We talk about taking life by the horns, living life to the fullest, and living our best lives, but how many truly embrace the philosophy and live it every day?
What Does it Mean to Live Life to the Fullest?
The call to live life to the fullest is more than an empty platitude. It’s an achievable goal.
Living life to the fullest is about enjoying your life every day to the greatest extent possible. It’s about embracing life’s challenges, enjoying nature’s bounties, and experiencing the full scope of human possibility.
Don’t let the poetic definition deter you. Living life to the fullest doesn’t mean you have to embark upon epic adventures or uncover the mysteries of the universe.
You can live life to the fullest every single day, starting today.
How Do You Live Life to the Fullest Every day?
Every day is a gift. These simple ideas will help you embrace that gift and experience joy daily.
We can find things to be thankful for every single day. Most people have a shining light in their life. A beloved pet, a treasured heirloom, a healthy mind, or even a roof over our heads could be things we’re thankful for.
Take a moment each day to think about all the good in your life and spend time truly appreciating it. Expressing gratitude leads will help you feel happier and more content with your overall situation.
Anger and resentment are barriers to a life of fulfillment. It’s okay to let go of the past and forgive wrongdoings.
Forgiveness doesn’t mean that you will forget. You must also protect yourself. Forgiving someone doesn’t mean you have to let them back into your life.
Journaling is a fantastic tool for living life to its fullest. It can help you tease out what you’re grateful for, spark creativity, improve productivity, and get comfortable with your inner feelings.
Starting a journal is easy. Grab your favorite notebook and write! Check out our journal prompts if you need some inspiration.
Related: 48 Creative Bullet Journal Ideas
Mindfulness is the act of being present in every moment. We often focus too much on what we need to do and forget to notice what’s happening.
Stop. Take a breath. Notice the world around you, and live in the current moment. The present is a fleeting gift meant to be celebrated. Recognizing that truth will help you live your best life.
Embracing mindfulness can be difficult in our busy lives. Meditation enables you to focus your attention.
Setting aside just ten minutes each day for meditation will help you become more mindful in your daily life.
Stop and Smell the Flowers
Literally stop what you are doing and smell the flowers, whether at the grocery store, on a daily walk, or in an office. Taking a moment to smell the flowers will add joy to your life. Five seconds to sniff the delightful aroma of a rose bouquet won’t change anything in your life, but it will give you an instant mood lift.
It’s essential to stop and smell the flowers figuratively as well. Take a moment to pause wherever you are and enjoy life’s simple pleasures.
Having a healthy body will make living life to the fullest much easier. Work out. Go for a run a few times a week. Get a set of small dumbbells to lift at the office. Switch to a standing desk.
Even small amounts of physical activity can make a big difference. Take care of your physical health to live life to the fullest for as long as possible.
Take a Walk
Although walking is a top choice for physical activity, it also has other benefits. Getting out into the sun for 15 minutes daily can lift your mood.
Walking allows you to stop and smell the flowers, giving you a much-needed break from your work. A swift walk gives you an instant reset and helps you come back refreshed.
Living a fulfilling life is hard when you’re always stressed out and tired. Take time out of every day to take care of yourself, even if just for a few minutes.
Dedicate extra time each week for a whole self-care routine to ensure you’re ready for any new challenges.
Engage with Friends and Family
Humans are social creatures. We crave connection and community.
Make time for your family and your friends. Call people you haven’t spoken to in a while, meet up with old friends for coffee, and reconnect with family members you’ve missed. Often these simple connections are crucial to living life to the fullest.
Cut Out Toxicity
A vital caveat to engaging with friends and family is knowing who they are. You don’t have to engage with toxic people, regardless of how they are related to you.
It’s okay to go no contact with people who add negativity to your life. You can forgive them, love them, and wish them the best, but you don’t have to interact with them.
Part of taking care of your physical health includes eating a well-rounded diet. Cut back on processed foods and snacks and eat more whole grains and vegetables.
A healthy diet will help you feel more energized and help you live a longer, healthier life.
But Allow Indulgences
While eating healthy is essential, enjoying our lives and food is also important. Everyone has a few comfort foods and snacks they find irresistible.
Give into the craving every once in a while. Allow yourself tasty treats on occasion. Living a full life is about balance.
Kindness is free, and being kind to others works wonders for lifting your spirits.
Be kind to cashiers, service workers, and strangers. Give others the benefit of the doubt. Show grace when others make mistakes. Your kindness will impact not only your day but theirs as well.
