Living a good life is on the tip of everyone’s tongue. And it’s no wonder!
It’s been a pretty tough year, stress and anxiety levels are at an all-time high, and all we want to be is happy humans.
It seems like such a small ask and yet, with all of the self-help advice out there, we are still struggling.
And hey, that’s not because we aren’t trying, right?
We get the gist. I think you and I both are sick and tired of hearing things like, ‘Eat properly, do yoga… It’s okay not to feel okay!’
You know, they aren’t wrong.
We should be doing all of these things. And yes, it is okay not to feel okay… but I’d rather feel great. I’d rather feel content, fulfilled and happy with life… wouldn’t you?
So with that, I’ve accumulated this extensive list of meaningful life lessons to help us all with living a better life. From a nervous wreck turned author and life coach, it’s time for a full run-down of everything you need to know in order to live a good life.
Alright, let’s go.
To get you started, take a look at the Top 10 Best Life-Changing Books that I recommend to all of my readers who are ready to transform their lives!
What is the definition of a good life?
No, don’t skip this one. Ok?
When we’re talking about a life worth living people think they know.
‘Oh no Emma, you don’t need to tell me, my friend. I know exactly what a good life looks like, I just haven’t got a clue how to get it!’
I hear you, but here is the problem – the key to a happy life is never what we think it is. Our problems need solving, we need relief from our burdens and we want to prove to everyone else that hey, I’m doing fucking great, okay?!
It becomes easy to think about successful people and only see money and superficialities until this becomes all that we can think about. I know because I’ve been there.
Day-dreaming over the difference a couple of thousand pounds a month could make. And yet, not long ago I had a month where I had exactly £22 left after all expenses had been paid… and guess what? It was the best month I’ve had in a long time.
I’d imagine that’s annoying to hear.
But money and riches don’t bring meaningful relationships. They don’t manifest love, help you overcome your insecurities, make you able to take a risk and enjoy the reward, and they don’t free you from perfectionism…
The aforementioned individuals are much more likely to find meaning and purpose in their lives compared to people who believe external forces direct their lives (30%), don’t emphasize personal responsibility (39%), aren’t very compassionate (38%), are envious (27%), and are resentful of successful people (33%)Poll from Cato.org
Or for those of you who love a good chart, like I do….
What does it mean to live a good life?
It’s different for everyone.
But fundamentally, at the core of it all, a good life is born of an individual who has done the hard internal and emotional graft to really know who the hell they are, what they want, and how to get it.
Why does living a good life feel so hard?
It feels hard to live a better life because personal growth is damn hard.
Being happy isn’t easy when we humans are riddled with insecurities, self-doubt, cognitive biases/distortions, paranoias, and are constantly manipulated by the world around us.
It feels hard because thinking for ourselves has become hard.
Living a good life is difficult for many because doing the fundamental internal work, before looking to improve the external, is painful.
‘Nah, let’s skip that part. I think I’ll be OK so long as I have a handsome partner and a 3 bedroom house. That’s a good life… I’m sure of it’
That’s certainly easier and hey, it could work out and I hope it does.
The reality is that millionaires are still lonely, entrepreneurs are still anxious, celebrities are still suicidal, and the friends and family around who ‘seem to be living a good life’ have plenty going on behind closed doors.
(I’m sounding a smidge negative I realise. This isn’t to convince you that it’s impossible to have a good life. Merely that many people’s assumptions of how to get it is misguided and unrealistic)
How do I know when I’m living a good life?
I want you to be able to live life in a way that makes you fulfilled and happy.
I want you to have financial securities and whatever luxuries you desire. Yet, all of that comes second to feeling content with yourself.
How do you really know when you’re living a good life?
You feel lighter.
You feel burdened but can handle the weight of it.
You have a relationship worth fighting for.
You have something in your life that fills you with purpose.
You feel fear but take action anyway.
You’re willing to fight for the things you want and the people you love.
You feel ready for what life has to offer.
No one will ever be able to tell you when you’ve made it. That’s a conversation for you and yourself. But the 25 lessons below will start you on your journey.
And make no mistake, it’s going to be a long one.
So if you’re all about the quick fixes and the instant gratifications, you’re in for a shock…
Common Misconceptions about Living A Good Life
Alright, so let’s quickly list a few common misconceptions about living a good life. We’ve already touched on a few but there are more to consider.
Living a good life is:
- A life of money and luxuries. Where I can afford to buy every brand under the sun and drive around in one of my twenty cars.
