We all know the famous Einstein quote, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results.” Yet, many of us do the very same thing day in and day out. I’ll let you fill in the blank on what that means for you. You might be stuck in a dead-end job or wasting your own time playing video games or watching Netflix every night on the couch. If you aren’t where you want to be in life, change up your routine. Here are six methods for you to go from going through the motions to deliberately creating a life of meaning.
My life really began to come together when I started writing. Your writing doesn’t even have to be good. Just write it. The more time you spend with it, the better you will get. What should you write about? You can write down your thoughts or mood for the day. You can jot down a list of ideas you have; I do this constantly. I have a “note” in my phone that I throw random ideas in whenever they pop up. This ensures you don’t forget these ideas. If you want a great app for this, check out Evernote.
Most importantly, write down your goals. I do this every New Years and I check in on it monthly to see my progress. Sprinkle in a couple easily achievable ones to up your self-esteem. By knocking out a couple right away, it will build up your confidence to go after the more challenging goals. You need to have goals and you need to have a deadline or they simply become dreams. Life can be tough at times and having a destination in mind can help motivate you on those tough days. Click here if you want to know what you can write about.
Get in shape
You don’t have to look like The Rock or a supermodel, but you should at least feel comfortable with yourself. Everyone’s idea of “in shape” is different and that’s ok. Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good. The takeaway here is to get your body looking how you like so that you can feel more confident. This can be accomplished by a fun lifestyle change such as going for more walks throughout the day or taking up cycling or kayaking.
Stop saying what you can’t do and start talking about what you can do! You can’t run a mile? Run a half mile or walk a mile. You can’t make it to the gym? Workout at home? No time to read? Turn off the TV and make time. You can’t do 50 pushups? Do 10. Do 1. You CAN do something!
Spend 5 minutes of your day and you will find peace and clarity. Maybe achieving true peace is not that simple but meditation helps me reduce my stress. If you need guidance on how to start this, try the free app, Insight Timer. They have guided meditations that can give you an idea of how it works. I found them helpful in the beginning but now I meditate in silence. The app is good for this as well as it has a timer, as the name implies, and it tracks your stats for the app.
I’m no expert in meditation, so I’ll defer to a book by Life Math Money who does a much better job explaining how you can meditate. If you’d like to learn more about the book, check out my review here.
Let go of what no longer serves you
This one probably deserves its own post, but we will save that for another day. There are people out there who are energy vampires. They have a way of draining your mood, money or your energy. Sometimes in life, you have to let people go so you can be who you are meant to be. Beyond negative people, how much clutter in your life is slowing you down? All the stuff we carry can cause a lot clutter in physical space and mental space. We change as we grow up and that means letting go of what is no longer bringing us joy.
Many of us have closets full of clothes we never wear or a garage full of junk. I am shocked at how many people use the self-storage units for long term storage. I understand these for moments of transition but if you use them for years, you should ask yourself if you really need this much stuff in your life. Even if you can afford the cost, it takes up your time and mental energy.
Improve your skillset
There are many ways to do this beyond going back to school. There is a free app you can download on your phone called DuoLingo that teaches you to speak a second language. I have been working on Spanish since I took a few years of it in High School and the population seems to be growing quite quickly here in America. This can be a better use of time than checking that Facebook newsfeed again. By taking 5 to 10 minutes a day, you could add a second language to your resume to help you stand out amongst other candidates. There are so many other ways to make yourself more skilled. YouTube and the internet are a wealth of information that we often abuse.
Start eating cleaner
Food is fuel and it makes an impact on your wellbeing as well as your lifestyle. I lost 25 pounds in 2018. What worked for me was getting rid of bad parts of my diet one at a time, so I wouldn’t get frustrated by too many drastic changes. I stopped drinking soda first. After around 30 days or so when you no longer really miss it, then it is time to tackle the next item. Just keep working your way through your diet and after a year, you’ll have given up most of your junk food. I grew up on mountain dew and Doritos but now eat fruit, veggies and kombucha. My diet is far from perfect but it’s better than it was.
There is a saying. If you want something you never had, you’ll have to do something you’ve never done to get it. Many of us have become mindless consumers. Our culture encourages a materialistic lifestyle, but a materialistic lifestyle does not always lead to a happy life. There is a rise of anxiety, depression and loneliness among many people in our society.
I see many people who are unfulfilled with their lives and the current advice of going to college, getting massively in debt and shopping our way to happiness is no longer viable and likely never really helped in the first place. I am seeing many young people transition into more meaningful lives. Often these are more unorthodox. If it brings fulfillment and leads to being true to yourself, I see this as a positive change.
“There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow men. True nobility lies in being superior to your former self.” – Ernest Hemingway