10 Ways to Not Waste Your Life

wasted life

Part of being a responsible adult means not wasting things, especially your life. No one wants to have a wasted life. Here are 10 ways to not waste your life. Hope you are challenged by this list!

1. Believe

Belief is the most powerful, positive life-changer in the arsenal. Believe that you are a valued person with something to contribute, and chances are you will.

2. Know where you’re headed

Dr. Seuss said, “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose.” Setting and achieving goals is necessary for purposeful change. Both short-term, “I’m going to spend the evening with my child so he goes to sleep feeling loved.” and long-term, “By Christmas I’ll be able to tell my AA group and my family I’ve been sober for six-months.”

3. Identify a better reference point for success

Know that our standard for a successful life is found in serving others, being a great parent, and loving our spouse. These standards are more conducive to satisfaction and success than “Beautiful, because I’m worth it”, or “He who dies with the most toys wins.”

4. Value relationships above all else

Value relationships above results. Value serving others above being served. Value investing in people above investing in things.

5. Remember where your joy and value comes from

A dependence on anything external for happiness is unnecessary: If we “need” others to make us happy, or if we need achievements to feel worthy, we undermine our reason for being. The simple fact that we are loved and valued by the Creator is sufficient. Your joy comes from knowing who you are and whose you are.

6. Live in the moment

“I’ll feel like I’ve achieved something when _________ happens.” “Just let me get that new ________, and I’ll be good.” This kind of thinking ensures we’ll remain dependent on “more” for satisfaction. Live in the moment. Be grateful for what we have right now. Be content in our present circumstances.

7. Defer short-term thrills in favor of long-term rewards

We often sacrifice long-term joy, satisfaction and contentment for short-term thrills and personal pleasure. Things like sex outside of marriage, pornography, and gambling will never satisfy. What will satisfy is sex in a marital relationship, lasting and loving relationships, living a life of purpose, and hard work.

8. Always continue learning

Life-long learners adopt the ongoing posture of reinvention and redemption. Learners ask questions rather than act as if they know all the answers. It’s difficult to waste your life when you are humble and open to new ideas.

9. Don’t sweat the small stuff

Knowing what we value puts everything else into perspective. If we know what really matters in life, then we’re not as likely to get caught up in, or bothered by, things that don’t have a long-term or eternal impact.

10. Never do anything you wouldn’t be comfortable doing in the presence of your Maker

If in doubt about this, talk it over with God first.

Please share your comments below.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Pingback: Don't Waste Your Life / ProMed Personal Care()

  • Danrod89

    I’ve received a lot of the Family Minute emails but this one goes to the core of every individual regardless of their age. Thank you.

  • Danrod, pleased to hear it’s impactful.

  • Anie

    Your work is so wonderful and useful.  I print your lists and post them around the house as a little boost throughout the day. 

    Could the web site provide a pdf version, or a button to press for “Print to Display” that would format the main body of the article so that it contained only the relevant material, and not the extras (e.g. “Like”  “Share”, and advertising)?  That would be so helpful for me, and it would be easier to share with friends.
    with faith, peace, health, humor

  • Thanks Anie…we’re checking on your request.

  • Suzq19

    Sharing with my 20 year old daughter! Thank you!

  • Good idea…I think I’ll share with my kids too!

  • David

    love it!

  • Appreciate it, David.

  • Alfredia

    I really alike this, shared it with my four high school/college age kids

  • That’s great, Alfredia!

  • Steph

    I like this list, & all points are true as to ways to not waste your life. However, one might see as I do that “living in the moment” can be counterindicative of making & reaching goals. One prime example from my own life is that I am trying to eat better & eat “clean” (not fanatically…just reasonably) to take better care of this temple of God’s that He has given me. There are those times when I want, for example, a great big giant bacon cheeseburger loaded with everything you can think of…my reasonable self says no, due to my goal of clean eating & a healthier life…but often my live-in-the-moment self says oh go ahead–live in the moment! & the focus leaves the long term goal in favor of the instant-gratification desire. I hope this makes sense. It’s still a great list. These are just additional thoughts to consider.

  • RobH

    I agree with Anie. The pdf list would be a great tool for those who want to retain the information in the list, rather than read the list then forget it.

  • Willy Benko

    Dear Mark,

    One of the most powerful emails I have read, fantastic way to end this year, start next year.  


  • Delk403

    The simple fact that we are loved and valued by the Creator is sufficient. Your joy comes from knowing who you are and whose you are.

    Short story not my own; a father was putting his kid to bed one night and the kid was dissapointed/unhappy about something that happened during the day, doesn’t really matter what it was to make the point. The father stated like you have and what we all know, God is sufficient…the kid replied “…yes I know that dad and I believe and have faith in God but sometimes I just want some skin on it.” You know sometimes we need a hug too! 

  • Dana Kruckenberg

    Very good!!

  • Tammy Foulks

    I am new to your site. I enjoy your words of encouragement so much. I too find myself printing your publications and posting them throughout my condo. My words to you would be to stay real and humbled before the Lord Jesus. God Bless

  • Sandra Spinning-Wilson Hendric

    Sometimes in reaching ‘long-term’ goals, WE get in the way of ‘enjoying’ the path God has for us! #9 & #10 (above) are a help in that area! Focusing on the reason for the goal is more important than an occasional slip (which might actually bolster a renewed commitment!). The best goal I’ve heard is this: ‘To love God and to enjoy Him forever!’ Whatever our ‘goals’ ~ they’re only one day at a time ~ we should try to find the joy! : )

  • 12 Summers

    Great list, thank you. Everyone should have goals or benchmarks throughout their life. They give you purpose while life is happening. I remember, swinging on my fathers front gate around age 9 and I could barely see over the horizon above the blowing sea of golden wheat in the fields, so I set a goal to go far beyond the wheat fields to see what the world offered, because my mother told me the world was my Oyster and my dad said, I could be anything I wanted to be if, I played my cards right and behaved myself and did it right. That was 1949, how lucky I was to have such parents and here I am, 68 years later and for me it worked out really well. I have 3 goals I’m working on right now. Proof in point, I heard from my cousin tonight and his mom (my Aunt) is 94 and not doing so well, but she had big goals all her life starting at age 20 for a company she would work at for 53 years…her goal now is to live until her 95th birthday in November. She had a great sense of herself, wonderful humor, super smart and so accomplished and feisty, tough as nails, polished/lovely and my hero.