3 Simple Ways To Build A Life You Enjoy

It appears that every time I get swamped with Coach The Life Coach, client work and general life ‘stuff’ I get an influx of quality guest posts to help bail me out.

If anybody quotes the Law of Attraction at me I will probably hunt them down and commit some atrocity involving ferrets, the blood of a bat and a butter knife, so don’t go there!

Today’s post is written by James from Men With Mens who happens to be probably the only James on the planet I’d be happy to give a big kiss on the cheek to if we were to meet in person.

Don’t ask.

3 Simple Ways To Build A Life You Enjoy

As I enter my mid-40s, I’ve come to realize that I won’t live forever.

Several key life events brought that fact keenly to mind. My spouse and I bought our “forever” home. We bought life insurance. We had our wills notarized. I got disability insurance.

I felt old. It was enough to tarnish my Peter Pan outlook on life.

But realizing you won’t live forever also has its perks. You start to focus on your life, and what really matters to you. After all, you only have so many years left… you should make the most of them!

The problem is that it’s not always easy to figure out what we really want in our life.

At least, it wasn’t for me. Here’s how I figured it out:

Start by Being Honest with Yourself

People lie to themselves each and every day. I do it, you do it, and everyone does it.

We say yes to going out when we’d rather stay home.

We keep doing activities we don’t really enjoy.

We spend time with friends that don’t really stimulate us anymore.

We keep saying we’ll do certain things one day when we know we won’t.

It’s normal, to a certain extent. We become used to our routines, our habits, our environment, and our usual modus operandi.

We hang around with those friends because we always have. We go to our weekly activities because it’s what we always do.

But we aren’t being honest with ourselves. And this dishonesty robs us of our time, our energy and our pleasure.

Before you say yes to the next supper invitation with those friends or plunk down your yearly membership to that club, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do I want to do this? Why?
  • What am I getting out of it?
  • Would I regret not doing this?
  • How would that feel?
  • What else could I do instead?

Be honest with your answers. If you know you don’t really want to go to your weekly poker games because you hate that the guys play the music too loud and use it as an excuse for drinking, then say so.

If you can imagine yourself spending an hour reading a good book instead and wouldn’t have a smidge of regret about not winning $20 at cards, then say so.

For example, I was so tired of our house project that once we moved in, all I wanted to do in the evenings was watch TV. After several months, a friend of mine made a comment that I never go out anymore, and I felt guilty.

So I asked myself questions. Was I blowing away my evenings? Should I be hanging around with that friend? I realized that I did miss socializing, and that getting out once a week energized me.

I also realized that I honestly liked my evening TV… but as a treat, maybe twice a week. I changed things up, and I’m now a happier person for it.

Learn to Say No

Once you’ve figured out, activity by activity, what you really want to be doing instead of what you dislike, it’s time to learn to say no.

That’s not always easy. We feel guilty that we might be disappointing others, or we feel obligated to say yes. We aren’t, and we won’t.

Saying no to what you don’t want means saying yes to yourself. You’re giving yourself permission to choose what you want in your life – and that’s a very good thing.

You might surprise people at first, especially if they’ve always known you as a “yes man”, and you might even upset someone, but in the long run, you’ll gain respect – even from those you upset earlier on.

You can even phrase it positively, and make saying no look like a good thing:

“Sure, I’d be happy to help you with that – I’m free next Saturday.” That saves you from doing it right now and disrupting your schedule.

“I’d love to help, but unfortunately I’m busy. I know you can handle this on your own, though. You’ll be fine!” That puts responsibility back on the other person, instead of on you.

By being honest with yourself and learning to say no, you’ll be well on your way to a much happier life, but there’s one more tactic I found useful:

Narrow Your Options

“If you could have this or that, which would you prefer most? What would make you happier? What would you enjoy more?”

Those questions are a favorite in our household. It’s invariably helped us make smart decisions that benefit our lifestyle and increase our enjoyment.

They’ve also helped us eliminate what isn’t important to us in the grand scheme of things.

For example, if we could have more life insurance or more disability insurance, which would we prefer?

If we could have a larger retirement fund or a larger education fund for my daughter, which would we prefer? What would make us happier? What would we enjoy more?

The strategy forced us to examine the pros and cons of both options and weigh them out. Paired with total honesty about what we wanted and what we’d regret, we were able to make big decisions easily, and we still feel great about them today.

You can do the same and narrow your options on which job to take, which city to live in, which activities to join… anything, really.

It clears away confusion and gets to the heart of the matter pretty quickly, especially with your newfound honesty and ability to say no tied into the mix.

You’ll actually feel great about it. You’ll be in control, feeling good as you make smart life decisions that focus on creating a life that really matters to you.

About the Author

James Chartand is a professional writer who teaches all kinds of people, including life coaches, on how to become better content marketers at her writing course for business owners, Damn Fine Words.

She also refuses to give up on her Peter Pan dreams, despite having to grow up just a little.