How to Start Living Your Dream Life Right Now

Living Your Dream Life

Has someone ever asked you what you would do if money weren’t a factor? It’s one of those questions that people often brush aside because, quite frankly, money is a factor. The doubters will mock you as naïve or foolish, but deep down you know it’s possible to start living your dream life.

It seems as though most people are just trying to get by. They work because they need to make an income to support their life. People not only settle in the workplace but also in their relationships with their friends and family. You may even know people who settle by compromising their integrity and core values.

That is why it is not naïve or foolish to start living your dream life; it is essential.

“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.”
C.S. Lewis

What Does It Mean To Live a Dream Life?

Living a dream life is simple on paper but complex to make it happen. Your dream life is going to vary from someone else’s in several aspects. It doesn’t just mean there is only one ideal dream life to be living.

For some people, to create a dream life is to be working at a job that they love, or being able to enter a flow state of mind while working. For others, it’s being in good physical health, having a loving family, a strong network of friends.

In the end, a living dream life is a life that you consider fulfilling, full of purpose, and satisfying. And just because you are pursuing grander things doesn’t mean that the life you have is unsatisfying either.

What Could Be Stopping You From Living a Dream Life?

There are several reasons for what’s stopping you to create a dream life or fulfilling a living dream life. These come in the form of roadblocks and those are:

    • You’re not taking action – You have several brilliant ideas, however, you decide to flesh them out, shelf them, and never get back to them. You tell yourself you’ll get to them “someday” but you never do.
    • You’re not holding yourself accountable – Stemming from the previous point, you never get hard on yourself for dismissing ideas and never returning to them. There is nothing to hold yourself accountable for. There’s no risk in avoiding things.
    • You care too much about what other people think – People have opinions and they will be vocal about those things whenever you share ideas with them. Many ideas get squashed because those who tell you “you can’t do something” discourage those who share their ideas.
    • Your “why” is not strong enough – A “why” is a deeply personal reason for doing something. It can drive us to do anything but without it being strong enough, many people’s motivation run dry and they stop.
    • You fear failure – Fear of failure is straightforward in what it is but it happens to all of us. Seeing obstacles or challenges or even the potential of them can discourage people from trying.
    • You spend too much time researching – It’s important for one to do research and know generally what is to be expected but you can’t know all the answers to everything before starting. Getting into that mindset, you’ll spend too much time researching rather than trying to do what you set out to do.
    • Deep down, you’re too comfortable where you are – Past achievements and accomplishments feel good but they also stifle our growth and drive. It’s similar to the saying “If it’s not broken, don’t fix it.” in that if you’re happy and everything is working, why bother about making improvements or expanding your horizons?

How to Live Your Dream Life (Your Step-by-Step Guide)

Living your dreams is more than being rich. It’s the belief that you are living a life aligned with your purpose.

“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.”
Harriet Tubman

Stop Settling for Mediocrity and Start Living Your Dream Life

Are you tired of feeling stuck in your current situation and ready for a change?

You don’t have to settle for a life that’s less than what you want. Pursue the life you truly desire.

1. Know What You Want

Many of us spend more time complaining about our lives rather than figuring out what we actually want.

Firstly, it is okay to not know what you want. While there are people with clear-cut goals, there are others who discover theirs with time. What’s important is making conscious efforts in discovering what your heart desires.

Give these questions a thought:

    • What makes you happy?
    • What are your interests?
    • What does success mean to you?
    • What do you want from life?
    • What are your priorities?
    • What do you want to change in your life?
    • Who do you admire?

These are a few questions that will help you figure out your goals better. Write the answers down and keep building on them until you know what you want. After all, the first step in living the dream life is discovering the dream.

2. Construct a Plan of Action

If you want to learn how to start living your dreams, take the time to visualize what that life will look like.

This is more than the normal vision board. This form of visualization requires you to use all your senses.

To gain an edge, Olympians will visualize themselves competing in their actual event. Emily Cook, of the United States Freestyle ski team, is quoted as saying she engaged all her senses in her visualization. She moves her body as if she is skiing down the slopes, she feels the air as it blows through her hair, and she hears the roar of the crowd as she crosses the finish line[1].

The best way Olympians can be ready for the moment is by continually competing in their mind. Studies support this belief as they show you can literally gain muscle by visualizing yourself working out[2]. This applies to non-athletes as well as visualization is a powerful source of motivation.

