5 Principles to Live by Today to Create a Better Tomorrow
I’m a firm believer that opportunities don’t come to people by coincidence. I’m convinced that you’re responsible for creating your own opportunities every single day. How you spend today defines the person you’ll be tomorrow. What you do one day at a time eventually makes up your entire life. And ignoring this simple yet crucial rule is why most people live unhappy, unfulfilled lives for decades. They want to have a healthier body and be in better shape by summer, but they don’t exercise in winter. They want to build a profitable digital business and quit their 9-to-5, but they choose Netflix over hustle on weekends. They want a happy, healthy relationship, but don’t go the extra mile for their partner. They never achieve their dreams, because they choose to get back to sleep instead of getting up and doing the work. I don’t believe that we’re meant to stay the same and live boring lives. As Lou Holtz once said: “In this world, you’re either growing or you’re dying. So get in motion and grow.”
At our core, boredom is not what we desire. We all want to live meaningful, rich lives – rich in experiences, love, and fulfillment. But this richness comes at a cost. And the majority isn’t willing to pay the price.
Play the Long Game
Most people give up working on their dreams when they face the first obstacle. Or they stop once they realize that there’s no such thing as an overnight success. The majority doesn’t want to accept that success is the result of a marathon. Working on your goals is usually fun until you get challenged for the first time. Yet, these challenges differentiate those who live a mediocre life from the ones who strive for greatness. If you choose instant gratification and comfort over perseverance, you miss the opportunity for the big wins.
No matter if you’re trying to build a successful business, or break an athletic record, the path to success is always full of obstacles. But most of the time, lack of skills or knowledge can be compensated with perseverance and patience. Remind yourself of your long-term vision every single day. By focusing on the long term, you might need to make short-term sacrifices, but you’ll ensure you create a future you can be proud of. Patience allows you to go beyond distractions and build the future of your dreams instead of living your entire life as the servant of your everyday routine.
If you can’t motivate yourself to focus on the long term, take some time to work on your goals and create a vision that genuinely excites you. The bigger your goals, the more patience you’ll need to develop on the path to achieving them.
Avoid Analysis Paralysis
Analysis paralysis is the inability to make a decision and take action. It means that you’re overanalyzing and overthinking a decision and holding yourself back from actually doing something. It can refer to a small decision such as what to eat for dinner, but also to major life events like where to live. No matter how small or big – any kind of choice can be hampered by analysis paralysis.
If you’re trapped into analysis paralysis, you’re trying to look into a glass ball and predict the future. Yet, the only thing you’re doing is wasting time and mental energy. At its core, analysis paralysis is procrastination and perfectionism. Most people try to persuade themselves that they’re smart and diligent by analyzing a decision to death while all they’re doing is procrastinating. Sometimes, we’re so afraid of making the wrong decision that we don’t make one at all.
For the next 30 days, do a quick-decision-making challenge and train your mind to avoid analysis paralysis. No matter how much you overthink a situation, you’ll never be able to make a perfect decision because life only makes sense if we look backward. As Steve Jobs once said, “you can’t connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever.”
Don’t allow yourself to be stuck in planning your life instead of actually living it. Most of your fears are unjustified and made up in your head. According to studies, 85% of our worries never turn into reality anyway. You’ll never know if you’re ready for an opportunity until you take a leap. Planning and preparation are important, but so is listening to your intuition and being a quick decision-maker.
Allow Mistakes to Be Your Biggest Teacher
One of the most common reasons why people don’t achieve their goals is that they give up too soon. Instead of accepting mistakes and failure as a guide towards success, they interpret small mistakes as a sign to give up. Yet, the reality is that you can only win the race if you finish it. If you give up too quickly, you’ll never even see the finish line, let alone cross it. But if you allow them to guide you, your past experiences and mistakes you made can be your greatest asset.
