Our daily activities determine our lives. Something that you occasionally do won’t fundamentally impact your life.
What you do every day, on the other hand, is what determines your long term lifestyle.
That’s why habits are so powerful and why more and more people are diving deep into habit building.
Throughout the last years, tons of research was conducted to figure out why we repeat certain things that harm us and how to build more positive habits.
As I am a personal growth enthusiast, I also paid a lot of attention to this topic.
First, I’ve read books and amazing articles. Then I consumed online courses. Once I mastered building great habits myself, I hosted workshops to support others in creating their routines.
While doing this for the past two years, I realized that sometimes it’s not about the habits that we are trying to build.
Sometimes, it’s our little, harmful routines that break our success.
Whatever success might mean to you, it is always a result of your daily actions.
What I discovered throughout the past months is that we often sabotage ourselves by repeating certain activities that are harmful to our success and wellbeing.
And often, eliminating these damaging activities is not that easy, as we’ve been practicing them for many years.
However, even eliminating or reducing just a few of these bad routines can help to increase your happiness, productivity, and success.
1. Don’t take things personally
Easier said than done, I know.
Yet, I discovered that taking things personally cost me hundreds of hours in the past years.
Especially in my relationship, I often feel offended, even if that’s not his intention.
Most of the time, people are not aiming to hurt or even offend you.
It’s ourselves who interpret a particular meaning to what people say.
Once you manage to stay neutral and stop putting negative meanings to the sayings of others, you will feel much happier and released.
The truth is that we are too selfish.
We tend to believe that we are the center of the universe. That’s why we take things personally instead of focusing on the facts.
Next time you feel offended by a statement, ask your conversation partner what he really meant.
In 99.99 percent of all cases, when they clarify their statement, you will realize that there is no personal assault against you.
Even if it sounds too simple, asking and talking are the most efficient and effective ways of understanding each other.
Communication is exceptionally versatile, and mistakes can happen all the time.
Instead of pondering what somebody might have meant, just ask.
2. Stop holding on to the past
Yes, one more of those cliché life-improvement tips.
You might know one of these studies stating that, on average, we have 60,000 to 80,000 thoughts crossing our minds per day.
These numbers are enormous, but what’s even more impressive is the following:
The majority of our thoughts are negative.
Hopefully, not yours and mine, but on average, the majority of people’s thoughts are negative.
They are either thinking about bad things that could happen in the future, or they are stuck in the past, spending their energy on negative happenings that they can’t change anyway.
Both cases are destructive.
However, if done correctly, thinking about the future can empower and motivate you. For example, if you have a strong vision and apply the law of attraction plus visualization techniques, thinking about the future can be a powerful tool to motivate yourself and attract what you desire.
Holding on to the past, on the contrary, doesn’t come with any benefits at all.
We can’t change what previously happened, so letting go of it is the smartest and most efficient thing to do.
What helps me to finish off with the past is taking some time to reflect on it.
By journaling and writing down all my thoughts and concerns, I can let go of previous events easily.
If you feel like a particular event in the past is still bothering you, sit down for a few minutes and write down all your thoughts.
Writing is much more powerful than thinking, as it allows us to structure our thoughts. Thus, it gets easier to see patterns and discover why something might still bother you.
Journaling about your past can be your holy grail for a more peaceful present.
3. Control your social media usage
For tons of people, social media is the number one reason for less joy and energy in their lives.
Yeah, it’s cool to browse through beautiful pictures on Instagram, but seriously: What good does it bring into your life?
I don’t say that social media per se is a bad thing. On the contrary, it’s fantastic, I love it. I am sharing stories on Instagram every day, and I love my community.
However, there’s a massive difference in how you use it.
Are you producing and sharing valuable content or just consuming what others share?
Does your newsfeed inspire you, or does it make you feel like crap?
When I open Instagram, I just see postings of people who inspire me.
I see motivational quotes, affirmations, and people living a life that I admire.
That’s cool because it inspires me to put my phone away and get back to work.
However, the bitter truth is that most people feel frustrated after scrolling through other’s pictures.
Why? Because (especially) Instagram is an entirely faked world.
Of course, people are uploading their biggest highlights, which are additionally photoshopped. And if you are sitting on your couch, wearing pajamas, surely you get frustrated when seeing how amazing the lives of others look like.