3. Think Possibilities Over Limitations

Life is limitless in its potential. The moment you think otherwise, you begin putting restraints on the abilities you have and on yourself. Too many people downplay their skills and abilities and what they can do and that prevents them from advancing in life and creating dream life for themselves.

There is the truth that we are limited in certain aspects such as our health and energy levels and focus, but the thing about that is we can train those to be better. Thinking of our limitations as more like glass ceilings will help you in a living dream life than thinking the ceiling is made of tougher material.

4. Focus Your Attention

If you want to start living your dreams right now, you are going to need to adjust the way you see the world and every area of your life. Your beliefs create your consciousness, your consciousness creates your reality, and your reality is maintained by the way your mind filters information.

Every day, you receive millions of sensory inputs and your mind filters out most of them to keep you from going crazy. The ones you receive are the ones that your mind believes matter to you based on past experiences.

One of the most popular examples is when you purchase a new car. As soon as you purchase that car, suddenly you notice that car everywhere. Now, you probably know that everyone did not purchase a car on the same day as you, so what happened?

Well, when you purchased your new car, you told your mind, ”This car matters to me.” As a result, your mind is now showing you the car that has always been there.

In the same way, your mind can adjust your filters based on the action of purchasing a new car, you can take actions to create your dream life. As you take action, your mind will show you new opportunities that were always there (just outside of your previous filters).

5. Take Consistent Action

Consistency is the key to achieving what you want and living the dream life.

However, being consistent is not easy. There will be days when you will begin to lose patience and want to give up, and that’s completely understandable.

On such days, take time out and give yourself a break. Once you feel better, get back on track, because everything you do is a building block and will take you closer to your goal.

Whenever you feel disillusioned, revisit your goal and let it motivate you to keep going.

6. Track Your Progress

It’s important to track your progress regularly to ensure you are on the right path. You can use journals, calendars, and apps to keep a record of your progress and assess it.

For the times you feel you didn’t achieve your goal, keep a note of what went wrong, and learn from those mistakes. Focus on making progress rather than obsessing over perfection.

Most importantly, remember to celebrate your achievements and give yourself credit for your successes because you wholly deserve it.

7. Ignore Comparisons

The only competition you should have in your life is the person you are right at this moment. There are plenty of strategies out there that say that, but also say it’s fine to envision someone you look up to and try to emulate in certain cases.

I’ll tell you now, that’s not something you want to do.

Instead, it’s smarter and better to focus on yourself and who you are. Don’t worry or compare the person who is older than you and has made more money than you. There were completely different circumstances at play that don’t concern you.

Focus on your story and spend time developing that.

8. Put Systems and Processes in Place

Once you have the proper mindset to start living your dream life, you are ready to shift your focus to reach your goals.

The mistake most people make is they are excited when they begin, but they are working solely on discipline and willpower. Your willpower and discipline are exhaustible resources that will fade over time. That is why most people quit their New Year’s Resolution 30 days after starting. That is also why people who are on a diet will make nutritious decisions throughout the day and fail miserably late at night.

This is why it is so important that you put systems and processes in place that limit the need for you to use discipline and willpower. In the case of our dieters, it would be better for them to trash all the candy they no longer want to eat.

This is also true when it comes to you and your dream life. If you want to ensure that you follow through on your vision, you have to be willing to limit the ability for you to revert back to your previous life.

9. Change The Game, But Don’t Let It Change You

Macklemore said it best:

“I don’t control life, but I control how I react to it.”

Another way to look at it is to simply change the game you’re playing but don’t let it change who you are. In so many instances, people are willing to sacrifice themselves and their identity to become someone they’re not just to get ahead.

This can take shape in getting a new job or making a deal that could shape the future of their lives, business, inner circle, and more. All in all, it’s not worth it to settle for that.

Instead, take pride in who you are and stick to your values. Be open to making changes and work away at making those changes happen.

10. Accountability Is a Must

When you are accountable to someone or a group, you will find yourself more motivated to continue. Deep down, we all want to be accepted by others. Even though this can work against you sometimes, this particular occasion is not one of them.

When you proclaim your goal to specific people, it improves the likelihood of you following through. However, some research suggests that making it public and announcing it to everyone may hurt your chances of following through[3].

You may be surprised to know, but you experience accountability on a regular basis.

    • If the CEO asks you to provide a report, you are going to do your best in order to impress the CEO.
    • If you’re invited to a class reunion, you will feel more motivated to get in shape.
    • If you know you are going to have company over at your house, you are going to clean more carefully.

