The #1 Way to Live a Fit and Happy Life In a Crazy World
The other day I was training in the gym and a gentleman walked by and asked me, “how’s it going?” Without a thought I answered, “I’m fabulous, how are you?” I really hadn’t intended to bring about a conversation but my answer caused the man the stop. Looking perplexed, he kind of made fun of me by saying, “fabulous eh?” I thought about it for a second and replied, “yea, everything rocks, thank for asking.” When the man walked away I realized that he must have thought, as I did, that not very many people can honestly say that everything is fabulous. It’s probably a rarity to hear someone truthfully say their day is simply amazing, it’s wonderful and that life is great. I’m no lifestyle specialist but over the years I have taken the time to research happiness, being content and having a rewarding life. From the poorest of the poor who experience the greatest blessings life can give, to the richest people on the planet who truly understand where their rewards come from, one thing has always stood out as I look through information regarding a life of happiness. That common factor is gratitude.
Bottom line; most people suck at being grateful. If you don’t believe me, check out the recent status updates on your friends’ Facebook pages. Admittedly I delete “friends” on social media pages who spew negativity, but if you are like most, you can just scroll through your typical Facebook news feed and see all kinds of negative, gratitude-lacking outlooks on life. The message I’d love you to take away from this article is to learn to cultivate, use and share gratitude. Gratitude is something that requires we stop thinking about ourselves and begin appreciating something or someone else. From this we learn patience, we learn selflessness, we learn humility and we learn that our thoughts, our actions and our intentions really do matter. Mean spirited intentions, dishonest dealings and jealousy produce dissatisfaction, misery and complacency. Over time these things build and grow, compounding our problems, adding to our unhappiness and cementing our negativity.
Here are 4 ways you can cultivate gratitude and feel better about yourself. I hope you will give them a try and I hope that you will consider making them a permanent part of your lifestyle.
Traveling anywhere in the world will bring you an immense sense of gratitude for the place you come from. If you regularly read this blog you know that I love to travel, to meet new people and to experience new cultures. This is all true! But – do not for one second think that I would rather call any place but the United States of America “my country.” Traveling to other places will open your eyes to new ways of living and will give you a great appreciation for the simpler things in life. Most places simply do not have the luxuries we take for granted and to be honest, most of the cultures I’ve interacted with don’t want them. They enjoy being simple and enjoy living lives centered on spending time with family and enjoying their friends instead of slaving away at dead end jobs and trying to keep up with everyone around them. While this outlook is refreshing, you will grow to miss your home, your bed and your own way of life. This is absolutely true. After 23 days backpacking Europe, there I was sitting in my hotel room in Paris, France trying to amuse myself until it was time for me to wake up and head back to the airport to fly home. 23 days prior to this, that notion would have sounded crazy to me! But, after being away from “my life” and “my culture” I grew increasingly grateful for it and couldn’t wait to get back home to be part of it again.
Travel whenever you can my friends. Very few things will help you to appreciate your day-to-day life like being away from home will.
2. Stop being lazy and think about it
Yea that sounds simple, but how many times in the day do you stop and actively seek aspects of your life to be grateful for? What about your boss, your children, your pets, your family and your job? All of these things can easily be moved from our positive thinking to our negative thoughts depending on how we process our interactions with them.
Your kids require so much time and effort but they are the reason you strive for betterment. You want to give them a better life than you had. Be grateful for them.
Your job blows, you struggle to meet deadlines and you have no control over your daily schedule. However, it also pays the bills, it ensures you have a nice place to live and can enjoy the activities and events you share with your loved ones. Even if your job sucks, be grateful for it while you seek another.
There are endless examples of things or people who may add to our stress and workload. Take a moment to be thankful for them as you work to improve these circumstances.
3. Keep a Gratitude Calendar
Sometimes we need to be reminded of the things and people we need to express gratitude toward. A calendar is what we use to structure our lives. It is also one of the most useful ways to ensure that the things you are grateful for are constantly in the forefront of your mind.
Before each month begins, take a few minutes to reflect on the things and people who are currently in your life that give you pleasure, opportunity and appreciation. While you may be grateful for these things everyday, be sure to set aside a specific day to actively express your gratitude toward these things and people so that they know what they mean to you. Even if you don’t say it to the people you are grateful for, try to find some way to let them know that they are important to you.
The great Wallace D. Wattles once wrote that gratitude brings us closer to the source from which our blessings flow. I believe this to be true. Without gratitude we cannot distance ourselves from dissatisfied thought. Gratitude will take your thoughts and intentions and put them to work for you, drawing the things and people you need to have a happy life closer to you. Life is important. A happy life is a blessing. Learn to cultivate gratitude and watch your life change in positive ways you may have never dreamed possible.
4. Participate, Compete, Just Try!
So often I find that people who lead rather mundane, unfulfilled lives do so out of fear of failure. They have few things to be happy and excited about because they’ve never achieved anything they find to be worthy of appreciation. Their fear of failure and embarrassment keeps them from engaging in the kinds of things that could give them their greatest fulfillment. These days there are so many great ways to achieve without the fear of failure – especially concerning fitness and exercise. So many historically competitive events have embraced those who simply want to participate. For instance, nearly every running event I can think of is filled primarily with people who just want to cross the finish line but know they’ll never cross it first. These people are craving achievement, personal betterment and the sense that they did something big! Endeavor to find ways to challenge yourself to become better and just do it! Train for a 5k, 10k or a marathon. Join a local club and take part in events that allow your to train hard, compete and achieve more than you dreamed possible. Remember, for most of us, getting better is not about being the best, it’s about being the best that we can be in the present. That’s a pretty good feeling and it’s available to anyone who will take the time to chase their dreams and pursue betterment with an energized sense of gratitude.
So here’s to you my friends and here’s to a happy, fit and rewarding life!