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20 Things You Can Let Go Of To Live A Joyful 2016

20 Things You Can Let Go Of To Live A Joyful 2016

You don’t have to do more to grow and improve. You can add to your life by subtracting negative habits, and by eliminating mindsets and beliefs that are holding you back can have a massive impact on your life.

1. Let go of making life choices based on the expectations of others.

We’re influenced by friends, family, and society. TV shows, advertisements, and advice from others provide a steady stream of messages about the right way to live. Everyone has an opinion (usually unsolicited) about what you should do with your life. Each person has unique experiences, fears, and dreams. People with different beliefs and experiences shouldn’t direct your life choices. Ignore the expectations society places on you. Let go of living someone else’s life.

2. Let go of ignoring your intuition.

We instinctively know the right choice for most important life decisions. The instinct comes to us as a feeling, hunch, and pull towards the answer. We think making a big decision can’t be so easy. We analyze the situation from all angles, make pros and cons lists, and sift through all the reasons that support each option. We deliberate and procrastinate even though we’ve known the answer all along. All we have to do is tune in to the frequency of our inner voice.

3. Let go of questioning your dreams.

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”

—Eleanor Roosevelt

You don’t have to drop everything and take huge risks to follow your dreams. You can start by taking small steps in that direction. You put less pressure on yourself with incremental steps instead of trying to get from A to Z immediately. The lessons from your early wins and mistakes will inform your next steps. As you accumulate small wins, you can adjust your strategy and take bigger risks. Starting to move in the direction of your dreams fuels you with excitement and motivation.

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4. Let go of waiting to take action until you’re confident in the results.

You have a clear vision of what you want to accomplish. You don’t know how to get there. There isn’t a blueprint with step-by-step instructions to get to the finish line. Even if you create the perfect plan, there will be uncertainty along the way. You can’t remove all risks. You’ll make mistakes. You’ll change direction as you find that certain strategies don’t work like you envisioned. The road map will become clearer as you learn throughout the process. The uncertainty in the outcome will decrease. You just have to take the first step.

5. Let go of comparing yourself to others.

“There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.”

—Ernest Hemingway

When we compare ourselves to others, we look towards more successful people. This leads to us feeling insecure and inadequate. We dwell on why we aren’t as successful as them. We feel envy. We blame ourselves for not having made better decisions. Instead of swimming in these negative emotions, we can compare ourselves against our ideal self. We can run our own race. As we turn our attention to what we want, we cultivate productive beliefs and thought patterns.

6. Let go of seeking validation and approval from others.

If you constantly seek the approval of others, you make decisions based on what others will like. Instead of thinking about what you want, you seek to please everyone else. In this frame of mind, your self-image and emotional state are outside of your control. Your emotions ebb and flow based on the opinions of others. As you become self-validated, you look within yourself for answers. You analyze each situation and simply do what you think is right. You stop worrying about how other people will perceive your actions.

7. Let go of looking for permission from others.

When you lower the volume of the opinion of others, you gain clarity on what you want. You don’t wait for the green light from others before you get started. You commit to goals that are meaningful and inspiring to you, regardless of what anyone else thinks. You stop seeking permission from others to do what you want.

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8. Let go of complaining.

Many of the setbacks we face are unfair. Things go wrong for reasons that are out of our control. It’s not our fault. We can easily fall into a pattern of complaining about everything that’s not going our way. It feels good. Yet, complaining doesn’t change our situation. When we stop complaining, our mind switches gears to search for solutions instead of looking for problems.

9. Let go of focusing on the negatives.

“If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment.”

—Marcus Aurelius

What we focus on, expands. We can unconsciously train our mind to spot the worst aspects of each situation. On the other hand, we can train our mind to apply a positive filter to events through disciplined and consistent effort. We can change the way we perceive obstacles. We can spot opportunities where others see problems.

10. Let go of focusing on the way things should be.

Our co-workers should recognize and appreciate our hard work. Our family should see things from our perspective. Life is rarely the way we think it should be though. It’s messier and more unfair than it should be. When we accept the way things are instead of the way they should be, we move past being stuck in a state of frustration. We make better decisions about the next steps to take.

