According to a 2016 GOBankingrates survey, the most popular resolution last year was, “enjoy life to the fullest,” with almost half of respondents (45.7%) choosing that goal. “Live a healthier lifestyle,” at 41.1%, was a close second.
How do you measure whether you’re living life to the fullest or living a healthy lifestyle?
When you wake up in the morning and say to yourself, “I am going to live life to the fullest today,” what exactly happens? If you are like me, your day may start well, but the excitement may dissipate during your commute, when you look in the rearview mirror and say, “Seriously, you can tailgate me as much as you like, but I have no place to go!”
Instead of choosing a vague platitude as your resolution, take a tack that can impact your life in unexpected ways. Focus on doing something outside of your comfort zone put a number on it and engage people in your life to help you complete it.
For example, improve your relationships, your outlook on life and your handwriting by writing a thank you note a day for a year. Expand your mind by asking 12 friends or colleagues which book changed their life, read one book per month, then discuss them with your friends.
Best friends Steven Labrum, entrepreneur, and finance director, and Joy Haynes, attorney, actor, and producer in Salt Lake City wanted to make creativity a priority. To them, the creative process is not just a form of expression but connects you deeply with your inner purpose. They boldly declared that they would put 50 “irons in the fire,” and with the collaboration of other passionate arts and culture leaders, they would execute a creative project every week for 50 weeks. Here are a few examples of their work:
- A massive painted mural in downtown Salt Lake City that beautifies the area. It caught my attention since I see the wall every day on my walk from the bus stop to my office.
- A eulogy project, where you choose someone to write a eulogy about (while they are living and breathing). Then you read it to that person, with separate cameras focused on each of you. The brave participant agrees to have the whole thing posted on the website. Read about it when it’s posted here.
- Would you allow your friend (with no training or experience) to give you a new hairstyle? I wouldn’t dare! Steven trusted Joy (with the guidance of a trained stylist) to cut and create! Check out the results here.
Steven and Joy chose a project that was unusual and fun. It was focused on strengthening a trait—creativity—and they gave themselves a number and a deadline to help them stick to it.
You can read about what they’ve done and what’s next on their website, 3irons.com.
Consider doing something similar on a scale that works for you
One of my New Year’s resolutions a few years ago was to try 52 new things—one a week for a year. This project changed my life in ways I never could have imagined, including moving to a new state and changing jobs!
You can start anytime. It doesn’t have to be right at the New Year. Instead of “losing 10 pounds” or “leading a healthy lifestyle” resolve to do something better.
Enjoy 25 picnics. On a hike, at an outdoor concert, even in the snow. Consider snowshoeing to a closed campground and have a friend carry in firewood (if allowed by the forest service, of course). Someone else can bring hot and cold beverages, and another the picnic basket. Dress warmly and sit around the fire and enjoy a winter picnic. Pinterest can be your inspiration.
Host 12 dinner parties. Once a month, invite the most interesting people you know over for dinner. Is there something you want to learn? Invite your friend or acquaintance with that expertise. Is there someone you admire and want to get to know better? Have him or her over for a meal and conversation.
Go deep on a topic of interest. Read 12 books—one a month—on a subject that interests you. When my husband and I converted to Catholicism a few years ago, I decided to read up on the great leaders of the Christian faith—the saints. So I read “a saint a month” and learned about three Saints named Teresa during that year: St. Teresa of Avila, Spain, St. Terese of Lisieux, France, and Mother Teresa of Calcutta, India.
We all want to live life to the fullest and live a healthy lifestyle. The best way to get there is to set quantifiable, interesting goals and give yourself a deadline. Enjoy life to the fullest one project at a time.
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