The Ultimate Motivation to Live Life to the Fullest


There really are only a fixed number of days you have on this planet. 28,616 according to recent life expectancy in the United States. Think about that for a moment. Your time is finite and can only decrease. Pretty depressing stuff, until you realize that knowing this can actually motivate you into making your life better.

It’s similar to the person who puts off a big paper until the night before and rushes to get everything accomplished. But I don’t want you to be the person who puts off something so important as carpe diem. That’s why I’m going to share with you my ultimate motivation technique to live life to the fullest.

Carpe Diem Revisited

A couple of days ago, I was digging through my wallet and found a folded up piece of paper. I immediately knew what it was: a bucket list. Weirdly enough, it was exactly ten years ago that I’d made it and I wondered what lay inside.

My list was all over the place. Learn the guitar, go to Las Vegas, join the Peace Corps among other things. Surprisingly I’d completed most of the items on the list. In fact, I will be completing two more next year when I get married and take my honeymoon in Paris.

But what lead me to accomplish all these items? After all, many people talk and talk about things they wish they could do, but it ends up being just talk. I realized that when I made decisions about things I wanted to do I used a technique that really worked and motivated me.

My Ultimate Technique for Carpe Diem

When I want to motivate myself, I just imagine that I’m 80 years old and never did something I wanted to do. It’s pretty simple, but effective. For example, a few years ago I wanted to paint a landscape since I’d never done one before. I had wanted to do this for years, but I was holding myself back.

I listened to the voices inside me telling me that I didn’t know what I was doing, didn’t have supplies or even know what to buy. So I put it off and off until one day I used my ultimate technique and realized that if I don’t do it now, I’ll be that 80 year old man regretting that I never did.

You’re faced with the opportunity every day to do or start something great. It could be a big trip you want to take, a new hobby you want to start or simply an idea you have. With an infinite amount of time, you could put off doing everything decades or even centuries later. Sometimes it seems like there’s enough time later for everything. But if you put off doing something until later, it may never happen.

Why it Works

When you imagine yourself at 80 years of age regretting what you didn’t do , the motivation is intense. Regret is a powerful emotion. If you’ve ever done something in the past that you’d wished you had done differently you’ll realize just how powerful it can be.

What is more, you’ll feel the fear of having that regret. Fear is often considered a negative emotion so it’s great to see when you can put it to some good use. Usually fear is what holds you back from carpe diem. Many of the things I wrote on my bucket list were scary to do. And this technique works great for getting around it.

Fear was racing through my mind the day before I went white water rafting for the first time. At any moment I could have backed out. For that matter I could have not even tried to begin with. But I made myself do it because I knew I would regret it if I hadn’t. Not only did I go rafting, but it was in Costa Rica on the Pacuare River, one of the most beautiful runs in the world.

Make it Work Better

Obviously, if you use this technique when you don’t have any life goals lined up, you’ll just be wasting your time. If there’s nothing to look back on as an 80 year old, you can’t motivate yourself to do them. That’s why it’s important to make goals in life.

Make a bucket list. You can do it the old-fashioned way like I did and write all your items down on a slip of paper. Put it on your fridge or a dresser and you’ll continually remind yourself of the things you want to do. You can also keep your list online at sites like Sites like that will even provide some other goals you may want to include.

If Not Now, When?

If there’s anything that you should get from this, it is you need to take actions into your own hands. My ultimate motivation technique works for me.

It may not work for you. That is why it’s important for you to find out what does work.

Above all else, the thing that best motivates you needs to make you do things immediately. Remember, you only have about 28,616 days on average to do everything you want to do. That leaves about 17,000 days left in my life. Perhaps you think that is a long time. But for everything I plan on doing, it might not be enough.

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  1. Awesome post. Congrats again on your engagement!

    And I totally still have Peace Corps on my to do list. I was really close a couple of years ago. I just couldn’t at this point in my life. However, this is looking like my retirement plan. :)

    • Miranda, I actually still have Peace Corps on my list too. It was one of the few I didnt’ get to. My fiance is on board with doing it though, but it will have to wait at least until after the honeymoon.

  2. My biggest obstacle to “seizing the day” is the act of simply getting up. I wish I could be one of those people that love the mornings, get up and start life with excitement each day. Instead I drag myself out of bed, often take naps, and just generally spend too much of my life asleep. I hate that I’m wasting so much of my life!

    • I’m not a morning person either especially now that I’m super busy which tires me out. I think there are ways to become a morning person, but I just haven’t had the desire to really become one yet. So far, my love of sleep hasn’t affected my ability to seize the day. I think it’s about seizing the time that you’re awake that matters.

  3. very timely bro… i feel so damn low… trying to motivate myself… thanks for sharing…

  4. I absolutely love reading your posts they are always so inspiring. Congrats on your engagement! #133 on my list is to join the Peace Corps also. I almost did it a few years back but like Miranda I decided it wasn’t the right time for me.

  5. Dear Steve,
    Like you, I consider my old age and even my death bed and ask myself if I would regret not doing something. That usually motivates me to get out and do it! It also takes away my fear because it’s not likely at 80 years old, I’ll be thinking about little details that worried me.

  6. Great post here! I like the idea of looking ahead and imagining what it would be like to look back and wonder/possibly regret something you didn’t do. So many people who are elderly do that. I hope not to be be one of them–which is why I’ll definitely keep traveling and challenging myself as much as I can.

    Thanks for these reminders–and happy travels!

  7. Nicely done! Well, I have to admit I’ve never had to imagine myself at 80 to feel I have to do things. Actually my drive is that there are some things we have to do until our time is up and, although it might seem pessimistic, I don’t have any clue of how long I really have. So, I’m trying to live at my best so that I might regret as little as possible when the time comes. And, I know that’s a platitude, but it’s true: better regret things you have done than not having done them.

  8. Great article and thanks for the reminder. I’m glad there are people like you who write about travel and passion on the same site. Because for me, they are one and the same.

    Thanks Steve!

  9. Great post – not enough people practice what they preach like you do! I’ve always put things off too but then I finally went out of my comfort zone to fight muay thai in Thailand and its been the best experience of my life.

    I think breaking that initial barrier to get out and do what you plan in your head is essential, otherwise you’ll just be stagnant and depressed forever!

  10. Carter Hickman says:

    It is hard to live your life when you have to go to school each day. :(

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