3 Things You Can Start Doing Today to Improve Your Life

Man Jumping

“The grass is always greener where you water it.” ~Unknown

Have you noticed that when we’re unhappy we often spend our time focusing on those very things that are making us unhappy?

My life has had its ups and downs, like anyone, but one of the lowest lows was back when I had a graduate job at a big four accounting firm.

I was completely stuck in a rut: I’d drag myself out of bed in the morning, commute to work, spend the day in an office full of people I didn’t like, doing work I found mind-numbingly boring and unfulfilling, go out and drink too much in the evening, often with those same colleagues that I didn’t much like, get a late bus home, and then do it all again.

I was bored, unhealthy, and unhappy.

I spent all my energy doing things I didn’t enjoy with people who weren’t my tribe, and then drowning it all with a bottle of wine.

But it hasn’t always been like that, and I’ve worked out my own tools to turn life on its head and spend my time being happy.

Now I focus on making every day joyful, and living a life filled with fun, happiness, and adventure.

As Seth Godin says, “Instead of wondering when your next vacation is, maybe you should set up a life you don’t need to escape from.”

And that, my friends, is where I come in.

There are three small but impactful shifts any can make to start improving their life. They may feel daunting initially, but these three shifts will start to make your life different—and better—day by day.

1. Make some space.

“Busy” is the new buzzword. Lots of us rush around cramming our day full of unfulfilling activities, and when someone asks how we are, we sigh, “Busy…”

Have a look at your calendar and see how much time you’re spending doing things that don’t rock your world.

Do you always say “yes” to meeting up with your husband’s brother’s wife even though you leave feeling drained and unhappy?

Do you say “yes” to meetings at work that you know beforehand are just going to waste time and cause you to stay late to finish off your real work?

Do you find yourself out with friends at expensive restaurants where the cost means you spend the night worrying about the bill and not having fun?

All these things are negotiable! Start saying “no” to events and people that drain you. No need to provide excuses or justification, just politely bow out.

The more you say “no” to the things that don’t fill you with joy, the more time you have available to do said joyful tasks.

It can feel scary to begin with—you may end up with free time in your calendar, and lots of us worry that people won’t like us for saying “no.” That’s normal! But are you willing to face those fears to open your life up to make you happy every day?

2. Do something that scares you.

Maybe making space in your schedule is already pushing you out of your comfort zone. Great! But I bet there are plenty of things that you’d love to do to fill the space that make you feel jussstttt a little bit nervous.

These things help expand us, and doing things that start from a place of fear helps free us of the fear and expand our comfort zone. So scare yourself today, and you’ll be less scared tomorrow.

These scary activities don’t have to be earth shattering. My first list of scary tasks included calling a girl I wanted to be friends with, answering my phone every time it rang (I’d gotten into the habit of screening almost all my calls, even though I love chatting with people!), and joining a dance class.

See, they’re all simple, but each of them had the effect of improving my life when I did them.

As you start living from your growing edge and consciously pushing yourself to do things outside your comfort zone, the zone will expand and you will find a renewed confidence in yourself and your abilities.

3. Do something you love.

I love to read; I always have. When I was a kid, my dad described it as voracious.

I’d read all the time—when I went to bed, when I woke up on the weekends, in the afternoon after school. Still, one of my favorite indulgences is when I have time on the weekends to wake up without an alarm and just read in bed until I’m too hungry and have to get up and eat some eggs.

But when I’m busy, tired, and stressed, it’s one of the first things to go. Huge error! I find myself zonking on the couch in front of TV, getting more and more drained and tired. But I noticed the pattern, and I consciously make time to read now. I love getting lost in a beautiful novel.

What’s your “thing”? What are a few things you love to do? Read, chat on the phone with friends, go for walks in nature? Write down a list of a few of these things and do one of them every day.

Maybe pick small things for weekdays and something bigger for the weekends so you don’t overwhelm yourself, but focus on the things you love to do and make it a priority to spend your time doing things that make you happy.

Once we’ve made some space, written down things we love to do, and started recognizing the things that we’re holding off doing because they’re scary, it’s time to do!

Take your calendar and book it in. Cross out that thing you’re going to say “no” to, and write in something scary and something you love.

Make it happen, make the commitment to improve your life in a small way every day. A little bit of daily action will get you further than one huge burst of energy every month.

It’s your life. Choose to make it amazing.

Man jumping image via Shutterstock

About Samantha Sutherland

Samantha Sutherland is the excitable founder and chief fun-maker at The Everyday Adventure, helping women be happier, and more playful and joyful. Sam runs retreats, events, an online adventure challenge, and blogs. She's a corporate refugee, mother, and certified Health Coach. Connect with her on Instagram @TheEverydayAdventure and Facebook.

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