Part of being kind is offering a helping hand. Hold the door for someone, pick up items they’ve dropped, and provide a helping hand whenever you can.
Helping other people, even with small, simple things, can work wonders for improving our moods and making us feel good about ourselves. However, remember that everything has limits. It’s okay to set boundaries and say no to helping someone.
Having and holding personal boundaries is key to living a full life.
Helping people is terrific. Showing kindness, empathy, and compassion are keys to living a life of contentment. But, like everything, there are limits. You can’t help others to your detriment. Set boundaries that make sense to you and stick to them.
We’re all human. We all make mistakes and do silly things. Embrace the silly.
My high school, like all of them, had cliques. I wasn’t in the “cool kids” clique, but my group was about two steps down from it.
However, we weren’t fun.
One memory stands out as a lesson for myself and others. We were on a field trip to the local park. My clique was sitting in the stands, trying hard to look cool. We watched the “dorky” girls run around, laughing and playing without a care in the world.
The group leader, let’s call her Michelle, commented that it’s always the nerdy kids who can have the most fun.
I’ll never forget that. Michelle was right. We were trying so hard to be cool that we forgot to have fun, and now that I’m older, I know I’ll never make that mistake again.
Laugh at Yourself
Part of being silly is learning to laugh at yourself. Laugh when you run into things, drop things, or make stupid verbal mistakes. Embarrassing things happen to all of us, and it’s human nature to poke fun at those things.
Don’t let others control the narrative or make you feel bad about stupid mistakes. The best way to stop those cringe-inducing moments from occupying our heads is to own them and laugh them off. When you let go of the defensiveness and own up to your faults, others will follow suit, and it will be far easier to let them go.
Nobody is perfect. We all have flaws and baggage. One primary key to living a life of fulfillment is to accept those imperfections and embrace them even.
Ancient Japanese cultures understood the individual beauty of each flaw. They practiced Kintsugi, the art of repairing a broken object with sparkling gold and silver to highlight blemishes rather than hide them. Kintsugi was more than a repair method. It symbolized the idea that we’re beautiful because of our flaws rather than in spite of them.
If you can learn to accept your flaws and imperfections, you will be happier and more content with life in general.
Things change. People change. Cities grow and develop while industries embrace new technologies. People flow in and out of each other’s lives.
Change is imminent; there’s no escaping it. Rather than push against and hold on to something that will never be the same, embrace the new opportunities that may come with change. Look forward to what might come rather than backward to what was but will never be again.
Although change can be scary, overall, it’s a good thing. You’ll be happier and healthier if you embrace it with open arms.
Stop waiting for something to happen to you, and go out and make things happen!
Being proactive is about forcing the change you want. Be an active participant in your life rather than a passive observer. Go after what you want. Try things, even if you aren’t good at them at first. You’ll find that taking action towards living the life you want is a top way to live life to the fullest.
Set Daily Intentions
“I will choose happiness today”
Say this to yourself, three times every morning. Write it in your journal. Embrace it in everything you do today.
Your intention can be about anything, from choosing happiness to giving yourself grace. You can even set multiple intentions each day.
Setting an intention each morning can help you focus on living intentionally. Once you get the hang of it, the intention will almost be second nature.
Humans are amazing creatures. We’re the only animal capable of imagining things. We can create new worlds and ideas and share them with others to enjoy.
Embrace the creative nature of humanity. Write a story, paint a masterpiece, draw a silly cartoon, or build a new toy. There are numerous ways to tap into your creativity, try them all and see what fits best.
Give Yourself Grace
“To err, is Human, to forget, Divine”
Forgive yourself. We all make mistakes, and we’ve all done things in life we aren’t proud of.
Stop dwelling on those things. Engage in self-reflection to understand why you did what you did and work towards preventing further lapses, but don’t dwell on it. Let it go and forgive yourself.
Become a Lifelong Student
Humanity’s capacity for learning new things will never cease to amaze. Embrace it by becoming a constant student. Open your mind to new possibilities, explore new cultures, and learn how the world works.
The world abounds with fascination and wonder. Open yourself to learning new ways to do things, new ideas, and different perspectives.
“Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars”
Aim high. Attempt the craziest, wildest outcome you can possibly imagine. Don’t let limiting beliefs prevent you from setting your sights high and working towards living your dream life.
