A good life is comprised of at least three components: doing good work which you enjoy, having relationships which make you feel loved and supported, and a level of health which allows you to easily do the things you want. Regardless of your definition of what your best life looks like, you're going to have to invest your valuable time and energy to make it happen. Here are a few ideas on where to start.
1. Watch what you put in your mouth.
High-achieving people understand that when they're in good health, they're better equipped to succeed in all areas of life. The easiest way to fight disease and stay biologically young is by eating properly. While ketogenic, paleo and Whole 30 diets may be popular, a more carbohydrate-friendly approach may be better for you. Valter Longo, PhD and author of The Longevity Diet points out that potatoes, pasta and rice are foods people around the world enjoy most and trying to eliminate them for a lifetime is unrealistic for most people. Plus:
In a recent study testing many combinations of food components, mice given a low-protein, high-carbohydrate diet lived the longest but also displayed improved health. Mice on a high-protein, low carbohydrate diet lived the shortest and had the worst health, despite the effect of the diet on weight loss.
The carbohydrates he says people should be eating are "complex," such as whole bread, legumes and vegetables while sugar, pasta, rice and fruit should be limited. He also suggests eating only two meals (breakfast and another), plus a snack most days, as well as confining eating hours to 11 or 12 hours a day, such as from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
2. Have more sex.
Sex columnist Michael Castleman, writing for Psychology Today, points to a few European studies which correlated higher sexual frequency with living longer. In one, English researchers followed 918 men over the course of more than a decade. The men who had sex twice a week had half the death rate of those who only had sex once a month. In another, Swedish researchers studied 392 people from age 70 to 75 and found a strong link between stopping having sex and dying. In a third, 100 women who had heart attacks were compared with 100 who did not. It turns out that the women with heart disease reported being less happy sexually before their attacks.
3. Hang out with happy successful people.
Other people rub off on you, so it makes sense to surround yourself with people who are positive and achieving important things in the world. First, define what you consider success to be, whether it means having a wealth of healthy relationships, a debt-free existence, the time and ability to travel or whatever else you believe makes for living a good life. Now seek out people who embody that definition and find ways to spend time with them. Certainly, there are things you can learn by studying their habits and philosophies.
4. Work to be more curious every day.
You've heard of IQ (intellectual quotient) and EQ (emotional quotient), but what about CQ (curiosity quotient)? It's a term described by author and business psychology professor Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic in Harvard Business Review. He says people with higher CQ are open to new experiences, enjoy novelty, are creative and tend to be non-conformists. It's also a thinking style which is good at managing complexity because people who have high CQ are tolerant of ambiguity. They also are good at investing in intellectual pursuits which helps them get familiar with complex problems and generate simple solutions.
5. Check three things off your to-do list before 9 a.m.
Successful people almost universally get up early and keep a close eye on their to-do lists. Considering that your worst days are the ones in which it feels as if you accomplished nothing, go hard and get a few things done right away. Your best days are likely the ones in which you are the most productive.