Accountability works because you want to keep your word and make a good impression of yourself in front of others.

11. Find a Catalyst for Change

There are things you can and cannot control in life. Do not allow the fear of failure or fear of uncertainty keep you from living your dream life. Everything is not going to go smoothly on your journey. You are going to face challenges and setbacks[4].

The good news is failure is a part of success and personal development. They are two halves of the same coin. What tends to happen is that people spend so much time trying to avoid failure that they never realize they are undermining their ability to find success.

By understanding that failure is a part of success, you understand your goal is not to avoid failure, but to build on it.

Your dream life does not necessarily need a positive event to start. Often, it is the negative events (or perceived negative) and a sense of desperation that drives people to reach further than they ever have before.

Your catalyst for change may be exactly what you wanted, or it may be the worst thing that could have happened. Either way, your focus is on what to do next. You want to build on that event by stacking positive events on top of it.

Choose to respond to each situation by taking another step towards your dream life.

12. Be Open to Failure

Life is unpredictable. You can plan all you want but also know that life won’t always go the way you planned it. You are bound to be met with some unforeseen circumstances or failures along the way, so be prepared for them all.

Embrace failure and don’t fear it because it’s better to try and fail than to never try at all. The key is to not take failure personally. Instead, use failures as an opportunity to learn and grow[5].

When you become better at failing, you develop a sense of fearlessness, which helps you get out of your comfort zone, take risks, and reach your goals.

13. Surround Yourself With Positive People

People around you have the power to influence you in many ways. Having the right kind of people around is essential for your growth and development. For instance, someone who is around toxic people is bound to have lower self-esteem and be forever stressed.

What you need is happy, encouraging, and supportive people, those who can guide you, lift your spirits, and help you maintain a positive frame of mind.

14. Put Down Your Phone

In other words: be present in the world around you. We spend a lot of time on our phones. You’re probably reading this article on your phone right now even!

It’s understandable to be using your phone for things, but similar to #5, your phone can have more control over your life if you let it. Instead, to create a dream life and have a living dream life, it’s essential that you have more control over the things you can control.

Such as your phone.

Do yourself a favor and begin limiting how much time you spend on it. People don’t need to know what you’re doing every single minute of your life. The moment you disconnect from technology and integrate into society, the better off you’ll be.

15. Understand That Character Matters

In a study between two schools on opposite ends of the economic spectrum, positive psychology experts created a list of character strengths they believed were essential to success.

Their list included grit, self-control, zest, social intelligence, gratitude, optimism, and curiosity.

Some of the character traits were common with how most people view success, such as grit, curiosity, or self-control. However, gratitude, zest, optimism, and social intelligence (compassion) were on the list, but their relation to success is often overlooked[6].

It’s important to remember that change comes from the inside out. Your core values are the prism through which you accomplish your goals.

16. Remove Excess Materials

There are many studies out there that reveal that money isn’t the source of all happiness. Yes, it can lead to experiences that bring us joy, but when buying material things, those are short-lived bursts.

Where happiness and a living dream life actually stems from is being able to live life to the fullest by doing things. In other words, creating experiences in our lives.

Some of those things will cost money of course, but the key is that your money is being spent on authentic memorable experiences. Going on trips, getting workout gear, video games, yoga mats or surfboards all lead to experiences that make life more joyful to live.

Those kinds of experiences should be your priority rather than buying a new car every year or two or getting a bigger house.

17. Focus on What You Can Control

Sometimes when your mind is going places and leaving you stressed, take a deep breath, stop thinking, and eliminate all the unnecessary thoughts.

Unproductive and unnecessary thoughts do nothing but act as deterrents, leaving you overwhelmed and upset. At such times, just focus on the things that are within your control and forget about the rest.

You need to accept the fact that there are things that are beyond your control, and there is no need to waste your energy obsessing over them

18. Muster up the Courage

Do not allow yourself to procrastinate on your transformation. The fear of change may disguise itself as a thoughtful plan to wait for more information or better timing.

Keep in mind that you are not looking for the perfect situation; you are only looking to start. Once you get started, you are going to be better equipped to make any changes.

I often compare starting your journey to walking through a fog. If you stand on the outside of the fog trying to see to the other side, you are going to find it very difficult. However, if you are willing to take the first few steps, you are going to realize that you can see a few more steps into the fog.

If you are willing to continue walking, before you know it, you can see clearly because the fog is behind you.

