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10 Enemies You May Have That Could Ruin Your Life

10 Enemies You May Have That Could Ruin Your Life

Enemies don’t always come in human form. But we pick them up, nurture them, and sometimes they stay with us forever, slowly draining away our happiness, sense of worth, and even our professional success. The good news is that, once we do identify them, we can take steps to embrace them and lovingly send them on their way. Take this little “test” and see if any of these 10 creatures are lurking about!

1. Ignoring Important Things

If there is a leak in your roof, you can choose to ignore it. But every time it rains, the leak will get worse and damage more plywood and support beams. And so it is with life’s important problems/issues. They are not going away, and the earlier you deal with them, the less you will have to deal with. Suppose, for example, you have a colleague at work or a family member who continually takes advantage of you – perhaps borrowing money or eating up your time with incessant complaining and/or drama. Ignoring these behaviors in the hopes that they will soon end is a “pipe dream.” As difficult as it may be, you need to be calm but firm. Each time there is a request for money or your time, you simply do not have it to loan or to give. Eventually, they will “move on.” When you continue to ignore issues that should be dealt with, you become resentful, irritable and angry – not good emotions and feelings to have! But when you deal with them and resolve them, you get a sense of relief, comfort, and peace – how about those feelings?

2. Envy

We can all find others who have more – more money, better relationships, more career success, and we can choose to spend our energy being envious of all that others have. And we can spend time being envious of them. There is the family in the neighborhood that always have new cars, goes on great vacations, and is just living in a “style” we covet. There is the colleague who got a promotion that we felt we deserved; there is the friend who inherited a great deal and is now living a much “larger” life. Envy, while we often don’t realize it, leads to resentment and dis-satisfaction that masks all of the great things about our own lives. This is a difficult enemy to transform, but you can do it. Begin with making a list of all that you have to be grateful for. You will find that it is quite long. How many others would envy your life? Quite a few, actually! Place signs with the word “gratitude” in easily seen places around your home – on the mirror in your bedroom, on your refrigerator – you need to remind yourself on a daily basis that you have many things that inspire gratitude. The more you focus on these, the less you will focus on what others have.

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3. Insecurity

Do you need to be in control? Do you bully others? Do you deflect compliments? Are you a people pleaser, always saying “yes” when you really want to say “no?” Do you get defensive when others provide constructive criticism or suggest that you could do something differently? These are all signs of insecurity. Insecurity is a deep-seated enemy, and “he” is hard to transform. You begin by embracing and accepting it. By holding this enemy very close, you can get to know him intimately; you can see the behaviors that are resulting from it, and you can the reverse those behaviors as they “rear up,” one by one. Those are how the habits of insecurity get changed. You are a unique person with wonderful qualities – start living those!

4. Indecisiveness

You only move forward when you make decisions. Not making decisions is paralyzing, whether it is which car to buy, which job to take, or something as simple as what color to paint a wall. This “enemy” is easy to identify, because you are simply stalled, and then you do the following:

  • You play “what if” games, as you ponder each option, and you never stop
  • You continue to ask others for their advice, and you never stop.

Here’s the thing: You are never going to make the right decision every time, and you don’t always have to be right. So ask yourself this. What is the worst that could happen if I make a wrong decision? You will have made a mistake, you will learn from it, and you will fix it as best you can. But you will survive! And start learning to trust your “gut” rather than the advice of others. Set a time limit for the decision and stick to it!

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5. Intolerance

This is an “enemy” that most people with it fail to identify. We consider ourselves to have strong opinions about things, and most often we tell ourselves that these are based upon our basic principles and values. But when we use those “strong opinions” to be judgmental of others in negative ways, we become intolerant, and intolerance can then make us rigid, unforgiving, and unwilling to accept change. When we become these things, others do not want to be around us, we stall in our careers, and we miss out on so much rich diversity that exists in this world. So, start with something small. When you next stand in a line and there is an individual ahead of or behind you who, because of his/her dress, hair color, etc., you have always judged negatively, start a simple conversation. You may be quite amazed that the young man with his pants low and underwear showing is actually personable and able to carry on a conversation! You may find that the young lady with the tattoos and piercings that you have always condemned, is quite friendly and nice. Tolerance must be practiced on a daily basis, and it makes us so much easier for others to be around!

