3 Choices That Make The Difference Between An Ordinary Life & An Extraordinary One

For more than half my life, happiness was something I saw only in movies. The only emotion I had was bitterness. I was constantly struggling with my relationship, my work, and my health.

After 12 years of living this way, I woke up. It took another three years to slowly implement changes that led to my eventual happiness. I almost gave up so many times, but struggling through it makes me appreciate the life I have now even more. Every day, I wake up thankful to be living the life of my dreams.

Happiness has a different meaning for each of us. It's a state of mind, but the decisions we make can help create a fulfilled (or unfulfilled) life. Life is short. Start making these decisions now. You are the only thing standing between yourself and true happiness.

1. Don't settle for good enough.

Gratefulness is often confused with complacency. Being grateful for what you have is wonderful, but don't confuse that with fear of trying harder — taking a risk when you could achieve more. Good is just a pit stop on the journey to great. Life is too short to settle. Time is too precious.

2. Don't apologize for living the life you want.

As adults, we sometimes realize life has more to offer than what we grew up with. Then we feel guilty about wanting more. Our friends and family might think or say we're forgetting our roots, or getting too big for our britches. But as we get more confidence and experience, we realize that taking the risk, wanting more, and trying harder was all worth it.

Don’t apologize. When you try to enter a sphere that those close to you may not be able to enter or be comfortable with, you'll get pushback. Just know that this is an issue that they have to work through. It does not reflect on you, and should not affect your decisions.

3. Live each day as if it were your last.

So many of us spend our lives in anticipation of a tomorrow that never comes. You might be waiting to really start living until you retire, or until you meet the love of your life, or until you get that next big raise. But none of us is guaranteed a tomorrow. You could plan the perfect future and never see it. All we have is right now.

Being fully present is difficult. But it's also achievable. It doesn't necessarily mean traveling to Uruguay or bungee jumping on the weekends. It means you spend your time and energy on the things that contribute to the life you want.

Don’t let self-limiting beliefs force you into a decision that won't make you happy.

It’s surreal to be able to wake up every day and do what I love, writing with a view of the Maui ocean. For a long time, I let my doubt, my fear, and the negative voices of others keep me from realizing my potential and following my path. I don’t know what your ideal life looks like for you, but I do know every choice you make will bring you closer to it or send you further away. That's up to you.

What does a happy life look like for you?

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