You have an idea of what your dream life looks like, and you have an idea of the effort it is going to take to make it happen. However, you do not really know how realistic your expectations are until you experience them.

Final Thoughts

There is a lot of work that goes into living your dreams, but you will find it well worth your time. Life is short, so don’t worry about the things you can’t control.

Most people regret the things they did not do more than anything they have ever done. Therefore, don’t settle for a life that is less than your dream life. Pursue it with effort and resolve.

Source: ~ By: Undre Griggs ~ Canva Pro

The Purpose of Your Life Is to Choose a Lifestyle

Choose a Lifestyle

Attacking other people’s lifestyles is a terrible decision.

It has become common. There are a lot of people on social media who are angry and are attacking lifestyles and the people who select different ones. This is ridiculous.

Focus on the lifestyle you want to choose for yourself rather than attack other people’s lifestyles and believe that only one type of lifestyle is good (a shallow form of hell).

Entrepreneurs are not all evil capitalist monkeys. (Steve Jobs was a genius and a terrible human being all in the same sentence.) Not everybody who enjoys self-help is a terrible human being. Not everything about politics is bad. Not all things about money make you entitled, privileged, or selfish.

The purpose of your life is to consciously choose a lifestyle that works for you.

This might seem odd. Why would the purpose of your life be to choose a lifestyle and not something more grandiose or full of stoic wisdom like a meaning for your life?

The reason is that the concept of a lifestyle determines everything that follows. Lifestyle is a container to put your ideas about life in and find a way to thrive.

Your lifestyle is made up of:

    • Your beliefs
    • The work you choose to do
    • Your hobbies
    • Who do you spend time with
    • How you see the world
    • How you earn a living
    • Whether you start a business or not
    • Where you choose to live
    • Your family life
    • The balance between work vs. playtime

My lifestyle looks like this: time to do whatever I want, very few possessions, plenty of travel, a positive outlook on the world, grueling hard work, writing about life/self-improvement/personal finance/business, one romantic relationship, a piece of sh*t Honda Civic, good friends, great classic hits, no mental illness, and a lot of love and respect towards other people.

You can’t copy and paste my lifestyle and be happy.

A lifestyle is a formula.

See Other People’s Lifestyle as Inspiration for Your Own

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all lifestyle, even though that’s what is often preached by self-improvement gods.

You can do and be anything you want. You can do that and not apologize for it. Rather than tearing apart other people’s lifestyles, which solves nothing, you can become a lifestyle scientist. You can read about other people’s lifestyles as inspiration for your own.

You can take what works from one person’s lifestyle and discard the rest.

Types of lifestyles:

    • Becoming an entrepreneur
    • Get a good education and get a good job
    • Make money online
    • Minimalist vs. Consumer
    • A life of kindness and working for not-for-profits
    • Create a side hustle or be a passive income badass
    • A life lived on social media where you document what happens to you
    • The everything is broken and the world is burning. State problems. Say the world is coming to an end. Give into chaos. Think money or business is evil. That’s all a lifestyle too.

Lifestyle Design Works

You spend time designing your dream home or designing and executing a piece of art. Why couldn’t you design your life?

Lifestyle design is where you don’t let your circumstances determine your lifestyle. Lifestyle design is where you set goals for the lifestyle you want. The key is to be happy with the lifestyle you currently have in the process, so you’re not forever chasing rainbows that lead towards a lifestyle you never get time to enjoy.

Designing your life is a back-of-the-envelope task. It will constantly change. You will design your life to be one way and then as the plan unfolds you will decide that certain parts need to change.

Lifestyle design isn’t a 5-year plan corporate slide deck that assumes a black swan event like a health crisis will never happen.

Lifestyle design can be as simple as writing down how you want to earn a living, what your hobbies will be, how you’ll spend your money, who you will spend your time with, what you will believe, how you will act, where you will live, and how much time you dedicate towards your family.

Rough estimates are fine because lifestyle design isn’t an exact science.

You Can Choose a “Hybrid Lifestyle”

My lifestyle is what I call a Hybrid Lifestyle. I work a 9–5 job and am a part-time entrepreneur who loves to write.

I have taken three traditional lifestyles and combined them. Society tells us these three lifestyles can’t go together but I’ve chosen to edit that part out. You too can choose a hybrid lifestyle that defies the norms.

The key to lifestyle design is to remove “absolutes” to be happy. For example, I’m vegan and sometimes eat dairy to be a badass.

It pays to question your lifestyle regularly and break the rules. A lifestyle is a blueprint, not an absolute piece of perfect art that can never ever change.

