HOW TO MAXIMIZE LIVING (with Reduced Stress and increased Happiness)

happy imageMost of us are so busy taking care of life’s daily responsibilities, we generally don’t think about the steps needed to maximize quality living. We create daily patterns of living attempting to accomplish essential tasks.  These patterns have a tendency to develop as a RESULT of these tasks rather than an implemented STRATEGY. We tend to improvise as needed instead of planning. This method increases stress, frustration and poorer outcomes. This improvised planning eventually affects all aspects of life. It also leads to a lifestyle mirroring SURVIVAL rather than FULFILLMENT.

Americans are not educated well on planning. As we begin to feel the “pain” resulting from spontaneous “decision making”, we create temporary patches to “solve” the problems. Like any patch, they eventually weaken. This typically happens when we’re least prepared and magnifies the original problems. The end result of this style of planning commonly results in:

  1. bankruptcy

  2. depression

  3. obesity

  4. diabetes

  5. cardiac disease

  6. cancer

Americans are excellent at identifying problems. We are weak at constructing solutions. Our media bombards us with atrocities on a daily basis. We become so overwhelmed by all this negativity, our brains shut down attempting to escape this vision. Once this crucial point is reached, our path in life commonly approaches a fork in the road. One road leads to happiness; the other road leads to depression. Those able and willing to take one step backward and look with objective eyes at their situation, can develop a “plan of action” to address the various issues. This sounds simple, but it requires separating one’s emotional response from one’s logical and rational response. Even if capable of doing this, a successful outcome is not initially guaranteed.  All new learning requires time and experience. It is this repetitive learned skill to plan ahead that creates improved outcomes.

What does it take to begin this new thought process?

  1. The ability to take responsibility to change behavior from “I don’t want to,” to “I need to.”

  2. The ability to take responsibility to change behavior from “I don’t like to,” to “I have to.”

  3. The realization that no one cares more about your health and happiness than you.

  4. The realization that your children will likely follow a similar path in life using you as their example. Are you satisfied with the kind of example you’re setting for them at this time?

  5. The understanding that this new path (just like any new venture in life) has a learning curve that may result in bad decisions with bad outcomes early in the process. Failure has two roads; it can lead to insecurity or it can lead to growth and development. Failure gives us an OPPORTUNITY to LEARN. As long as one is willing to persevere with open and objective eyes and willing to navigate the different roads (choices) to achieve the desired outcome, the possibilities become endless.

Our past choices and decisions have morphed us into the people we have become. It is time we stop pointing our fingers at everyone else and begin pointing them at ourselves. This is not intended to berate anyone as much as awaken all of us to a new reality in life. Taking responsibility for one’s own life on a global scale improves the lives of everyone. This way of thinking unites people. The willingness to educate and be educated through communal sharing of ideas removes the impedance the current “isolated” family model produces. Our society experiences less stress if everyone has an opportunity for improvement.

Where do we begin? All PLANS OF ACTION need a starting point. I always recommend starting with small achievable changes to help grow self-confidence. Success leads to motivation. Motivation leads to further commitment. Commitment leads to lifelong changes.

So, for the growth and development of our blogging community, I wish to share an idea on starting a PLAN OF ACTION:

  1. Create a SHORT list of simple achievable tasks that would make you feel happier when accomplished.

  2. Create a realistic timeframe to accomplish these tasks.

  3. If difficulties arise in achieving these tasks, discuss them with people who care about you. Having a second set of eyes and ears can add great value in overcoming problems.

  4. Stay committed. We have a tendency to fall back in to OLD PATTERNS OF BEHAVIOR. If you notice this happening, listen in your head for that GPS message, “re-calculating!” Do what it takes to get refocused and back on course.

  5. Celebrate success by doing something that makes you feel good AND IS GOOD FOR YOU. We have a tendency to feel entitled to behaviors that result in destructive outcomes. Think about it. Should we celebrate an accomplishment by eating something unhealthy that damages our health as a reward? What kind of message are we reinforcing in our own minds. Wouldn’t a weekend getaway to celebrate quality time as a couple or a family be a better choice? Which reward reduces stress and truly increases happiness? Which reward is more fulfilling? Which reward is more likely to help you change behavior improving the quality of your life?