Comparing your normal life with other’s highlights won’t ever make you happy.
Focus on yourself.
Use social media to get inspired and to build deep connections, not to make yourself feel bad.
You can set specific timers on your phone that will pop up you once you exceed the usage of a platform, these are great reminders to take care of yourself and your energy.
For example, you can set 15 minutes for Instagram or Facebook, and once you surpass this number, you won’t access the platform for the rest of the day.
This might sound hard, however, by reducing your passive social media usage, you will have a clearer mind plus more time to invest in things that make you feel good.
4. Don’t overstress
Again, easier said than done, I know.
Yet, with a few simple strategies, it becomes easy to stress less.
As mentioned above, most of our stress is because we are not present at the moment. We are either concerned about the future or still stuck in the past.
If you are truly present at the moment, you will not feel any stress, and instead, express gratefulness for all the things that you have at this moment.
Breathing exercises are a straightforward and quick way of eliminating unnecessary stress and being present. Even just a simple deep breath can take away a few of your concerns. Just sit down quietly and take a few minutes to focus on your breathing. After some time, doing these exercises will become more comfortable and an essential part of your life.
Journaling is another excellent way of stopping your thoughts from sabotaging your happiness. By writing down what you think of, you release it. It becomes easier to let it go as it doesn’t bustle around in your head anymore.
By doing breathing exercises and journaling, you will quickly realize that overstressing does not make sense and harms your life. Plus, it will be much easier to let go of the negative and focus on the positive.
5. Take control of your sleep
Sleeping can be your number 1 productivity and energy booster.
Getting a great rest is inevitable for a happy, healthy life.
With just a few tips and tricks, you can quickly improve the quality of your sleep and life.
First of all, make sure to sleep enough. If you sleep four hours per night, no hack can save your energy.
Enough might mean something different for anyone. However, a minimum of six hours is required to regenerate your body and mind.
Sleep in darkness and silence. These two tips can improve the quality of your sleep tremendously. Especially if you are living in a big city, you are probably exposed to sleeping in rooms that are not entirely dark and silent.
However, there are two straightforward ways to solve this: If you can’t wholly darken your room, use a sleep mask. It’s cheap and easy, plus, you can take it with you wherever you go.
If your bedroom is not entirely silent, use earplugs. Also cheap and easy yet super effective.
What’s also important for a night of great sleep is what you do before going to bed.
For example, avoid eating big, fatty meals or doing excessive sports.
Instead, do calm activities. Like journaling, meditation, reading, or light yoga exercises.
6. Take control of your diet
What you eat has a significant impact on your energy level.
If you want to increase your daily power, changing your diet is one of the quickest and most powerful things to do.
Getting rid of processed, unhealthy foods is the first step.
Instead, choose more vegan options. Do a little research and find out which healthy options you like anyway and which you would like to try soon.
Additionally, make sure to stay hydrated. Drinking sufficient water is the perfect base for a stable and robust energy level.
7. Stop complaining all the time
Instead, practice gratitude.
If you want to complain, you will find negative aspects of your life all the time.
We are all just humans, and all of us are experiencing negative situations.
However, those who manage to focus on the good are happier and healthier.
Complaining about things without changing them only drains your energy.
Either take action or focus on the present moment by being grateful for everything that you have in your life.
Nobody likes to be around someone who constantly complains and spreads skepticism.
Don’t be the person who is spreading negativity, instead shine bright and spread positive vibes.
By doing so, you will be happier, and people are going to feel comfortable around you.
8. Stop pleasing others
Living your life according to the expectations of others is the safest way to be unhappy.
At the end of your life, you will look back at all the chances you didn’t take to make yourself happy.
In her book, “Top five regrets of the dying”, Bronnie Ware summarized the biggest regrets of people who were close to death.
Through her work as a palliative nurse, she was in touch with dying people every day, and she soon recognized that most of the regrets were repetitive.
At the end of their lives, people are often disappointed for the same reasons.
One of these regrets of dying people is:
“I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.”
Spending too much time on pleasing others will cost you so much time and energy in your lifetime.
Start respecting yourself and saying no to things that you won’t be proud of at the end of your life.
Use every minute you have to increase your happiness and energy to live up to your own expectations. Instead of pleasing others, create your own magical life story.