Stop Going Through Your Day on Autopilot

How often do you find yourself meandering through your day without much thought or concern for what you’re doing? Maybe more frequently than you would care to admit. Don’t worry—it happens to all of us. But this detachment from the liveliness around you will quell opportunities to learn, grow, and develop healthier relationships. Moreover, when you’re not actively participating in your own life, you cannot become the optimal version of yourself. You are essentially existing, not living.

This is a BAD thing.

What can you do to prevent this autopilot mode from occurring? Well, you have to make a conscious effort to stay connected throughout your entire day. And here are a few recommendations to engender action on your part.

1) Pay attention – This might sound obvious, but you would be surprised just how many people are not observant of their surroundings. Look at that cardinal perched on a nearby fence; admire the color—red, orange, yellow, green—of tree leaves in your neighborhood; or people watch at your local Starbucks.

2) Interact – Mark Twain might have been a misanthrope, but you can be more gregarious. Take every occasion to engage with the people around you. This includes family, friends, coworkers, and strangers. (Note: Use common sense when attempting to interact with individuals you’re not acquainted with.)

3) Change your routine – Want to avoid a run-of-the-mill lifestyle? Then monotony is your enemy; therefore, make regular adjustments to your routine. Have fun with this one and be creative. So you might take a different route to work, fix eclectic meals, participate in unusual activities, etc.

4) Develop a sense of humor – If you’re like most people, your days are replete with mundane activities and unappreciative people. Trust me—I get it. Nevertheless, you don’t have to take things so seriously. Look for humorous situations around you. Or better yet, learn to laugh at yourself for those little foibles.

Now . . . go out there and actively participate in your life because you have no more excuses.

Ways to Kill a Relationship

Relationships are an important aspect of a healthy lifestyle, and if a relationship is mutually rewarding to all parties involved, it can last a lifetime. But are you acquainted with the three BIG relationship killers? These points pertain to friendships, intimate associations, and familial relationships. Moreover, you should avoid these mistakes at all costs.

1) Lack of communication – Without open lines of communication any bond will eventually weaken. You hear this advice ad nauseam; however, let me add: honest and healthy discourse—not yelling or fighting or accusing.

2) Assumptions – Making assumptions regarding another individual or their emotions can lead to misunderstandings, hurt feelings, and arguments. Don’t be afraid to question someone to verify information before jumping to conclusions.

3) Lack of flexibility – For any relationship to be healthy, you have to be willing to compromise from time to time. I’m not telling you to be a doormat, but you should consider the needs and desires of others as much as your own

So, make a note of the three BIG no-nos and avoid committing these mistakes in your relationships. Unless of course . . . you want them to end.

It’s Simple to Be Happy

Listening to individuals pontificate regarding their pursuit of happiness, you would believe they were searching for some magical unicorn—never spotted, just an object of lore. These people are always looking for a relationship, job, hobby, etc., they believe will lead to happiness and a quintessential existence in never-never land. Wake up! The alarm clock is sounding.

There is only one person responsible for your happiness: You

Therefore, you have the ability to choose happy or unhappy. Unfortunately, many people make the decision to be unhappy. If you’re one of those individuals, today is your lucky day; I’m going to provide you with the steps necessary for growth.

Step 1: Recognize and accept the fact you and you alone are in charge of your happiness. This step is paramount in the process. If you do not fully adhere to this belief, you are wasting your time reading any further.

Step 2: Stop continually thinking of yourself. Yes, it is perfectly acceptable to ponder your wants and desires, and to express those needs to others. But if you never contemplate the happiness of family members, your partner, friends, or even strangers (hint, hint, charity), you need to correct this situation immediately.

Step 3: Learn to be satisfied with what you have. You don’t need more “stuff” to make you happy. Show appreciation for the wonderful individuals in your life and the material possessions you are fortunate enough to have acquired. There are numerous people in the world that will go without basic necessities today. Keep that in mind.

Step 4: Quit attempting to control every situation. There are some circumstances you can change/alter and some you cannot. Become proficient at discerning the difference. In the words of Epictetus (circa 50-130), “Happiness and freedom begin with a clear understanding of one principle. Some things are within your control. And some things are not.” And while we’re at it, stop searching for perfection. Just like the unicorn, perfection is a myth.

Step 5: Evaluate your associations and disconnect from anyone who is not healthy for you. It’s better to have a few close friends than a gaggle that bring nothing but drama and pain. This also applies to intimate relationships; however, when a marriage is at stake, you should always seek assistance from a qualified professional.

So, now you have unearthed the secret in the garden of happiness. Simple, right? Well … simple yes, but easy, no. Like any gardener worth their seeds would tell you: A garden requires frequent maintenance. You have to water. You have to weed. You have to nourish. And you’ll have to perform the same type of work. Nothing of value comes without a cost. What price are you willing to pay for your happiness?

Never Too Old, Never Too Late

All of us have dreams we would like to bring to fruition, preferably sooner than later; however, we tend to rationalize why we are not taking the necessary steps to transform those dreams into realities. And if we’re not exactly spring chickens, one of our favorite excuses is we’re too old to start something new.

Well … I’m here to tell you this: You are never too old to fulfill your aspirations.

But there are several elements you need to be aware of in order to increase your chances for success. So, grab a cup of coffee and let’s get started.

Stop making excuses – You are no longer allowed to formulate reasons why you “can’t.” Stop it.

Make a plan – Take the time to draft a plan of action, making sure to include specific details about your dream, a realistic timeframe, and any prerequisites that need to be dealt with. If you don’t have a roadmap, how are you going to reach your destination?

Look for examples – Perform some research and unearth people that have already made their dreams a reality. Take detailed notes as to how they managed to achieve those goals. Because of modern technology, you have access to more information—including cat videos—than ever before. Use it to your advantage.

Receive advice sparingly – Learn to discern between constructive criticism and negative comments people make regarding you or your goals. Even individuals with the best intentions can supply unnecessary negativity, but you have the ability to disregard that advice. Period.

Ask for help – When you hit a roadblock, and it will happen at some point, reach out to someone for assistance. (No, it will not make you look weak.) If you truly desire to make your dream a reality, swallow your pride and ask for assistance. Guidance from a friend, trusted coworker, or a successful individual can be priceless.

Now, before the day concludes, go out there and be a game changer. Make all of your dreams come true … one step at a time.