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Between health issues, work and family stressors, financial burdens, fear of the unknown and a host of fires that pop up monthly, weekly or even daily, being happy and content with YOUR life can be one heck of a challenge.

Here are a couple of hard and fast rules you can follow to ensure your headspace is in a happy and content place.

Don’t compare

With the evolution of social media came the ability to gain an instant access glimpse into the lives of others and a convenient way to keep up with family and friends.

Online forums provide a simple platform through which you can share with and keep up with people you love, like, are just curious about or even flat out obsessed with. However, I caution you to guard your mind when reading posts and don’t fall into the trap of comparing your life to others.

It doesn’t take long to stumble onto a post that promotes another’s highlight reel. Just remember that what they share is typically just that… the ‘highlight reel’ with just as many highs, lows and challenges as the next person lurking behind their well-crafted trailer.

Live your life based on your values, morals and efforts being careful not to self-judge based on the perceived successes of others. They have just as much junk going on behind the scenes as you do – and based on the ‘cry’ for attention… probably more.

Stop to Sharpen Your Saw

My wife and I used to have a running joke where when she’d get back to the house after dropping our son off at school she would fly past me saying “OK time to get after it!” to which I would respond “good luck chasing your tail feathers!” and so she would begin to chase herself in a circular motion to provide me the ‘erratic chicken’ demonstration that never failed to make me laugh – well it’s funnier to see than read.

It took me years of coaching before she developed the habit of strategizing and planning before jumping into ‘doing.’ And while my wife could make it work, for most people (myself included) chasing your tail results in getting less done and more stress trying to do it.

To make sure each day is optimized for success, take time for yourself (or even meet with the entire family) at the beginning of the week to plan, set goals and assign responsibilities for the next 7 days.

Stopping to sharpen your saw – rather than just continuing to saw with a dulled blade – will help you keep moving forward on the least resistive path towards a successful and satisfying day, week and month.

Take Action

While some people will ‘do’ with limited ‘direction,’ the vast majority will plan without doing.

This is easily the most contentment sabotaging mistake you can make.

Most will plan to exercise, eat better, schedule that doctors appointment, clean the kids’ room, organize their office, etc., but will fail to execute.

While rest is important, it’s much more needed, deserved and enjoyable after a full day of action has been taken. Going to bed exhausted and satisfied after an active and productive day feels a lot better than retiring for the day feeling stressed out because you put off 4 of the 5 action items that now must be carried over to the next day.

Whether it’s running errands or running around the block… take action.

One of the greatest mistakes any person can make is falling victim to saddling up and not riding.

The reality is that ‘planning’ is not ‘doing.’

The goal should be to go home every night exhausted but satisfied in the ‘action’ you took that day.

I’m willing to bet you will be much more content and happy in all aspects of your life.