11. Let go of moving on before celebrating your successes.

We work hard to achieve meaningful goals. Then, we spend a few minutes enjoying the accomplishments before moving on the next endeavor. Looking ahead is a great habit to develop. Taking time to celebrate big wins is equally important. Take a step back to reflect on the journey. Toast to the rewards you’ve earned.

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12. Let go of the need to win the argument.

We craft the winning defense in our head like lawyers. We replay the speech we’re going to deliver. Then, we engage in the heated debate. We imagined we were going to hear the satisfying “you’re right” at the end of the argument. Instead, we both leave the scene upset and frustrated. Each of us digs in more fiercely to our side of the argument. We both lose that argument. We can we win the argument by starving our ego from the satisfaction of proving our point.

13. Let go of the need to be recognized.

We want our contributions to be noticed and rewarded. Seeking recognition is similar to seeking approval from others. Your state and emotions depend on how you’re treated by others. Produce great work because it lines up with your values instead of being swayed by the opinion of others. The recognition may not come today. High-quality work sustained over time is undeniable. The applause from the outside world is inevitable.

14. Let go of worrying about the past.

The more mental real estate we give to our past, the less growth we experience in the present. The past can’t be changed. Worrying about the past doesn’t provide any benefits. We can’t improve our present position at the same time that we’re living in the past. It’s natural to recall past mistakes. We can’t stop those thoughts from popping up. We have the power to let those thoughts drift away instead of allowing them to draw us back to the past.

15. Let go of being overly critical of yourself.

“Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.”

—Winston Churchill

If you set ambitious goals, you’ll be at the edge of your comfort zone most of the time. You’ll fail over and over as you climb new heights. Failed attempts are part of the growth process. We can appreciate our effort instead of blaming ourselves for each mistake. We’re more likely to keep stepping up to the plate if we treat ourselves kindly.

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16. Let go of failing to learn from mistakes.

“Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.”

—Napoleon Hill

Regardless of how many times we replay our mistakes in the theater of our mind, those moments have passed. The mistakes are etched in history. Instead of obsessing over the failures, we can draw lessons that we can start applying today. The mistakes provide feedback about how to improve. Each mistake is an opportunity to learn. With this growth mindset, there are no failures.

17. Let go of taking things too seriously.

We have the choice to build up every annoyance, setback, and frustration to a level 10 disturbance. Or we can diminish them as we leave them in our rear-view mirror. We have the choice to perceive each situation in a way that’s advantageous. We can enjoy the process. We can keep things light. We can laugh often. It’s our choice.

18. Let go of trying to do it all.

The options are endless. We can take on more projects at work. We can read more articles. We can learn to cook. We can do 1,000 different things. We feel productive when we cross off items from the to-do list. They all feel like accomplishments and progress. Yet, most tasks don’t move the needle towards our most valued goals. The more splintered our attention becomes, the less likely we are to achieve what matters most.

19. Let go of focusing on the urgent over the important.

We can spend most of our time putting out small fires. The urgent tasks will keep coming tomorrow and the day after. Life is an endless conveyor belt of small fires. Most of them aren’t important. When we build the habit of focusing on the important over the urgent, we make consistent progress towards meaningful goals. We create momentum towards the life we envision. That’s better than getting a lot done but not getting where we want to go.

20. Let go of feeling busy and overwhelmed.

We’re all guilty of telling our friends, “I’m so busy.” A part of us likes being too busy because it makes us feel important and valued. We also feel overwhelmed without realizing how it happened. We say “yes” to most invitations and requests without thinking about how they fit into our big picture plans. Turning down requests from our friends and co-workers takes discipline and commitment to our priorities. As we build the “No” muscle, we give ourselves the space to design our days to reflect a balance of work, play, and relaxation. We’re in charge of our time.

Featured photo credit: eflon via flickr.com

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Jose Ramos

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Last Updated on May 28, 2020

10 Success Principles for Living Your Dream Life

10 Success Principles for Living Your Dream Life

Are you stressed out and overwhelmed, wishing you had more time to do the things that really matter? Are you ready to do something better, something special in your life or your career?

You were born with a gift that no one else in the world can express like you. When you dance to your own music, you naturally develop your innate abilities and excel in work and life. You are a total rock star. But when you live someone else’s idea of who you should be, it throws off your groove.