Even if you don’t get exactly what you wanted, you’ll be better off setting your sights as high as possible. We can’t always get what we want, but we often get exactly what we need.
A dream without a plan is a wish. Make your dreams come true by developing a plan to achieve them. Planning serves two purposes – first, it’s fun. Nothing beats the satisfaction of hammering out an action plan to achieve a significant goal.
Second, planning makes your dreams achievable. It helps you set goals and outline tasks you need to complete to achieve those goals. Your plan is your roadmap to a fulfilling life.
Compassion and empathy go hand in hand. Empathy is the secret ingredient to a meaningful life. Understanding how others think and feel will help you be a better friend and person. It can lead to a more robust support network and deeper connections.
Compassion is turning empathy into a desire to help. Rescue that stray cat. Volunteer at a homeless shelter. Donate to a meaningful cause. Embrace those compassionate feelings and do something meaningful for someone else. You may not impact the world, but the small impact you make on whoever you help will be lasting.
Clean Your Space
Some people thrive in chaos, but others feel better when the space around them is clean and organized. Help yourself flourish by keeping your home and workspace clean.
Find an organizational system that works with your tendencies and embrace it. A clean, clear space promotes a clean, clear mind.
Books are journeys into other realms full of possibility and wonder. A book can transport us to another time and place or teach us the universe’s inner workings.
Reading is a fantastic tool for learning new things or tapping into our creative minds. The best part is that it can be free. Go to your local library and browse their selections. You’re sure to find something interesting.
Related: The 42 Best Books of All Time
Enjoy the Small Things
“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans”
Small things make up life. We all have significant moments that we’ll never forget, but it’s the rest of the time, the daily meals, the weekly game night, and the nightly cuddles, that truly fill life.
Enjoy those moments. Take pleasure in the Sunday morning bacon and the weekly bonus coffee. Stop what you’re doing to listen to your child or pet your cat when they come asking for attention. These little moments make up life, so enjoying them is key to a happy one.
Live your life how you choose, but avoid judging others for making different choices. Everyone is doing their best with the cards they have, and everyone makes mistakes.
Don’t judge people for their mistakes or for choosing a path you wouldn’t choose. Instead, choose compassion. Offer to help when others are suffering, and be the person they can trust with their deepest secrets. Your non-judgmental presence may be just what they need to get back on the right track.
Face Your Fears
Living life to the fullest can be scary. It’s easy to follow the life script, do what’s expected of you, and live a mediocre life.
It’s much harder to go against the grain and dedicate yourself to pursuing your dreams. What happens if you fail, if your family doesn’t support you, or if you can’t financially support yourself?
These are valid fears, but you need to face them. Step out of your comfort zone and discover what you’re made of. You will likely find that those fears were holding you back, and you’re fully capable of doing everything you want to do.
Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff
So many of us obsess over things that don’t matter. We cry over the spilled milk, get angry over misunderstandings, and run scenarios about what we should have said over and over in our heads ad nauseam.
Let all that stuff go. Ask yourself if this will matter a month, a year, or five years from now. If the answer is no, stop worrying about it. In the grand scheme of things, these small obstacles don’t matter, and stressing about them prevents you from living a happy life.
Have you ever wondered how the world works? Why humanity became what it did? What else is out there in the universe? The true meaning of life?
Dive into those philosophical questions you have about the inner workings of the universe. Discuss ideas with your friends and family. These deep ponderings and conversations may help you develop new perspectives on people, cultures, and the world we live in, which can ultimately lead to a more fulfilling life.
Do What Makes You Happy
Other people will try to tell you how to live your life. Though they may have good intentions, they aren’t you. Only you know what makes you truly happy.
Ignore the naysayers and live your life how you see fit. Do what makes you happy, regardless of what other people think.
But Be a Good Person
The caveat to doing what makes you happy is that you shouldn’t hurt people in the process. Follow your dreams and pursue your own path, but don’t lie, cheat, or steal to get what you want.
It’s also essential to fulfill any obligations that you have. If you have children, you need to take care of them, even if it prevents you from following your dreams for a time. However, you’ll likely find that being there for those who need you is fulfilling in and of itself. A fulfilling life finds you when you’re a good person.
Experiences to Help You Live a Full Life
Many of us dream of grand escapades essential to living our best lives. Here are some ideas for undertakings you can take which can add to your full life.
