“Be brave, be bold, take chances and never look back”
Life. We wake up, we get ready for work, we work all day, come home and have dinner, maybe relax a little bit, then back in bed to start all over. Sometimes, we have weekends set aside for more adventurous activities, but more likely than not, the weekend is spent catching up on sleep and chores just to do it all again come Monday morning.
Wash. Rinse. Repeat.
There’s a difference between living life and just getting through. We want to live our fullest, most authentic self, but it’s so easy to get stuck in a rut and forget that life was meant to be lived. When was the last time you did something new? Do you feel like you’re just getting by, stuck in the dredge that is living to work instead of working to live? Do you want to make a change and start leading a life that is full?
Let’s talk about the reasons to say Yes! To life, and a few small, simple changes you can make every day to start leading the life you deserve.
1. You only have one life.
This seems so simple, but the truth is that we often push this thought to the back of our minds. No one wants to think about mortality, and this is not the focus of this topic. But, you need to realize that this is it. You have a finite amount of time to do everything you’ve ever wanted to do, and planning on doing things in the distant future isn’t going to cut it. You must start thinking about your goals, your dreams, and life as something that is now. It’s not some bucket list, completed seconds before your final breath. You have so much more you can see and do; much more than will ever fit on a list.
Here’s where you can make one small change to help shake the need to put your goals out into the future and start focusing on and living in the present. Instead of a bucket list, write a list of things you want to do or experience this year. Shoot for at least twelve things that you’ve thought about recently.
Did you see your friend on social media hiking in the mountains and wish you could do that? Add it to your list. Did someone else tell you about a new restaurant they stumbled upon that sounded like something you would like to try? Write it down. Have you always wanted to try your hand at painting? Write it down. This list can have anything from learning how to crochet to learning how to fly a plane. The sky is the limit.
Once you have your list, divide it up by twelve and put them in groups. These can be cold weather and warm weather activities, or if some of your dreams are significantly bigger than others, list the ones that are less intimidating first. Hold onto that list. Let yourself get excited. This is a first step in making some big changes.
2. You deserve to enjoy your life
Once you’ve decided that you’re going to start saying yes to life, there’s going to be that inevitable doubt creeping in. This is where you need to redirect your focus, and you need to remind yourself that you deserve to enjoy your life, and cast that doubt away. A happy life isn’t reserved for the young, the rich, or the lucky. A happy life is for everyone, and even if you don’t lead life exactly like the next person, you can both be happy. This isn’t about what society thinks should make everyone happy. This is about listing out your dreams, and things that excite you, and living your life on your terms. Don’t be afraid to do things your own unique way, and make no apologies for it. Because you are unique, and what makes one person happy might not be what makes you happy.
You can use your list to help you with this part, or you can use visualization techniques to give yourself a boost of confidence. Imagine your life the way you want it. Think about something from your list you really want to do.
Let’s pretend you’ve always wanted to kayak, so you’ve added it to your list. Ask yourself: Do you really want to learn how to kayak? Of course, you do because it’s on your list and it’s something that you think about doing. Next, you have to decide that you’re going to do it. It’s alright if you don’t have the equipment, because there are ways around that. Don’t let something minor like that wave doubt in your face. You deserve to enjoy your life, and one thing you’ll learn as you start to prioritize your dreams and goals is that you will find a way to make things happen if you value the experience and you give yourself permission to say yes. Wanting to lead a full and experience rich life is a basic human right, so don’t let anyone or anything make you feel guilty for wanting more out of life. If you want to kayak and you don’t have the equipment, go online and look up kayaking clubs, introduction to kayaking, or even places that offer kayaking tours. Suddenly, your lack of equipment isn’t an issue any more. And that goes for anything on your list. Once you find the will, you will find a way.
3. Getting out of your comfort zone is exciting
Staying in your comfort zone is always the easier option. If you stick to what you know, then you don’t have to worry about failure, right? But giving up the excitement of trying new things and living life is a kind of failure, and you know from experience that the place outside your comfort zone is where the magic is.
Think of the last time you tried something new and enjoyed it. Were you scared at first? Of course, you were. Fear is a natural response to new situations, and it serves a vital role in trying new things. Try not to dwell on the fear, and instead recognize that the fear is getting your body ready to do more than just exist. This increase in adrenaline and other performance enhancing tools your body uses actually make this new experience easier. You’re hyper-focused, alert and ready to go. A little fear is a good thing, and you can use it to your advantage.
