Hard truths can be tough to swallow, but for many of us, they can also instantly transform our lives. Finding ways to improve our lives isn’t always easy and it often takes brutal honesty; honesty that we’re afraid to admit to ourselves. But, I’ve found that honesty is like a hump.
Honesty is the plateau at the top of the hill.
Once we crest the top of the hill by admitting to ourselves that our lives aren’t absolutely perfect, the rest is just a process. A process of trial and error. Of building healthier habits that make us better people.
With time, these changes make us happier and healthier people. We feel better. We become much more confident. And, we begin setting a positive example for those around us. The benefits are virtually endless.
Here are 15 ways to improve your life. They won’t all be easy. In fact, some will be damn tough. But, those of us who start this process will reap the benefits. Those who don’t will keep leading the life that they always have.
15 Ways to Level-Up Your Life in 2020
- Stop believing that it’s “selfish” to spend time on yourself. It’s never selfish to put your oxygen mask on first before helping your neighbor. Your ability to help other people is a direct result of your personal foundation. Build it. You can’t help if you’re dead.
- Put your health first. Preventive maintenance of health is the best money you could ever spend. Get a gym membership if that’s your thing (I highly recommend strength training!). Devise a jogging plan. Stop eating junk.
- Strength train. You’ll get stronger and more confident, and you will burn more calories in the long run after you leave the gym. Start light. Push yourself. Be safe.
- Stretch. Every day. Stretching trains our bodies to be loose and limber, reduces the risk of injury and improves the physical movements that we make every day.
- Establish near-term and long-term goals for the year, and make them specific. Stick to them through accountability by telling friends and family about them. Ask them to check up on you. Never keep your goals to yourself.
- Don’t blindly accept friends and so-called “experts”. Try things. Experiment. See what works and keep those things that help you to accomplish your goals. Ditch the things that don’t, regardless of what books, programs or rich experts would have you believe.
- Refuse to believe that the world is out to get you, or that you’re a product of circumstances. You’re not. You’re a product of YOUR decisions. YOUR choices. YOUR habits. Personal responsibility is the first step to success.
- Be happy, not angry. Perpetual anger builds resentment and negative emotions, both of which are the source of underachievement, stress and frustration. Angry people are rarely successful and anger almost never truly helps.
- Ditch friends who don’t uplift you. Instead, surround yourself with supportive people who want you to succeed, who will push you to do better, who will love you when things get tough. Unfortunately, these friends aren’t easy to find.
- Results take time. Don’t expect to drop 20 pounds in a month (that’s not healthy). You didn’t get overweight overnight, and you won’t lose weight that fast either. Be consistent, focused and meticulous – not impatient.
- Be honest. Resist believing that what you’re doing now is working. Take an objective and honest look at your life. Non-judgmental. Fix the things that aren’t working.
- Stop watching the news. The news is often negative, sensationalized and in many ways purposely fabricated to push an agenda or objective. Refuse to be a victim of the 24-hour news cycle under the guise of being “informed”.
- Your phone is an accessory, not your life. It’s there to help, but it’s not your world. Look up long enough to take in what’s around you. You might be surprised at what you see.
- Don’t try to “keep up”. Most people are in debt. A lot of us lead unhealthy lives that are full of waste and excess. It’s pointless to keep up with those who lead destructive or meaningless lives full of materialism or waste.
- Make goals, not resolutions. Resolutions are too easy to break.
Steve is a 38-year-old early retiree who writes about the intersection of happiness and financial independence. Steve is a regular contributor to MarketWatch, CNBC, and The Ladders. He lives full-time in his 30′ Airstream Classic and travels the country with his wife Courtney and two rescued dogs.