14 Ways to Live a Better Life … Starting Today!

Note: This is a guest post from Steve Scott of Steve Scott Site
You’ve probably noticed that the market is saturated with self-help guides, audio books, and outrageously-priced seminars by motivational speakers. This is simply proof that most people enjoy receiving advice from others.
Here are a few “tips” that I’ve discovered on my own. Some of them are a bit humorous, but most of them are common sense. I think if you do your best to take them to heart, you’ll start to notice a clearer head and a bigger smile on your face.
1. Wake up at a reasonable hour. Everyone’s schedule is different, so if you work the night shift, your “reasonable hour” may be noon, but it’s a good idea to wake up before you have to. When I was in college I had the horrible habit of crawling out of bed ten minutes before I had to be in class. Although nearly everyone I knew at the time did the same exact thing, looking back, I see how stupid it really was. If I have a ten o’clock appointment, I wake up at seven so I can get in some exercise, take a shower, and eat breakfast before I run out the door.
2. Think of something that you have to look forward to. Once the alarm goes off and the initial confusion of “Ugh, it’s already morning!” has ended, think of something cool that you have going on in your life at the moment. Yeah, it sounds hokey, but it’s pretty helpful … and I’m sure you can think of something. Come on, anything! It can be as simple as,Oh yeah! It’s Thursday, and that means it’s almost Friday! Weekend, here I come!” or something even better, like “The FedEx man is gonna deliver my new flat screen TV today!”
3. Look in the mirror. I’ve seen plenty of people in the movies and on TV shows who look at themselves in the mirror each morning and say things like, “You’re awesome!” or “You can do it!” before they start their day. I know this sounds relatively insane, but it helps””and I speak from experience. If you can’t tell yourself that you’re good at something and actually believe it, why should you believe anyone else who says it?
4. Take a shower and get dressed. This may be a no-brainer, but spending five or ten minutes in the shower will help clear your head and make you feel a whole lot better. Hopefully you can even find clean clothes to wear. (You know, ones that were hanging in the closet as opposed to the ones that are still in the laundry basket on the floor, wrinkled and covered in cat hair since Fluffy decided to take a nap on them.)
5. Scan the news online, read the “real” newspaper for a few minutes, or tune into the news channel on TV for a few minutes. However you get your news is up to you, but it’s a good idea to stay on top of things that are going on in the world, even though lately most of the news makes everyone angry. You shouldn’t be ignorant about issues that may affect you personally, and you’ll want to have firsthand knowledge as to what’s happening in case someone asks you about it later or tries to force their opinions on you as “the truth.”
6. Eat breakfast. Eating breakfast is a biggie that a lot of people skip, so be sure to eat something. A container of yogurt, a banana, maybe a granola bar as you run out the door … just be sure to eat. You’ll need energy to get through the morning. I like Starbucks just as much as the next guy, but a cup of coffee is not breakfast””even if it has chocolate syrup in it and whipped cream on top.
7. Make a to-do-list each day. I run my own internet business and mainly work from home (or a hotel, or wherever “home” may be at the time) so it’s a huge benefit to know what I have going on each day. Even if you spend your days at the office, you’ll still want to have some kind of agenda to follow. Set up a schedule on your Blackberry or write things down on a legal pad, but do it somehow … or you’ll wind up forgetting something important.
8. Get to work safely. Again, I mainly work from home, but if you drive to work – or ride your bike to work, or take the bus or train – do it safely. This is also why it’s a good idea to wake up relatively early. Rushing leads to speeding and speeding leads to tickets or fender benders … which will make you even later than you were going to be in the first place.
9. Take a deep breath and count to 3 when something starts to bug you. Co-workers, clients, things that aren’t going as smoothly as possible … there are dozens of things that can easily start to drive you nuts at the drop of a hat. You don’t want to wind up getting so frustrated with someone or something that you wind up going postal, so close your eyes and take a deep breath as you mentally count to three before you say something you may regret. Most likely, whatever’s bugging you isn’t as bad as you think it is.
10. Periodically take a break … away from your desk! Be sure to walk away from your desk every few hours. You’ll wind up getting frustrated if you sit there staring at your monitor nonstop, and your eyes will start to hurt. Getting up for five or ten minutes every three or four hours will not blow your entire day, believe me. You also need to take a break and eat lunch. Sitting at your desk with a Snickers bar that you got from the vending machine doesn’t count.
11. Tie up as many loose ends as possible before the work day ends. We all know that some days you’ll wind up working later than expected, but don’t make it a habit or your boss (or you) will start to assume that you really do work twelve hours each day even though you get paid for eight. Get as many things done as possible each day, but try to leave on time. There’s always tomorrow.
12. Eat dinner. I had to stress the importance of eating breakfast and lunch, so of course I’m going to remind you to eat dinner! And if today is one of those days you wind up putting in some overtime, get up from your desk to eat dinner. A carton of Chinese take-out every night of the week will begin to affect your waistline and your mood. Try to eat dinner with other people, if possible. Everyone should have friends. (You know, besides Fluffy the cat, even though I’m sure he’s cool.)
13. Enjoy a hobby after work. Whether it’s taking a bike ride or a walk, watching a movie, reading a novel, it’s a good idea to have some sort of hobby besides work! Spend an hour or two doing something that you enjoy to help get your mind off of work.
14. Unwind a bit before bed, and get ready to repeat the cycle tomorrow! Whether “unwinding” involves the above-mentioned hobby or something else, take time to chill out for a bit before hitting the sack. This will give you the ability to get a good night’s sleep, wake up, and do it all over again … and if this happens on Friday night, you probably don’t have to go to work tomorrow! Even better!
Yes, some of these fourteen tips might seem a bit common sense. The funny thing is they really work. I guarantee that implementing them into your daily routine will make you feel happier and more excited about the possibilities that each day brings!
Steve Scott is currently realizing one of his dreams by traveling throughout the world. To read more about his adventures and how he’s able to afford this reality, check out his blog at Steve Scott Site.
Photo by R’eyes


