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What Not To Do Anymore In 2017

What Not To Do Anymore In 2017

Ditch These Habits In The New Year

Does your mentality need a makeover for 2017? It’s traditional to start a new exercise or diet plan in January, but have you ever considered trying to overhaul your attitude and general approach to life instead? When it comes to honing in on your priorities, achieving your goals and increasing your overall happiness, there are seven bad habits you simply have to kick before you can start taking giant leaps forward. Don’t expect that such drastic change will be easy, but it will definitely be worth it when you start noticing the difference in all areas of your life.

Stop Caring What Others Think

Do you tend to place far too much importance on what someone else is thinking and how they might be passing judgement on your actions? Stop! When you prioritize the opinion of others over your own, you will end up miserable. Have the confidence to judge for yourself what is the best way forward for you. No-one else can fully appreciate what it’s like to live you life, and their opinions may well be based on faulty assumptions and incorrect information anyway.

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Stop Comparing Yourself With Others

It’s tempting to calibrate your worth and success by looking at what other people have, but this is a waste of time. We are all unique individuals who must follow our own paths, and so to compare ourselves to others is pointless. Moreover, comparisons too often result only in envy, which can poison relationships. Instead, congratulate others on their triumphs and focus on your own personal goals.

Stop Sacrificing Your Happiness For Someone Else

Have you put your dreams on hold to cater for someone else’s desires or lifestyle preferences? For example, perhaps you have moved to a place you dislike in order to support your partner’s career, or maybe you have taken on a less enjoyable job so you can spend more time caring for a demanding relative. Sacrificing your own happiness may feel noble but in the long run it seldom works well. Self-sacrifice leads to bitterness and resentment, whereas self-fulfilment and chasing one’s dreams often results in contentment and fulfilment. Try to strike a compromise between supporting others and leading the kind of life you want.

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Stop Waiting To Get What You Want

We all have a limited amount of time on this planet, and no-one knows when their time will end. With this sobering thought in mind, ask yourself what you have done lately to make progress towards your goals. Others can help you along the way as you pursue a dream, but ultimately the initiative and energy must come from you. Make 2017 the year you stop waiting and start taking actions.

Stop Wasting Time On Meaningless Stuff

Time is the most precious commodity of all. You can always make more friends and earn more money, but time spent is time you will never see again. Stop wasting time on frivolous pursuits and learn how to focus. It’s important to relax once in a while, but if you want to lead your ideal life then you need to clarify your aims and devote the majority of your time to making sure they are realized.

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Stop Focusing On The Negative

Life is a mixture of the good, the bad, the neutral and the ugly. Your experience of life will largely depend upon the perspective you choose to take. If you focus on the negatives in every situation, you are training yourself to view the world through a negative lens. This means that potential opportunities will pass you by, and your belief in the potential of positive change will gradually erode away. Try to find the positive in every situation and life will feel much more bearable. Spending time with other positive people can help you develop this habit.

Stop Being Trapped By Peoples’ Expectations Of You

Our relatives, friends, colleagues and society at large all place huge expectations upon us. We are told that in order to be considered a successful human being we should obtain a “good” degree, secure a high-paying job, find our soulmate in our twenties, get married and raise a happy family. At the same time, we are expected to maintain a large circle of good friends, to always act as good citizens, and to keep our vulnerable side hidden. All these expectations can weigh heavily upon us and increase the risk of depression and other mental health problems. Try to take a more realistic view of life, and separate your desires from those imposed upon you by external forces. Take time to know yourself and shape a life that suits you rather than following the expectations of the crowd.

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More by this author

Jay Hill

Jay writes about communication and happiness on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

For the original article by Celestine: 13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

“We all have problems. The way we solve them is what makes us different.” ~Unknown

“It’s not stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it.” – Hans Selye

Have you ever experienced moments when things just don’t go your way? For example, losing your keys, accidentally spilling your drink, waking up late, missing your buses/trains, forgetting to bring your things, and so on?

You’re not alone. All of us, myself included, experience times when things don’t go as we expect.

Here is my guide on how to deal with daily setbacks.

1. Take a step back and evaluate

When something bad happens, take a step back and evaluate the situation. Some questions to ask yourself:

  1. What is the problem?
  2. Are you the only person facing this problem in the world today?
  3. How does this problem look like at an individual level? A national level? On a global scale?
  4. What’s the worst possible thing that can happen to you as a result of this?
  5. How is it going to impact your life in the next 1 year? 5 years? 10 years?

Doing this exercise is not to undermine the problem or disclaiming responsibility, but to consider different perspectives, so you can adopt the best approach for it. Most problems we encounter daily may seem like huge issues when they crop up, but most, if not all, don’t have much impact in our life beyond that day.

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2. Vent if you have to, but don’t linger on the problem

If you feel very frustrated and need to let off some steam, go ahead and do that. Talk to a friend, complain, crib about it, or scream at the top of your lungs if it makes you happy.

At the same time, don’t get caught up with venting. While venting may temporarily relieve yourself, it’s not going to solve the problem ultimately. You don’t want to be an energy vampire.

Vent if there’s a need to, but do it for 15 to 20 minutes. Then move on.

