This is a collaborative post by Ellie Jo with tips on how to move past bad decisions and become a better person.
How to Move Past Bad Decisions and Become a Better Person
All of us are capable of making bad life decisions and finding ourselves in a position where we just don’t much like or respect the kinds of people we’ve become.
In these moments, these dark nights of the soul, it can be very difficult to see the light. I can be hard to find the motivation to move forward in a positive and productive manner.
Nonetheless, many of history’s great success stories first did some time in this unfortunate position. They rose from being petty criminals, liars, or lazy, to turning their lives around and making a major and positive contribution to the world around them.
Here are some tips for moving past bad life decisions, and becoming the kind of person you can respect and admire.
Resolve any outstanding issues that are hanging over you
If you’ve been acting badly or irresponsibly for a while now, there’s likely damage that you need to clear up before you can move forward.
This could mean hiring a criminal defense lawyer. Or, it could mean having difficult conversations with people close to you who you’ve done wrong by, or who have hurt you.
At the start of your journey to a better life, try to get some closure where you can. This will help to prevent the past hanging over you any more than it has to.
Adopt a strict value system and hold yourself accountable to it
If you listen to the teachings of many major religions and philosophers throughout the ages, then you frequently come across the idea that people have a “higher” and a “lower” self.
The “higher” self follows certain values, has courage, is bold, and drives you on to greatness. The “lower” self is all about appetite and cowardice. It wants to live an easy life, with plenty of good food and drink, and physical satisfaction. Nothing much else matters.
Both of these are parts of you, but your “higher self” should always make the call on how you’re going to act at the end of the day.
If you’ve frequently been dissolute and careless in your life, then adopt a strict value system and hold yourself accountable. You can still have fun, eat good food, and relax — but being honorable comes first. Your quality of life, your impact on others, and your self-respect all increase by living this way.
Take up pastimes and projects that provide a sense of greater meaning to your life
If your life is all about fairly shallow things like getting more money, to buy a bigger TV, you’ll likely find it’s unfulfilling and doesn’t help your self-respect much.
One antidote to this is to take up pastimes and projects that provide a sense of greater meaning to your life.
This could mean training other people in fitness, or working on becoming an author, or getting into a career that you admire.
Do things that seem meaningful, not just things that seem fun or attractive.
Work on your health as a matter of urgency, it’s a big deal
Your health plays a significant role in how you feel, day to day. It affects how good your mood is, and in how much energy you have.
By making your health a priority of your new lifestyle you help to support the “new you” in the most effective of ways.
Eat a nutritious diet. Exercise regularly. And absolutely get enough sleep.