Imagine you’ve had an accident or have been diagnosed with an illness. Imagine you can no longer live your life the way you’ve been living and now you have to fight to get better. Or maybe you have to learn a new style of living.

What would you regret?

If you were faced with a life altering challenge like this, what are the things that would make you say, ‘I wish I would’ve known this was going to happen’? What do you keep telling yourself you’ll do someday that you just haven’t gotten around to?

It’s an important question we don’t often consider.

We trick ourselves into thinking our time will never expire. That we will forever have the opportunity to achieve our dreams. What we forget is that life is fragile and our ambitions can be cut short at any time by unforeseen circumstances.

Life is a journey, not a destination.

Constantly silencing the inner voice that says, ‘create,’ in favor of the one that says, ‘there will always be tomorrow,’ is a fast track to complacency. This type of thinking will forever allow you to rest on your laurels, but it will stop you from innovating, reinventing yourself, and producing the art that matters to you.

Life is about moving forward and growing. A tree never stops growing until it dies and even then its legacy lives on. You are that tree and what you produce in your lifetime are the seeds its ancestors grow from.

What would you learn from an unexpected change?

Maybe you have been in an accident or had an illness that’s changed everything. If you haven’t, surely you know those who have.

They can be inspiring.

My grandmother fought off breast cancer in her 60s. The years following she’s lived everyday like it’s her last. Now, in her 70s, she’s fighting it again. Sure, there are moments of weakness, but her strength hasn’t cracked.

My grandfather died unexpectedly of a rare cancer in his 50s. He was too young. But he’s an inspiration in his own way. He loved life and he wanted no one to mourn. Seeing a life cut so short made me realize there’s no time to waste.

If you were faced with something like this yourself and you made it through, what would you take away from it? How would you find a way to move forward? Would it motivate you to shake whatever is holding you back from achieving your dreams — procrastination, fear, distraction — and actually start working toward making them a reality?

All the people I’ve met that have faced a life altering challenge like this have something in common. They now live their life with intent. They attempt to enjoy every day, savor every emotion, and feel good about the things they do.

Change your life today.

Don’t start before it’s too late. Everyday is a gift and we’d be foolish not to embrace it.

Benjamin Franklin started each day by asking what good he will accomplish and ended each day by reflecting on his achievements. Every new day is an opportunity to make a difference, no matter how small or large.

Think about life after an unexpected change. Then live life like you’ve already experienced one. Inspire yourself.

The hardest part is getting started.

It’s too easy to create bad habits and get stuck with them. To change our mindsets we have to take small steps. Here are 3 things you can do today to get a foot forward on living every day with intent:

  1. Make a List — Create a list of all the things you want to accomplish in the next 5 years. Now, throw it away. Focus on what you can do today that you can be satisfied with. Our desires and goals change so often that projecting that far can stop us in our tracks. Have a road map, sure, but enjoy the journey. The list you create today is a single brick you’ll lay that will allow you to build your dreams into existence.
  2. Let It Go — Didn’t get everything done on that list? No worries. Most were probably unproductive fluff anyway. Anything you didn’t accomplish, forget about. It’s those grand ideas you’re chasing that matter most. Take every day one at a time. Tomorrow, you’ll set new goals and the less clutter you have from the day before, the more you’ll get done.
  3. Take Care of Yourself — Slow down. Eat breakfast. Take a hike. Spend time with family. Enjoying your work means enjoying your life. I don’t always want to be sitting at my desk, typing away, but those things in life I do for myself, the time spent with friends or a good book, they make it bearable.