Ten Powerful Ways to Improve Your Life

by Dani Fake Webb on June 2, 2010

Would vacation, to you, be an opportunity for rest and rejuvenation? Or would it be an escape from real life? (This was the topic I wrote about last week.)

Sadly, many people seek escape from certain areas of their life, because they are so dissatisfying. If this is true for you – if you have areas of life that are not going well and that you wish you could escape from – read on!

Following are Ten Powerful Ways to Improve Your Life!

June Challenge: What will June hold for you? I encourage you to pick an area of your life that you’d like to see be better than it is now, and choose three of my ten tips to practice this month.

Up for the challenge?

1. Get Clear!

If there is an area of your life with which you are not satisfied, what is it you want instead? It is important to get beyond just feeling bad about it, and get to place of knowing what you want.

For example, you may feel you don’t have enough play and fun in your life. Well, what do you want instead? Do you want to enjoy life more? Do you want to do more activities? Do you want to laugh more? Do you want to play more card games? Get specific. What do you want?

If it is a relationship that you are dissatisfied with, what do you want? Do you want peace in the relationship? Do you want out of the relationship? If it’s a job you hate, what do you want instead?

NOTE: Some areas are easier to make improvements in than others. It might be easier to have more fun in your life than it is to find the perfect relationship or change careers. Don’t let fear get in the way of gaining clarity. Gaining clarity does not mean you have to take drastic action now. You don’t have to leave your job immediately or “fire” a friend who is draining you. But it is necessary to get very clear about what you do want in order to see what the options are.

2. Set Your Intention

Intention is one of the most powerful tools you have to create a life you love. Once you are clear on what you want, set an intention to take steps to get there. For example:

“I intend to laugh more every day.” (Then ask yourself, “How can I laugh now?”)

“I intend to be content in my job.” (Then ask yourself, “How can I be content now?”)

“I intend to leave my job.” (Then ask yourself, “How can I move toward leaving now?”)

“I intend to have a connected marriage.” (Then ask yourself, “How can I connect with my husband now?”)

Using the questions I have listed after each intention is very effective. The word “now” can be a reminder that you are creating your reality in every moment of every day. If you want to laugh, how can you make it happen in the very moment you are in?”

3. Kill Energy Killers!

Our environment speaks to us in powerful ways. Whether it’s toxic people in our lives or the laundry sitting on the dresser, our energy is impacted by the things around us (as well as by our thoughts!).

By killing your energy killers, you free up more mental (and sometimes physical) space to create what you really want. Just like you wouldn’t try to run a marathon by doing aerobics on every corner, neither can you create your ideal life by having all of your energy sucked away by things that don’t get you closer to your goal.

For example, my office was a huge energy drain for me. Every time I would walk in, I felt heavy, negative, and repulsed. The energy of the room was so bad I didn’t want to be in there, resulting in not getting work done! It took some clarity (“I want a simplified, organized office.”) and intention setting (“I intend to create an office space I love”) to get there, but I finally listened to that negative feeling, and did something about it.

Energy drains can be little too. I had a stack of five half-read books by a chair in my house. Every time I would walk by, I would feel a little tinge of guilt (energy killer) for not finishing those books. Finally, I took the books and put them back on the big bookshelf. Simple. And that energy killer is gone!

The best way to get rid of energy killers in your life is to start paying attention. Where do you feel the negative energy? Start developing awareness, and then kill those killers!

4. Add Compassion!

Discontent in some areas of life can come from the frustrations we feel from other people. Whether it’s a boss, spouse, friend, neighbor, or driver who cuts you off, other people are at the core of a lot of dissatisfaction.

If this is the case for one of your life areas, consider adding compassion to your perspective. For instance, maybe the driver who cut you off isn’t really a jerk. Adding compassion might help you realize she is struggling too. An angry driver must have some tough stuff going on in her life. Can you have compassion on that? It can help your perspective greatly.

Try removing your story from your interactions with people, and see them as people struggling with parts of life just like everyone. And have loads of compassion.

5. Get Outside of Yourself!

Research has repeatedly shown that people who give time, money, support or help to others experience a higher level of happiness and satisfaction with life. The most probable reason for this is because focusing on the needs of others literally shifts your bad-feeling thoughts.

Mindset struggles, anxiety, depression and stress can all be things that make us feel miserable about our lives. When we feel bad about our lives, it is really easy to stay focused internally and on our misery, and hence, on ourselves. Reaching out help others not only gets us outside of that self-focus, it also helps us feel better!

