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If you’re reading this, there’s one thing I know for certain about you. It’s that you’re on a quest to live life to the fullest as the best version of yourself. You’re not content with just being able to live your life having the Popeye-like attitude of “I yam what I yam and tha’s all what I yam.”
No, you want more than that. You want to live a better life, a life that you truly love, a life that you will remember. The life you want is one where you wake up each morning and wonder what you did to deserve the amazing life you’re living.
You want to live a life of purpose, a life that matters. If you didn’t, you wouldn’t have read this far.
And yet, the fact that you’ve gotten to this far tells me something else. You haven’t arrived at your destination yet. You’re still striving to live your life to the fullest, to make every moment count, to live a life of no regrets.
It’s this intense desire to get it right with my life that has lead me down a path of self-examination, introspection, and improvement. I’ve read countless books, posts, and articles about how to live life to the fullest, everything from developing high-performing habits to getting my finances in order. I’ve taken courses and counseling and spoken to the people in my life whose wisdom I respect deeply.
And I’ve learned a few things about how to live life to the fullest (although as I get older I realize just how much I still have to learn).
Live Life To The Fullest Meaning
When I think about what it means to live life to the fullest, I think of getting the most out of every one of the resources I’ve been blessed with. Whether it’s using my finances to bring joy to those around me, including my family, friends, and those in need, or making efficient use of my time, it all comes down to optimizing what I have. It’s not settling for less than the best or being content with things that can be changed for the better. It means doing things that are meaningful and avoiding wasting time of things that aren’t. It’s living as our true and authentic selves and not who we think others want us to be. It’s acting in the face of fear and doubt and pushing through to the other side where our best selves wait.
The essence of this mindset is all beautifully expressed in Reinhold Niebuhr’s famous Serenity Prayer:
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time; enjoying one moment at a time;
accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it;
trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His Will;
that I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with Him
forever in the next. Amen.
In that spirit, here are 89 ways to live life to the fullest.
Live Life To The Fullest
Find your purpose
When you’re clear on what your purpose is each day, it’s easy to live a life you love. Each word, action, and interaction is full of potential and possibility. Each moment is lived with full intentionality and a type of healthy urgency.
And when you connect your purpose to your passion and you mix in a healthy dose of perseverance, you have what author Angela Duckworth refers to as Grit. And Grit is a MASSIVE predictor of success and a huge factor in being able to live life to the fullest.
It’s one thing to have discovered your purpose. It’s another to live in line with it. Most people never get to the point where they’re living in alignment with their purpose. But when you do, you’ll experience a level of authenticity that most never reach.
You can focus all of your time and energy on living out your purpose without worrying about discovering your true self.
Do something each day that scares you
Fear is an incredibly powerful emotion. But it has a bit of Jekyll and Hyde nature. On the one hand, It can save us from danger and keep us alive. On the other, it can paralyze us and prevent us from living a life that matters.
And so, each day, we need to punch fear in the face.
You can do this with small things like putting yourself out there when it comes to taking a controversial position on a subject that comes up a work. Or it can be something bigger like asking for a raise or confronting someone about an issue you know will bring about conflict.
It can even be “fun” things like getting over your fear of heights by skydiving.
Call a friend you haven’t talked to in years or commit to doing a marathon or triathlon.
Whatever it is, be sure that you take the opportunity every day to stick it to fear. Doing so will allow you to fully live your life authentically.
Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond to it. Every day you’ve got a choice. Choose to be bitter or choose to be joyful (did you think I was going to say better?).
Even in the darkest circumstances, you get to choose how you’ll respond.
Practice daily gratitude
Joy doesn’t happen by accident. It’s a discipline and you have to develop it. The best way make that happen? Start a daily gratitude journal!
Begin each day by taking 10 minutes to be grateful. If you’re not sure where to start, try this. List one person who was kind to you the previous day, one new thing you’re thankful for and one thing you’re looking forward to.
You’ll find that as you develop this practice on a regular basis, gratitude will naturally start to spill over into other parts of your life and you’ll become a more grateful person.
Focus on what you can control
In life there certain things you can control and others you can’t. People who have figured out how to live life happily know that you MUST focus on the things that you CAN control. These are almost always your thoughts, attitudes, and actions.
Ignore what you can’t control
People waste a lot of time and energy trying to change things they can’t. Worry is the most useless of all emotions. If you want to live your life to the fullest, ignore the things you can’t control. When you boil it down, that’s basically everything EXCEPT your thoughts, attitudes, and actions.
Living a life of purpose never comes from acting out of selfishness, In fact, our greatest fulfillment comes from giving of ourselves sacrificially to meet other people’s needs. It’s wired into our DNA to experience joy when we do. Don’t fight your DNA.
