Some of the links in this post may be affiliate links. See our disclosure for more info.
Do you want to know how to live life to the fullest? If so, you’re far from alone. The sad thing is that most people go through life having never really experienced what life has to offer.
Do you feel like you’re “sleep-walking” through life? Do you wish you had more freedom? Do you wish you had more adventure? Do you wish you had more time? Do you wish you had more love? Do you dread Monday mornings?
When you live life to the fullest, you are thriving, prospering, and enjoying yourself. You are content, happy, satisfied, having fun, savoring life, and blossoming. You delight in what you do in life.
You need to understand that everything holding you to a life you don’t want to live is a prison created by your mind.
That doesn’t mean you can just wish yourself into a new life, but it does mean that you can actively work towards living life to the fullest.
What Does it Mean to Live Life to the Fullest?
There can be multiple answers to the question of what it means to live life to the fullest. It is different for everyone. For some, it may mean traveling the world; for others, it might mean spending more time with those they love or a little thing like just enjoying what you are doing.
Many studies over the years have shown that these feelings about life can contribute to a greater overall sense of well-being, especially when it comes to developing relationships with yourself, those around you, and your community.
Love and joy can often overshadow feelings of anger, shame, and sadness. Living life to the fullest just may be pivotal for our happiness.
In this article, you’ll find ideas you can put into practice to make your life better. Some of these ideas you’ll have heard before, and some of them you’ll dismiss.
You’ll be able to put some of these ideas into practice right away, and some of these might plant the seed for ideas you’ll put into practice in the future. Still others you’ll spend your life working towards. Either way, here’s our list of positive steps to start taking now.
1. Create a Bucket List and Start Doing More
You will die one day, but before you do, experience as much of this world as possible. A bucket list is simply a list of experiences or achievements you hope to accomplish during your life. They are things you haven’t previously done, but you want to cross off your list before dying. They don’t have to be big things. They can be small, simple things you may have been putting off.
A bucket list is a great way to create new and lasting memories and gives you a sense of accomplishment as you start crossing one thing off after another. It is a to-do list you can use to inspire others to live their lives to the fullest also.
A bucket list also forces you to take a good look at your life and where you are. What are your dreams and aspirations? Use your bucket list as motivation and inspiration to start living the life you always wanted.
Examples of Bucket List Items
Ready to write out your own bucket list and start on your journey of trying new things in life? Here are a few examples taken from others as they created their own. Pull some inspiration from these and step out of your comfort zone:
- Learn to play a new game
- Run a marathon
- Go bungee jumping or sky diving
- Travel overseas
- Set a Guinness World Record
- Live, study, or work abroad
- Go on a road trip across the US
- Fly in a hot air balloon
- See the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights)
- Learn how to surf
2. Set Goals and Write Them Down
Set goals by month, year, 5-year, and 10-year periods. You can even just start by setting a goal for tomorrow! Know what you want to achieve for each stretch of your life, and make sure to look back and see if you actually made the progress you wanted.
This list will constantly evolve, and you won’t reach every one of your goals, but writing your goals down will make it more likely that you will achieve them.
3. Live Life Your Own Way
Don’t choose your path in life based on the expectations set on you by others, whether it’s your parents, friends, family member, or society in general.
Don’t let others choose your path for you, but don’t choose a path that will hurt those around you. It’s easy to get caught up in your own life, but if you don’t care for those you love, what is it all for in the end?
Examples of living life your own way:
- Pay your bills on time and save money
- Get comfortable being alone
- Accept responsibility
- Accept help when it is needed
- Build a budget and live independently
- Set clearly defined goals
Find out what matters to you most and eliminate your inner critic. You are responsible for your own happiness.
4. Maintain an Internal Locus of Control
There are two kinds of people, those who focus on what they can control and those that focus on what they can’t. Don’t blame others for your own failure – there’s always someone out there who was dealt a worst hand that made more of it than you did.
5. Don’t Complain or Get Jealous
If you’re unhappy with something in your life, you can complain about it or actively work to change it. Which one will you choose?
