10 Things You Wish You Knew Then—To Change Your Life Now
No matter your age, it’s never too late to embrace change and new habits in your daily life. One way to do this is to reflect back on your past and the lessons learned from when you were younger.
Here are 10 life lessons to enhance your days going forward.
- Don’t worry about what other people think of you
Worrying about what others think of you and your decisions, drains your time—mentally and physically. When you spend your time seeking the approval of others, you lose time to accomplish the goals that matter to you. While it’s good to get the opinion of positive influencers in your life and people you respect, ultimately, it’s your life to live. Choosing to live it achieving things that matter to you will lead to more happiness and joy.
- Don’t live in the past—live for today
None of us are guaranteed more tomorrows. Feeling regretful of the past and sorrowful your life didn’t work out according to earlier plans, will rob you of contentment today. When it comes to pursuing your dreams, tackling a challenge, or experiencing that bucket list item, don’t wait. Don’t let them be things you do ‘someday’. Now is the day. So, let go of old insults, failures, and setbacks. They didn’t work for you in the past, and they don’t work for you now.
- Don’t burn your bridges
In the heat of the moment when we feel wronged in business, it can be easy to lash out at the one who has caused us an injustice. However, you can’t foresee when that colleague, mentor, boss, or business acquaintance could help elevate you in the future. Unless they were dishonest or offensive, take a step back to see more clearly if their decision had validation and what part you played in it. Sometimes we partner with people who must make difficult decisions that affect us negatively. Parting on good terms in a professional manner could take you far in a future business dealing and keep your network full of valuable resources.
- When in doubt, choose experiences over material things
Recent research shows that increasingly, people are valuing positive, diverse experiences to boost happiness rather than filling their lives with possessions. An experience is a far richer thing to carry with you through life. Owning some new shiny thing wears off quickly and eventually that thing will break or need replacing. However, experiences stay with us throughout life. They change us, become part of who we are, and we carry them with us always—and it opens our eyes to a wider world around us.
- Surround yourself with positive people who elevate you
Connecting with people who empower us to become our better selves, can improve our lives in a myriad of ways. Surround yourself with people you admire and respect, and you will begin to emulate them. This can also lead to self-awareness of the negative people in your life that are toxic to your personal growth and achievements. While this awareness can be uncomfortable, eventually cutting these people out of your life can lead to a better life. You are who you spend time with. These people influence how you perceive the world, and can make your world a better place.
- Life is about change and uncertainty—get used to it
The only constant in life is change. Resisting it can keep us weighed down with unfulfillment. When we accept change and uncertainty, we can stop leading a life of resistance and open ourselves up to new possibilities. Wishing things were different, is just that—wishing. Getting outside of our comfort zone brings change, and along with that, often the change we need to be happier. If you remember that change is hard and uncomfortable but eventually, we all get through it to the other side, it becomes easier to accept uncertainty and understand that facing it can often be the only way we can grow.
- You can’t control what others do
Worrying about what others are doing and trying to control their actions, can derail you from pursuing what you want in life. If you find yourself focused on manipulating and persuading others to do what you want them to do, you will come to see this approach seldom works. We are all unique in this world with our own perceptions, beliefs, processes, and goals. Accepting that others are different than you, frees you up to focus on your own beliefs and goals. If you can’t accept how others act, then it could be time to set boundaries and stop engaging with them. You can’t fix people; you can only fix yourself.
- Life isn’t a race
We are not in a race to the end destination. We are here to journey in multiple ways throughout life, experiencing many different paths. Death is certain, but how we choose to live our life is not. When we stop racing against the timeline of others and following the crowd, we realize that there is no one path for everyone. We are here to create our own map and guide to life our life by on our own terms. Understanding this can provide a sense of peace that it’s okay to go at your own pace. Life is long and while we aren’t guaranteed those tomorrows, we also don’t have to rush to ‘do it all’ at once. Slow down. Find your own way. You’ll be happier for it.
- Learn from your failures
We all struggle in life. Sometimes more than others. There can be days when we wonder why bad things happen to us. We may never know all the reasons why, but we can evaluate the situation, adapt to it, and create positive coping skills. In a recent survey, people were asked if they would change anything in their life up until now. Most said ‘no’ that they are the person today because of the good—and hard—times they faced and conquered. We don’t know what’s coming next in life but seeking help and sharing our experience with others can enable us to cope better with whatever challenge awaits.
- Your life might not end up how you envisioned it
And that’s okay! Looking back at the path behind you can help you see how far you’ve come. The road to the present is not always a straight line. Perhaps you had a crooked, winding road with many detours. Perhaps these detours provided you with the experiences, expertise, and wisdom that makes you successful today. It helps to understand that there may be more detours ahead, but also wondrous things to learn and discover.
When it comes to reflecting on your life to date, don’t think of parts of it as wasted but rather as little unexpected gifts you picked up along the way. Perceiving your life in this positive manner, enables you to be positive about the future. So, cherish the past, accept your wounds, and carry them with you to hopeful tomorrows—and more memories to be made.