Cherish those you love
Life is short and time flies. Yes, they’re cliches, but they’re true. It’s so easy to go through life without really taking the time to cherish the people we love.
Don’t do it anymore.
Instead, stop for just a second longer than normal to drink in those everyday moments with the people you love and appreciate their beautiful simplicity.
Smile more, frown less
People who smile more are happier. Or do happy people smile more? Either way, just smile.
Surround yourself with people you admire and want to be like
We become like the people we spend the most time with. This isn’t just self-improvement mumbo jumbo. It’s psychology.
In his book High Performance Habits, author Brendan Burchard talks about how surrounding yourself with people you aspire to be like can change who you are. It’s called Social Contagion, and it describes how we become like the people we’re around. The characteristics of a group of people spread to all those they know, and even to their friends and friends of their friends.
So if you want to live life to the fullest, surround yourself with people who are doing the same.
Find a mentor(s)
There are few things that will move you closer to living a life you love than finding a mentor. When you’re able to get wisdom and advice from someone who has walked the road you’re on, it’s invaluable. In addition, you can learn from their mistakes and hopefully avoid them yourself as you move towards living a life of purpose and true happiness.
Live a Life of No Regrets
Good things come to the person who works their butt off. Life gives everyone opportunities to grow and find success. But for the lazy guy or gal on the couch, they can’t take advantage of them.
When you hustle though, you put yourself in a position to make the most of the opportunities that come your way. And when you do, you can live the life you’ve always wanted.
Don’t work too hard
Work is good. In work we can find a lot of joy and fulfillment. But life is WAY more than just work. Faith, family, fitness, and friends are all areas of life you need to focus on if you want to live a life of no regrets. If you sacrifice these on the altar of work, you’ll get to the end of your life and wonder why you didn’t focus on trying to live a life you loved, a life of deep contentment and joy.
Plan for the future
He who fails to plan, plans to fail. The cliche is trite but true.
When we sleepwalk through life without a plan, we can expect to wake up one day and wonder how the heck our life ended up as it did.
To avoid what author Michael Hyatt refers to as drift, you need to come up with a plan. This plan should be all-encompassing, including areas like your faith, marriage, and relationships, work, health and finances.
If all that feels a bit overwhelming, check out Hyatt’s book Living Forward where he walks you through the process of coming up with a plan for your entire life.
Live in the moment
Planning is good, but too much planning can rob life of the spontaneity that makes it so rich. Don’t let your need to plan turn into a need to control. The person who tries to control everything (and everyone) around them is on the fast track to a life of misery.
Instead, embrace the opportunities life brings for impromptu moments of joy. Jump in the pool with your clothes on at least once in your life. Stay up too late watching movies with your kids on a school night (yes, I said that…and I’m a teacher!). Have a food fight (o.k., this should probably be outside. My type A self just can’t let you do it in the house).
These spontaneous moments are the ones you’ll remember for the rest of your life. They’ll be indelibly etched in your mind as you look back and reminisce about how you were able to live life to the fullest.
Master your money
Money isn’t everything. Not even close. But it is an incredibly important part of life that plays a role in much of what we do. Because of its importance and the fact that it impacts many decisions we make, mastering it is critical to living a life you love.
When it comes to HOW to master your money, there are a few things you need to do.
It all starts with pulling your head out of the sand and becoming AWARE of where you’re at financially.
Once you’ve done that, check out these 13 simple tips to rock your money and get your financial act together.
Of all the 13 tips, only one deserves to be mentioned by itself. If you fall prey to debt like the average American who owes 26% of their income to debt, your life satisfaction will significantly decrease. And who could blame you when you think about the fact that consumers with month to month credit card debt will pay $1141 in interest per year! Not only is that a financial anchor for any plans you have to get ahead with your money, it’s just depressing.
If you find yourself bogged down by debt though, there is hope! Countless people have taken the steps needed to pay off their debt and get back on track financially. And you can too!
Pass money lessons on to your kids
Mastering your money is great. Passing on those money lessons to your kids so they don’t repeat your same mistakes is priceless.
But teaching your kids about money won’t happen by itself. Nope. In order to pass on your money values, you’ll have to be intentional about taking advantage of teachable moments. And you can…with a bit of help.
Check out this free course on how to make it happen.
Leave a legacy
Whether it’s teaching your kids about money or how to treat people with respect, one of the most priceless things you can do to live a life of purpose is to leave a rich legacy after your gone.
In order to do that, you once again need to be intentional about taking advantage of the many teachable moments life brings you. Not only that, but you need to stack the deck to make these moments happen.
Rather than telling your daughter how she should expect to be treated by a man, show her by how you treat her mother. Take her out on dates and model what she should be looking for in the young men seeking her affection.
Don’t tell your spouse you love them more than anyone or anything, show them. Instead of watching the big game, take time to go out for coffee to reconnect in a busy season of life.