When living life to the fullest, try nourishing a positive attitude. To do this, you need to change the way you think sometimes. Be more mindful and assertive and less judgmental of yourself and others.
You also shouldn’t be jealous. Not because it’s morally wrong, but because jealousy is a destructive emotion. It’s also a symptom that you’re not living your life to the fullest – people who are fulfilled can celebrate other people’s success. People who aren’t fulfilled fill up their emotional void through negative emotions.
Let’s look at some examples of how to be more positive toward yourself.
Don’t Be A Crab in The Bucket
You’ve heard the expression “crabs in the bucket” – it’s the tendency crabs have to pull other crabs back down right when they’re about to climb out. When you break from the norm, you’ll get pushback from your loved ones. It’s not jealousy – they genuinely care for us.
But people living the life society tells them to live get scared when they see others going for it. Even if they do it subconsciously, and even if it’s out of genuine concern – it’s still harmful. It creates a culture of conformity, mediocrity, and quiet desperation. Don’t be a crab in the bucket.
Understand That It’s Okay to Fail
The only way to avoid failure is to not try anything. Don’t be afraid to fail…that’s how you succeed. Besides, it’s only really a failure if you stop trying. You can overcome the fear of failure by visualizing the worst-case scenario.
A great way to overcome a fear of failure is to confront your worst possible nightmare. If you try it and fail, what is the worst thing that will happen? Write it down, then write down what it would take to get back to where you are now.
Most of the time, you’ll find that the worst-case scenario isn’t nearly as scary as you thought it would be, and your own mindset is the only thing holding you back.
6. Ignore the things you can’t change
Ever notice how insanely emotional YouTube comments are? People cling to their opinions like they’re a lifeline. Yet these are almost always opinions about things that have absolutely no effect on their daily lives. Yes, bad things are going on in the world. Unless you plan to do something about them, only focus on the things you can change in your own life.
You can make a difference – once you stop dismissing yourself. Approach challenges with the mindset of “how am I going to accomplish this?” instead of “what can I possibly do?”. But if you’re not going to work to change something, see the point above. Time to put up or shut up.
We all have things in our lives, whether it’s our circumstances or personal flaws holding us back from doing things we truly want to do. You can either accept it, rationalize it away, or face your fears. Which one will you choose? Here are some examples to help put this in perspective:
Take Care of Your Body
Eat healthy when you can, get a good night’s sleep, and exercise. Your only connection with this world is through this fleshy meat vehicle we call our bodies. Take good care of it.
Take Care of Your Mind
Stop feeding it a constant stream of junk. A little downtime is alright, but don’t dedicate every free hour you have watching reality TV, watching gossip blogs, checking sports scores, and doing other stuff that requires little mental energy. Even the news can rot your brain with its constant barrage of negativity and biased sensationalism.
Improve Your Body Language
Did you know that your posture and body language not only shapes how people see you but also shape how you feel about yourself? Improving your body language is a great starting point you can do anytime and can alter the way you see yourself and are seen by others.
7. Be Conscious in the Present
We all get into ruts and routines to get through the day, but we only have a limited number of days on this earth. Don’t put life on auto-pilot – live consciously. Always ask yourself – why am I doing this? If you wake up too many mornings in a row without a good answer, then it’s time to make a change.
Improve Your Social Skills
Some people are natural social butterflies. For those of us who aren’t, make an effort to improve your social skills. There’s nothing wrong with being an introvert and enjoying time alone but don’t poor social skills hold you back when you need them. Improving your social skills will also help you in whatever line of work or business you choose.
Do Work You Love
Not everyone gets to play football or in a rock band for a living, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find something you love waking up in the morning for. Keep looking for it, and don’t give up until you find it. Life is too short to fear Sunday evenings.
Follow Your Effort
One of Mark Cuban’s keys to success is to follow your effort, not your passion. If you don’t have a passion for anything in particular, pick something and do it as best you can. Passion often comes from doing something well.
