tips on living a full life

I've been challenged recently to start living a fuller life. The kind of life that people look back on and think, "she really lived." The kind of life filled with adventure, comedy and romance.  The kind of life that could write a book about itself. That's the life I want to lead. Here's a few tips I've found to help me along this journey.

Stop trying to please others. I know how easy it is to be swayed by others' opinions, especially when it's those closest to you, but at the end of the day, it's your life lady! The only person who truly knows what's best for you, the only one who knows what you are fully capable of... is you! Sometimes learning to say no can be one of our biggest challenges, but it's so freeing once you do. Tuning out the negativity - the words that keep you from believing in yourself, is such a key to living a fuller life. Believe in yourself and don't let anyone bring you down.

Seize the day. Every day, every moment, every decision is an opportunity to enrich your life. Whether it's negative or positive, however you react, will determine the effect it will have on you. I've recently become so overwhelmed with the thought that I only have one chance, you know? Like, I will never go back to high school, I will never be 23 again, everything that I'm doing, every day that I'm living, will only happen once. It freaks me out, but it's also really challenging! It makes me want to fill my days with excitement and memorable moments that I can look back on and say, "yeah, I lived!"

Surround yourself with happiness. Have you ever been around someone and they just seem to suck the life out of the room every time their around? Those people are no fun and not only should you not be one of those people, but you should try to not surround yourself with them either. It's really quite hard to maintain a positive attitude when everyone around you is being a Debbie Downer. You should make friends that encourage you, motivate you and inspire you to better yourself.

Do something you never thought possible. Give yourself a challenge. I like to randomly give myself a goal throughout the week and once I reach it I give myself a little reward. I think this started when I was in college, because I really enjoy looking forward to things. To move myself along and keep from getting restless, I would give myself mini goals to reach throughout the weeks or months. It really helped me to maintain a positive attitude on an otherwise unexciting project or routine. Challenge yourself to do something you've always wanted to do and don't be afraid to give yourself a deadline - heck, even ask one of your friends to keep you accountable. Push yourself to do what now seems impossible, but what may someday become the norm.

Don't be afraid to dream again. I've written several times about the importance of holding onto our dreams, but I think it's just as important to dream a new dream. The moment we give up on what could be, we grow satisfied with the what is. I don't simply want to be content, I want to be overwhelmingly pleased with my life. I don't think that's asking too much. Some of us never get to live out our dreams because we're too busy living out our fears; and that's the honest truth.

Stay healthy. You only get one body and you're stuck with each other for the rest of your life, so you might as well take good care of it, no? Eating right, exercising, staying energized, these are all things that will have a positive effect on you. I mean, have you ever really heard anyone say, "my life sucks, I'm so fit, I hardly ever get sick and I just ran 5 miles for the heck of it..." And we all heard a resounding, no! Because people who feel good about themselves, feel good about their life, who they're becoming and what the future holds. I'm sure there's some science behind that, but I'll let you go ahead and research that on your own, but just try and prove me wrong, I dare you!

Start doing things for yourself. Treat yourself to something extravagant - for some us that's an ice cream cone, for others it's a pedicure - just take time to tell yourself "I appreciate all you do." It can become easy being the "yes girl," but sometimes you have to say no. And you know what I've learned? That's okay! No, is not a bad word, in fact it's a freedom word. I mean, don't go using it all the time, be helpful and kind, but not every battle is yours to fight. Take a moment for you each day and remember that there's only one of you and you deserve happiness too.

I hope you start living a fuller life. I know that I am challenged daily to try and abide by these tips, and trust me, it's not easy! We're all a work in progress, but I'm happy I have friends to come along with me.

xo. Melisa