  1. Hi Steve,
    I like the practicality and simplicity of your list. I make it a point to begin and end each day with royal principals that support life going my way. As I close my eyes each night I take the time to appreciate all that was right in my day. I find there is plenty more than I may have noticed at first sight.

  2. good list

  3. Not really impressed by this post, sorry! As a huge fan of lifeoptimizer its hard to write, but I feel tips like, “eat breakfast,” “eat dinner,” “make a to-do list” and “get to work safely” really insult the IQ of the readership. Sorry but I thought Life Optimizer is about how to live life to the fullest through personal growth…

  4. This is a great practical list. The two that I need to work on are: “getting up at a reasonable time”. Lately I have been rushing in the morning and it’s a terrible way to start the day. The other one is “tying up loose ends”. Next week when I am in work I am going to prioritise tasks and tie things up as much as I can by the end of each day.

  5. With “look in the mirror” I can’t help but think of scenes of Stuart Smalley 🙂
    > Think of something that you have to look forward to
    I think this is the secret of life. The trick is everybody has to find their own thing.

  6. Sometimes the simplest things are the hardest to do. That’s why i think this list is simple yet really works if you follow it. Actually i do hope i manage to achieve it because they are not just ‘ways to live a better life’ , but a healthier and fulfilling life.
    Thanks for the tips 🙂

  7. Self talk in the mirror is awesome. It gives the subconscious a mirror image to who you want to be and who you have chosen to act, think and feel like. If you practice the mirror technique once a day with the following affirmation
    today is going to be a wonderful day
    I am great
    My success is guaranteed
    woman love me everywhere i go ( if your a guy)
    Guess, what? Your life with change as long as you say these things with belief and passion.

  8. I agree with the first comment in that a lot of this is stuff we already know like eating breakfast, having a shower…but perhaps it’s good to have them all consolidated here to remind us.

  9. I think the power of this list and these tips is in simplicity. Often in the personal development world we try to over complicate things by talking about 25hr sleep patterns, strange new diets where you only eat yellows foods or complex visualisation exercises designed to rewrite our subconscious.
    Advice like eat right, get up early than you need to and read the news help to build a powerful morning routine which can set you up for the day.
    Simple approaches to life should not be put aside by those who know a great many ways to improve their lives. Sometimes simple answers are some of the best.

  10. Just like you said, most of your advice is common sense.
    Eat food, sleep well, be positive, take time to relax and so on.
    It is actually really simple to live a happy full life, it just takes that you invest the time to do it.