If you haven’t discovered what you’re passionate about, read more about the Key To Finding Your Passion.
8. Prepare to win but remember you don’t always have to win
Another of Mark Cuban’s keys to success is that everyone has the desire to win, but very few are willing to do the work to prepare to win. If you care about winning, do the work.
On the other hand, life isn’t always about winning.
No matter how strong you are, no matter how rich, no matter how beautiful, no matter how smart, no matter how talented, no matter how loveable, there will always be someone better than you. Ultimately, we all end up in the same place – wherever that place may be.
9. Don’t Confuse Pleasure with Happiness
Pleasure comes from the quick fixes that give us joy – shopping, alcohol, sex, listening to great music, and seeing great beauty.
Happiness comes from self-actualization and meaning. Pleasure is important to a happy life, but pleasure alone is insufficient.
10. Find Time for What You Want to Do
Many of us constantly complain about not having enough time or being too busy to do things we want to do/accomplish. We need to realize that we’re putting ourselves in those situations in the first place.
If you feel trapped in a job, are you actively taking steps to extricate yourself from the situation? If you are, then you shouldn’t waste time complaining. If you’re not, what are you complaining about?
11. Don’t Chase Money for It’s Own Sake
Having money is important in life, but only because it gives us the freedom to chase what we really want in life. You only get one life, and money is no good when you’re 6 feet in the ground.
12. Overcome Laziness
Do you have big goals and dreams? Do you stop short of taking steps to make changes because you’d rather watch TV? Do you quit after a few tries?
A little procrastination here and there is natural, but if you look back year after year and don’t see any changes, you probably need to work on overcoming your laziness.
13. Analyze Your Weaknesses
One of the hardest things for people to do is to be objective regarding their weaknesses. We’re naturally inclined to rationalize away things we’re not good at or believe that we’re better than we are.
Once you recognize your weaknesses and understand how they’re holding you back, you can take active steps to work on yourself.If you’re not doing something to improve yourself every day, then you’re not going to reach your goals.
14. Understand Personality Traits Aren’t Static
While we all might have some natural inclinations and gifts based on genetics and the environment we were raised, everything is changeable.
If aspects of your personality are holding you back, whether it’s laziness, social awkwardness, or mediocre intelligence, know that these are all things that can be improved if you’re willing to work on them instead of accepting them as immutable personality traits.
15. Surround Yourself with The Right People
There’s a saying that you’re the average of your five closest friends. While this may not be a scientific fact, it’s a useful thought exercise. You’ll also become negative if you constantly spend time with negative people.
If you spend time around people with no ambition, you’ll find your own dreams slipping away as well. On the other hand, surrounding yourself with awesome people who want the same things you want in life will set you up for success.
16. Design Your Ideal Life
It’s easy to go through life on autopilot if you don’t know what you want. Your first step is to figure out what you want from life. Read The 4-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss if you want a great framework for accomplishing this.
17. Plan to Attain Your Ideal Life
Nothing will be handed to you. If you wait around to “find your direction” in life, you’ll find yourself on track for your exciting career at MegaCorp, moving paper from one account to another.
There’s no good reason to wander aimlessly through life once you’re out of college. If you need more direction after school, check out our list of 8 Things To Do In Your 20’s To Prepare Yourself For Success and start laying a foundation for your future.
18. Stop Giving Up
Have you ever heard the story (urban myth?) of the man who was lost in the desert? He was found half a mile from a large oasis city. The point of this story is to illustrate the danger of quitting.
Things are always hard until they get better, but you’ll never know how close you came to achieving your goals if you quit before seeing them all the way through.
19. Move Past Negativity
Constructive criticism is one thing but know that if you’re out there trying to accomplish great things, you will attract haters who want to criticize for the sake of criticism. You’ll find haters frequently trolling message boards and YouTube comments.
Don’t take their comments personally, and don’t get sucked into flame wars. Instead, find a positive attitude about things and move on quickly from negativity. While it can be hard not to dwell on negative things, it can affect your outlook and bring you down. This stops you from enjoying life.