Final Thought

Lifestyles create a lot of arguments. Move on from arguments and choose the lifestyle which suits you. Shaming people for the lifestyle they choose doesn’t help anybody. You do you.

I empower you to create your lifestyle as soon as possible. Otherwise, somebody else, typically a corporation with a well-known logo, will do it for you — or even a bad boss who needs you to be a slave so they can buy their lifestyle off the luxury shelves of Monaco while high-fiving James Bond.

The purpose of your life is to design your lifestyle how you want, so you can be happy and find meaning in your life.

Source: ~ By: Jack Krier ~ Image: Canva Pro

Choice is Freedom

Choice is Freedom

“Choice confers freedom.” —Sarah Ban Breathnach, Simple Abundance

Having the opportunity to choose our path forward — the career path, the relationships to engage in or walk away from, the investments of our time, attention, and money — is to live a life of freedom.

Having such a choice can be paralyzing to some when they have found comfort in not having to choose for themselves as when we give this power to someone else we assure what we do in our lives is already approved by those in our lives.

In other words, when we abstain from being the “chooser” of our lives, we miss the opportunity of understanding who we are most sincerely, and what are true self actually is. And while the journey to everyday contentment may be confusing at first as we navigate through the choices that are given to us, ultimately, these choices will cement our contentment upon understanding most clearly who we are without the influence of the outside world, whereas letting others choose for us will only create, while immediate, also only an evanescent moment of superficial peace of mind.

Without realizing it, you may be negatively impacting your effectiveness by seeking others’ approval. This is because you probably avoid doing things that are important to you, feel anxious about trying new things outside your comfort zone, and get stuck worrying about what others might expect from you. Needing approval may lead you to reject potential opportunities because you’re too anxious and believe your performance has to be perfect. It may cause you to fear failing so much that you give up before you start.” —Ilene Strauss Cohen Ph.D.

Having choices puts the onus on us which for anyone who has not been given such a responsibility can cause trepidation, but with nearly anything worth pursuing, the outcome is never guaranteed, but also never achieved if never attempted. Attempt it anyway.

Attempting, making the choice, and seizing the opportunities that speak to our curiosities becomes easier when we know ourselves more fully and completely. And the beautiful paradox is that we only come to know ourselves completely if we start making our own choices.

How can we begin to make our own choices or give ourselves the opportunity to be the chooser?

  • Quiet yourself long enough to hear your curiosities speak. Do this regularly. Your path forward will not be straight, but beautifully curvy and full of adventure and discoveries.
  • Eliminate comparison with others, but if you choose to compare, only compare yourself to whom you were yesterday.
  • Be financially independent regardless of your relationship status. (view all of TSLL’s Money posts in the Archives.)
  • Learn how to say the word, the complete sentence, “No.” with confidence and without hesitation and without following it up with an apology or the feeling of guilt. Guilt is the weapon used by those who wish to disrespect our boundaries or passive aggressive who are insecure and therefore not living in such a way that is being true to themselves (learn how to set healthy boundaries for better relationships of all types.)
  • Stop asking for recommendations and let yourself explore, taste-test, and follow where your eye and your curiosities take you.
  • Remind yourself that it is not your responsibility to make other people happy. Each of us is responsible for our own happiness, and it is in our discovery of how to live happily that we inspire and teach others to do the same for themselves, but it is their choice, not ours to do so.
  • Assess the healthy quotient of your closest relationships. Are they are a drain on your finite sources of energy or a boost of positive energy? Be honest. Edit or eliminate accordingly. Amazing things, unexpected things, begin to happen when we leave room for others to enter into our lives.
  • Examine assumptions of what you think you have to do or have in your life – people you “have” to have in your life, relationships that are supposed to bring happiness. Who taught you each assumption? What do they have to gain from teaching you these beliefs? If they have absolutely nothing to gain, then examine why you are questioning the assumption. If they have something to gain – family ties, monetary connection, heightened status, etc. – and the relationship does not elevate your life, assuage any guilt and let go at a speed you feel comfortable.
  • Start making small decisions for yourself if you are new to doing so, and celebrate how your life begins to elevate. At a pace that is comfortable for you, begin to make larger, more significant, more in-alignment-with-your-true-self decisions, and watch as your life transforms for the better.