- When my life is entirely problem-free. Every day is a breeze and it’s like being on a constant holiday.
- There is absolutely zero pain or struggle. A good life is only happiness, roses and rainbows.
- Means doing whatever I want, when I want and how I want it.
There’s a slightly sarcastic tone there but please don’t poo-poo this list.
Whilst this might not be you, the sad truth is that these are believed to be the truth of what a good life looks like to many.
And when these are the (unrealistic) goals and (unachievable) expectations we have in mind, that’s when things get tricky and really upsetting.
Because imagine never earning x-amount of money each month. Imagine having all of those things but still having to endure the heartache of a break-up. Imagine you can do whatever you want, whenever you want but you’re still fuelled by self-loathing.
That’s what the below tips help you to manage and cope with.
13 Meaningful Lessons for Living a Good Life…
Each point has been explained in full in an article of its own right. Because I don’t want to short change ya.
Click the link within each tip to read a full and in-depth run down.
If you can master even a third of the lessons below, you’re miles ahead of everyone else in living the good life that you really deserve.
Because no one wants a bad life and no one deserves one if they’re trying to better themselves.
1. Become Emotionally & Mentally Strong
Emotional and mental strength is so often overlooked as being something that is specific to athletes and the top performers of the world.
THIS IS NOT TRUE.
Emotional and mental strength is your greatest friend and ally.
Emotional resilience is what will help you to push on through pain and heartache. It is what makes a person unstoppable in the face of adversity. The more resilient a person is the more grit, tenacity and determination they have to keep going.
Mental strength is what allows you to look at all aspects of the situation and move on with positive intentions. This means allowing yourself to feel the pain and feel the torture of a bad day or situation and find the lesson from which you can learn.
Emotional resilience and mental strength are fundamental in being able to endure hardship which is essential for living a good life.
It’s what allows us to cope when we receive bad news or bad things happen.
Because guess what, there’s no such thing as a pain-free life. Anyone who tells you differently is either lying or delusional.
2. Build Self-Confidence
I’m offering you a counterintuitive guide to build self-confidence. Why? Because there are two sides to this coveted coin:
Yes, self-confidence can do everything in the way of helping you make progress and achieve success in your life.
No, self-confidence isn’t the be-all and end-all.
A person with self-confidence can literally move mountains if they believe they can do so. It’s truly awe-inspiring. But most of us aren’t born with the ability to pull self-confidence out from where the sun doesn’t shine.
Yet, we believe that when we lack it, we have no chance.
‘I wish I could be as confident as they are’ is what you might whisper to yourself as you watch Mel Robbins take to the stage.
But in order to live a good life, we must understand how self-confidence works, how to harness it, and what to do when we don’t have any?! Because a confident individual can change the world which means they can certainly change their lives.
So self-confidence is key to living a good life but understanding how to get it is perhaps the most important thing you could learn.
3. Become Self Motivated
How do you find motivation even when you really can’t be bothered?
Self-motivation is one the most invaluable skills you could possibly try to develop. Why? Because someone who can motivate themselves to MAKE THINGS HAPPEN. And the truth is that very few people possess this quality and very few try to improve upon it.
(That’s because it’s a really tough habit to build!)
One of the best ways to work towards the life that you want is to develop a desire to self-motivate.
Get things done. Do something even when you feel uninspired. Start moving BEFORE you are motivated to do so.
That’s the biggest misconception about motivation: that motivation is the cause of action. NO!
Action is the cause of motivation.
When you can learn and understand this, things will change for you.
4. Raise Your Self-Awareness
Raising self-awareness is going to be the toughest yet the most rewarding that you could possibly do for yourself.
To raise your self-awareness you must be aware of yourself, your thoughts, your feeling, your behaviors… and then those of everyone else around you. It’s the way to better relationships with others and yourself.
(Yes, cheesy and true)
It’s a tough ask of any human.
But if you want to be better, and if you want to live the coveted good life, then raising your self-awareness is going to be crucial in doing this.
It comes back to the fundamentals of understanding yourself and who you are. Knowing when you’re behaving inappropriately and knowing when you’re being rational. Likewise, having a greater sense of understanding for those around you.
Self-awareness is about building a better foundation for accepting and improving who we are as human beings and building stronger relationships with others.
Check out the article above, it covers this in great depth and this one you won’t want to miss.
5. Heighten Emotional Intelligence
Improve your emotional intelligence and cut your IQ some slack. Gone are the days where IQ ruled all and emotional intelligence wasn’t even a thing.