Starting with these 5 steps, you can transform yourself and begin experiencing MAXIMAL LIVING. Gaining control and living a life with reduced stress and greater happiness is certainly achievable.

What will it take for you to start your own PLAN OF ACTION?

What changes have you made in your life (that you would like to share with our community) that can help others improve the quality of their lives?

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11 comments

  1. Howto$tuffYourPig · · Reply

    Every evening I create a short “plan of action” for the next day. On a notepad I write down everything from what I’m going to eat to what I am going to do for exercise. I also write down the tasks that I need to accomplish. I always keep it short and I never look too far ahead. I don’t bother making long term goals because life somehow always gets in the way. If I keep it short and work on one day at a time, it’s much easier for me to follow through on the “plan of action”. Great post!

    Like

    1. You are amazing! I’ll bet your quality of life has benefited from these short daily plans of action. I hope other readers realize the simple reality of this type of action as well as the effectiveness by seeing that people (like yourself) have already recognized the value. Your comment proving this reality will likely motivate other readers to begin this new quest in life. Thank you so much for sharing your story.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I, a non-veggie eater is starting to add veggies to her diet. And watching the carb count of the goodies that tempt me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Day by day; week by week positive changes in your life continue to add up. Stay motivated! Some of us actually care about you.

      Like

  3. You wrote: Our media bombards us with atrocities on a daily basis. We become so overwhelmed by all this negativity, our brains shut down attempting to escape this vision. …Those able and willing to take one step backward and look with objective eyes at their situation, can develop a “plan of action” to address the various issues.

    I feel like I’m in the thick of this bombarding behavior right now. It’s not just the negativity that gets to me, though, its the fullness of everything. It seems like the world is so full, even though I live in the sticks. I’m not sure how I would cope, living in a metro area. Ha! Writing helps me to recenter myself and gain focus once again.

    One thing that has helped me to have a more positive attitude is to start being thankful the moment I become fully awake in the morning. On those days when I remember to have an attitude of gratitude first thing, things go much smoother. Great post! Yay for Action Plans–they work, if you work them!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Everyone experiences varying levels of stress, but you sound like you have learned how to appreciate the value of life. Stress is an issue requiring taming. Learning how to contain stress (not withhold stress) and prevent it from interfering with your quality of living is the goal for most people. Achieving it has an infinite number of pathways.
      I think readers can learn from your approach to achieving a positive attitude. Thank you for all your terrific suggestions.

      Like

  4. “Taking responsibility for one’s own life on a global scale improves the lives of everyone. ” You said it best! One of the things I have repeated to my kids is you must take responsibility of your own self. That there’s a point in life where you can’t any longer blame it on anything other than yourself. And then in the same breath I say that they have the power to change, fix, do the right thing. Your word are incredibly powerful and I know they have helped many. Your five tips are spot on. If put to the test, I do believe it can change a persons life for the better. I love setting goals for myself. Today the goal was to mow and weed the garden yard. Not only did I accomplish that, I took care of the front and side yard. Six hours later and an acre manicured, I felt accomplished. It’s small goals I set for myself and anything after that is “gravey” so to speak. Small changes add up to big. Excellent post! You most certain ally are making a difference!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. With as much time as you spend on mowing that yard, I hope you realize when reincarnated you are likely coming back to earth as a goat!
      Your children are fortunate to have such a good role model. Their lives will be so much richer because of the wisdom you have provided. Parenting requires a great deal of patience and energy. You make everything you do look effortless. Stay healthy and happy.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I love goats! Hahaha. This time of the year the grass grows so fast I’m mowing every three days! I save the grass clipping for the garden. I’d love to have goats here to graze on the grass but sadly I can’t have them in this city. You work so hard and try and try and all you can do is hope that the tiny humans you’ve brought into this world will grow up and understand what you’ve done and the sacrifices you make are all for them. I’m keeping your words on my shoulder like Jiminy Cricket! Thank you! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        1. You will see in time the fruits of your labor with your children will absolutely pay off. Today, many parents want to be their child’s “friend.” Parenting isn’t always fun.Discipline is part of the job that creates boundaries for children to learn from. They may act rebellious, but your efforts to reinforce ethical, moral, spiritual and healthy living shape their future outcome. Mark my words, you will be proud of their future accomplishments.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. I am keeping these words near. Thank you for your insight.

            Liked by 1 person

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