Talk is cheap. Leaving a legacy isn’t, but it’s more than worth it.
Let go of grudges
Life is too short to hold onto bitterness from past hurts. We think that by withholding forgiveness we’re somehow hurting our foe. In reality, the only person we hurt is ourselves as our bitterness and anger poison us and we start to rot from the inside out.
The antidote to anger is forgiveness. Not that we’re excusing the behavior that caused us the hurt. Not at all. But we’re CHOOSING not to let it continue to eat us up inside. We’re choosing to bear the consequences of their behavior against us without bitterness or resentment. And it’s only when we forgive that we can experience true freedom and find what we really need to live life to the fullest.
Other people aren’t the only ones we need to forgive. For many people, the mental dialogue that plays on repeat in their mind is one of continual criticism and self-loathing. This can lead to many negative outcomes like depression or worse.
Instead, try having compassion for yourself.
You’re human. And you’re going to screw up. It’s not a matter of if but rather when. When you fall short, take the steps necessary to make things right with whoever you hurt and then CHOOSE to forgive yourself.
Complaining is like eating fast food. Everyone enjoys it until you’ve indulged too much. You look in the mirror and don’t like the person you’ve become.
People (including myself I’m sorry to say) engage in it so naturally that it almost becomes like breathing; you don’t even know you’re doing it. But complaining is subtle in its toxicity. It may seem like you’re just “venting”, but the effects can be devastating.
I’ve had rare moments self-awareness where I realize what a tool I sound like when I’m complaining and how second nature it’s become. In those instances, I realize I’m not living life to the fullest and I’m robbing myself of the capacity to find joy in every circumstance.
Yes, there’s almost ALWAYS something you COULD complain about. But CHOOSE not too. Instead, CHOOSE to live a better life, a better story. Instead, choose gratitude in all situations.
Stop being jealous
Jealousy isn’t a very good look for anyone. It’s ugly. Kind of like those fancy hats people wear to horse races. No one can make them look good.
Instead of letting jealousy paint everything in your life with a “not good enough” brush, choose gratitude.
It doesn’t mean you give up all desire for things that others have. No, rather find a healthy level of discontent, a striving for what you want while at the same time being grateful for the many blessings you enjoy. Doing so will allow you to live a life of purpose and direction without succumbing to the ugliness of jealousy.
Nobody likes being gossiped about. But a lot of people like to gossip. It’s almost a sport in some circles.
But stop and think about his for a moment. When you’re not around, are the people you gossip with gossiping about YOU? What’s to stop them? You’ve seen them talk nasty behind someone’s back and then in front of them treat them like their best friend.
It’s probably no different when you’re not around.
So stand up against gossiping. Rather than making yourself feel better by cutting people down to your level, focus on building yourself up to theirs. When you do, you’ll find that not only will you have more TRUE friends, you’ll live a MUCH happier life!
One of my favorite quotes about laziness is from the iconic inventor Thomas Edison who said that “we often miss opportunity because it’s dressed in overalls and looks like work”.
If you want to be in a position to take advantage of the opportunities that life brings your way, you need to be ready to work. In fact, as author Steven Pressfield writes about in his amazing book The War of Art, the best things in life often come WHILE you’re working.
There’s no magic bullet for making this happen. You’ve got to put one foot in front of the other and make it a daily discipline. That’s when inspiration and opportunity are most likely to strike.
Don’t give up
In his book Think and Grow Rich, author Napoleon Hill tells the story of R.U. Darby, an enthusiastic entrepreneur who headed west during the Colorado gold rush. After several months of hard labor, he and his partners struck gold! The first few carts of gold proved that they had hit one of the richest deposits of gold in all of the state.
But as quickly as it had appeared, the gold in the ground vanished. Panicked, the men desperately tried to locate the rich vein again and again by drilling in different locations, but to no avail.
After what seemed like an eternity of this futile exercise, they gave up, selling their equipment to a “junk man” and heading back east to their homes.
Now this junk man was wiser than he looked. He consulted with a mining engineer who came out to the site and determined that the rich vein of gold was only 3 feet from where Darby and his team had stopped digging.
3 feet. 3 feet from what they so passionately were searching for. 3 feet from what they had left house and home to pursue. 3 feet from success.
Don’t give up 3 feet from achieving your dreams.
Persist. Fight. Battle. Push through those 3 feet to what you really desire.
Take the initiative
Too many people sit back and let life happen to them. People who live life to the fullest don’t operate this way. They take life by the horns and make it what they want. One of the best ways of doing this is by going after what you really want.
Do you want a promotion? Go get it.
Is your burning desire to start your own business? Make it happen.
Do you want to get married? Start looking and stop waiting for “the right person” to find you. Find them.
Do you want to improve your marriage or be a better parent? You CAN!
