1. Challenge yourself.
Set goals that make you s-t-r-e-t-c-h! It is a cop-out to make things too easy- always take it to the next level and don't be afraid to fail. Wouldn't you rather fail trying to do something that makes you expand your abilities and work harder than you ever thought you could, rather than succeed at doing something you knew you could accomplish with your eyes closed?
2. Make yourself a brand.
Sit down and decide what you want to be, and what you want people to associate with you. Map it out and then work hard to make it a reality. Think of at least three things you want people to think of you as. For example, I am... someone that enjoys helping others- humans and animals alike; a dedicated, passionate, and hardworking medical student; a loving daughter, sister, and mother to my pups. That is my brand. Who are you?
3. Realize that happiness isn't something you "obtain".
The sooner you realize that happiness is not something you obtain like a piece of furniture or a job, the more likely you are to achieve it. Most people think they will be happy if they get a promotion, make a sale, start a relationship with someone, or buy a certain kind of car. But happiness is created, not acquired. Have you ever wondered why- as a general rule- people with less are happier than people with more?
4. Live responsibly.
This has many meanings, but basically it means don't ignore injustices, treat others with respect, do what is right for the world and environment, and quit thinking it is "someone else's" job.
5. Get a dog.
A dog loves you unconditionally. A dog thinks you are the greatest, coolest, smartest, most successful person in the world. Get a dog and work hard to live up to its expectations.
(This is posted on the wall at the psychiatric hospital I'm currently working at. Though it was written for teenagers to read, the rules are applicable to all ages! I loved it so much that I wanted to share it on my blog in hopes that other people will see it's truth! I have no idea who wrote it, so unfortunately I can't give credit where it's due. Since it was originally written in first person by someone else, I changed a few things to make us think about ourselves and gave a personal example in rule #2. By far my favorite rule... #5!!!!!!)