Now, emotional intelligence has proven its weight in gold.
Here’s the thing, we cannot live a good life if we don’t have good connections with others. We’re social creatures and have needed a sense of community since time began. We thrive in tribes, we need social interaction, love and attention, and emotional intelligence help with all of this.
It’s about understanding your fellow man.
It’s about understanding yourself but more than that, it’s about self-regulation. Responding with emotional intelligence so you don’t spontaneously fly off the handle. And it works hand in hand with self-awareness.
IQ is great for problem-solving, inventing, building a career in a specific field… we do need IQ to be able to function appropriately. But EQ is what will help you develop and form strong relationships along the way.
EQ is what will make you a likeable and accessible person.
And living a good life does require us to have this level of understanding so we can build a strong support system and also be able to handle any problems that come our way with a level head.
6. Breaking Bad Habits
I know what you’re thinking, I can still have a good life even if I don’t stop smoking.
Or, I can still have a great life even if I do have a bucket of KFC every night before bed.
I hear you.
Breaking bad habits is notoriously difficult and so is building new, healthy habits. So I understand your resistance and I’m sure this isn’t anything you haven’t heard before.
But living a good life does depend on us recognising those bad habits that are hindering our progress and that do stop us from living the life that we want.
What if your bad habit is to ignore your spouse for three weeks after an argument? What if your bad habit is to avoid rather than apologise? How do you intend to have a strong relationship?
What if your bad habit is to say yes to everything your boss asks of you? You simply can’t refuse! What if this leads to burnout, restless nights, increased agitation and severe anxiety?
The habits we need to break aren’t often obvious to us.
But yes, cutting out the cigarettes, eating healthy and exercise are incredible healthy habits to develop and are considered keystone habits. And this is because they have a knock-on effect on every aspect of our lives.
So whilst you might not consider your smoking habit to be a ‘problem’ for you… the knock-on effects of quitting could be tremendous.
Read the article to find out everything you need to know about breaking bad habits and forming new good ones.
7. Finding Your Purpose
What makes your life worth living? Do you know?
There’s a lot of pressure put on finding your purpose in life these days and that is most likely causing resistance.
This pressure can leave someone feeling as though this is something they could actually fail at (which you can’t!). People who wander around believing that they have no purpose can be left feeling lost and isolated.
The truth is that everyone has a different purpose in life and no, it doesn’t have to be a life-changing or world-altering purpose… just something that resonates with you and gives you a reason to wake up in the morning.
Your purpose will change throughout life and you may constantly be searching but that’s OK.
Enjoy the ride, go with the flow and take each opportunity as it comes.
And if you need a head start, grab your copy of the free e-book below for 10 strange questions to help you find an answer to finding your purpose.
8. Find Your Courage
There are a few common lies that we’ve been told that disguise the real meaning of courage.
We must be born with courage. And that’s truly criminal because each and every one of us show small acts of courage every day without any recognition for it.
- Courage means saving someone from a burning building!
- Courage means saving a child from being hit by a car!
- Courage means standing up to a bully in the playground!
Yes, these are acts of courage. But there are other acts of courage that we tend to dismiss. Things like – telling someone we love them, asking for a promotion at work, asking someone for help, taking care of a newborn baby, applying for a new job, leaving a toxic relationship…
Without courage, and an acknowledgement of courage, then these seemingly everyday acts can feel crippling. And this isn’t conducive to a good life, is it?
The truth is, you are courageous. The problem lies in not knowing that this is so.
To start you off and to help you believe that you are courageous, download the free e-book ‘How to have the courage of a superhero’ to get you started…
9. Live in the uncomfortable
No one, in the history of the world, found themselves living a good life by playing it safe and sticking to their comfort zone.
The comfort zone is where creativity, innovation, passion and drive go to perish – this is why you must live in the uncomfortable.
Discomfort is something that most people fight to avoid. I get it. It’s awkward, icky, fills us with anxiety and dread… but avoidance of the discomfort that comes with being faced with uncertainty (stepping out of the comfort zone) is what leads to a less than satisfying existence.
If you want a life worth living, it’s time to live in the uncomfortable.
And one day, these uncomfortable experiences will become positive experiences that you’ll learn to love.
10. Personal Growth is Hard But Don’t Stop
There’s no denying that personal growth is hard. Full stop.
There’s a reason why we need to keep hearing the same thing over and over again. Reading up on the same advice written by a different motivator who somehow managed to ‘crack the code’.