Complete Your Bucket List
A bucket list is an extensive list of things you want to accomplish in life. It could include competing in extreme sports, traveling to a specific location, reading a certain number of books, or learning a new skill.
Live life to the fullest by writing out your bucket list and trying to check every single item off it.
Traveling is one of the best ways to live life to the fullest. The world abounds with rich cultures, fascinating histories, beautiful sites, and people with varying perspectives. Spend time exploring the vast richness of the world we live in.
Traveling is also a great way to find yourself. Sometimes it takes a trek to ancient ruins in distant mountains to discover what we really want from life.
Get a Degree/Certification
Although you don’t need a degree to be a life-long student, it may be necessary to land a dream job. Consider going back to school or earning a credential. Degrees and certificates are great for opening doors to new opportunities, but they also provide you with new perspectives and information to pursue a life of learning.
Become an Expert
You don’t need a degree to become an expert. The internet is a vast resource that puts knowledge at your fingertips. Use this technology to become an expert on whatever interests you, whether it be the geo-political atmosphere of ancient Rome or the life and work of Stan Lee.
Alternatively, you may want to become an expert in a specific skill or craft rather than a subject. In this case, practice is far more important than what you will find in books. Dedicate time and attention to your craft. Complete master studies. Perfect your skill. Become an expert by doing.
Raise a Family
Many people find purpose in their children. They consider raising a family the ultimate path toward fulfillment. Although the day-to-day struggles are challenging, many parents feel that their children gave their life purpose.
It’s okay if this path isn’t for you. Bringing another whole person into this world isn’t a decision to take lightly. Despite what society tells us, you can live a full life without children.
Compete in a Sporting Event
Part of living life to the fullest is having crazy things to look back upon with pride. Competing in difficult sporting events could be that crazy thing.
Consider running a marathon, competing in a triathlon, or signing up for numerous athletic competitions. Do a tough mudder, a 10K fun run, or a polar dive. All these activities will take training and hard work, but the sense of accomplishment you feel when you finish will be worth it.
Push Yourself to Your Limits
You won’t know what you’re capable of until you test yourself. Give everything you do your all. Set challenging goals, face your fears, step out of your comfort zone and force yourself to step up to the challenge.
There are thousands of ways to push yourself. You could compete in an athletic event, face your fear of public speaking with a theater class, study a difficult topic, take on a side project you aren’t entirely comfortable with, or even embark on an epic mountain climbing adventure. How you push yourself is up to you, but when you’re done, you’ll know that you truly lived life to the fullest.
How Do I Afford To Live Life to the Fullest?
There are two significant limitations to living life to the fullest, especially if you want to pursue goals like traveling the world or becoming an expert in a particular field: Time and money.
Living your best life includes finding ways to fund your passion while meeting your obligations. The secret people don’t like to tell you is that you can have both.
Here are some essential tips on how to live life to the fullest while still paying your bills.
First, you need to set priorities. Consider your ultimate life goals and decide which are most important. In this step, you need to dig deep and think about what living life to the fullest means to you. What do you want out of life?
Next, you need to look at your budget. How does your spending align with your priorities? Cut back on the things that don’t matter, and start funding the things that do.
Make a Plan
You need to be realistic. It’s probably not feasible to leave tomorrow and pursue your dreams. Most people have financial obligations that take priority. However, making a five-year plan for achieving your dream life is feasible. Outline your short-term and long-term goals, and make your plans to achieve them.
The Money Triangle
Once you’ve outlined your plan to live a life of purpose, you need to make a financial plan to support it. Your financial plan includes the three sides to financial wellness: Saving, investing, and debt repayment.
Develop your triangle based on the goals you set for yourself. Adjust as needed when income changes or when you’ve achieved specific goals.
Turn Your Passion Into Cash
The best way to start living your dream life is by turning your passion into cash as soon as possible. Start a side hustle that aligns with your idea of a fulfilling life. Sell your creations on Etsy, start that book, or make YouTube videos showcasing your passion. There are thousands of ways to turn the things you love into money.
Get Out There and Live!
Live your life to the fullest. Make the best of every moment, and you’ll live a happy life.
This post originally appeared on Partners in Fire and was syndicated with permission.
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Melanie launched Partners in Fire in 2017 to document her quest for financial independence with a mix of finance, fun, and solving the world’s problems. She’s self educated in personal finance and passionate about fighting systematic problems that prevent others from achieving their own financial goals. She also loves travel, anthropology, gaming and her cats.