If you find this to be true for you, consider helping someone else!

6. Find a Friend!

Whatever area of your life you are dissatisfied with, share your honest feelings with a friend.

I am a firm believer that we are not meant to live life in isolation. I cannot tell you the number of times I have felt horrible and had a conversation with a friend pull me out of the mire of my thoughts. Just being able to share a struggle with another, and not keep it in, can be incredibly healing.

As a bonus, it might “reset” your perspective and help you see maybe things aren’t as bad as you thought. (Or maybe they are. Either way, you are not alone in it!)

7. Become Aware of Your Thoughts!

Our thoughts create our reality. I think no one more powerfully exemplifies this concept than Viktor Frankl, a Holocaust survivor. He wrote:

“If a prisoner felt that he could no longer endure the realities of camp life, he found a way out in his mental life– an invaluable opportunity to dwell in the spiritual domain, the one that the [enemy was] unable to destroy.”

The point is that your external circumstances do not create your experience. Your thoughts about the external circumstance create your experience. If you want to improve your life, improve your thoughts. Do some research on the effect of thoughts and how to control them. (Brooke Castillo’s Self-Coaching 101 is a great place to start. And working with a coach can help you work with this critical concept.)

8. Check in with You!

Are you living your life? Or the life others think you “should” live?

“Should” is a very damaging word and can create all kinds of discontent in life. If you want to improve your life, become aware of where you are doing things because you should. Then, either 1) stop doing the thing that is not you! or 2) change “should” to “choose.”

Language has an impact on your thoughts (see #7 above). So if you do laundry because you “should,” either 1) hire someone to do your laundry! (yes, you can.), or, 2) tell yourself you “choose to do the laundry because <fill in the blank.>” Because everything is a choice. You don’t have to do the laundry. You don’t. So if you choose to, find the more compelling reason. Go deep. Why do you choose to do the laundry?

However, if you are leading the Girl Scout troop because you “should,” or staying in a hated career field your parents want you to be in because you “should,” it’s time to let yourself lead the life You are meant to live. Refer to #1 and #2 above, and reclaim your life.

9. Value Your Values!

Often, discontent can come from living a life that is out of alignment with our values.

I worked with a client who was pursuing a particular career because it was lucrative. She was miserable and felt trapped. She then took my Values Assessment and discovered that her #1 value was helping people. She thought she “should” be motivated by money (insert voice of her father here), but she did not value it at all! Recognizing that she was pursuing a life that was out of line with her values helped her make a major career shift. She is now pursuing a less-lucrative but way more fulfilling career helping others.

(Of course, that last sentence did not happen in her life overnight. It took time, courage, and lots of support for her to make that life-shift. But she did it, and has re-claimed her life.)

If you’d like to take the Values Assessment, go here. You can sign up for The Passion Journey and take the assessment.

10. Ponder Your Purpose!

Do you often feel like there should be more to life? Do you feel discontent, bored, or antsy? Maybe you feel the pull of desire and longing for something more. Whatever it may be for you, pay attention.

These feelings can be the voice of your Authentic Self trying to communicate with you. I believe we are each born with a purpose. Some of us know it, some of us have no clue. But it is there and it can be discovered.

If this resonates with you, I highly recommend checking out Finding Your Own North Star by Martha Beck. This book contains tools and insight to help you ponder and pursue your purpose.

BONUS: #11 Ask for help!

We are not meant to go through this life alone.

YOU are not meant to figure out this life by yourself.

Ask for help.

Someone who can listen, and I mean really listen.
Someone who will call you on your shit stuff.

Someone who believes in you.
Someone who will offer support and encouragement.

Talk to a friend.
Share with a partner.
Process with a therapist.
Hire a coach. (This is what I do. Let me help you.)

You only have this life. How will you choose to live it?

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Cherry Woodburn June 3, 2010 at 4:26 pm

this is the first time I read one of your posts. I enjoyed it and you make 10 + 1 good points. I especially liked the way you set these up, with both your intend and what you will do now.
“I intend to be content in my job.” (Then ask yourself, “How can I be content now?”)

“I intend to leave my job.” (Then ask yourself, “How can I move toward leaving now?”)

Dani Fake Webb June 3, 2010 at 4:39 pm

Thanks, Cherry! I am practicing that now. “I intend to clean out my inbox. How can I move toward cleaning it out now?” Uh, get off the internet and go to my inbox! Ha! Hope you have a great day!

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