“I’m wasting my life.”
Many people will have thought this at some point.
We all have moments when we feel like we’re not making the most of our lives.
But it’s normally a passing thought that comes when we’re having a bad day, a tough week, or haven’t been particularly productive recently, for whatever reason.
If you consistently feel like you’re wasting your life, however, that’s another story.
A persistent nagging feeling that you’re letting life slip through your fingers is one that you need to address.
After all, it’s almost impossible to be happy if you feel this way.
If you’ve found yourself feeling like this, there are two different ways to combat it. But you’ll need to combine both approaches if you really want to make a difference to your outlook on life.
It’s about learning to recognize the value in the things you already have and do, whilst also finding ways to make changes to the way you live, so you feel that it’s all more meaningful.
Let’s start with some advice for learning to recognize the value in the things you do and the life you already lead.
5 Ways To Adjust Your Mindset To Feel More Fulfilled
1. Stop comparing yourself to others.
Mark Twain said, “comparison is the death of joy,” and I think we can all agree on that.
After all, even if you compare yourself favorably to someone else, the happiness you gain from it is a twisted kind of happiness.
Have you ever stopped to think about whether you really want all those things you’ve decided your life won’t be complete without, or whether you just feel like you should have them, because someone else does?
Humans have always suffered from comparison-itis, but social media has made it part of our everyday reality, as we’re presented with other people’s perfect social-media lives every day, multiple times a day.
You’re never going to be able to stop comparing yourself to others entirely, because it’s in our nature.
But you can reframe…
You can remind yourself that just because someone else is succeeding, it doesn’t mean you’ve failed.
Success takes a million different forms, and you don’t have to have all the things your Facebook friend has in order to be happy.
You can also take into account that all those people sharing their lives online only share the good stuff, just like you do. You can bet there’s plenty going on behind the scenes that isn’t so picture-perfect.
You need to learn to be happy for the success that others have whilst focusing on ploughing your own furrow.
2. Be grateful for everything you do have.
One of the main keys to feeling more fulfilled in your life – just the way it is at this very moment – is to kick your level of gratefulness up a notch.
We sometimes spend so much time focusing on what we don’t have and want we want, that we have no appreciation for all the things we do have in our lives.
If you want to up your levels of gratitude, take some time at the end of each day to think about, say, five things that you’re grateful for.
It might be your family, your home, your friends, beautiful weather, a professional achievement, or just the fact that you’re healthy.
That will help you focus on all the positive things in your life, however small or seemingly insignificant they might be.
It will also take your attention off that slip-up at work or that thing your friend from school posted on Facebook.
A nightly gratitude ritual should also mean that you drift off to sleep with pleasant thoughts floating around your mind, and hopefully wake up feeling positive the following day.
3. Reframe things positively.
Okay, so this isn’t always possible. There are some events in life for which it is hard to find a silver lining.
But if you’ve had some bad luck recently, try your best to look at those events from a positive perspective.
For example, if you’ve been let go from a job that you hated, try to think of it as motivation to finally start doing something more fulfilling.
Doors closing generally mean windows open, so do your best to look for that window in every situation.
4. Accept the ones you love for who they are.
If you spend all your time focusing on the things you wish you could change about the ones you love, then your relationships will be strained, and you’re bound to feel dissatisfied.
Do what you can to accept the people you love for exactly who they are, rather than focusing on aspects of their character that you find less than ideal.
Love them for exactly who they are now, not who you think they have the potential to be.
5. Challenge your logic.
It’s fine to want more out of life, within reason. It’s good to have ambition and goals. It’s great to be motivated to make more of yourself.
But there should be logic behind your choices and the things you’re striving for or beating yourself up about.
Perhaps you’ve decided you want a new car. Is that something that would actually boost your happiness or make your life easier?
Perhaps you’ve decided you want to make more money. Is that because you struggle to get to the end of the month and are worried about being able to take care of your family?
You need to be clear on exactly why it is you want things, rather than just deciding that you do for no reason at all.
Ask yourself what the reasoning behind that want is, and where the desire comes from.
If you find rock solid reasons, then that’s brilliant, as it gives you some direction and purpose to keep going and make positive change to your life.
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5 Things You Can Do To Feel More Positive About Your Life
Okay, so we’ve looked at adjustments you can make to your attitude and outlook so that you feel more fulfilled with your life as it is right now.
But as well as all that, there are plenty of concrete actions you can take to help you stop feeling like you’re wasting your life.
The best approach is to combine the two. You can work on your outlook on the life you have right now whilst also making a few small changes to the way you live that will make a big difference overall.
1. Invest in existing and new friendships.
True friendship is a gift that we often take for granted, but it can make a huge difference to your levels of satisfaction and fulfillment.
Build those friendships by reaching out to the people that are important to you more often, organizing activities to do together, and letting them know how important they are to you.
Prioritize them, and the meaningful relationships you develop will help you say goodbye to the idea that you’re wasting your life.
2. Volunteer for a good cause.
If you struggle to see any meaning in the way you live your life, volunteering can be transformational.
It can give your mood a boost and give you a sense of purpose, so that you can start seeing the point in life.
You’ll be able to see the positive impact you’re having in front of your very eyes.
Soup kitchens, homeless shelters, environmental protection groups, or dog shelters are great places to start.
3. Be open to change.
If you’re set in your ways and not open to change, then, logically, you’re not going to be able to grow or progress.
Try to approach potential changes in life with open arms so you know that there’s the possibility of new, exciting challenges on the horizon.
Opening yourself up to change is about making a conscious effort to change your behavior. If you notice that you have a bad habit, make a point of trying to work on it every time you get a chance.
And it’s about actively listening to people who express views that don’t coincide with yours, always being willing to adapt your approach to things if there’s a better way that you haven’t considered.
4. Spend more time with your family.
Just as building stronger bonds with friends can transform the way you see the world, making more of an effort with your family can also give your life so much more meaning.
Call your family more often and make plans to spend more time with them.
At the end of the day, when the chips are down, it’s probably going to be your family you’re most concerned about, and deliberately spending more quality time with them will mean it’s hard for you to feel like you’re wasting your life.
5. Make plans and stick to them.
Contentment in life is rooted in the everyday, but that doesn’t mean that a little excitement, challenge, and change won’t make you feel like you’re really achieving things and really living life.
So, if you’ve been meaning to go on that big trip, book it. If you’ve been meaning to visit somewhere, learn something, try something, experience something…
…get out there and do it!
Push yourself a little and try things that are out of your comfort zone, so that at the end of the year you’ll be able to look back with a smile on all the things you’ve done and how far you’ve come.
Live in the moment, be grateful for everything you have, and get excited about the future, and it won’t be long before your life takes on a whole new meaning.