3. Realize there are others out there facing this too

Even though the situation may be frustrating, you’re not alone. Remember there are almost 7 billion people in the world today, and chances are that other people have faced the same thing before too. Knowing it’s not just you helps you to get out of a self-victimizing mindset.

4. Process your thoughts/emotions

Process your thoughts/emotions with any of the four methods:

  1. Journal. Write your unhappiness in a private diary or in your blog. It doesn’t have to be formal at all – it can be a brain dump on rough paper or new word document. Delete after you are done.
  2. Audio taping. Record yourself as you talk out what’s on your mind. Tools include tape recorder, your PC (Audacity is a freeware for recording/editing audio) and your mobile (most mobiles today have audio recording functions). You can even use your voice mail for this. Just talking helps you to gain awareness of your emotions. After recording, play back and listen to what you said. You might find it quite revealing.
  3. Meditation. At its simplest form, meditation is just sitting/lying still and observing your reality as it is – including your thoughts and emotions. Some think that it involves some complex mambo-jumbo, but it doesn’t.
  4. Talking to someone. Talking about it with someone helps you work through the issue. It also gets you an alternate viewpoint and consider it from a different angle.

5. Acknowledge your thoughts

Don’t resist your thoughts, but acknowledge them. This includes both positive and negative thoughts.

By acknowledging, I mean recognizing these thoughts exist. So if say, you have a thought that says, “Wow, I’m so stupid!”, acknowledge that. If you have a thought that says, “I can’t believe this is happening to me again”, acknowledge that as well.

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Know that acknowledging the thoughts doesn’t mean you agree with them. It’s simply recognizing the existence of said thoughts so that you can stop resisting yourself and focus on the situation on hand.

6. Give yourself a break

If you’re very stressed out by the situation, and the problem is not time sensitive, then give yourself a break. Take a walk, listen to some music, watch a movie, or get some sleep. When you’re done, you should feel a lot more revitalized to deal with the situation.

7. Uncover what you’re really upset about

A lot of times, the anger we feel isn’t about the world. You may start off feeling angry at someone or something, but at the depth of it, it’s anger toward yourself.

Uncover the root of your anger. I have written a five part anger management series on how to permanently overcome anger.

After that, ask yourself: How can you improve the situation? Go to Step #9, where you define your actionable steps. Our anger comes from not having control on the situation. Sitting there and feeling infuriated is not going to change the situation. The more action we take, the more we will regain control over the situation, the better we will feel.

8. See this as an obstacle to be overcome

As Helen Keller once said,

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved.”

Whatever you’re facing right now, see it as an obstacle to be overcome. In every worthy endeavor, there’ll always be countless obstacles that emerge along the way. These obstacles are what separate the people who make it, and those who don’t. If you’re able to push through and overcome them, you’ll emerge a stronger person than before. It’ll be harder for anything to get you down in the future.

9. Analyze the situation – Focus on actionable steps

In every setback, there are going to be things that can’t be reversed since they have already occurred. You want to focus on things that can still be changed (salvageable) vs. things that have already happened and can’t be changed. The only time the situation changes is when you take steps to improve it. Rather than cry over spilt milk, work through your situation:

  1. What’s the situation?
  2. What’s stressing you about this situation?
  3. What are the next steps that’ll help you resolve them?
  4. Take action on your next steps!

After you have identified your next steps, act on them. The key here is to focus on the actionable steps, not the inactionable steps. It’s about regaining control over the situation through direct action.

10. Identify how it occurred (so it won’t occur again next time)

A lot of times we react to our problems. The problem occurs, and we try to make the best out of what has happened within the context. While developing a healthy coping mechanism is important (which is what the other helping points are on), it’s also equally important, if not more, to understand how the problem arose. This way, you can work on preventing it from taking place next time, vs. dealing reactively with it.

Most of us probably think the problem is outside of our control, but reality is most of the times it’s fully preventable. It’s just a matter of how much responsibility you take over the problem.

For example, for someone who can’t get a cab for work in the morning, he/she may see the problem as a lack of cabs in the country, or bad luck. However, if you trace to the root of the problem, it’s probably more to do with (a) Having unrealistic expectations of the length of time to get a cab. He/she should budget more time for waiting for a cab next time. (b) Oversleeping, because he/she was too tired from working late the previous day. He/she should allocate enough time for rest next time. He/she should also pick up better time management skills, so as to finish work in lesser time.

11. Realize the situation can be a lot worse

No matter how bad the situation is, it can always be much worse. A plus point vs. negative point analysis will help you realize that.

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12. Do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it

No matter how bad your situation may seem, do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it. Life is too beautiful to worry so much over daily issues. Take a step back (#1), give yourself a break if you need to (#6), and do what you can within your means (#9). Everything else will unfold accordingly. Worrying too much about the outcome isn’t going to change things or make your life any better.

13. Pick out the learning points from the encounter

There’s something to learn from every encounter. What have you learned from this situation? What lessons have you taken away?

After you identify your learning points, think about how you’re going to apply them moving forward. With this, you’ve clearly gained something from this encounter. You’ve walked away a stronger, wiser, better person, with more life lessons to draw from in the future.

Get the manifesto version of this article: [Manifesto] What To Do When Things Don’t Go Your Way

Featured photo credit: Alice Donovan Rouse via unsplash.com

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