auto Pilot mode–spending the little free time that I have on my phone or watching Netflix. (Did you know that the average person checks their phone 80 times per day?) I want to live a life full of joy and purpose. If that’s what you want as well, then these ideas might help you!
Always Have Gratitude
I try to think about 20 things that I am thankful for everyday and whenever I am feeling down. Thinking about the good things helps me to be content with my situation and it helps me to generate more joy and energy.
Know Your Purpose, Goals, and Dreams
My purpose revolves around my faith and passions. What is your purpose in life? What are your goals and dreams? When you are on your deathbed, what will make you feel like you lived the life that you were meant to live? Years ago, I found this great article by Bronnie Ware–a woman that worked in palliative care for several years. Here are five regrets that people have on their deathbeds. If you were to die today, would you have some of these regrets?
1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
2. I wish I didn’t work so hard.
3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.
Constantly Remind Yourself of Your Purpose, Goals, and Dreams
I read a great book called High Performance Habits by Brendon Burchard. Burchard says that highly successful people are constantly evaluating themselves, and they are consistently thinking about how to reach their goals. He recommends setting an alarm on your phone that will trigger you to think about certain things to keep you on track. For instance, when my alarm goes off, I think about a Bible verse (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18), the top five regrets that I don’t want to have on my deathbed, and the word Kind (I am trying to be more intentional about being kinder to my kids and husband).
If you don’t want to set an alarm, you could hang Post-It notes on your refrigerator or create a digital reminder and post it on your phone and computer. Vision boards can also remind you of your goals. You could buy a tack board and put pictures on it that remind you what your purpose, goals, and dreams are. Instead of a vision board, I have a digital notebook in my phone that has pictures of past successes and hopeful future successes. When I am feeling down, I look at the pictures and listen to a song that gives me motivation.
Make A Detailed Schedule
I love to read and have been reading self-improvement books since I was a kid. A lot of the books recommend making a schedule for maximum productivity. This is something that I resisted for so long–making a detailed schedule just seemed so cumbersome and oppressive to me. But, to my benefit, a couple of months ago, I finally made a detailed schedule of my week. I used Google sheets to plan out my week from the time I wake up ’til the time I go to sleep. It helped me to see that I needed to cut certain things out of my life, and it helps me to see when I am available for business calls. It helps a lot!
Maximize Your Free Time
When I have free time, it is tempting to go on Auto Pilot mode–automatically checking my email and phone throughout the day. I have found that this is not a good use of my time because whenever I pick up my phone, I see another notification or click on something that distracts me. So, instead of spending one minute checking my email, that one minute inevitably turns into 15 minutes or longer. If I continue to pick up my phone throughout the day, that eventually adds up to a whole lot of wasted time! So, instead of mindlessly picking up my phone, I have started to intentionally click into my schedule or think about the most productive thing–or the most enjoyable thing that does not involve my phone–that I can do next.
When Spending Time with Loved Ones, Spend Quality Time with Loved Ones
I know that I am harping on about the phone a lot, but when you are with the people that you love, put down your phone and devices. When you are on your deathbed, you are not going to wish that you were more engaged with your phone while you were alive. Loved ones that are right in front of you are more important than digital “friends” on your newsfeed. Spending quality time with loved ones and decreasing screen time will increase the amount of joy in your life. Also, Burchard mentions that multi-tasking is not very effective, and it stresses us out. So there’s another reason to put down your devices when you are with your loved ones–the multi-tasking will suck some of the enjoyment out of those few moments with your loved ones.
Burchard recommends a resting time after each major daily task. He calls it Release Tension–Set Intention. Here’s an example. When you are done with the grocery shopping and you are about to go inside to see your kids, stop for 1-3 minutes and do this.
- Release Tension: Close your eyes for 1-3 minutes. Breathe deeply in and out, releasing physical tension and negative thoughts. Say the word Release over and over again.
- Set Intention: Think about what you want the next activity to look like. Think about smiling when you get in the door and spending some quality time with the kids before you have to start dinner.
Closing your eyes gives your visual cortex and mind a rest. This exercise will help you to feel more energized and it will help you to enjoy your next activity or help you to be more productive during your next task.
In addition to this, I believe that every person needs at least one day of rest per week–one day when you can take a break from working. If this is not possible for you, I hope that you can find at least a few hours of rest from work.
What are your tips for living a life full of joy and purpose?