6. Fear of Failure

This enemy is a cousin to indecisiveness, and it causes us not to take risks. Without taking risks, we may never know our full potential, and how sad is that? Without risk-taking, we stay in our rut while the rest of the world pushes forward into the unknown and the exciting. Do people fail when they take risks? Absolutely! But they learn, and they get back up much wiser for the next risk they take. So, again, start with something small. Change your hair color or style; grow a beard; accept that blind date you friend has offered. When you get used to taking risks in small ways, an amazing thing happens. You find that it can be exciting and fun (even if the blind date was a disaster, you’ll have a good laugh). You may decide that you will turn that great idea into a business. And if you fail, so what?

7. Workaholism

It’s so easy to justify 16 hour work days and working weekends. All of these tasks and projects – no one else can get them completed, and it just has to be up to you! Here’s what psychologists say about workaholics – they are compensating for lacks in other parts of their lives. So, if you are a workaholic, you have to identify that first, and then you have to identify what you lack in other parts of your life. Maybe you are avoiding relationships because you have been badly “burned.” Maybe you are afraid of “getting out there” and meeting new people or working on a social life. You must begin with an activity or hobby of some sort, if you are to slay this dragon. Force yourself to take a class; force yourself to join the “Y;” force yourself to say “yes” to the next happy hour invite; even if you cannot force social interactions yet, at least get outside, walk through a park trail and get around nature. The goal? To learn that life outside of work is not an unpleasant or scary place!

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Interesting: 11 Differences Between Busy People And Productive People

8. Impatience

Many are able to identify this enemy and its consequences, but embracing it and then changing it – well – that is quite another matter. We all have a tendency to want what we want right now. And when we don’t get that, we become frustrated, angry, and often unhappy. When people are impatient about the “things” they want, they go into debt to get them; when they want more rapid career advancement, they become more aggressive and perhaps make enemies along the way. Impatience is contagious in that it tends to carry over into all aspects of one’s life, so that the individual has a difficult waiting for even the smallest things – the coffee pot to finish percolating before getting that cup filled, the cars ahead to move faster when the light turns green, or the people in line at the checkout. Impatience creates impulsivity, frustration and even anger. Getting rid of this enemy depends upon how it manifests. If, for example, you are deep in debt because of it, you cut up those credit cards and vow to stay off of shopping sites and out of stores. If it manifests itself in your being rushed all of the time, deliberately drive 3-5 miles under the speed limit as often as possible. Patience is a habit that is built over time, so be patient about it!

9. Insensitivity

This enemy is insidious because so often we have no idea that we exhibit insensitivity to others. We are simply used to “telling it like it is,” to verbalizing every thought that comes into our heads, and we rarely stop to consider whether what we do or say injures others. Sometimes, another person will tell you that you have been insensitive. Rather than get all defensive, make a note of it. It is probably not the first time you have heard this. And when you have offended or upset enough people in your environments, you reap the consequences. You won’t be invited to social gatherings; you won’t be asked to join co-workers for lunch. The first step in the homicide of insensitivity is to admit that you are brash, brazen, and too outspoken. The second step is to practice compliment-giving. Find something nice to say to everyone you encounter in the course of your day. Bit your tongue when you are about to spout off with some opinion. Try it for a week and the ways in which others respond to you will begin to transform. You will like what you see, so keep it up!

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10. Rumination

You can’t sleep because an incident from the day is still bothering you. You are running scenarios of it in your head, going over all of the conversation that occurred, thinking of things you could have said instead. Or you can’t sleep because you are worried about next week, or next year, of 10 years from now. You are definitely a ruminator and this enemy is stealing your time, your energy, and your happiness. So, why let him stay in your life? Can you have a “do-over” of what happened today? No. Are you psychic enough that you know what next week or next year will bring? No. The only time you can control is right now, and if you choose to spend the “now” in the past or future, you will never find contentment. So when the ruminating begins, stop yourself and say, “What should I be doing right now?” Or get your thought on something pleasant in the “now.” Is there a bird at your feeder or a child having fun outside your window? Is there that leftover pie in the fridge? Give it a try – you’ll actually be far more productive too!

Real enemies do not surrender without a fight, but you have a lot more fight and power than they do – remember that!

