We all want a better life. A new job. A new body. A new bank account. Yet no matter what we do, the life we hope to live never seems to materialize. Maybe the problem is that we’re looking in the wrong places.

Stepping Stones to a Better Life

Every year, Americans spend $70.15 on lottery tickets. That’s more than we spend on sporting events, books, movies, video games and music — combined.

Why do we do it? Because we’re obsessed, possibly even desperate, to find a better life. But at the end of the day, you can’t buy the kind of life most of us are really looking for – a life filled with meaning and purpose.

Like it or not, you have to build a better life. Here’s how:

1. Be grateful.

Gratitude is one of the most underrated spiritual disciplines out there. By practicing gratitude on a daily basis, you become more aware of the presence of God in your life and more appreciative of the life you’re already living.

2. Take care of your body.

Healthy people are usually happy people. You’re not getting any younger, so maybe it’s time to start making a few changes. Eat healthier food. Get more sleep. Hydrate. The road to a better life begins by taking better care of yourself.

3. Declutter.

Chances are your life is filled with clutter, and I’m not just talking about the stuff you’ve stashed away in your spare bedroom. From your schedule to your relationships, every corner of your life is filled with a hodgepodge of unnecessary things. Declutter those corners to simplify your life and refocus on the most important things.

4. Move more.

No one sets out to become a couch potato. It just happens. You already know that a sedentary lifestyle is unhealthy. But it’s boring and depressing, too. Make an effort to exercise, take a walk in nature or find some other way to move a little more each day.

5. Pray and meditate.

Many of the world’s happiest and most satisfied people practice daily prayer and mediation. Think it’s impossible to incorporate daily prayer into your busy schedule? It’s not. You can develop a vibrant prayer life in just fifteen minutes a day.

6. Learn new things.

Continuous learning is one of the secrets of staying young. Learn a language. Take a cooking class. Read. What you learn isn’t important as long as constantly discovering new things about yourself and the world around you.

7. Serve others. 

Service to others is a shortcut to a better life. The uncomfortable truth is that many of the issues we struggle with disappear when we dedicate ourselves to serving other people through volunteer opportunities or even by becoming more selfless about the way we treat the people we encounter in our everyday lives.