Choosing to be the navigator of your life exhilarates and terrifies you, but based on my own experiences, the former grows while the latter lessens with each choice that is authentic to your true self. It is much like a muscle: when you exercise being the chooser of your own life, it becomes easier and second nature to do so, and the less you do it, the harder it becomes to decide anything on your own.

In becoming the chooser you are letting go of other people’s journeys as well, and letting them become the chooser for themselves. But the more you model how to navigate well your own life, you teach others to have the courage to do it as well.

Choice is freedom. Anyone who tries to limit or take away your choice is consciously or unconsciously trying to take away your freedom. While we cannot control another, we can control ourselves and vow to never take the choice away from someone else, as we would not want someone to take such an action against us. Likewise, give yourself the most awesome gift you can give by vowing to never squander your freedom of choice. Have patience with yourself, have confidence in yourself and while embracing in the unknown let yourself become excited about the possibilities of what having choice in your life could eventually create or bring into your daily experience.

Source: ~ Image: Canva Pro

Life’s Good Moments Make for a Lifetime of Good Memories

Lifetime of Good Memories

There is a brilliant quote in Spanish that roughly translates to, “Time does not run, it flies. So, make good times and don’t miss them. He who has good moments will have good memories.” I love that, don’t you? Let’s talk about it and see how we can turn good moments into a lifetime of good memories.

Time doesn’t run, it flies!

Isn’t that the truth? If time ran, at least we could keep up with it. Instead, it’s like we blink, and years have gone by. One minute you’re graduating high school and setting out on your adventure through adulthood. The next, your own baby is starting the same journey. Blink again and suddenly you’re a great-grandmother looking back at dozens of years’ worth of memories.

Studies actually show that we tend to remember the good more than the bad.  Scientists call it the “Fading Affect Bias.” We’re basically wired to retain information related to positive life experiences and filter out the negative stuff. Later in our golden years, those good memories help us keep an optimistic outlook on life. If you want to make memories that last forever, you need to focus on creating them now.

When you’re old and gray, wouldn’t you rather take a long hike up memory mountain than a quick jaunt down memory lane? In other words, do you want to remember just a handful of giant milestones or thousands of tiny good moments? I know which I’d prefer.

Good Moments Make for a Lifetime of Good Memories

It makes sense, right? Of course, the good moments in our life become the best memories that we look back on when we’re older. During normal happy times, making good moments is a breeze. We don’t even have to work at it! I think about all the family trips we took last year- to the beach, amusement parks, even just out and about in our own city- and I’m filled with joy knowing that my kids will always have those good memories.

Unfortunately, during harder times it’s often easier to focus on the bad stuff and forget all about the little moments that make life so wonderful. Ironically, those are the times when it’s really most important to focus on what’s going right in your life, especially if you want more good memories than bad later in life.

I think we can all agree that these are very trying times, right? For those affected in the most tragic of ways, I know that no amount of “focusing on the good” can ever turn these days into good memories. I won’t even pretend that it can.

However, for many of us, we have an important choice to make. Do we choose to spend our days filled with anger and frustration over what we can’t change? Or do we throw ourselves into making good times now, so we have good memories later? Personally, I’d rather look back on these times (or any trying times, really) and know that I did my best to create happy memories for myself and my family. I think that’s really one of the best gifts I can give to my future self.

Yes, it’s not always easy. How do we make good moments during hard times? How do we ensure that years from now, we’re looking back with a smile instead of through tears?

How to make good memories even in the toughest of times

Like I said, creating good memories during easy times is effortless. When we’re happy, every moment is a good one. How do you turn tough times into good memories, though?

1. Start each day with a smile

There’s a reason why they say that grumpy people “woke up on the wrong side of the bed.” How we wake up sets the tone for the entire day. If you wake up groaning and dreading the day ahead of you, you’ll only see the bad moments. However, if you want up with a smile and think, “Today is a whole new day and a new chance for good things to come my way,” you’re more likely to focus on the positive.

2. Practice gratitude

While recent studies show that practicing gratitude doesn’t do as much to stop depression and anxiety as we once thought, it also doesn’t hurt. Looking for things that make you grateful isn’t just about making you feel better though. It’s a wonderful opportunity to really reflect on the smaller moments and commit them to memory.

3. Give the gift of gratitude to someone else

When times are really tough and your world is crashing all around you, it’s hard to practice gratitude, isn’t it? Believe me, I know. In times like those, you can substitute practicing gratitude with giving it to others. Do something kind for someone else, not with the expectation that they’ll thank you or anything, but because you know what it’s like to need something to feel grateful for.