20. Accept Constructive Criticism
At the same time, haters can be good because sometimes they can be right. Haters show us our weaknesses. You’ll likely recognize legitimate criticisms when you feel the sting of cognitive dissonance – you want to dismiss the thought because it comes from someone critical of you, but you can’t help but shake that pit in your stomach.
Instead of burying that feeling, accept that you might be in the wrong, and work to improve yourself, so you don’t make the same mistake in the future.
21. Be The Hero of Your Own Movie
Does life feel tedious, joyless, and hopeless? Do you feel stuck in a rut with no way out? You already know how to get out – be the hero of your own movie. Pretend you’re the hero character in a Hollywood blockbuster.
There’s a point in every movie where the hero is down and out, with seemingly no way out, yet he always finds a way to overcome the odds.
Pretend you’re that hero, you’re in a tough spot, and it’s your job now to overcome the odds and come out on top – because it’s in the script. Pretend there’s a documentary crew following you around, and your kids will see what you’ve been doing one day.
Do you want them to see a hero who overcomes the odds or a loser who plays the victim? Last time I checked, the hero doesn’t overcome the odds by watching TV 5 hours a day. Do what needs to be done, no matter how hard it is.
22. Take Time to Enjoy Yourself
Incredible food, great company, and engrossing conversation – it doesn’t get much better than that, at least not in this lifetime. Cherish those moments of bliss and make them happen as frequently as possible.
It’s easy to pass on social occasions or family holidays, but these times are when some of our best memories are made.
23. Get Free of Preconceived Ideas
Kamilah Martin is a nonprofit executive who became a consultant focused on empowering black women through community. Martin admits that her life was taken over by her “supposed to’s” for many years.
Martin said there was a way she was supposed to carry herself. There was a way she was supposed to speak. However, she says, “The joy and fulfillment come in the journey of releasing and in the confidence of trusting yourself.”
24. Find Helpful Techniques to Use
Awareness, accountability, and action are the three A’s in life. You must figure out and become aware of your unhappiness and decide you are ready to change things. Accountability comes down to taking control over your life and what you are doing to change it, and then comes the change itself.
Take the time to develop yourself and visualize what you want in your life. Here are a few examples of how you can develop yourself:
When you practice mindfulness, use all five senses. Bring your attention to the present moment, focus on your breath, and observe your thoughts. When you practice mindfulness, you can also practice active listening, which is another way to help someone else while also helping yourself.
When you practice meditation, you can achieve a sense of calm and peace, and it helps you find balance in your life that is positive for your mental health and overall well-being.
It can be a relaxing technique to cope with stress or anxiety in your daily life that may inhibit you from living life to the fullest. Ten minutes a day of meditation should do it. Find a quiet place to reflect and focus on yourself.
One way to be in the present moment is through practicing mindfulness and meditation. It allows one the opportunity to notice surroundings, focus on just one thing at a time, and practice gratitude. Accept things as they are instead of how you want them to be.
Realize that material possessions aren’t the most important
25. Help Someone Else
Living life to the fullest doesn’t mean everything has to be about you personally. Find someone you can help out. We experience joy when helping others, which can give us an emotional high.
To do this, volunteer your time for a cause you are passionate about, and donate money or items. Any support you provide someone else should support your values and bring you happiness.
26. Remember that Life Is Finite
Steve Jobs talked about this in his famous commencement speech at Stanford in 2005. “Do we live as though we will never die; then die never having lived?”
The Dalai Lama also echoed a similar message:
“Man. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.” – The 14th Dalai Lama
27. Have No Regret
Finally, have no regret. When it comes to the end of your life, you don’t want to realize you have missed out on what is most important to you. Avoid regret. The important thing is to remember that you matter, and so does having a fulfilling life.
Your life matters. Make a conscious decision to ensure your time counts instead of just mindlessly going through the motions.
We hope this list of great ways to live life to the fullest gives you new ideas and inspires you to live a better life today. Want to know the secret of how to live life to the fullest? Stay inspired and have a positive attitude!