Are you going through life without actually living it? For many, the reality is that we're just so busy. With work, family and other commitments competing for our time, life has a way of passing us by and leaving us regretful and old. Here are 10 things you can do to ensure you're living as full a life as possible.
1. Get rid of your to-do lists and day planners.
There are obviously many things "to do" if you are to remain a responsible adult/parent/spouse. But don't wear your busyness like a badge of honor. Some things are best put on the back burner, allowing you to take care of the most important things and then spend some free time doing the things most meaningful to you.
Traveling is an experience to savor — not just in the sense of lying on the beach or living it up in a ritzy hotel. People who travel tend to have a better awareness of others because they learn about different cultures, religions and ways of thought. Our experiences are what make us, and seeing the diverse beauties of this world completes us in ways that can't be achieved by any other means. So whip out your map and create a travel plan. You're probably not going to be able to go everywhere you want, but a journey across the world begins with a single step.
3. Make physical fitness a priority.
I get it. Most of us live busy lives. Whether you're working 60 hours a week or taking care of children 24/7 as you manage your household, physical fitness tends to take its place at the bottom of the priority totem pole. But you don't need to be training for an Iron Man to be physically active. Even if you only have time for a 10-minute walk or jog, make fitness a priority. By taking fitness off the back burner, you'll avoid many of the "quality of life" issues that come with aging.
It's been said that education doesn't end with high school or college. It becomes more important. Whether it's learning to speak a new language, to play an instrument or just learning about personal interests, those who live extraordinary lives accomplish the things they do because they never stop adding to their educations.
The last thing you want is to kick off your retirement by getting a part-time job. Saving for retirement is hard because it's much easier to see the benefits of spending now. But one day, your 65-year-old self will love you for the decisions you made early on to save for your future.
On their death beds, people never wish they would have spent more time at the office. The family is the basic unit of society, and all the good and bad that happens in this world has its core influence there. The most exquisite joy we experience in this life comes from family relationships, so if your family isn't a top priority in your life, it's time to analyze what needs to change.
7. Live your dreams.
Not everyone can be a Hollywood star or a professional athlete, but each of us has a dream of something we would like to accomplish in this life. Too many shrink from their dreams out of fear, doubt or criticism. Leave your mark on the world by making your happiness a priority and investing time in the things that matter most to you.
Holding a grudge is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. There is no point re-living anger over and over again. It turns you bitter and ruins your life while the object of your resentment continues to live his or her life happily. Be quick to forgive. Get that load off your back.
With all the responsibilities and cares we have, it's hard to find time to help other people. Even if we routinely donate money to others, our altruism tends to become one-dimensional. Branch out, and volunteer your time and talents. Give your life a higher purpose and you'll lead a happier and more fulfilled life.
10. Let go.
Worrying is like sitting in a rocking chair. It will give you something to do, but you won't get anywhere. It's important for each of us to review things in our lives and determine what we can control and what we can't. Then, we should make the decision to actively manage only those things within our control, having the courage to leave the rest alone.
Simply put, life is wonderful. Take the time and make the effort to live it to the fullest capacity. Trust me, you'll never regret it.