The logical steps to take when trying to improve our life are to ponder past actions, what resulted from them and what we should do next. What we don’t really look at are the bad habits that make us lose energy on a daily basis.
Research has found that one of the things that drains a lot of energy from us is to fantasize about an idealized future, and thus giving you less motivation to pursue those dreams.
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Instead of fantasizing, we need to envision the future, as it will give us realistic possibilities of all the everyday actions that need to be taken to achieve that future. Don’t you agree?
#2. Give Up Looking For a Reason to Start
We think that we need reasons or that we will find the perfect time to pursue a goal, and that actually is not true. Even though certain conditions are better than others, the perfect scenario will never come to pass.
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There is never a perfect time to start working on your idea. The best time to start is now. Along the way, you’ll make mistakes and keep learning, and that is fine, too.
#3. Waiting for a Situation to Change
When you fall into the cycle of expecting things to change by themselves, because you find yourself unable to change them, you’ll start feeling worse and won’t do anything to change your situation.
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If you’re feeling trapped, focus on just one thing you can work on today. Before you can run, you need to walk. Improve one small component of your life first. Small steps will take you far away.
#4. Give Up Doing Something to Fit In
When you try to change who you are to fit in, you can only pretend for so long before starting to feel exhausted. Maybe you’re chasing a career that doesn’t suit your personality because it’s prestigious, or because it is a family tradition.
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You have to be honest to yourself. The more time and effort you expend, the more difficult it becomes to cut losses. If you have to change your interests, values, and beliefs to fit in somewhere, you are not where you belong
#5. Give Up Living to Please Others
Even though you need to take care of people around you, such as your family and friends, you don’t need to do things only to please others.
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If you are following other people’s expectations and you end up being dissatisfied, the only thing you will feel is resentment. That is the cue you need to take a pause and evaluate what you really want. The next habit is one that everybody should drop.
#6. Give Up Blaming Others
Sometimes, something bad happens and it is someone else’s fault. Are you able to do something to change that? No, and blaming that other person is a futile exercise that won’t solve anything.
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Instead of being constructive, it creates more anger and does nothing to push forward. If someone wronged you, let go of those bitter feelings and move on. Forgive. Focus on your actions instead.
#7. Factors Outside Your Control
Nowadays anxiety controls our life due to all the events that occur in out lives and beyond, and chronic anxiety may manifest in physical symptoms, such as breathing problems, ulcers and heart diseases. While there are an infinite number of things you can worry about, there are only a finite number of things you can control.
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Remember that you can’t change or control what other people say about you and neither can you decide what actions other people take. Only you can decide what you will do next!
#8. Things You Can’t Change
There are certain parts about yourself that you can’t change, such as where and when you were born. There’s no question that some of these factors affect your life on a large scale.
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When you get stuck on those things about you that you cannot change, you lose focus on other parts of your life, such as your attitude, actions and the opportunities in front of you. You need to embrace the things you cannot change and work in what you can change.
#9. Dwelling on Past Mistakes
We all have moments in our past that we think that we didn’t put enough effort in, and we wonder if things could have turned out better if we had made different choices.
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Nonetheless, I remind myself to not get stuck on the past. Instead of thinking what you could have done differently, use those mistakes to think what you are going to do today. Mistakes and failures are lessons for the future.
#10. Looking For Shortcuts
We all know that some methods are better than others to do what you need to do. If you pursue an endeavor that has taken others a great deal of time, energy, and devotion, it won’t be fun and exciting all the time. Don’t go chasing after a magic bullet.
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An acquaintance I know always chases after the biggest business opportunities without putting in the work. That meant not taking the time to gain the trust of others, lacking patience to see results, and making rash decisions without considering the consequences.
#11. Getting Distracted By The New Fad
When meeting new people or finding new places, you get distracted because they are probably very interesting. After repeated exposure, those things start to lose its luster. Then, you start looking around and wonder if another opportunity is better or if you should drop doing what you are doing to chase something new.
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Before you do, remember that everything has its downside. While it’s entirely possible that you may end up in a better situation, you might also end up realizing that things aren’t as appealing as they once seemed.
#12. Neglecting The Present
When we are busy doing something that needs to be done in the moment, our mind usually gets caught up in memories, aspirations or daydreams. As a result, we misuse our time and miss out on the present.
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If you’re going on a hike, enjoy the greenery and serene sounds of nature. If you’re working on something, quit daydreaming about your wonderful vacation. It would be tragic to look back at critical events and realize that your mind was elsewhere all that time.
#13. Doing Things Without Pause
Do you constantly feel like you just have to do something, or have some sort of plan lined up? In the past, I’ve found myself doing a task without reflecting whether it was right or not.
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If you are doing certain routines, think about what made you pick them up in the first place. Did you plan it or leapt at the opportunity because it was convenient?
#14. Empty Promises
When someone is constantly making a promise and never delivers, that person’s words lose their meaning and they lose all trust. And there’s is nothing more disappointing than that.
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If you want to help someone, think carefully of what it will require of you. Ironically, the people that speak the loudest, end up doing the least. If you want to do something, do it and let the results speak for themselves.
#15. Purchasing Objects To Seek Happiness
If you are one of those persons that believe that to be happy you need to spend money on more and newer objects, I want to tell you that it may be counter-intuitive. It has been found that spending money on experiences creates greater satisfaction than physical objects.
