Carol Morgan, a psychologist and educator, once posed two questions to her readers: what had they always wanted to become since childhood, and had they achieved their dream in adulthood? For those who answered in the negative to the second question, she offered these 13 indications that life might be passing them by.
1. You spend too much time doing things you shouldn’t be doing
Video games. Reality TV. Surfing the ‘net. Stuffing your face with too much food. Drinking too much. And the list goes on. Take a serious look at your life. Where are you spending the majority of your time? And does it serve you well? Is it leading to a better life? Is it laying the foundation for a bright future? If not, then you need to reevaluate your routine activities and make changes.
2. You find yourself complaining a lot
I know people who are constantly overwhelmed with life, and they never cease to tell me. Are you one of those people? Do you complain about your job, your boss, your salary, your neighbors or your spouse? If you do, then you are doing nothing but exuding negative energy. Negativity doesn’t change things. It keeps you stuck. So change your thoughts and talk about what you appreciate about your life, not what you don’t like.
3. You don’t feed your mind
If you’re not continually growing and learning as a person, then you are stagnant – just like a still pond that doesn’t move and grows green gunk on it. That’s what your mind does if you don’t keep it active and learn new things. Positive challenges in your life will expand your mind, not send it backwards.
4. You have a lot of negative self-talk
Self-talk can make or break your life. As Henry Ford said, “Whether you think you can, or think you can’t… either way, you’re right.” If you tell yourself that you’re not smart enough to get that promotion or start a business, then you’re right. If you tell yourself you’re too exhausted to put effort into changing your life, then you’re right. Whatever you tell yourself becomes your reality. So closely monitor what you say to yourself, because you will find that your life matches your thoughts.
5. You feel uninspired
Do you have a passion for anything? I know a lot of people who think they don’t have a passion. But that’s never the case. There has to be something that you enjoy doing. So you need to rediscover what excites you, and then do more of it.
6. You don’t plan for your future
While it’s always great to live in the “now” and “be in the moment,” sometimes you need to look ahead to see where you want to go. If you don’t have a goal or a plan, then you are like a boat that is wandering aimlessly in the ocean hoping to end up somewhere good. But you can’t do that. You have to make a step-by-step guide to get where you want to go. Just like a GPS gets you to a destination, you need your own inner GPS to guide you.
7. You spend too much time with people who don’t contribute to your growth
It’s easy to get stuck hanging out with people who are not making you feel like a better person. But if you keep doing that, then you will stay stagnant or get pulled down with them. I like to call them “Energy Vampires.” They suck the life out of you and give you nothing positive in return. Instead, go find growth-oriented people to be around.
8. You’re addicted to your phone
Sure, cell phones are super cool gadgets that can leave us entranced when we use them. While that’s fun, think about all the time you are wasting with your phone. Even worse, think about all the relationships that might be affected. Maybe you’re texting or searching the internet while you’re having dinner with your spouse or kids. If you are, you’re missing out on meaningful time you can spend with your loved ones – or time you could devote to making a plan for your future.
9. You spend money on things that don’t matter
There is a difference between a “need” and a “want.” I’m sure we all learned that in kindergarten. However, in today’s society, we have blurred the lines quite a bit (see #8… the cell phone). In fact, I know people who can’t pay their mortgage, but still have the fanciest gadgets on the planet. If you stop to think about it, there is very little that we actually need. Food, water, shelter and love are some of those things. All the rest are just bonuses. So look at what you’re spending your money on and see if you can make adjustments. Maybe you can use the money you save to invest in your future.
10. You don’t get enough sleep
I’m not a medical doctor, but I have read enough books to know how vitally important sleep is. I could write 20 pages on it. But I obviously don’t have enough room in this short article. Sleep is crucial for good health. If you’re too busy to get enough sleep or if you simply have a bad habit of staying up until the wee hours of the morning, you should re-evaluate your habits.
11. You’re not taking care of your body
Not only is sleep essential to your health, so is food and exercise. I know I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know. But eating a balanced, healthy diet and moving your body around truly does have more positive effects other than weight loss. It affects your mental attitude and overall well-being. So take a look at your diet and level of activity. You might find that making a few small changes will greatly improve your life.
12. You don’t leave your comfort zone
I know how easy it is to live in a comfort zone. In fact, when I go to a familiar restaurant, I always order the same thing. Not because I’m afraid to try something new, but because I like the food I normally order. But that’s not the kind of comfort zone I’m talking about. I’m talking about taking a risk that will improve your life. And keep in mind, there is a difference between a “risk” and a “calculated risk.” Any risk has the possibility to be deadly, but a calculated risk is one in which you’ve weighed all options and thus come up with a good, sensible plan of action.
13. You’re living a life you don’t like
The way I measure success is by someone’s level of happiness. Are you happy? If not, then you should change something! Even a feeling of contentment or satisfaction doesn’t tell you that you’re living life to the fullest. Life should be exciting! So if you’re not enjoying life, take a look at some of the changes you can make to get you to a better place.
If any of these 13 points sounded like you, don’t despair. You can make changes. But the first change you need to make is getting rid of the idea that you can’t do it. Many times, your biggest obstacle is your own thought process. So start there. Change your thinking – then change your life.
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