5 Life Changes You Can Make to Maximize Success and Happiness

Dayana Sabatin

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I’ve been thinking a lot about happiness, why I wake up in a better mood on some days, why I feel hopeless sometimes, why I work so hard, why I work so little, and everything in between.

My mind doesn’t stop racing; it’s a nonstop marathon runner who doesn’t need food, sleep, nor water to survive.

I think about every goal I have and what I can do to get there. I look at others who have achieved their goals, and I wonder, what’s the difference between us? What’s holding me back from being just as happy and just as successful?

Everybody has a different version of happiness and success; my version of it might be completely different from yours, but I still believe that the life changes I’m making can benefit you as well.

Be more present in my daily life.

I’m the type of person who gets so hyped up about what I’m doing next weekend that I’ll let the days till then pass by without even looking up sometimes.

I go on autopilot, going through my daily routine without savoring a single second of it.

You wonder why life feels so mundane, but maybe it’s because your eyes are closed, and you think the good stuff only happens on the weekends.

I’m learning to savor the simplicity of life. I started going on more walks recently, throwing a podcast on, and instead of looking down at my own two feet as I’m walking in order to avoid all eye contact with strangers, I look up.

I admire the palm trees that surround me; I look at each and every house I pass, sometimes I even say hello to strangers, especially the ones who let me pet their dogs.

I try to be more mindful of what I’m eating. Instead of shoving food down my throat because I’m starving, I take a moment to appreciate it, savor the taste of it, wash my dishes slowly, I listen to jazz when the house is empty.

Instead of going through the week like a zombie, I’m learning to appreciate each and every day for what it is. A blessing — sometimes an adventure, sometimes a quiet and peaceful day spent reading — other days it’s chaotic, but I’m learning to be okay with that too.

Whatever the day brings, I try to be present for it. The days aren’t as dull or mundane when you’re more attentive to yourself and your surroundings.

Cut out people who don’t influence me in a positive way.

I want my life to be filled with people who are thriving and happy because I want to be thriving and happy.

Over the weekend, I went out with one of my oldest friends, and when I woke up the next morning, I barely remembered what had happened or what we even talked about.

What was supposed to be a nice dinner and drinks turned into a night of endless shots, and it took me an entire Sunday to recover. I should have said no, but it’s hard when everyone around you is drinking and telling you to loosen up.

Don’t get me wrong, I love a good cocktail or three, but at this point in life, it feels like the biggest waste of time to spend the day hungover. I’m still irritated over it; I wasted a whole Sunday hungover, and for what?

It’s so important to identify where you’re at in your life; understanding that you’re on a different wavelength than other people can help you figure out who to weed out and who to keep.

While my friend had a great time and felt totally fine the following morning because all she does is go out on a daily basis, I was wrecked and couldn’t even do my errands the following morning.

I treasure my time; I don’t have a lot of it, and ensuring that the people I give it to are a positive influence in my life is something I plan on doing from now on. Life is too short to spend it hungover and with people who don’t benefit you in any way.

You need to find people who inspire you. Who make you question life, who you can learn from, who you can advance with, who you can laugh with and feel good with.

And honestly, it goes both ways. I never want the people I’m with to feel like I’m dragging them down or not enhancing their life in some form.

I’m removing the phrase, “I’ll start tomorrow.”

Or anything along those lines.

If you’re someone who is currently unhappy with their life, or you feel like a failure, maybe it’s high time you started actually doing something about it.

It’s a hard pill to swallow, but for the last few months, I’ve been going to bed feeling so unaccomplished and miserable, and I realized despite the fact that I was getting all of my work done for the day, I wasn’t doing what I really wanted to be doing.

Which is writing a book. I kept telling myself; I’ll start it tomorrow. It’s not the right time. It’s not the right place. The outline sucks. The plot is silly. I should do this instead. It’s too late now.

The more excuses you make, the worse you will feel about yourself. Everybody always says they’re going to start a diet tomorrow or next week or next month, but why can’t you just do the damn thing now?

If you feel like you’re capable of achieving something and you want it bad enough, you’re not going to wait, and you’re not going to come up with 10+ excuses as to why you’re not doing it.

What is that one thing you’ve been telling yourself you’ll do tomorrow? Why can’t you start it today? Why can’t you invest just a little bit of your time and efforts into it right now? What’s stopping you?

I’m trying to be more zen.

Definition: a state of calm attentiveness in which one’s actions are guided by intuition rather than by conscious effort

Used in a sentence: “She is kind and relaxed with a very zen energy about her.”

Zen Buddhism is a mixture of Indian Mahayana Buddhism and Taoism. It began in China, spread to Korea and Japan, and became very popular in the West from the mid 20th century.
The essence of Zen is attempting to understand the meaning of life directly, without being misled by logical thought or language. — BBC

I don’t know the science of being zen; however, Thich Nhat Hanh simplified the rules of it and said,

“Smile, breathe, and go slowly.”

I want to be the epitome of Zen. I’m such a tense individual, my coffee machine hasn’t been working the last two weeks, and it threw my entire morning routine out of whack. A zen person would smile and say, it’s okay, life happens, and a tense person (aka me) would say, my life is over — today is ruined.

Every time I think about being “Zen,” I think about Eat Pray Love and the breakthroughs Elizabeth Gilbert experienced throughout her journey.

One of my favorite things she talks about is how you can’t control everything in life. I couldn’t control whether or not my coffee machine would break, but I can control my response towards it.

We can’t control a lot of things in life, but we can control what we eat, how we spend our time, the words we use, and who we let into our life.

In the film, Gilbert’s friend Richard tells her that choosing our thoughts is the same as choosing what to have for breakfast.

Isn’t that something?

With this in mind, Gilbert realizes that negative thoughts are part of reality, but what she did with them was her free will. If you’re willing to let go of emotional attachments to negative events, you could receive the negative thoughts and send them on their way.

At that moment, she views her mind as a safe harbor and starts a new mantra. She’s no longer going to home unhealthy thoughts in her mind.

This is my goal, every time a negative thought, comparison, complaint, frustration comes to my mind — I’m going to let it go. Easier said than done, but worth striving for.

I am putting more focus on my health.

I don’t mean this in the sense of I’m going to exercise for 30 minutes every single day etc. I already exercise every day, and I’m never the type to skip a workout.

When I say health, I mean both physical and mental. This means doing things that benefit your body and your mind in the long run.

I’ve started incorporating hot yoga into my lifestyle because hot yoga flushes out all of your body’s toxins, and it helps you relieve stress which — speaking of stress is something else I’m putting a lot of focus on.

Stress is so harmful to your body and affects you in so many negative ways without you realizing it. Stress affects your central and endocrine systems, respiratory and cardiovascular systems, digestive system, sexual and reproductive system, as well as your immune system.

We’ve all experienced stress, and the majority of us experience it on a daily basis. My goal is to decrease it to the best of my ability by trying my best to control what I can control.

If you feel like you’re in the same boat, constantly stressed and worrying over everything, take a step back from your life and evaluate what it is that’s causing you to feel so stressed out all the time. What can you do about it?

What can you add or omit from your life to help you feel more relaxed?

Maybe you’re like me and you constantly sweep problems under the rug in hopes of them magically resolving, and if so, that’s where you need to start because progress is what helps relieve stress.

The next time you’re faced with a challenge, figure out a solution and see how much better you feel rather than trying to avoid it.

It’s 2021, and it’s never too late to identify and fix problems. I’m ready to be my best self, I’m ready to focus on the things I’ve been slacking on and put forth my best effort.

Are you in?

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Freelance writer sharing thoughts on self-improvement, productivity, and success.

Santa Monica, CA
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