But you CANNOT sit back and wait for these things to happen by themselves. Because they won’t. You need to make the first move. You need to be the one that gets the ball rolling. Living life to the fullest doesn’t happen for the timid.
Retire as a professional procrastinator
One of the deadliest phrases in the English language is, “I’ll do it later.” But here’s the thing. You probably won’t. For most people who use this phrase, and I’m speaking from experience, “I’ll do it later” is code for “I’m not going to do it but I want the good feelings I get from pretending like I will.” It’s a way for us to feel good about ourselves despite never actually doing what we said we would.
So put an end to this today.
Instead, live by the mantra of “Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today.”
Don’t wait to act in the way your best self would.
Don’t tell yourself the diet starts tomorrow. No, it starts NOW.
Don’t wait to register for that triathlon you’ve been “meaning to do”. Register now. Speaking of which…
Get in the habit of doing NOW what you know you should. Not later, but NOW.
Find joy in simplicity
Life can get very busy. In fact, it can sometimes seem like that’s what life IS, busyness.
To counteract that, make a conscious effort to simplify your life.
For one, take a break from social media. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, they all have their positive elements. But they can make your life feel so crowded by stealing your time and energy. Fast from social media at least one day a week. No posts, tweets, instas or even emails.
Instead, focus on the people ACTUALLY around you. Take time to connect in meaningful ways with those you love and who REALLY matter to you. Doing so will help you reestablish what is really important in your life and live your life so you won’t have regrets at the end of it.
Stop sleepwalking through life
If you want to live life to the fullest, it’s not going to happen by accident. Whether in your marriage, family, work or with your money, you won’t naturally move towards the life you’ve always wanted without being intentional. It’s this intentionality that sets apart the highly successful from the extremely disappointed.
So get intentional about your life.
Determine what you want out of life, make a plan to get it, and then make it happen to live your life to the max.
Deal with your past hurts
We’ve all been hurt.
You may think you could never confront the pain you’ve buried so deep inside no one even knows it’s there except you.
You’re so much stronger than you give yourself credit for. And if you don’t confront the demons from your past they WILL rear their ugly heads. And when they do, it won’t be pretty.
Confront them on your own terms, at a time a place of your choosing.
Maybe I’m biased (I am since I’m married to an amazing woman working towards becoming a psychologist) but I think everyone needs to confront their past to deal with the junk we all carry through life. Whether that’s by seeking the help of a professional counselor or not is for each person to decide on their own.
But however you choose to face your demons, the fact is that in order to live life to the fullest you need to let go of the baggage from your past. And the only way that will happen is by facing your past hurts head on.
As the saying goes, the only way past is through.
Enjoy the little things
Whether it’s a bike ride with your family, the kind word from a stranger in the grocery store, watching the sun come up on your way to work in the morning, or a quiet night on the couch watching Netflix with your spouse, don’t let the little things in life slip by without being grateful. They’re way too beautiful and precious to go unappreciated.
Don’t forget to HAVE FUN!! LIfe is way too short to be serious all the time.
Sure, be serious sometimes, but don’t ignore the many chances life gives you to just have fun! Embrace them, cherish them, and do your best to create as many as you can! At the end of your life as you look back, these are the things you’ll treasure most fondly.
In addition to having fun, be sure to laugh. And not just once in a while. Laugh it up. It’s good for you. In fact, according to the latest research, laughter can improve your health by doing everything from stimulating your organs to strengthening your immune system. Turns out that laughter REALLY is good medicine.
Change can be hard. But change can also be AMAZING! Much of how you feel about change comes from your perspective on it. If you view it as something that’s a threat to your happiness, contentment, and joy, then you’ll probably try to avoid it at all costs.
If, on the other hand, you look at change as an opportunity for growth, a chance to build your skill set and develop more into the best version of yourself, than not only is change not bad, it’s AWESOME!
Change your mindset on change and you’ll change your life.
Be sure to rest
As we said earlier, life is busy. It’s great to fill your life with awesome things. But sometimes you need to take a step back and take a pass on even the good things.
Burnout is real. You can’t burn the candle at both ends and expect to live life to the fullest. It’s just not going to happen. You need to take care of yourself and this means rest.
Take one day a week to rest, to just take it easy and enjoy the simple things in life. A quiet coffee. Giving pony rides to your kids (or is that just me?), an afternoon nap.
Not only will your body thank you for it, so will your soul!
Live Your Life
Spend more time with your family
The average person will have 4,264 Saturdays in their lifetime. Time is a finite resource. Which means, if you want to live your life to the fullest, you need to take FULL advantage of the time you have.
No one lays on their deathbed and wishes they’d spent more time working. But lots of dying people wish they’d spent more time with their family. Make sure you live a life of no regrets by spending LOTS of time with those you love.