The easiest way to do this is to start stepping out of your comfort zone regularly. You can take small steps at first, and with each successful journey outside your comfort zone, you’ll build more confidence. You will eventually find yourself looking forward to the next adventure, and the fear that once held you back will now be a tool to help you succeed. This is why you’ve broken your list into twelve groups, or more if you wrote a longer list. You can start by trying one new thing a month, crossing things off your list as you go. That doesn’t mean that you have to stop doing something once you’ve crossed it off your list, but remember that once you’ve done something several times, it’s no longer outside of your comfort zone. In order to take full advantage of the magic that is the space outside your comfort zone, you have to use it often. So, make sure you have plenty of new things to try. Once a week would be better, but trying something new each month is an excellent start.
4. Every time you say yes, it’s gets easier
Just like everything else, saying yes takes practice. But with each successful “yes”, you’re building momentum that will carry you further and further. It has a snowball effect, and if you let yourself say yes as often as possible, great things will start to happen. You’re going to find yourself more satisfied with your life than you were before. You’re going to start creating opportunities to experience life more fully, and you’re going to start seeing how much of your life was passing you by when you avoided straying too far from the norm. Right now, if you’re living in a rut and you know you’re not excited about life, you may not realize exactly how much time you’re spending without fully living. But after a few months of saying yes and going after your short-term goals and dreams, you’re going to see a change in yourself that you never expected, and you’re never going to want to go back to the way things were before.
Use your list to push yourself to say yes as much as possible. Challenge yourself to add more if you’re running out of things to do, and make sure that you’re always working toward the next goal. And don’t limit yourself to the weekends. You can live on a Tuesday, too. Even Monday has more potential than we’re giving it credit for. Adjust your weekday goals to ensure you have time for adventure and relaxation, and start seizing every day as if it’s your last.
5. We don’t regret anything the way we regret missed opportunities. Live without regrets
This is a hard thing to consider for a lot of people, but this is huge. Think about the last five years of your life. If you’re feeling like you’re in a rut, you’re probably looking back and thinking that you’re spent five years working, resting, cleaning, and basically just existing. Obviously, there are going to be a few highlights here and there, but overall, it’s going to be a lot of doing the same things and just getting by.
This happens to all of us at some point in our lives. It’s a normal part of human existence and it does not mean that you’re failing. But, imagine being much older and looking back at your entire life with that same feeling that you existed and nothing more. That’s what we’re trying to avoid by learning to say yes to life. You don’t want to reach your golden years and wonder why you didn’t travel more when you were young. You don’t want to sit around listening to other people tell fantastic stories dreading your turn. What will you say? What excitement do you have to share?
What did you do with your life?
What a heavy question. If that question shakes you to your core and makes you feel like you’ve missed out on too much, then let’s change it. It’s never too late to start living your life. But don’t wait until next month, or when money isn’t so tight, or you’re not so busy. The truth is, money will always be something we think about and worry about. Unless you’re a billionaire, but they have their own unique set of problems. Everyone does. But, when you let thoughts about money, being too busy, or some other time being the perfect time, you are giving up your right to a happy life lived without regrets. Take the right back. It’s yours and you’ve earned it.
Don’t let another day pass by without squeezing every last bit of life out of it. If you’ve always wanted to spend more time outdoors, look up a place nearby by and go this weekend. Always wanted to learn how to make the perfect cake? Find a tutorial online and go for it. Just do it. Take the plunge and discover your power and your potential, and let the natural high you get from that experience be the foundation for you to build a new life.
6. Saying Yes can shake things up and set your life on a completely different path
This can be such a scary thought, but if you think about it, it really isn’t. A lot of us have something huge that changed the course of our lives. Maybe that huge event was a sad one, but most of the time, if you think back, you can find a time where you took a chance in your younger days and it took off. Maybe things didn’t go well at first, but then you managed to spin it into a career. Whatever it is, your life was completely changed, and you wouldn’t be who you are today without that experience.
Saying yes has this same potential. Trying new things, stepping out of your comfort zone, and making new connections can completely change the direction your life is going. Maybe you’re avoiding your dreams because you have a stable job right now that’s paying the bills and you’re getting by. But think about this. What if you meet that one person who says, “I bet you’d love our company, and we’re hiring.”? What if you try something new and you discover that you are talented? What if you can make a living chasing your dreams? Isn’t that possibility worth letting go of the illusion of control we all have over our lives and our safety? I bet your answer is yes.
Go after your dreams as if they have the potential to change everything, and you’ll be surprised just how much living a full and authentic life can change everything. You might still be working the same job with the same people, but you will find that saying yes and living into your potential will have real, lasting and positive effects on your entire life.
Saying yes to life can change everything. What are you waiting for?