10 TIPS TO GET MORE OUT OF EVERY SINGLE DAY
American actress Julia Roberts recently revealed how she overcame depression with a new attitude.
“As I look out my window and look back at my life, I realise that life is precious,” she said.
“You have to live every day like it’s your last.
“What people don’t know about me is that I had depression a couple years back. I never told anyone about it. I thought I wasn’t good enough or I was too old. I had to fight my way out of depression. The person who was holding me back from my happiness was me. Now, I treat life like a child treats candy. Life is short, so live today.”
Live each day like it’s your last.
It may seem a little morbid — paranoid, even — to think today could be your last on this Earth and that you might die tomorrow.
And though we certainly wouldn’t want to spend our last day paying bills, meeting deadlines or cleaning the car, responsibilities, chores, commitments and expectations are simply a part of life. Some things just need to be done.
So why do so many people, including philosophers, entrepreneurs and other inspiring and influential people, from Julia to Steve Jobs, Oprah and Alan Watts spruik the idea of living an exceptional life by virtue of this seemingly unrealistic mantra?
Well, you see, it’s not so much about focusing on the finality of our days, throwing our to-do lists out the car window and making reckless, self-indulgent decisions in the sure and certain knowledge that we’ll never have to deal with the consequences.
It’s not about tearful farewells or lamenting over the possibility that this could be your last kiss/slice of cake/breath.
The essence of living each day as though it were your last is more about how you spend those fleeting moments between ‘gotta-dos’. It’s about remembering that aside from the day-to-day logistics of ‘getting by’, you have dreams, hopes and ambitions. Activities that really breathe life into you and bring you a sense of accomplishment. It’s about the notion of doing something — at least one thing — each day that fills you up and protects you from the torture of regret.
It’s about doing things that contribute to a sense of happiness —for yourself and others — at the close of each and every day.
It’s actually a really beautiful message, and one that we should all try to honour.
Here are 10 ways you can start to live from that place of “making the most of now”, and seize the day:
Ask yourself, “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?”
In his 2005 Stanford Commencement Speech, Steve Jobs revealed how when he was 17 he read a quote that went something like, “if you live each as if it was your last, some day you’ll most certainly be right.”
“It made an impression on me,” he said.
“And since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No”, for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.”
So, do it. Ask yourself that same thing Steve asked himself every day and if the answer is no, consider what might be holding you back and decide how to change it.
Say, “I love you”
Take time to connect with the special people in your life and show them you appreciate them.
It will remind you that you too, are loved.
Do what you love, or better yet, do what makes you itch
In his famed speech, Alan Watts said:
“I always ask the question, “What would you like to do, if money were no object? How would you really enjoy spending your life? … When we finally got down to something, which the individual says he really wants to do, I will say to him, “You do that and forget the money, because, if you say that getting the money is the most important thing, you will spend your life completely wasting your time. You’ll be doing things you don’t like doing in order to go on living, that is to go on doing things you don’t like doing, which is stupid. Better to have a short life that is full of what you like doing than a long life spent in a miserable way.”
Apply Alan’s message to your every day and understand what makes you happy. Not just in your work, but in all areas of your life. Once you’ve honed in on what that is, try and create space in each day — or at least a part of it — for those things. Optimise your day for happiness.
Often, life is more about what you give. So give, however small, to someone else. Invest a slice of your day to mentor someone. Help a colleague. Donate to a good cause. Be there for a friend who needs you.
Give guilt the heave-ho and practice self-love every, single day. Indulge yourself in all of the things that nurture your body, mind and spirit, because the ‘soul food’ you put into your body — be it good food, movement or stillness — becomes the fuel on which it runs.
Gratitude. It really is the key to finding to happiness in the every day. Whether it’s for the food on your table, the roof over your head, the love in your life or simply the fact you get to open your eyes each morning and see a new day, focusing your mind on your blessings connects you to the present moment and makes you realise that what you already have, just might be more than enough.
Writing that list of three things you’re grateful for, before bed, helps you end your day on a high note, always.
Yeah, the time you wake up in the morning might not necessarily determine how much you can squeeze into your day, or what it is you can squeeze into it. But if you were granted only 24 more hours on this beautiful planet, would you spend it sleeping in?
There’s something magical about rising before the sun and watching it light up the day ahead. In those moments of golden stillness, the power of possibility becomes potent — there’s no better time to set your intentions for the day ahead and ask yourself the question we pose in tip number one, above.
Don’t wait for someday
Because, what if that day never comes?
Whatever it is you keep putting off until the future won’t happen unless you’re working on it right this very moment. So get started. What can you do today that will get you one step closer towards achieving your goals or allowing to become the highest version of your self?
Just go do it.
Remember what that oh-so-wise guy Mark Twain said?
“Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.”
Slow down and be present
Don’t let life pass you by in a whirlwind of busyness and doing…stuff. Just slow down, breathe and treat each experience as though it were your first.
Really taste it. Hear it. See it. Feel it.
Embrace stillness. Be present in the presence of others. Unplug for a while — lock away the distractions. Connect. Converse.
Just be here, now.
Of course, if today really were our last, many of us would choose to throw caution to the wind and do something to really get that adrenaline coursing through our system.
So why not try it?
This doesn’t mean you need to jump out of a plane or swim with the sharks every lunch hour. The point is, you should do something that inches you out of your comfort zone and stretches you. Often.
Make your life more of an adventure. Take the scenic route home. Get out of town and explore. Try new foods. Learn a new skill. Say yes more than you say no.
If you were to do one thing each day that would ensure you were living it as though it were your last, what would it be? Share with us in the comments below!