Your quality of life is directly tied to your physical fitnesses. There are countless studies tying your fitness level to life satisfaction.
To live a life you love, be sure to prioritize regular physical activity. Not only will you probably live longer, you’re much more likely to live life happily!
Working out can only carry you so far when it comes to your physical health. To reap the full benefits of physical fitness you need to fuel your body properly.
Start by keeping things simple: eat whole foods instead of processed ones. Don’t waste calories on sugary drinks. Spend most of your time at the grocery store shopping the outer ring (where most of the healthy foods are). And eat on smaller plates.
Doing just these few things will help kickstart your health and optimize your performance so you can live a life with no regrets.
Get enough sleep
The final piece of the puzzle when it comes to physical health is sleep. In order to function at your best, you need to get 7-9 hours of shut-eye.
No, you’re not the one exception to this rule. If you don’t believe me try getting 8 hours of rest one night and just see the difference it makes. I know when I get a full night’s sleep I feel like I can do pretty much anything, and you will too!
Stay young at heart
Getting old is inevitable. But that doesn’t mean you need to ACT your age.
Be sure to take advantage of the moments life brings you to stay in touch with your inner child. Whether it’s making snow angels, having a water fight, or laughing when your kid lets one rip at the dinner table, be sure you never lose your childlike wonder.
It’s a big world, and there are SO many incredible places to explore and people to meet! Don’t let your comfy, cozy part of the globe keep you from experiencing all that’s out there.
In my opinion, travel is one of the best “investments” (though not a real investment in the truest sense of the word) a person can make. Not only will it refresh and re-energize you in your quest to live life to the fullest, but the memories you’ll make and experiences you’ll have will not only last a lifetime, they’ll make you a more well-rounded person.
As an introvert, someone who gets reenergized from time alone, it’s easy for me to be a bit of a hermit. Thankfully, my wife is an extrovert and she pushes me to get out there and spread my social wings.
Just last night we were out with friends and I wasn’t super pumped for it. But after we were actually with friends, I found myself having a great time. I was tired after and needed some time by myself to refresh, but being with people was wonderful.
Life is more than money, holidays, houses, cars and other stuff. When you ask successful people how to live a life you will remember, they will invariably mention the rich relationships they’ve been a part of. Take a page out of their playbook and prioritize your friendships.
Exercise your brain
My grandpa passed away a couple of years ago. Fortunately, as his health began to fail, his mind never did. It was this sharp mind that was responsible for passing on many values to me that have helped me to live life to the fullest.
The fact that his faculties remained sharp to the end was no accident. In addition to good genes, grandpa read and journaled for much of his life. He had lots of friends and they had regular rousing discussions on all sorts of topics. As a master storyteller, he was always being able to recall with razor-sharp detail and wit tales he’d heard several decades before.
He didn’t just sit on the couch and watch tv. He exercised his brain, and this was in part responsible for him living life happily.
Read at least one book each month
Not only is reading good for your bank account (millionaires read more books than non-millionaires), it’s also good for your quality of life. You’ll be exposed to a variety of new ideas and points of view, and you’ll also be taking a major step forward in keeping your mind in good health.
But reading can be tough! Who has the time? If you want to read more but aren’t sure how you can make it work, check out these 21 tips to read more like a millionaire!
For me an absolute game-changer in helping me read more has been Audible. No longer am I wasting my time commuting daydreaming or listening to sports talk radio. Nope, I’m growing and learning with each mile I log.
Never stop learning
Part of keeping your mind in tip-top physical health so that you can live a life you love is always learning and growing. Whether it’s reading books as we just chatted about, or being willing to learn new skills to improve your quality of life, learning really is the gateway to living life to the fullest.
And in this day and age, with literally millions of pieces of information, tutorials, and online courses at our fingertips, there’s never been a better time to be a learner.
To make sure your learning never gets stagnant, check out some online course sites like Udemy, Coursera and Khan Academy, as well as hundreds of others.
Build Your social network
One of the best ways you can live life to the fullest is to surround yourself with like-minded people who will push and encourage you to make it happen. Yes, this is best when it can happen in the flesh, but it’s not always possible. Fortunately, with technology allowing us to seamlessly connect with people from Los Angeles to London, your network doesn’t have to be confined to your physical location.
Some of my most meaningful, and frankly helpful, professional relationships are with people I’ve never actually met before. Chatting on Twitter, being part of Facebook groups, and using FaceTime and Skype can be wonderful ways to connect with people who share your same approach to life. Not only can they encourage you on your journey, but they can give you tangible tips and advice to live a life of purpose.
Develop your social skills
If you’ve spent any time at all on social media, or in real life for that matter, you know that social skills are in short supply. Which is why it’s never been EASIER to stand out from the crowd when it comes to how you treat people.
Truly, a little bit of social polish, kindness, and good manners goes A LONG WAY.
