Over the course of our lives, we learn a lot about what makes us happy. We have teachers and mentors, wild experiences, different jobs, and all along the way we continue morphing into the truest versions of ourselves.
Some lessons we need to continue learning over and over again until we get it right. Think about Bill Murray in Groundhog Day. He had to keep repeating that day until he figured out how to live it to the fullest. Luckily it was a tale of fiction, but sometimes it takes a little time to work out the lessons from life’s trials.
Here are 11 lessons we wish we’d learned in the past, that maybe you’re ready to start learning now!
- Struggle can sometimes be a good thing.
There are plenty of times when you’ll want to say “I just can’t do it anymore.” But it’s during these moments that we need to yell at the top of our lungs: “BRING IT ON!” It means we’re trying to overcome a challenge, and our personal growth and accomplishments depend on it. So yes, by all means, bring it.
- Rest before you’re truly tired.
If you wait until you’re utterly exhausted to take a break, you’ve probably waited too long and will have trouble unwinding. Take a long weekend when you can, say “no” to that happy hour and “yes” to an evening of meditation, or even take a personal mental health day to bike around town. You’re a human being, not a robot. A little rest goes a long way!
- Instead of complaining, take action.
If you’re unhappy with your job, don’t whine every night to your loved ones when you get home. Take action to change it. Complaining does not create results! It’s better to take the initiative to make real change in your life towards finding happiness.
- If you don’t feel a definite “YES!” in a relationship, then it’s probably a “NO.”
If you keep trying to make a relationship work, take a step back and ask why you’re trying so hard. Are you truly good for one another, or do you feel in your gut that it’s wrong? Keeping a relationship going that just isn’t working is not fair to you, or the other person. You both deserve to find love. It’s okay if it’s not with one another.
- Money isn’t as important as you think.
Having enough to cover basic needs, plus a little extra here and there for travel and treats is one thing. However, research has shown that any more than that doesn’t really make you any happier! Taking a lower-paying job that brings you happiness may be worth the pay cut from a high-paying job that makes you miserable. Do you really need that bigger house, or would you rather save that money for having a life experience? What will enrich your life more in the end?
- Make time for exercise, every day.
Whether it’s strength training, running, or just taking the dog for a walk – a healthy body lays the foundation for everything else in your life. You’ll feel better, and have more of that vital energy that fuels the determination it takes to reach your goals.
- Stop worrying about what others think of you.
Respect their opinions, but ultimately you make the choices that will make your life great. Don’t let people’s concerns hold you back from achieving your dreams, no matter how “crazy” they may seem.
- Be open to learning new things.
Learning new skills will help your brain stay healthy well into old age, but it’s also a wonderful way to enrich your day-to-day life. It gives you something to be excited about, and to look forward to. It doesn’t even have to be a new skill – it could be gaining perspective by learning from a mistake, or taking advice from a trusted mentor. Whatever you do, be open to growing each and every day.
- Don’t judge others.
Someone might take a different path than you, but that doesn’t mean they’re any less worthy of your respect. If they aren’t hurting anyone, who are we to judge their personal decisions? If it makes them happy, then that’s all that matters. Embrace the different lives that we all have the ability to create.
- Enjoy the little things in life.
A hot cup of tea on a cold day, a friend’s new puppy, or the sound of rain falling. Take a moment to be thankful of those little moments that make life beautiful.
- Create something – anything!
You don’t have to be a great artist, but leave a mark on the world in any way you can. Learn to play an instrument, take a whack at writing a short story, build a coffee table, paint an abstract portrait, knit a scarf – anything you want. You’ll feel good about the accomplishment, we can guarantee it!
[Credit: Foroux, Darious. “25 Things About Life I Wish I Had Known 10 Years Ago.” Greatist.]