Many people—maybe you—stopped following their dreams way too early in life because their talents were ignored, minimized, or shamed. They didn’t have the chops to win an American Idol competition or nab an Olympic gold medal, so they stopped expressing their inborn gifts altogether.

You don’t need to be an award winner to rock your life. Living your dream life is about discovering your superpowers and feeling vibrant and joyful when you use them. It’s about owning what makes you unique and finding like-minded people to support you.

Here are 10 success principles to help you live a rich and rewarding life on your terms that have worked with thousands of people in my workshops and will work for you, too.

1. Get a Hobby to Move Closer to Your Dreams

If you never became a professional dancer or a world-renowned author, it does NOT mean you should stop dancing or writing! These activities make you come alive, even if you “only” do them as favorite pastimes.

Engaging in a hobby is one of the most important success principles you can follow to move closer to your dreams.

When you try something creative for the first time or in a long while, you begin to see opportunities at work and in life that you were unaware of before. You also feel happier and more energized, according to a recent study from New Zealand.[1]

Some of my most burned-out executive clients reinvigorated their careers by discovering a creative outlet that refueled them after the workday ended. Research at San Francisco State University shows that having a hobby lowers stress and helps you succeed at work.[2]

So, give yourself permission to try new things and revisit old passions you gave up long ago. Setting aside just one hour a week for personal exploration can significantly change your life.

Who knows? Your creative outlet could transform into a thriving business or lead to a new profession down the road.

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2. Focus on Your Strengths, Not Your Weaknesses

Did you know that you are more likely to succeed when you develop your natural strengths rather than work on your weaknesses? The problem is that you probably don’t know where your true talents lie.

Here are a few options to help you discover your unique strengths. You can:

  • Take the VIA Character Strengths Survey[3]
  • Try Gallup’s CliftonStrengths Assessment[4]
  • Answer a few Superpower Questions

Once you understand what makes you tick, you can use these skills at work and your personal life to get more done in less time. If you boost your unique abilities through practice and study, you can accelerate your career and become a leader in a field that matters to you. It’s worth investing in yourself this way.

3. Jumping off a Cliff is NOT Required

Here’s the deal: most people are too afraid to change. When participants first come to my workshops, they tell me they have mouths to feed, bills to pay, and fear that if they follow their dreams, someone will get hurt.

The old saying “leap and the net shall appear” does not comfort them. Because they are hesitant to plunge into the unknown, they believe their only option is to stay put where they are in life. Can you relate?

You do not have to sacrifice the life you have now to start a new one. I was a psychology professor by day and singer by night for years before I transitioned into a full-time music career.

Just take a little time out each week to do what enlivens you through a hobby, volunteer work, etc. Get a feel for it.

Is it what you really want? If so, increase the time you spend doing it and make the transition when the time feels right.

4. Give Your Inner Critic Some Love

The main culprit that keeps you from stepping outside your comfort zone and getting the life of your dreams is KCRP or K-CRAP – the radio station that plays 24/7 in your head. The moment you try to do something interesting with your life it slaps you down with such chart-topping killer hooks as “Who do you think you are?” and “You’ll never be good enough!”.

Have you ever noticed that KCRP’s mean-spirited DJ sounds like your parents, teachers, bosses, and other authority figures who shut you down creatively? These folks don’t need to stifle you any longer (although they often still do) because your inner critic does it for them. That keeps you stuck in a rut.

To break free, try thinking of this DJ as a gruff old grandfather who gives you crap to keep you safe. Remember, this grumpy grandpa is woefully out of touch with the times. So, his stern opinions don’t really matter much, do they? Give him a pat on the back for his good intentions, and put your focus back on what makes you come alive.

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This success principle will give you the courage to venture into the unknown where you can dance to the beat of your own drummer.

5. Embrace Your Inner Weirdo

Many of us don’t go after our dreams because we’re afraid folks will find out how odd or strange we are. But our little eccentricities often turn out to be our greatest strengths. Yes, it’s good to be quirky.

Odds are, you lost track of your true passions and talents before you were even old enough to know you were getting off-track. You became slowly “adulterated” by learning to:

  • Take on family roles that don’t match who you really are.
  • Spit back what teachers taught you in school rather than risk getting bad grades for being original.
  • Hide parts of yourself that don’t seem acceptable to certain social groups.