  11. Thanks for your post,
    Looks like interesting points to me.
    Especially nr. 2 about thinking on thing you look forward to,
    Talking about things to look forward to, about nr. 7 making a
    To do list, I do think it can be helpful to make your todo list
    just the night before so that your subconsiousness has a
    whole night to work it’s magic on it, so that you have a
    Kick-start with it in the morning.
    All the Best,
    To your Happy Inspiration,

  12. The to-do-list is the one that I really have trouble with. I have never gotten into making a list. I keep it all in my head. That way i feel helps keep my mind sharp.
    Great list I really do agree with you on them. Thanks and have a very happy day

  13. Isn’t it so interesting what wonders waking up early can have? If you just followed this one simple thing, and maybe did an extra hour of work every day as soon as you woke up, in a few months that adds up to some tremendous value; let alone 2 or three years of the habit.
    I agree with domforth that this isn’t exactly the best work on the site, but sometimes it’s important to go over more basic things and make sure people are actually applying them.

  14. i especially liked point 13. Spending time doing something I love and enjoy helps me focus on everything else. Taking time for me is so important. Thanks for sharing this

  15. What a nice list of how to have a happy and productive day. My favorites are “Think of something that you have to look forward to. ” Mine actually keeps me up at night because I am so excited about it – but what a way to dream 🙂
    “The other was look in the mirror” I also speak from experience from having said positive things in the morning and the awesome impact it had on my day.

  16. Steve,
    I buy thirteen of your steps but I think we call all eliminate looking at the news. If anything important happens that you need to know about, trust me, someone will tell you. You can’t control it and the only news that sells is negative so why listen to any of it?

  17. I like #9. It’s really very true. You just need to be away from work even for just a couple of minutes and it really helps. #7 is equally important. it will be your guide for the day. helps you to be organized.

  18. Hi like the bit about counting to three. I teach that people need to slow down in order to speed up and this is especially true when it comes to peoples responses to other people. Give yourself that extra second to respond and you will always take right action from your higher self! React quickly and you will respond from the ego every time which will only create future problems with this particular person.

  19. listening to relax and motivation music is also a good way

  20. Dear Steve,
    I like your simple guide to a simple bette live !
    But sometimes I feel that all these advice for personal groth, is still too simple and do not meet the reality of many people. I you work as an employee in a company and want to earn a reasonable wage, you have to give your best and so there will be some facts you cannot chage and I think it is not the worst thing to arrange yourself with this.
    Here a are a few remarks on your list:
    re. 1. a reasonable time to wake up
    There is only one reasonable time: very early !
    If you are not a freelancer and even if you are, you should keep in mind, the day only has 24 hours, if you like to sleep 10 hours, ok ! Then you have 14 hours for the rest of your live. If you like to get things done, maybe 7 hours of work could be enough. This will be the case if you have 4 people to delegate your work to. But if you have to do some work by yourself, it maybe not enough to get one of the best payed people in your company. And if you like to learn a new language, do sports, do hobbies, 14 hours a day is very little. So I think, everybody who gets up later than 6 am in the week is not hungry for live and not hungry for success ! Get up early and have more of your live ! You will be the less tired, the more exited you are in your life, your work or what else !
    re 2. Think of something that you have to look forward to
    If your morning beginns with waking up and thinking : “Ugh, it’s already morning!” – it is time to change your live ! If you are not enjoying every day of your live, there is something wrong. To live from weekend to weekend maybe easy but most of the time is not weekend ! So arrange yourself with your live , or change it ! Nothing else works !
    …… to be continued………
    Best wishes for everyone

  21. I enjoyed reading this. Somehow, in all the simplicity of the list, we are reminded once again that often we veer away from all the basic and essentials of having a healthy, meaningful life. Today, most of us are carried away by gadgets and devices in all our dealings, be it work, relationships, adventures. While these technologies do help, we also need to go back to basics at times to really appreciate life and its deeper meaning.
    I make sure I read the “real” newspaper and books, if only to experience again their smell, turning the pages, even marking some areas or words. (Guilty!) It also helps that I do yoga and meditation, although I wouldn’t strictly classify both as hobbies, but they’re two things that I love doing. As for eating breakfast and dinner, I’d say it’s a must! The morning meals are great source of energy for the day, and what I eat during dinner is like a treat for the fabulous day I had. Sometimes it’s just wine, at times it’s a sweet pie or cake.
    People would sure learn lots from this post, as I did. And also make them want to re-evaluate how they spend their day. Maybe then, and I am hopeful, they would try to have “better days” instead of the really stressful, disconnected and unhealthy routines.
    Keep it up!

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