When we spend our lives merely surviving, life can start to seem empty and pointless. Trust me, I’ve been there!

This is exactly how many of us live: we work for eight hours or more a day and then come home feeling too miserable and exhausted to do much of anything else. So, we plant our burned out butts on the couch and escape the drudgery with some TV.

Lather, rinse, repeat and the next thing we know, the most excitement we have is a once-a-year holiday and, well HELL, that got cancelled by a pandemic. Eventually, we’ve got to ask: Am I living or am I just some battery in The Matrix?

A life without meaning is a soul-sucking crapfest. Don’t go there. I’ve been down that road and the cookies they promised were shit.

Here are four simple changes that can make today to start infusing your life with a little more meaning:

Learning

Constantly learning is a great way to give life more meaning and direction. It’s also a good way to stave off Alzheimer’s and other age-related cognitive issues. One of the things the human brain craves most is growth. If it isn’t challenged to learn and grow, then it will shrink and we become prime for memory loss and dementia. That ain’t no way to go.

Make it your job to constantly be learning new skills and pursuits. Maybe it’s for your career, a hobby, or just for fun!

Check out Masterclass for some really great classes (I received a class as a gift one year and it was AMAZING).

Want to learn a language for free? Try Duolingo. It gamifies language learning and is super fun.

Relationships

Relationships are one of the things that we really need to be happy. If we don’t have meaningful relationships, then we have no one to share our experiences, challenges and triumphs with.

A truly ‘meaningful’ relationship goes beyond friends of friends that you only ever meet in a group. This is someone that you can have a deep heart-to-heart with and who has a long and storied history with you. Here’s a tip: if your significant other isn’t a meaningful relationship, fix that or kick the deadbeat out. (Easier said than done, I know, but don’t waste years of your life with someone with whom you have nothing meaningful.)

Challenge

What’s also necessary for life to feel meaningful is challenge and to some extent, risk. What’s life without a little accomplishment and excitement?

Have you ever been in a situation that was truly life and death? Or perhaps that put you in a situation where you were close to accomplishing something truly amazing?

That stuff really gets your blood pumping and makes you feel alive!

These are the moments when the brain really focusses and switches on. These are the moments when we learn and realize the value of who we are and what we have. It puts life into perspective and creates stories. Don’t shy away from the things that test you! There will be times you might fail – I’ve been there many times – but those successes – what a rush!

Travel

Finally, everyone should try to add some travel to their lives. This doesn’t mean you have to backpack across the dessert – but simply being able to experience new sights and new people is important to keep your mind open and your experiences varied. If you don’t have the budget to go away or a global pandemic is keeping you at home, then come up with an adventure you can enjoy a little closer to home. When I was a kid, we’d take “Sunday Drives” and go to State Parks or beaches. It doesn’t need to be summer to visit a beach either. Pack your ice skates or skiis, or just pack a lunch and enjoy the change of scenery.

When we spend our lives merely surviving, life can start to seem empty and pointless. Infusing your life with lifelong learning, quality relationships, new challenges, and travel can put a whole new shine and add meaning to what might have been a pretty lackluster life. They also add a whole new zing to a pretty good life!

Which one will you start with?