We need to hear these words of wisdom and motivation over and over again because it’s so damn easy to quit.
And that’s because improving ourselves in order to live a fulfilling and healthy life is really hard. It is not for the faint of heart.
But don’t let that dissuade you. You’re here because you’re ready to put in the hard graft, you’re ready to fail and try again, you’re ready to face yourself and you’re ready to change because you know that down that road lies the good life.
It all begins with you. And that’s why personal growth is so hard and so essential.
11. Stop Wasting Your Life
Obvious though it may seem, if you want to live a happy existence, you need to stop wasting your life. And that’s a tough one to swallow because we always want to believe we are doing our best. That we’ve made good decisions.
Yet sometimes, this just isn’t the case. And that’s OK amigo.
Even those who are putting everything they’ve got into self-improvement and betterment can fall into a few traps that are wasting their time and draining their energy.
Sometimes people don’t know that they’re wasting they’re life but they have that feeling of discontent and of misalignment… they just feel a constant air of unhappiness.
But in order to live a good life we have to take a look at some fundamental ways in which we can stop wasting it.
Check out the article linked above for 12 pieces of advice to help you stop wasting your life.
12. Establish Healthy relationship boundaries
Establish healthy relationship boundaries? Yes, they are the key to living a good life.
We could discuss here ‘build healthy relationships’ and that would be fine but the point here is this; healthy romantic relationships are formed when you have healthy boundaries in place. Without healthy boundaries, a seemingly happy relationship can be quick to falter and even quicker to disintegrate.
Relationships are not everything in life.
Plenty of people are content with solid friendships and close-knit families. But for most of us, love is crucial to living a good life.
And not just any love, a love that has boundaries. These boundaries make your relationships stronger and guarantee that you’re on the same wavelength.
By navigating these boundaries and living by them, you and your partner both know when you’ve over crossed a line which is then easier to fix.
Your partner is someone that (hopefully) you plan to spend the rest of your life with. So in order to have a good life, we should work on having better relationships.
And that starts with boundaries.
13. Learn To Make Social Media Work for You and Not Against You
I know you’ve heard time and time again that ‘social media is bad for mental health!’ and ‘social media is brainwashing us all’!
The truth is this, social media is of great support to some and damaging to others and it all depends on you as a person.
I personally came away from social media support communities for this very reason; because I thought they were helping but they were proving damaging.
I explain all of this in this article: Why I stopped following social media support communities.
The reality is that it’s a huge part of our lives and it feels as though there is really no escaping it.
But there are ways to make it work for you.
Relieve yourself of constant comparison. Relieve yourself from the endless doom-scrolling. Relieve yourself from mind-numbing content.
Find the accounts that makes you feel better and that align with your values. Take the icons off your screen if it’s becoming obsessive. Limit yourself to your usage each day.
This might seem like a no-brainer but this stuff is addictive.
So if you must be a social media addict, make sure you’re active and engaging with the accounts and mediums that inspire you.
Living A Good Life Starts With You
In today’s world, human life is threatened most by stress and anxiety.
We’re in a constant battle of discontent and unfulfillment. And whilst you might believe that no-one is struggling as hard as you, there’s plenty of people in the same boat. It really is a global problem.
There are so many different ways that a ‘good life’ can be perceived but they are all irrelevant if you haven’t mastered the art of knowing and understanding yourself.
Being able to solve your own problems, carry on through difficult times and persist in developing your knowledge of self is really how good things happen.
Luck, material possessions, lots of money and a passion for the wrong things are a part of life that we’ve developed a strong urge for. But the focus is misplaced.
The best things come from having basic needs met, good health and an understanding of human behaviour – specifically your own.
Work your way through the list above and watch it gradually change your entire outlook on life.
Suddenly, you’ll feel a lot lighter. I promise.
WORK THROUGH THESE LESSON ONE BY ONE.
THEY WORK TOGETHER AS A FULL GUIDE TO LIVING A GOOD LIFE BY HELPING YOU IN FINDING PURPOSE AND MEANING TO LIFE, UNDERSTANDING YOURSELF BETTER, BUILDING POSITIVE CHARACTER TRAITS, AND FORGETTING ABOUT SUPERFICIALITIES.
CONSIDER IT A TRAINING IN LIFE FULFILMENT.
WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? GET STARTED TODAY WITH LESSON 1: EMOTIONAL & MENTAL STRENGTH: THE PERFECT ANTIDOTE TO A GOOD LIFE