You want to learn how to live a fuller happier life, and that is amazing! Happiness is entirely within your control; you just have to release the idea that you can find happiness from external sources. You create happiness for yourself by changing your attitude towards your life and improving your mindset.
I have split this list into three sections: Let Go, Discover, and Take Action. We cover all the things you need to let go of to life a fuller life, the parts of you that you need to discover, and the actions that you need to take in order to live your best life.
Learning to let go of things that no longer serve you is imperative on your path to a happier life.
1. Let Go of Perfection
Nothing slows down happiness and growth faster than the relentless pursuit of perfection. It stops you in your tracks, frozen with the endless edits, tinkers, and changes to create your idea of perfection.
You will never be happy if you are constantly in the pursuit of perfection, because perfection is unattainable. You can perceive something as perfect, but if you constantly search for perfection, you will only ever find more flaws. You are coming from a headspace that leads you to believe it isn’t good enough, and that negative headspace can’t be filled with more tinkering and changing; it can only be filled with love and acceptance.
Let go of trying to do everything perfectly. Do everything imperfectly, and breathe through that nagging thought that it isn’t perfect. You’ll be surprised by how much stress is left behind.
2. Let Go of the Idea That You Know Everything
As we become teenagers and adults, we develop this mindset that we know everything and to not know something is to be weak and vulnerable. Let go of this idea and start questioning everything you think you know.
The concept that you know everything and that you are always right is a closed mindset. You can’t learn, grow, and change if you aren’t open to new ideas and ways of thinking. Practice saying things like: “I did not know that,” “What do you think about this?” and “Is this true, or is this something I have just known my whole life?” Question your reality because it might be just repeated, old, and outdated ideals.
3. Let Go of Your Ego
Your ego is a wonderful tool at times, but when your ego gets too bossy, it becomes a problem. What is the ego? The ego is your idea of self. The ego makes you act for appearances instead of principles.
When you’re performing for imaginary people’s imaginary expectations for you, you can only lose because you are creating the expectations and making them unrealistic. It is a constant practice to let go of the ego. Practice gratitude and letting go of those all-consuming thoughts.
4. Let Go of Constant Comparison
If you really want to learn how to live a fuller happier life, you have to stop comparing yourself to other people. Comparing yourself to others is futile because you aren’t the same. You haven’t walked in their shoes, and you don’t have their resources or skill set. You are different, and focusing on comparing yourself to them will only bring negative results.
Comparison ultimately results in resentment and deprives you of the joy in your life because, instead of focusing on all that you have, you focus on how you aren’t enough. Be inspired by other people and use it to propel your goals forward, but keep your eyes on your own unique life.
5. Let Go of Focusing on Negative Situations
I hate the phrase “think positive,” but it is misunderstood. It doesn’t mean ignore your problems and feelings; it means get creative. Find another solution. Think outside of the box! It is so easy to focus on the bad that is happening to you, but try not to focus on all the lack; practice gratitude and focus on all that you have.
Redirect your attention to potential solutions to your problems. Reach out for help if you need it. You can control how you perceive and handle situations. For example: Life is hard, and you are down, and you can’t stop feeling sad even though you are doing your best to avoid it and change your mindset. Try a new approach. Sit with your feelings, feel them fully, and face them so they can pass. Don’t focus on the negatives out of your control. Focus on the positive, the things to be grateful for, and all that you have.
6. Discover Your Values
Who are you? What do you believe in? If you want to learn how to live a fuller happier life, start with working out who you really are, what you truly believe in, and what your values are. Once you know who you are, what you value, and who you want to be, live your life in this way, despite what others may think of your choices.
7. Discover Self-Compassion
Life is hard, confusing, and messy. You aren’t a God. You are just a person trying to figure it out like the rest of us. Give yourself a break; you don’t have to have it all figured out. Always speak to yourself with kindness, even after you have done something wrong. Learn from your mistakes and be kind to yourself, and you will be so much happier. After all, it’s hard to be happy when there is someone living in your head constantly being mean to you.
8. Discover How to Live With No Regrets
When I was 14, I saw this motivational quote printed on wallpaper: “When you want to do something, do it right away. Do it when you can. It’s the only way to live a life without regrets.” I still remember it because it is so true.
Do you want to wake up at 70 or 80 or 100 and realize that you have regrets? Money comes around, time does not. If you want to do something, go do it. Now. Live your life right now, because you never know when you will wake up regretting all the things you never did.
9. Discover Balance
If you want to learn how to live a fuller happier life, you need to find balance. Do more things you love! Have more fun!
Spend some time finding balance in areas that you are lacking. For example, a workaholic will most likely need to have adventure. Someone who is constantly stressed may need to incorporate yoga or meditation into their routine. Find a way to stabilize your actions and emotions to live happier.
10. Discover Your Self-Expression
If you learn how to express yourself emotionally and creatively, you will find a new world of happiness and fulfillment. Embrace your inner artist. Speak your truth, and say how you truly feel, fearlessly.
Part of living authentically is expressing who you are, even if people don’t like it. Live your truth, and find your tribe. You are wonderful and important, and you will find happiness in expressing who you really are.
11. Leave Your Comfort Zone
To live your fullest life, it means you have to leave your comfort zone and achieve your goals. Everything you want is on the other side of your comfort zone. Fear and happiness may seem like opposites, but they aren’t. Fear is just the step to help you up to the cookie jar that is happiness. To get there, you must be brave enough to get on the step and risk falling off.
12. Take One Day at a Time
Focus on living your best day each day. Don’t focus on how bad the past has been or what the future could be. Every day is a new day, and your past mistakes were lessons for you to apply today so you don’t repeat your mistakes. Focus on how you can improve today to be happy, fulfilled, and hit your goals in the future.
13. Surround Yourself With People Who Lift You up
You are only as happy as your environment. If you are surrounded by negative people who don’t believe in you and try and keep you down, your ability to be happy and fulfilled will be capped. If there are people in your life trying to sabotage your happiness, you’ll have a difficult time overcoming those negative emotions.
You are a combination of the five people you hang out with most, so make sure they are on your team and will to spread positivity wherever they go. Don’t be afraid to change up your people; you are doing them a favor, as well.
14. Do What Makes You Happy
Not everyone is going to understand what you are doing, and people will try and tell you that you are crazy and hold you back. However, if it makes you happy and fulfilled, do it anyway. Prove them wrong.
Innovators have to push the boundaries of what is possible, and this applies to your life. You are an innovator, too. Your project is your life, and you have to be willing to continue down your path despite the negative voices that may come your way.
15. Take Personal Responsibility
It’s time to take action and take personal responsibility for your life. Bad things happen to people every day, and you have to stop blaming other people and situations for your bad experiences. This is a simple but vital mindset shift because it takes control back.
If you are responsible for everything that happens to you and you do, then you can change it. Take responsibility for each thing that happens to you, and use the knowledge you gain to prevent the same mistakes in the future. However (and this is key), don’t use it to blame and torture yourself about how bad a person you are. Use it to learn and apply to the future, without self-shaming. None!
Learning how to live a fuller happier life is completely in your control. It is all about attitude, mindset, and actions taken to create the life you want. It can be scary and overwhelming, but if you take small steps and practice gratitude, you can find your happiness. You deserve to be happy, so choose it.
This article was published originally at lifehack.org!