6 Steps to “No-Excuse Living” – The Key To A Great Life

Screen Shot 2013-07-08 at 10.35.25 AMI have been on the planet for 20,340 days – almost 56 years. What a blessing to be part of life for so much time. And a reminder that I am likely more than halfway through this time here on this green and blue ball.

This is not meant to be morbid. Rather, it is just a reality check. Time goes by. We don’t get any of it back; each moment matters. When we are reminded that the supply of days isn’t limitless, we start to see greater value in each one. We become more committed to living life intentionally and without regrets. I call this “no-excuse living.”

We change our priorities as we are confronted with the end of something; time with a loved one before they travel or are shipped out to time in the Service; time with our friends before we all graduate; time with our kids before they move away to college and move on with their lives. Each of these impending endings or changes forces us to look at time differently. We become more aware of it and how we want it to slow down or we want more of it. But we get what we get. A day, week and month for you is the same amount of time for me. Its value, however, is in how we use each moment of time.

I remember one Christmas when my mother asked my father for only one thing – more time. He bought her a clock. She wasn’t impressed. He was only joking. What she wanted was for the family to make more time to do things together. She was blowing the whistle and trying to get us to stop and appreciate our time with each other. She was stating what she wanted for her family. No-excuse living.

I am reminded of the days of our lives (pardon the pun for the Soap Opera watchers) as I see older people. My grandparents always seemed to value each moment; they made an event out of each holiday, each dinner and any time we were all together. There was nothing that had to be done other than to be with each other, seated around the table, sharing stories, loving the food (we’re Italian – it’s all about the food), and just being in the moment. Then for days after we would reminisce about the event, planning the next one. No-excuse living.

What I realize is these are choices. We choose how to show up to each day of our lives. We can choose to make life grand – an event – or we can allow ourselves to get pushed and shoved through life, based on what others want for us, disappointed and bitter. A no-excuse life is one that takes ownership for life – for how it is and how we want it to be.

How do we live without regrets? In addition to reading the powerful “Regrets of the Dying” article by Bronnie Ware, consider these:

  • Be more aware, more present and more connected to each moment.

  • Put fewer things on the to-do list. Do each one better.

  • Spend more time with the important people in your life. Call your friends and family. Have meals together.

  • Turn off the electronics and talk to each other.

  • Know your talents, strengths and passions and build your life around the true you and don’t let others dissuade you from your dreams and adventures.

  • Listen to others, but always trust your instinct and self-knowledge to choose what is right for you.

We choose what is important in our days; none of these happen unless we choose to make them happen.

A great life is about memories and moments, not stuff. Our days are not limitless – we only have a certain number of them to bring our best to life and to be thrilled by it. We should therefore value and respect each day – and treat them like gold. We can’t afford to waste them. I am amazed that I am already at day 20,340. And seeing this number makes me more intentional about each one of the remaining ones – however many there might be. This reminds me I want to live more of my purpose and more of my potential. This changes how I approach each day. No-excuse living.

How will you treasure and value each of your days? How will you commit to no-excuse living?