The price for fitting in is that you may wind up leading a life that doesn’t fit you all that well. Your true calling becomes clear when you embrace what makes you different from others and allow yourself to stand out from the crowd, even if it feels awkward.

Often, the very qualities you view as your flaws are your greatest gifts.

6. See the Bigger Picture to Find Your True Calling

I cannot stress the importance of this success principle enough. Your true calling is right in front of you. But you may miss it because you’re looking for it in the wrong place.

To “see” it clearly, try widening your point of view.

Case in point: Maria felt she needed to retire early from being a police detective, so she could travel abroad. I encouraged Maria to think of ways that she could continue to serve as a law enforcer (a career she loved) and travel overseas at the same time.

A few months later, Maria landed a job with the United Nations in Bosnia training the local police force to understand and embrace human rights procedures.

Like Maria, you are an everyday rock star capable of accomplishing greater things than you can imagine. Is what you’re looking for right in front of you, too? Do you have an inkling of what it may be?

Look beyond your day-to-day activities, your current job, and even the town you live in. View your life from an eagle’s perspective and be open to new possibilities.

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7. Try a Little Wish-List Magic

Pretend I’m your fairy godmother and I give you permission right now to be your most magnificent self. What kind of life would be music to your ears? It doesn’t matter whether it seems unattainable or even downright crazy. Write it down on a wish list.

Get quiet. Be honest. Think big.

What would you like your career, your relationships, your health, your finances, and your spiritual life to be like? Jot down enough details so that your wishes seem tangible to you. Then, look at this list every morning before you start your day and every night before you go to sleep.

Sounds silly? It’s not. It works! Permitting yourself to daydream about a rich and fulfilling life is the first step to manifesting it.

8. Take Breaks to Get Clues About Your Ideal Future

Did you know that working straight through to a deadline leads to diminishing returns? Research shows that taking a break for 15 minutes every 75 to 90 minutes can help you recharge, refresh your focus, and get more done in less time.[5]

Wait, it gets better! A Stanford study shows that walking increases your creative output increases by 60 percent. Doing repetitive activities such as walking, running, riding your bike, swimming, and sweeping allow solutions to problems to pop into your mind out of nowhere.[6]

What does this success principle have to do with creating your dream life?

These mini-breaks allow you to get vital clues for what to do next to attain your ideal future. Plus, you won’t waste precious time and energy getting lost in other people’s agendas.

9. Take Action on Your Inspired Ideas

Once an inspired thought pops into your mind, take action.

This is one of the most powerful success principles for turning your dreams into reality; the sooner the better. Whatever it is—from calling an old friend to taking a new route home—be sure to do it!

Pay attention to your oddball hunches. You need to go after what you want, not just dream about it. As comedian Jim Carrey warns,

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“You can’t just visualize and go eat a sandwich.”

10. Count Your Rockstar Moments

Still not sure you have what it takes to get your dream life? This final success principle is guaranteed to help.

Make a list of everything you’ve ever accomplished. As you read back through it, put a star next to each item, and let it sink in.

You’ll be pleasantly surprised by how good you’ll feel about yourself afterward. You’ll also see how effective you’ve been in the past at getting what you want. You’ve succeeded before, you can succeed again.

You already rock. You just need to own it. Trust me, you’ve got this!

Final Thoughts

Eleanor Roosevelt said,

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”

Following these success principles will help you find the time and energy to do the things that really matter and live with clear intention.

By spending just one hour a week doing something you love, focusing on your strengths and achievements, embracing what makes you different, and acting on inspired ideas, you can create a life that is a perfect fit for you, step-by-step.

If you don’t have a clue about what your dream life could look like yet, don’t worry. Your heart knows. It has been “talking” to you for a long time. It’s just being muffled by KCRP, buried under a lot of “shoulds” and fear.

This article can also help you figure out the life you truly want to live: How to Get Motivated and Be Happy Every Day When You Wake Up.

Stand still, get quiet, and listen. It’s constantly telling you what you need to do to realize your own rockstar potential. It may be just a whisper now, but the more you pay attention to it, the louder it will get, and the easier it will be to follow.

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Featured photo credit: Rahul Dey via unsplash.com

Reference

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