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Michael Strahan's guide to post-NFL life: Five keys to happiness

My first "real job" was as a professional athlete in the National Football League. I had the privilege to play in the league for 15 seasons -- for one team: the New York Football Giants.

However, I always knew it would not be the only job I would dedicate myself to. Though unsure of my "grand plan," I promised myself to be happy, work hard and be the best person I could be. As I continue my journey from the football field to NFL analyst, morning show host and author, I look forward to what awaits me each day. I have always embraced the challenge of hard work, always welcomed the idea of expecting the unexpected. Life can be both exhilarating and challenging, but I know for certain opportunities are few. So in retirement from my first job, I remain committed to starting each day with the same principle: Wake up happy.

Here are five ways to wake up happy after you retire from the NFL:

1) Invest time in family and friends: I've always been a firm believer in surrounding yourself with good people. There is nothing more important to me than my family and friends. Their support is the reason I am where I am today.

2) Take care of yourself: Eat right and continue to train. Your body has been through a lot during your football career. Now, more than ever, it's important to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Something simple you can do in the morning is drink a full glass of water as soon as you wake up. This will help kick-start your system. It is so important to keep hydrated, especially after retiring from the game.

3) Take the time to give back: Time is one of the most valuable gifts we can give. Volunteer your time to a cause, a community, a school, an organization -- anything that is important to you. A lot of people have supported you and allowed you to achieve all that you have. Support something that is significant to you and pay it forward.

4) Challenge yourself: Do the things you've always wanted to do. Just because your playing career has ended, that doesn't mean your life has to end, too! Now is the perfect time to take risks and try new things. I believe that fear is both good and bad. Fear is bad when it prevents us from trying something new, but it's good when it challenges us to be better. Being fearless isn't easy, but overcoming fear is one of the greatest feelings.

5) Travel: Now is the time to explore new places. Someone once told me that life begins once we step out of our comfort zone. I really enjoy checking out different places in the world and experiencing new cultures.

Michael Strahan is the author of the New York Times best-seller "Wake Up Happy: The Dream Big, Win Big Guide to Transforming Your Life." He is the co-host of "Live! with Kelly and Michael" and an analyst for "Fox NFL Sunday."

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