Featured photo credit: Michael Carian via imcreator.com

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Last Updated on March 21, 2019

11 Important Things to Remember When Changing Habits

11 Important Things to Remember When Changing Habits

Most gurus talk about habits in a way that doesn’t help you:

You need to push yourself more. You can’t be lazy. You need to wake up at 5 am. You need more motivation. You can never fail…blah blah “insert more gibberish here.”

But let me share with you the unconventional truths I found out:

To build and change habits, you don’t need motivation or wake up at 5 am. Heck, you can fail multiple times, be lazy, have no motivation and still pull it off with ease.

It’s quite simple and easy to do, especially with the following list I’m going to show to you. But remember, Jim Rohn used to say,

“What is simple and easy to do is also simple and easy not to do.”

The important things to remember when changing your habits are both simple and easy, just don’t think that they don’t make any difference because they do.

In fact, they are the only things that make a difference.

Let’s see what those small things are, shall we?

1. Start Small

The biggest mistake I see people doing with habits is by going big. You don’t go big…ever. You start small with your habits.

Want to grow a book reading habit? Don’t start reading a book a day. Start with 10 pages a day.

Want to become a writer? Don’t start writing 10,000 words a day. Start with 300 words.

Want to lose weight? Don’t stop eating ice cream. Eat one less ball of it.

Whatever it is, you need to start small. Starting big always leads to failure. It has to, because it’s not sustainable.

Start small. How small? The amount needs to be in your comfort zone. So if you think that reading 20 pages of a book is a bit too much, start with 10 or 5.

It needs to appear easy and be easy to do.

Do less today to do more in a year.

2. Stay Small

There is a notion of Kaizen which means continuous improvement. They use this notion in habits where they tell you to start with reading 1 page of a book a day and then gradually increase the amount you do over time.

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But the problem with this approach is the end line — where the “improvement” stops.

If I go from reading 1 page of a book a day and gradually reach 75 and 100, when do I stop? When I reach 1 book a day? That is just absurd.

When you start a habit, stay at it in the intensity you have decided. Don’t push yourself for more.

I started reading 20 pages of a book a day. It’s been more than 2 years now and I’ve read 101 books in that period. There is no way I will increase the number in the future.

Why?

Because reading 40 to 50 books a year is enough.

The same thing applies to every other habit out there.

Pick a (small) number and stay at it.

3. Bad Days Are 100 Percent Occurrence

No matter how great you are, you will have bad days where you won’t do your habit. Period.

There is no way of going around this. So it’s better to prepare yourself for when that happens instead of thinking that it won’t ever happen.

What I do when I miss a day of my habit(s) is that I try to bounce back the next day while trying to do habits for both of those days.

Example for that is if I read 20 pages of a book a day and I miss a day, the next day I will have to read 40 pages of a book. If I miss writing 500 words, the next day I need to write 1000.

This is a really important point we will discuss later on rewards and punishments.

This is how I prepare for the bad days when I skip my habit(s) and it’s a model you should take as well.

4. Those Who Track It, Hack It

When you track an activity, you can objectively tell what you did in the past days, weeks, months, and years. If you don’t track, you will for sure forget everything you did.

There are many different ways you can track your activities today, from Habitica to a simple Excel sheet that I use, to even a Whatsapp Tracker.

Peter Drucker said,

“What you track is what you do.”

So track it to do it — it really helps.

But tracking is accompanied by one more easy activity — measuring.

5. Measure Once, Do Twice

Peter Drucker also said,

“What you measure is what you improve.”

So alongside my tracker, I have numbers with which I measure doses of daily activities:

For reading, it’s 20 pages.
For writing, it’s 500 words.
For the gym, it’s 1 (I went) or 0 (didn’t go).
For budgeting, it’s writing down the incomes and expenses.

Tracking and measuring go hand in hand, they take less than 20 seconds a day but they create so much momentum that it’s unbelievable.

6. All Days Make a Difference

Will one day in the gym make you fit? It won’t.

Will two? They won’t.

Will three? They won’t.

Which means that a single gym session won’t make you fit. But after 100 gym sessions, you will look and feel fit.

What happened? Which one made you fit?

The answer to this (Sorites paradox)[1] is that no single gym session made you fit, they all did.

No single day makes a difference, but when combined, they all do. So trust the process and keep on going (small).

7. They Are Never Fully Automated

Gurus tell you that habits become automatic. And yes, some of them do, like showering a certain way of brushing your teeth.