Even though some of these skills are learned (or not learned) at a young age, you can still grow and develop them well into your adult years. One of the best books I’ve come across to do so is the timeless classic How To Win Friends And Influence People by Dale Carnegie. Consider this your go-to handbook when it comes to honing your social skills and building the network of friends and contacts you need to live life to the fullest.
Make time for what’s important
Time is the great equalizer. No matter how rich or poor you are, we all have just 24 hours in a day. Which means you have to be ESPECIALLY wise in how you spend it.
We’ve chatted about using your time wisely, not wasting it, and making sure you use it to its maximum potential. But optimizing your time will look different for everyone.
In order to make sure you don’t regret how you’re using your time, take 10 minutes to list the things in your life that are important. After you’ve got everything down, order them from most to least important. Then over the course of a week, track how much time you’re spending in your most important categories.
Keep in mind that more important doesn’t necessarily mean more time. For example, my family would be more important than my work but I have to spend a certain amount of time, say 40 hours a week, at work. Unfortunately, I can’t spend the same amount of time with my family.
What you’re looking to do is to reflect on how you’re using your time. If you say family is more important than work, physical health and your social life, but you’re working 80 hours a week, going to the gym every day and hanging out with your friends all the time on the weekend, you need to recalibrate.
Doing this time inventory will allow you to ensure that you’re spending your time on what is most important in your life. And this will ensure you live a life of no regrets (or at least fewer ones!).
As we said earlier, life is 10% what happens to you, and 90% how you react to it. If you react with pessimism, you can be sure that your response will be tainted and bring you much hardship.
Reacting with optimism won’t change your circumstances, but it will DEFINITELY change your ATTITUDE in those circumstances. And as any psychologist worth their salt knows, living a healthy life is more about changing your outlook than your environment.
As the famed psychiatrist and Nazi concentration camp survivor Viktor Frankl said, “When we are no longer able to change a situation – we are challenged to change ourselves.” (I highly recommend his book Man’s Search For Meaning. It is absolutely mind-blowing for changing your outlook on life)
The world needs more empathy. It’s gotten really mean and quite callous. Again, this isn’t a good thing, but embracing my inner optimism, it just means you can really stand out and help people by growing in empathy. And you know that what goes around comes around. If you sow empathy, that’s what you’ll reap when you need support and encouragement.
But be sure not to confuse empathy with its cousin sympathy. Author Brene Brown has a wonderful explanation on how the two differ. One will get you a hug. The other might get you punched.
Be kind to someone each day
One of the best ways to live life to the fullest is by being kind to people. It’s crazy how little effort this takes, but how MASSIVE the payoffs can be.
In this self-absorbed, fast-food world that we live in, taking the time to be kind can have huge impacts on people far beyond what we even know. Simple acts of kindness like holding a door for someone, letting a car merge in front of you in a traffic jam, paying for the coffee of the person in line behind you at the drive-thru, and even just chatting with the cashier at the grocery store can all brighten a person’s day.
Again, make no mistake about it. We all reap what we sow. And when we sow more kindness we can be sure that the world will get just a bit happier.
Roll with the punches
Life throws a lot of curveballs. We all make plans for how we’d like things to go and then invariably we’re forced to change them when something unexpected happens.
But life isn’t in the plans. Life IS the plans going wrong. That’s LIFE.
So rather than losing your marbles when life doesn’t work out in perfect alignment with your plans, just roll with it. Take the lemons and make lemonade. Not only will your cardiologist (and your blood pressure) thank you, you’ll be much closer to living a life you love.
Live Life to the Fullest Quotes
Whenever I’m looking for inspiration to change my life and my thinking, I often search out quotes. I find that drawing on the wisdom of those who have gone before me can be very empowering in helping me live life to the fullest. And so, here are some KILLER quotes to help you do the same!
Enjoy the little things in life, for one day you may look back on them and realize they were the big things. – Robert Breault
The saddest summary of a life contains three descriptions: could have, might have, and should have. – Louis E. Boone
Although no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending. – Carl Bard
Happiness, not in another place but this place… not for another hour, but this hour. – Walt Whitman
It is not the years in your life but the life in your years that counts. – Adlai Stevenson
Life is not the way it’s supposed to be. It’s the way it is. The way you deal with it is what makes the difference. – Virginia Satir
Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. – Albert Einstein (one of my favorites)
The best way to prepare for death is to live life to its fullest. – John Bytheway
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the things you did. – Mark Twain
There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle. – Albert Einstein
There’ll be two dates on your tombstone and all your friends will read ’em but all that’s gonna matter is that little dash between ’em. – Kevin Welch
Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. – Helen Keller
Be bold and mighty forces will come to your aid. In the past, whenever I had fallen short in almost any undertaking, it was seldom because I had tried and failed. It was because I had let fear of failure stop me from trying at all. – Arthur Gordon
When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, I used everything you gave me. – Erma Bombeck
Everyone is trying to accomplish something big, not realizing that life is made up of little things. – Frank A. Clark
Don’t be afraid your life will end; be afraid that it will never begin. – Grace Hansen
Live Life To The Edge
Make a bucket list
Part of living life to the fullest is getting to your last days and not having any regrets, or at least not having too many.