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Due to their temporary nature, experiences create fond memories, and we grow strong bonds to the people and places we encounter on an overseas trip or an excursion. Objects, on the contrary, lose their initial shine.
#16. Taking Things for Granted
When you take things for granted, nothing you have can ever gratify you. It’s really easy to accept the things and people we have, and we become blind to what we have until we lose it.
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To combat this, here’s something I’ve been practicing: I say “thank you” to people whenever possible. That means thanking people for giving me feedback, for notifying me about something, or for a kind gesture. When you thank someone, the other person feels appreciated and you internally become more grateful, even for the little things.
#17. Putting Aside Your Health
When caught in the whirlwind of life, we all tend to put health aside. We cut on sleep, skip our exercise routine and start taking energy drinks in order to do more work.
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Unfortunately, the effects of bad health habits don’t show up until years later. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute recommends getting your cholesterol measured at least once every 5 years starting from age 20.
#18. Emotional Rollercoaster
One thing I’ve learnt in life is that we tend to let things get to us. If something bad or unfortunate happened to us, we need to know that it will pass and it will lead to great moments, that you should enjoy and cherish.
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Remember that both good and bad things are finite. Even when permanent changes happen, we become accustomed to them and gradually return to our baseline happiness levels.
When undertaking a hard task, people tend to say to each other that they should stop trying so hard when something is not going well, or they try to show what is right and what is not.
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In some occasions, I found myself saying “he did that, so it must be okay”. When there is a difference between your standards and those of someone else, it’s time to spend more time with people that challenge you to be your best version.
#20. Know Your Worth
When people praises you, you start to feel incredible. When someone rejects you or says something harsh about you, the opposite effect occurs. You feel deflated and your confidence is knocked out of you.
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The thing is that everyone has different opinions and we should accept them. What one person hates, another person absolutely loves. Who you are and what you do won’t suit everybody. Decide your own worth.
#21. Stress Eating
Whenever we feel stress, unhappiness, disappointment or anxiety we tend to stress eat. It has nothing to do with hunger, but it has a lot to do with filling emotional voids.
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While eating would comfort me, this feeling was momentary and would disappear right after I was done eating. If we do this, we end up with the same emotional void that triggered us to eat, plus the excess calories we ate.
#22. Nail Biting
Not only is nail biting unhygienic, it is also socially repelling, leads to dental problems like malocclusion of the anterior teeth, potentially cause stomach problems, and lead to severely deformed fingernails in the long run.
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Understand what triggers your nail biting behavior and replace it with another neutral to positive habit. Make habits to break habits. For example, if you bite your nails when you are stressed, go for a walk or listen to music instead the next time you feel stressed.
#23. Hanging Out With Negative People
We all have and know one negative person in our life. They tend to destroy every idea you have and every goal you set for yourself. If we take into account that we are our greatest self-critics, we don’t need another person in our life to pounce every one of our decisions.
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Hang out less with these naysayers and spend more time with supportive people who share constructive feedback instead. You will be much happier this way.
#24. Excessive Drinking
According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, drinking too much can seriously damage your health, it does not matter if it is on a single occasion or over time.
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If you drink a lot, perhaps cutting it out right away will be tough. Cut down the number of glasses you drink each time, followed by the number of times you drink a week. If you need help, seek it.
#25. Eating Junk Food
From McDonald’s and Burger King, to KFC and Wendy’s, junk food, which comprises fries, highly processed burgers and sodas, is nowadays everywhere in our societies.
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A study by Paul Johnson and Paul Kenny suggests that junk food consumption alters brain activity in a way similar to addictive drugs like cocaine and heroine.
#26. Red Meat
Conclusive evidence has been found that consumption of red meat increases the risk of colorectal cancer, and suggestive evidence that it increases the risk of esophageal, lung, pancreatic and endometrial cancer.
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In addition, some other studies linked consumption of large quantities of red meat with breast, stomach, bladder, lung and prostate cancer. World Cancer Research Fund recommends limiting intake of red meat to less than 300g cooked weight per week.
#27. Watching Too Much TV
People tend to watch TV to disconnect themselves from the daily stress and let their mind take a break. Never forget, though, that TV isn’t your life.
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You should not spend three or four hours every night watching TV, as it will not change your life. Rather, using that time to reflect on your life, take stock, and take action on your goals will.
#28. Being Late
Being late affects your life in several ways. Not only is it rude to others, but it also means that you are rushing from one place to another, apologizing to everyone for being late and trying to catch up in your agenda.
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Practice being early instead. You should try to arrive 15 minutes earlier before any appointment and bring something to do in those 15 minutes in case the other person turns to be late. This way you’ll start to be ahead in life!
#29. Toxic Relationships
Entering into a relationship with a person is always difficult and we tend to spend a lot of time trying to know the other person. But when we engage in a toxic relationship, we tend to feel sad and stressed.
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What we need to do is avoid these relationships by showing ourselves that we are worth more than that. When we decide to cut off toxic relationships, we will be more happy in our future relationships.
#30. Focusing On The Negative
In every situation there are two ways in which you can react: you can zoom down to the problem areas and focus on them, or you can celebrate the areas that are working and try to make everything better.
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Criticizing and focusing on the negative is easy but it doesn’t empower nor inspire us to be better. Make a change: for every negative encounter you run into, identify three things that are good about it. After a week doing this, you’ll find that your first instinct is to think positive.