But some habits don’t become automatic, they become a lifestyle.

What I mean by that is that you won’t automatically “wake up” in the gym and wonder how you got there.

It will just become a part of your lifestyle.

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The difference is that you do the first one automatically, without conscious thought, while the other is a part of how you live your life.

It’s not automatic, but it’s a decision you don’t ponder on or think about — you simply do it.

It will become easy at a certain point, but they will never become fully automated.

8. What Got You Here Won’t Get You There

Marshall Goldsmith has a great book with the same title to it. The phrase means that sometimes, you will need to ditch certain habits to make room for other ones which will bring you to the next step.

Don’t be afraid to evolve your habits when you sense that they don’t bring you where you want to go.

When I started reading, it was about reading business and tactic books. But two years into it, I switched to philosophy books which don’t teach me anything “applicable,” but instead teach me how to think.

The most important ability of the 21st century is the ability to learn, unlearn, and relearn. The strongest tree is the willow tree – not because it has the strongest root or biggest trunk, but because it is flexible enough to endure and sustain anything.

Be like a willow, adapting to the new ways of doing things.

9. Set a Goal and Then Forget It

The most successful of us know what they want to achieve, but they don’t focus on it.

Sounds paradoxical? You’re right, it does. But here is the logic behind it.

You need to have a goal of doing something – “I want to become a healthy individual” – and then, you need to reverse engineer how to get there with your habits- “I will go to the gym four times a week.”

But once you have your goal, you need to “forget” about it and only focus on the process. Because you are working on the process of becoming healthy and it’s always in the making. You will only be as healthy as you take care of your body.

So you have a goal which isn’t static but keeps on moving.

If you went to the gym 150 times year and you hit your goal, what would you do then? You would stop going to the gym.

This is why goal-oriented people experience yo-yo effect[2] and why process-oriented people don’t.

The difference between process-oriented and goal-oriented people is that the first focus on daily actions while others only focus on the reward at the finish line.

Set a goal but then forget about it and reap massive awards.

10. Punish Yourself

Last two sections are pure Pavlovian – you need to punish bad behavior and reward good behavior. You are the only person who decides what is good and what is bad for you, but when you do, you need to rigorously follow that.

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I’ve told you in point #3 about bad days and how after one occurs, I do double the work on the next day. That is one of my forms of punishments.

It’s the need to tell your brain that certain behaviors are unacceptable and that they lead to bad outcomes. That’s what punishments are for.

You want to tell your brain that there are real consequences to missing your daily habits.[3]

No favorite food to eat or favorite show to watch or going to the cinema for a new Marvel movie- none, zero, zilch.

The brain will remember these bad feelings and will try to avoid the behaviors that led to them as much as possible.

But don’t forget the other side of the same coin.

11. Reward Yourself

When you follow and execute on your plan, reward yourself. It’s how the brain knows that you did something good.

Whenever I finish one of my habits for the day, I open my tracker (who am I kidding, I always keep it open on my desktop) and fill it with a number. As soon as I finish reading 20 pages of a book a day (or a bit more), I open the tracker and write the number down.

The cell becomes green and gives me an instant boost of endorphin – a great success for the day. Then, it becomes all about not breaking the chain and having as many green fields as possible.

After 100 days, I crunch some numbers and see how I did.

If I have less than 10 cheat days, I reward myself with a great meal in a restaurant. You can create your own rewards and they can be daily, weekly, monthly or any arbitrary time table that you create.

Primoz Bozic, a productivity coach, has gold, silver, and bronze medals as his reward system.[4]

If you’re having problems creating a system which works for you, contact me via email and we can discuss specifics.

In the End, It Matters

What you do matters not only to you but to the people around you.

When you increase the quality of your life, you indirectly increase the quality of life of people around you. And sometimes, that is all the “motivation” we need to start.

And that’s the best quote for the end of this article:

“Motivation gets you started, but habits keep you going.”

Keep going.

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More Resources to Help You Build Habits

Featured photo credit: Anete Lūsiņa via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Sorites paradox
[2] Muscle Zone: What causes yo-yo effect and how to avoid it?
[3] Growth Habits: 5 Missteps That Cause You To Quit Building A Habit
[4] Primoz Bozic: The Lean Review: How to Plan Your 2019 in 20 Minutes

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