If you haven’t been intentional about what you actually want to accomplish, then when you’re 90 not only will have lots of regrets, you’ll be too old and frail to do anything about it.
So take action today to make sure that doesn’t happen.
Make a bucket list of all the things you want to accomplish and experience in your life. They can be things like walking your daughter down the aisle at her wedding, completing a marathon, or learning to Tango. Remember, it’s your list and no one gets to decide what goes on it except you (and it would probably be a good idea to at least consult your significant other).
Once you’ve got your list, set about making plans to knock each item out. As you do, not only will you experience a great deal of joy and personal satisfaction, you’ll also be an example to others of how to live life to the edge, enjoying and savoring every moment.
Set goals and write them down
As with your bucket list, if you want to accomplish specific things in life (which people who live lives they can be proud of always do), you need to set goals. Your goals need to be specific and they need to be written down. There’s LOTS of research that shows that goals that aren’t written down are really pretty useless.
Now, these goals can be in any facet of life you wish. In fact, it’s a good idea to be sure you set goals in a variety of different areas like your marriage, family, work, fitness, and your finances.
Once you’ve taken some time to think about what you really want to accomplish and written it down, come up with a plan. The best way to do this is to think backward, or as the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People author Stephen Covey states, begin with the end in mind.
Think about where you want to end up and what the step right in front of that would look like. Then go back one step at a time until you’re where you presently are. Finally, determine the actions you need to take to move FORWARD one step at a time to reach your goals.
As you write down your goals and your plans to get there, you’ll be energized by a sense of hope and possibility, an attitude and outlook on life that is almost always present in people who live a life of purpose.
Set stretch goals
When setting goals, experts often recommend using the SMART acronym: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. While these are all good, goals that are too easy can set you up for mediocrity. Set the bar too low, and although you may reach your goals, you won’t reach your potential.
Instead, Charles Duhigg, author of Smarter, Faster, Better, recommends that in addition to achievable goals you set some stretch goals. Also sometimes known as Big Hairy Audacious Goals (BHAGs), these are goals that go well beyond what you think is doable.
Not only will these goals push you to really dream about what’s possible, they’ll also allow you to max out your potential as you look to live life to the edge!
Failure gets a bad rap. But failing is a critical component of learning. Edison wouldn’t have invented the light bulb if he hadn’t failed thousands of times first. And you won’t live your life to its full potential without becoming comfortable with failing.
That’s how learning works. You try, fail, then learn from your mistakes.
Rather than looking at failure as being final, view it as a pit stop on your journey to a life with no regrets.
Embracing failure is much easier when you view each day as being a fresh start. My wife loves to remind our family of one of her favorite quotes from Anne of Green Gables to give us a fresh perspective to start each new day. “Tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it…yet.”
Don’t beat yourself up for the mistakes of yesterday. Learn from them and move on.
Inventory your skills
We all have unique skills, talents, and abilities that we’ve acquired throughout our lives. Most people, however, don’t take the time to determine what these skills actually are. Sure, you may have some idea what you’re good at and what you like to do, but having a broad idea and knowing with razor-sharp clarity are two very different things.
To determine what your skills are, use a proven skills inventory. I recommend using StrengthsFinder 2.0. It breaks down your strengths into categories and has awesome descriptors and explanations to help you flesh out some of the subtle difference between the categories.
Focus on your strengths
Focusing on your strengths will give you the biggest bang for your buck when it comes to improvement and success in life. Once you know exactly where your skills lie, you can work to leverage them in your relationships, family, work, and personal growth. As you play to your strengths, you’ll find that your success will explode.
Again, StrengthsFinder 2.0 has awesome information to help you apply your strengths to grow into a person who lives life to the fullest!
Strengthen your weaknesses
Knowing your strengths doesn’t mean you can ignore your weaknesses. You still need to work on your weaknesses so you can grow into a more well-rounded person who knows how to live life happily.
Most of us have serious blind spots when it comes to our weaknesses. We either don’t want to see them, or we’re so blinded by our apparent greatness that we’re unable to get a clear picture of where we need to improve. So how can we determine our weaknesses? Read on!
Ask for feedback
Do you really want to live life to the edge? Try asking someone for their honest feedback. Without question, this is one of the scariest things are a person can do. Making such a request intentionally opens you up to criticism and makes you incredibly vulnerable to being hurt and offended.
