Having a routine can be comforting, but sometimes, it can feel like you’re living the same day over and over. Get up. Make coffee. Go to work. Hit the gym. Fulfill all the family obligations thrown your way. Figure out what to get on the table for dinner. Scroll Instagram for a while. Go to bed. The mundanity of it all can make you wonder, is this it?
The phrase “live life to the fullest” is thrown around a lot, but when it comes to what that actually looks like, many are left scratching their heads. When I called up life coach and What If It Does Work Out? author Susie Moore asking what exactly this oft-used expression meant, she explained it to me this way: “It means simply: Conducting your life and taking charge of it in a way that means you won’t have any regrets.” Moore tells me that so much of life is repetition and routine. “Typically, we don’t like change or uncertainty,” she says. “We like our comfort zones because they make us feel safe. Although there’s nothing wrong with that, it’s not necessarily a very full, rich life.”
If I had to think of one person committed to living her life in this way—the routine-busting, full-life way—it would be Moore. She’s always trying something new, whether it’s rock climbing or simply having dinner with someone she admires but has never met before. She’ll have champagne on an average old Tuesday. Just this month, she and her husband are moving from New York City to Miami, a city where they know no one. She’s not anxious about it, she’s excited. What’s the secret? Here, the life coach reveals the five steps that have worked for her—free of charge. Pour yourself a glass of champagne and keep reading.
Scroll down to see the secret to living life to the fullest.
1. Break out of your your routine
Moore tells me she has a favorite quote by humanitarian and The 5 A.M. Club author Robin Sharma: Don’t live the same year 75 times and call it a life. “If you think about it, we often take the same commute to work, interact with the same people, eat the same foods, we even vacation at the same places we love over and over,” Moore says. This, she explains, it what can lead to living on autopilot. The way out: switch things up.
There are of course parts of the day that are fixed: If you have a job, you’re obligated to go (if you expect to get paid); if you have kids, you likely have to factor in their school routines into your own. Moore says to look for small changes you can make, whether it’s taking a new way to work, trying a recipe you’ve never tried before, or asking someone to coffee that you want to get to know better. “You don’t have to do anything dramatic overnight, but bit by bit, the more you learn, the more you develop, and the more things you try over time really compounds and you realize how varied and diverse and full your life has become,” she explains.
2. Take more risks
Another part of living life to the fullest, according to Moore, is putting yourself out there more. “We take life so seriously! Why are we all so afraid of taking chances? What’s the worst that can happen? Most things aren’t life or death!”
Moore argues that the majority of the time, it’s ultimately a good thing (no matter how scary it may seem) to put yourself out there. Say there’s a woman in your career field whose work you admire. You’d love to get to know her, but you don’t have any mutuals. Why not just email her to ask for coffee? What’s the worst that could happen—she says no? It’s not that huge of a deal in the grand scheme of things.
“The more risks you take, the more you’ll find that the majority of chances you take actually do work out, and that will build your confidence so that you’ll take even more chances,” Moore says.
3. Change what you don’t like
As you go about your days, Moore suggests asking yourself this question: Does this make me happy? If it doesn’t, she considers thinking about what you can change. Naturally, we can’t expect every second of life to be bursting with excitement at every moment. But Moore says there’s more in our control than we realize. If you spend the majority of the work day realizing it doesn’t make you happy, for example, it may prompt you to start interviewing elsewhere.
“Asking yourself, ‘Does this make me happy?’ helps you to realize the parts of your life you think you’re tied to, but aren’t,” Moore says. It might be something major, like a relationship you’re in, a job, or the city you live in, which could prompt a big life change. Or it might be smaller things, like tonight’s dinner choice.
4. Play more
People who live life to the fullest play a lot, Moore says. “Think about those hobbies or things you want to do that you keep putting off, saying you’ll do it someday. Someday is never!” If you aren’t sure how to incorporate more play into your life, Moore suggests considering what you liked to do as a kid. Did you like to dance? Paint? Maybe it’s time to take a class. Or if you have a big “bucket list” trip you’ve been dreaming up for years, prioritize putting aside funds every month to help make it happen.
“It’s so terribly sad when someone reaches the end of their life and thinks of all the things they wish they did,” Moore says. “Maybe it was traveling to a place they always wanted to see, or it could even be simply telling someone how much you appreciate them. Do those things now.”
5. Follow your own path
When building your own full life, Moore says it’s important to stay true to who you are. “You might follow an influencer on Instagram who is always traveling and posting all these cool photos, and that’s great, but your full life might look very different than that,” she says.
She uses herself as an example: Moore doesn’t have kids, and some people say she is missing out on the best, most rewarding part of life. “That is true for many people, just not for me,” she says. “There isn’t one way to live a full life.”
Because most people are creatures of routine, following these five steps can take effort. Keep coming back to this list when you need it. “Appreciate what you love about your life and change what you don’t,” Moore says. “That’s really the key to living life to the fullest.”
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