The path to success is a marathon, not a sprint. No matter if you’re an entrepreneur, a writer, a professional athlete, artist, or whatever – playing the long game and relying on lessons you learn from mistakes is a priceless strategy. There’s no one-size-fits-all guide to succeeding in life, but perseverance pays off, no matter what precisely your goals are.
Next time you face a problem, don’t question why it happened. Instead, view it as a wake-up call. No matter how big your problem might seem, other people probably went through the same, which means there’s a solution for it.
Beating yourself up for something that happened in the past is nonsense. The bigger the mistake you made, the bigger the lesson you can learn from it. Some mistakes are indeed expensive and painful, but no matter how hard it seems, there’s always a way out and a solution for any struggle.
Whenever you face failure or make a mistake, take some time to reflect on it. Write down what you can learn from that situation and how you want to deal with it in the future.
Conquer Your Mornings
To conquer your life, you need to tackle it one day at a time. And to win your day, you first need to tackle your morning. You don’t need to get up at 5 a.m. to live a successful life, but your morning significantly influences the rest of your day. If I start my day with gratitude, joy, and high energy, that’s also how the rest of my day looks like. If I start my day lazy or in a bad mood, it’s hard to have a successful, productive day later on.
If you’re not consciously creating a productive morning routine, you might subconsciously create one which harms your mental state. As Mike Murdock once said, “the secret of your future is hidden in your daily routine.” Most self-help coaches and writers overcomplicate morning routines. The reality is that there’s no secret formula for the first minutes of your day. There’s nothing you must do.
The only rule for a powerful morning is that it makes you feel good and energized – no matter if it takes 6 or 60 minutes. A few minutes can be enough to get yourself into a strong mental state and win your day. My only must-haves for a great morning are:
1. Hydration: I drink lots of water and tea in the first hour after getting up. A big glass of water is the easiest way to get your metabolism going and feel more awake.
2. Gratitude: Every single morning, I write down what I’m grateful for. Most of the time, this takes one to three minutes. If I do these two, I’m good to go.
On most days, I also read a few pages, repeat powerful affirmations, visualize my ideal life, and listen to a podcast while preparing breakfast.
Treat Your Body Like a Temple
According to the WHO, more than two billion people worldwide are overweight. The sad reality is that most people care more about the fuel for their car than for the food they consume. Not taking adequate care of your body will lower the quality of your life as well as a drop in your productivity.
We all know that our health is the foundation of our lives, yet we often forget to act accordingly. That’s why I remind myself of this principle every single day. Stop treating your body as if you had a second one.
The majority neglects to nourish and strengthen their bodies until they finally hit rock bottom and face injuries or severe illnesses. If you start early and do it consistently, taking care of your body isn’t complicated or time-consuming.
You can start with small steps such as making sure you get enough sleep, eating more vegetables, or walking at least 10,000 steps per day. You can also start a 30-day challenge and try different activities that will help you improve your relationship with your body. You could, for instance, do some stretching exercises or join new sports classes. There’s so much you can do to treat your body well and most of these practices don’t even take much time. You just need to educate yourself and decide on the small changes you want to make.
Too often, we make life harder than it needs to be. During the past three years, I’ve read more than 100 self-help books. And I realized that quite often, we ignore the simple yet effective rules to live happier, more fulfilled lives. You don’t need to waste hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars to become a better you. All you need to do is embrace the fact that there’s always room for improvement and tackle one small change at a time.
These five principles are certainly not a cure to everything, but they can indeed be a solution to many of the problems you might be facing:
1. Play the long game: Create a vision that excites you to give your best every single day.
2. Avoid analysis paralysis: Train yourself to be a quick decision-maker and choose to do something over doing nothing.
3. Allow mistakes to be your biggest teacher: Embrace your mistakes and learn you’re your defeats.
4. Conquer your mornings: Allow yourself to tackle one day at a time and start by creating an energizing morning routine.
5. Treat your body like a temple: Every single day, appreciate the magic of being alive and treat your body accordingly.