It doesn’t have to be something really grand or anything. On tough days, I’m grateful to a friend who always posts funny memes on her Facebook. She does it every single day no matter what’s going on in her life. She says, “If I make even one person crack a tiny smile, it’s worth it.”

4. Keep a “line-a-day” journal

If you’re already into journaling, good for you! For those who feel like they don’t have time to write down paragraphs (or pages) of thoughts every day, though, a line-a-day journal is brilliant. These low-pressure books invite you to sum up your entire day in just one sentence. Use that single sentence to focus on something wonderful that happened to you that day, even if it’s just “Saw the most beautiful sunrise this morning.”

5. Spend time in the present

The next time your kids invite you to play, get down on the floor with them. Then, really be there instead of thinking about bills, food shortages, and so on. Trust me, those problems will still be there in an hour. Your kids only stay little for so long, so enjoy them! Time never flies faster than when we’re watching our kids grow up, after all.

6. Love often and fiercely

The football player turned motivational speaker Trent Shelton once said,  “At the end of the day all that matters is love and memories so make sure you give it and make sure you make them.” If you love often and deeply, you’ll create good moments without even realizing it.

7. Try something new

Doing something totally new and outside your comfort zone is one of the best ways to make memories. As Meik Wiking, self-proclaimed “happiness researcher” and author of The Art of Making Memories, told CBC News (in Canada),  “We have a tendency to remember first time experiences much better than things we’ve done over and over again. So seeking out new experiences is a good way to create strong memories.”

8. Let go of the idea of perfection

There’s a wonderful quote that says, “I don’t want a perfect life, I want a happy life.” Short, sweet, and totally to the point. If you’re focused on achieving perfection in everything you do, then you’ll end up disappointed. Since we already established that we build memories out of the good things in life, you can see where that disappointment could be a problem. You’ll lose the opportunity to create something that you can reflect back on years from now.

9. Celebrate small wins

We tend to view our lives as a series of milestones to reach. When we do hit them, we go big with our celebrations, which in turn cements them into our minds. While that’s definitely one way to create new memories, I don’t want to look back later in life and only recall a handful of moments. Do you? By celebrating smaller wins and everyday moments, we create countless good moments to reflect on in our golden years.

I’ll leave with one last quote (source unknown) that sums everything up beautifully. It goes, “The real moment has disappeared but you will always have the memories to remind you.” Make a real effort to be more mindful about creating good moments today. If you focus on doing that, you’ll have a lifetime of good memories to reflect on tomorrow.

Source: ~ Image: Canva Pro

How to Make Childhood Memories That Last a Lifetime

Making Childhood Memories

How to make strong, lasting memories that stick around

The goal of Passing Down the Love is to encourage you to make lasting childhood memories with your kids and grandkids.

Memories that they will carry with them for a lifetime.

I’ve talked about ideas for activities like reading together, going places, sharing family traditions, turning moments into new family traditions, and simply spending time with family.

Make Lasting Memories

But do you know how to make lasting memories?

Those strong, positive, lasting memories of childhood that will stick around long after you’re gone?

You’ve heard the saying – I’ll paraphrase here –  “They will forget what you said and did, but they’ll remember how you made them feel”.

You want your kids and grandkids to remember you, not only the things you did together but how being together made them feel – loved and cherished, strong and courageous, empowered and able, protected and safe.

How Our Memory Works

So to get there, let me start by explaining a little about the process of making memories.

A memory is our interpretation of an experience.

There is a difference between “experiences” and the “memory of experiences”.

Have you ever played the game where the first person whispers a phrase to the next person and it’s passed down the line, only to end up totally distorted by the time it reaches the last person?

Or heard a bit of gossip that started as a little nugget of information and developed a life of its own?

Memories are a bit like that.

Two people can have the exact same experience, be in the same place, but have totally different memories of what happened.

My family loves to talk about their childhood memories.

One of us begins the story, but we are soon interrupted by another who doesn’t remember it quite the same way.

We were all there, but we each have our own “remembrance” of the experience.

Why is that?  Experiences and the memory of the experience are seldom the same.  We each see things differently, based on several variables.

Childhood Memories are affected by:

The passage of time —

The passage of time increases the likelihood that our childhood memories change or fade and become less vivid, the story morphing and sometimes finding a life of its own along the way.

However, telling the story many times over can help “make it stick”, even if it changes with time.

Example of Childhood Memories

On occasion, I pick up my grandkids from daycare.