But asking for feedback isn’t all bad. If you never ask for constructive criticism, your growth will be incredibly stunted. How can you grow if you can’t identify the areas you’re struggling in? The short answer is, you can’t.
When you ask for feedback, be sure to approach someone you respect and who you trust has your best interests in mind. Ask them to speak the truth to you, knowing that they’re doing it in love to help you live a life that you truly love.
Grow from criticism
Asking for feedback is one thing, but we’ve all experienced when people take it upon themselves to offer their unsolicited advice for we could improve. Sometimes these evaluations may be totally unfounded, but in my experience, there’s often a tiny morsel of truth to be found even in the most stinging critique.
Rather than responding defensively like someone who hasn’t yet figured out how to live life to the fullest, take time to reflect on the criticism. Is there some truth to it? Are you missing a potential blind spot? Is there something you could change in response?
Taking the time to slow down and contemplate what you could be doing differently will put you light years ahead of most people when they receive criticism.
Always be improving
Make it one of your life’s ambitions to always be improving. It was Russian leader Mikhail Gorbachev who said, “If you don’t move forward, sooner or later you begin to move backward.” Like a treadmill, life never stops. If you do, you’re moving backward. Guard against this inactivity at all costs.
Never stop growing, learning, and discovering. One of life’s most wonderful gifts is the ability to change and change for the better. Take full advantage of this so that you can live a life with no regrets.
Stop trying to change people
It takes a long time for people to understand that you really can’t change people. You may succeed in manipulating them to change temporarily, but it won’t last. In order for a person to change the impetus needs to come from deep inside themselves.
People spend WAY too much time trying to change people. Even if it were possible, the investment of time and energy to do so would be staggering.
Instead, focus on the things that you can control, like your attitude and behavior. You’ll find that as these change, so will your perspective on the person you’re trying to change.
Secondly, look for the positives in people. Even the most unpalatable person has positive traits. Try to see them.
Finally, there may times when you need to end a relationship because it’s detrimental to you. This is ok. You don’t need to be overwhelmed by guilt when it happens. As Dr. Henry Cloud describes in his books Boundaries and Necessary Endings, sometimes severing a relationship really is the best choice.
Try new things
Whether it’s sushi, skydiving or salsa dancing, don’t let fear or complacency hold you back from trying new things. People who have discovered how to live life to the fullest know that some of the best moments come when they lay down their fears and embrace novelty. Not only is it a great way to live life to the edge, it’s also critical to avoiding regrets at the end of it all.
Help others grow
As a teacher, I know that there are few things in life that are more satisfying than partnering with someone to help them grow. Don’t be lulled into thinking that you aren’t “expert enough” to help people. Remember, you don’t need to be an expert to help someone. You just need to be a little further along on the journey than they are. And whether you’re further down the road or not, sometimes the thing people need the most is encouragement, and you can definitely offer that in spades.
Remember life won’t last forever
Life is fleeting. None of us know when our ticket will get punched. It’s not morbid, it’s reality.
Live each day not in fear, but with a conscious awareness that our days are like a breath, a fleeting shadow as the ancient proverb states. By numbering our days we can gain the wisdom needed to live life to the fullest.
In the immortal words of Jackie DeShannon, “What the world needs now is love, sweet love. It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of.”
I couldn’t agree more, especially in this age of seemingly constant aggression and aggravation.
Each of us gets to choose how we treat others. It’s easy to love those who love us. But people who live without regrets know that true wisdom and kindness is shown in how you treat those who are a pain in your butt. This is what separates the mediocre from the truly great. So love others, even those who are difficult.
With all the discussion about things you can change to live your life to the fullest, it’s easy to feel pretty terrible about yourself.
As we said, life is a journey filled with triumphs, tragedies and everything in between. We’re all learning and growing. You’ll find yourself much more productive when it comes to your personal growth when you live with a discontented contentment. Be happy with who you are, but no so happy that you become stagnant. Think of it as a healthy discontent.
Living with this mindset will give you fulfillment in the present and drive you forward towards becoming the person you were meant to be.
At the end of the day, all the actions we’ve discussed will bring you closer to living a life of happiness and joy. But deep and lasting fulfillment won’t come unless the true source of your joy is supernatural.
Trusting in the hope that comes from Jesus really does change everything. Without the forgiveness that he offers and the peace, joy, and hope that comes with it, all of these tips for how to live life to the fullest are just chasing after the wind.
Be the Hero In Your Own Story
Your life is a story. And you’re the main character. Through your attitudes and actions, you have complete control to write whatever kind of story you want. It’s a mind-boggling level of control and responsibility.
Will your story have the protagonist pouring out a heart of regret on their deathbed? Or will it be marked by a hero who does everything in their power to live life to the fullest, a life with no regrets, of happiness, contentment and deep joy?
You’re the author. All that’s left to be determined is…everything.