How To Enjoy Your Life
As I approach this latest blog post and look at the subject of how to enjoy your life, I purposefully want to make it actionable. I truly believe that in order to enjoy your life, you have to actively engage the process and not be passive.
That’s not to say you can’t pursue ‘passive’ activities, like watching tv or playing video games, but, that you have consciously taken the time to know that these are activities that are enjoyable to you, rather than passive activities which mask discontentment.
But, to enjoy life, there’s much more to it than just filling it with the pleasurable things you enjoy. After all, we all know that anything taken to the extreme eventually loses its shine, although I’ve never found this to be true about eating chocolate!
Be Active Not Passive
To enjoy the glow of good health, you must exercise
To enjoy your life, you must make an effort to find out what will actually make you enjoy life. Sounds simple, but actually it’s not. Yes we have enjoyment in our lives, but, if you live with an underlying feeling of ‘meh’ then it’s time to up the ante and get some real enjoyment happening!
So how do you plan enjoyment into your life? Here are a few ideas on the theme of how to enjoy your life along with some actionable steps so that, for the ones that appeal to you, you can start to build them into your life immediately.
Control Your Thoughts
If you want to enjoy life, then you must control your thoughts.
Stop seeking out the storms and enjoy more fully the sunlight
Gordon B Hinckley
I’m generally an optimistic person, but, like most people, I can be drawn into a negative conversation and then unintentionally contribute, thereby taking my own thought processes into a downward spiral. It can also be compounded by my head continuing the conversation long after the person I was talking to has left!
Or, sometimes I catch myself having a conversation with myself that I didn’t even know was going on! When this happens, it’s generally moany and complaining about something. Furthermore, it’s usually something that I don’t care about!
I don’t often advocate distractions as a means to improve your life, but when it comes to enjoying life, using positive distractions to help you think less negatively is really useful.
Make a point of finding things that will consciously remove you from your thought patterns. In other words, they need to be things that infiltrate your mind. For example, music that makes you want to sing along, films or videos that make you laugh, books that draw you in, talking to an uplifting friend etc.
Remove or Minimise Contact With People Who Make you Feel Uncomfortable, Sad or Unhappy
I know it’s hard to completely remove people from your life, but, if someone makes you feel uncomfortable, it’s time to take action.
If a direct conversation isn’t going to work or will only make things worse, then work on minimising contact or control the environment in which you meet (sometimes people are less inclined to be negative or ‘show off’ in public).
Live Now While Preparing The Future
As you know, I’m a great believer in setting goals and striving for their achievement. I’ve also made a point of considering all areas of my life and where I want (or need) to put most emphasis at the moment.
The trick is to enjoy life. Don’t wish away your days, waiting for better ones ahead
Marjorie Pay Hinckley
I love this quote because it kind of sits nicely with what I believe. It’s important to prepare for your future while you’re living your day-to-day life. Afterall, when you ‘reach your future’ (which sounds vaguely strange!), it will be your new present!
So it’s equally, important to enjoy and appreciate your life now. Here are a few ‘how tos’ to help you enjoy life now, while you’re also shaping the future that’s coming.
Always strive to ‘get out of the day’ rather than ‘getting through the day’.
Make a point of starting each day knowing what you want to get out of it! By that, I don’t mean creating an endless to do list of things for other people. No, I want you to plan how you want to feel during the day and what actions will bring that feeling to you.
Appreciate and include the little things in your day. The special cup of coffee; the quiet walk alone; daydreaming; planning a future event; talking to or spending time with someone special. Begin your day by anticipating the event and end your day with appreciation for the event. Go to sleep happy.
Live today, but also take the opportunity to start shaping up tomorrow. Give yourself a window of opportunity by starting that job that’s been overwhelming you (just start it…); accept the invitation you’ve been procrastinating over; do your homework; make contact with…?; start the savings plan; book the flight etc.
You get the idea. 😉
When Is It Time For You?
I’ve spoken about the importance of finding time for yourself in these previous posts:
But how to enjoy your life is still something that crops up with my coaching clients. I often hear the words “I just don’t have enough time” or “I’m just too busy”.
I don’t disagree with this position, it’s something I struggle with too. Even just writing this weekly blog poses time challenges, but, it gets written.
In the end, this comes down to prioritising your most important tasks. In this vein, you should consider the thing you want to do as a super-important-task, that does not get knocked to the bottom of the list because your son can’t find his socks or your daughter needs a particular top washed, dried and ironed within the next hour (yes, both of those have happened!).
You will never find time for anything. If you want time you must make it
So, what can you do? Here are a few tips to help you make the time you need so that you can accommodate your needs:
Find ways to get quicker
Murphy’s Law…you’ve heard of it I’m sure? Work expands to fill the time available. I can stretch blog writing out all-day-long! I enjoy it, so why wouldn’t I? But, the truth of the matter is that it’s not a very balanced approach to how I spend my Sundays.
So, to overcome this, I set a time for 10 minutes at a time and challenge myself to write a minimum of 100 words in that slot.
Taking this approach, I can write the first draft of a 1,000+ word blog in less than 2 hours.
What routine tasks can you speed up by setting a timer?
Teach/train others to look after themselves (it’s good for them!)
It’s so easy to put off doing our important stuff because we believe we need to look after everyone else first. This is me to a tee!
But, I’m doing myself and my husband/children/team a disservice. Spend some time now to teach someone how to do something for themselves. Forget that the outcome might not be exactly what you want, it doesn’t matter. The important thing is to help people become self-sufficient and at the same time free up some of your time.
What task can you teach/train someone to do today for themselves?
Final Thoughts on How To Enjoy Your Life
To a large degree you already know how to enjoy your life, but the real challenge is putting that knowledge into action. Using the tips and tools above will give you some actionable steps to start moving in the right direction immediately. Bear in mind though that making changes will come with its own set of challenges, including personal resistance and possible resistance from people around you.
But, keep in mind that ultimately the more you enjoy life, the happier others will be too. So, go for it and keep with your plan. Good luck!