On the way home, we pass by our neighborhood swimming pool. Each time, they talk about the times they swam in that pool.

Each time the story changes and is a little different than the first time they told it.

Their memories of that pool may not be as accurate as of the real experience, but they are more likely to remember because of the number of times they have passed it and talked about it.

Our perspective —

Our age at the time, our relationship with those involved, our judgment about its worth or importance and our role in the event all contribute to our memory.

Here’s an example.

The first time I met the soon-to-be in-laws I remember being terrified and nervous, wanting to make a good impression.

My husband was proud and excited for his family to meet me. His baby brother (who was 10 at the time), was curious and hopeful he’d be an uncle by the time he was 12. (He was 16 before he became an uncle).

My in-laws were welcoming and kind, but unsure about the prospect of losing their eldest son.

But really, that’s just my take on it.  I only truly know how I felt myself.

I am guessing at what I think they might have been thinking and feeling.

So my memory of the experience is based on my own perspective. They probably each remember it in their own way.

Emotions —

The most important facet of memory is the intensity of the emotions that were felt at the time of the experience.

Events with extreme emotion are more likely to create the strongest memories – the fear and excitement of a parachute jump, sorrow at the death of a loved one, joy the day your boyfriend proposed, the fear and joy at the birth of a first child, or pride resulting from a great accomplishment.

But simple emotions like the smile on your face when you see your grandchild, the outstretched arms and big hugs, listening intently, or expressing your pride in their actions and accomplishments can also create warm memories.  Remember, it’s the little things that count!

Helpful ways to make lasting childhood memories.

Talk —

Recall your pleasant, enjoyable experiences often.

Remind kids of the things you’ve done together. Ask them to tell you about the time they fell off of their bike.

Instead of talking about the scraped knee, encourage them to remember how they got back up and kept riding.

Talk about the time at the playground when they gave up their turn and let the smaller kid on the swing.

Help them remember their experiences in a positive way. Remind them they are determined, strong, and kind.

Make lasting childhood memories by talking about them in a positive way.

What is your favorite memory from your childhood?

Think about your own best childhood memories and Tell Me a Story ‘Bout the Good Old Days!

Share Photos —

Make a photo album of your favorite pictures of your family together.

Hang photos on the wall.  Look through the photos on your tablet or phone.

Whatever way works best for you, have access to your photos and share them with your kids and grandkids.

Share the memories from your trip to the zoo.  Show them videos of themselves as babies.

My grandson loves the video I have of him babbling at the table when he was learning to talk.

He can’t believe there was a time he didn’t know how to speak!  Cuddle on the couch, look through pictures, talk about the times you’ve spent doing things together, and how much fun you had with them.

Thank them for making your life happy.

Make lasting childhood memories by sharing photos of your special times.

Smell the Roses —

Think about smells and how they relate to your memories.

An experience or time comes to mind when a certain smell wafts your way.

My Grandma always smelled like her Avon perfume.

I smell that perfume and I think of her, even now.

Bake cookies together, the same kind every Christmas. Then when someone continues the tradition and bakes your cookies, they will remember Christmas with you.

The way your house smells, the flowers in your yard, or the garage smell that reminds your Grandson of the times he helped Grandpa work on the car.

Smell is a strong memory stimulus.

Use smells to make lasting memories.

Sounds —

As I talked about in a previous post, Music Makes Memories More Magical, music from our past can bring back strong feelings and emotions.

A certain song can trigger a memory of an event, a day, a person, or a time of life.

Making musical memories is a way to provide children with a future connection to positive feelings, all while simply enjoying today.

So sing your silly songs, dance to music in the living room, or play a lullaby on the piano as they fall asleep.

Make lasting childhood memories through musical fun.

Why Are Childhood Memories So Strong?

All of these things – talking about your experiences, seeing photos of things you’ve done, places you’ve been and people you’ve met, wonderful smells that remind you, and sounds like the music you’ve heard and songs you sing.

All of these combine together to make a lasting impression on you and can create memories that last a lifetime.

Final Thoughts —

Everyone has memories of their childhood, whether they are good memories or bad memories.

Take steps toward positive, happy memories for your children and grandchildren by talking with them about the good times they have had, sharing photos and recalling special moments, and create a positive association to events by adding music to your lives.

Simply enjoy your family time, interact, do things together.  Play in the rain, go camping or have a pillow fight.

These are the experiences that make lasting childhood memories.

Treasure the time.

Source: ~ Image: Canva Pro

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