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13 Signs You’re Wasting Life But You Can’t Admit It

13 Signs You’re Wasting Life But You Can’t Admit It

When you were a kid, did you want to grow up to be an astronaut, a singer or an engineer? If so, how’s that working out for you? Hopefully, it’s going great and you are living the life of your dreams. But for the rest of you who are not, here are 13 signs that you might be wasting your life… but you don’t want to admit it:

1. You spend too much time doing things you shouldn’t be doing.

Video games. Reality TV. Surfing the ‘net. Stuffing your face with too much food. Drinking too much. And the list goes on. Take a serious look at your life. Where are you spending the majority of your time? And does it serve you well? Is it leading to a better life? Is it laying the foundation for a bright future? If not, then you need to reevaluate your routine activities and make changes.

2. You find yourself complaining a lot.

I know people who are constantly overwhelmed with life, and they never cease to tell me. Are you one of those people? Do you complain about your job, your boss, your salary, your neighbors or your spouse? If you do, then you are doing nothing but exuding negative energy. Negativity doesn’t change things. It keeps you stuck. So change your thoughts and talk about what you appreciate about your life, not what you don’t like.

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3. You don’t feed your mind.

If you’re not continually growing and learning as a person, then you are stagnant – just like a still pond that doesn’t move and grows green gunk on it. That’s what your mind does if you don’t keep it active and learn new things. Positive challenges in your life will expand your mind, not send it backwards.

4. You have a lot of negative self-talk.

Self-talk can make or break your life. As Henry Ford said, “Whether you think you can, or think you can’t… either way, you’re right.” If you tell yourself that you’re not smart enough to get that promotion or start a business, then you’re right. If you tell yourself you’re too exhausted to put effort into changing your life, then you’re right. Whatever you tell yourself becomes your reality. So closely monitor what you say to yourself, because you will find that your life matches your thoughts.

5. You feel uninspired.

Do you have a passion for anything? I know a lot of people who think they don’t have a passion. But that’s never the case. There has to be something that you enjoy doing. So you need to rediscover what excites you, and then do more of it.

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6. You don’t plan for your future.

While it’s always great to live in the “now” and “be in the moment,” sometimes you need to look ahead to see where you want to go. If you don’t have a goal or a plan, then you are like a boat that is wandering aimlessly in the ocean hoping to end up somewhere good. But you can’t do that. You have to make a step-by-step guide to get where you want to go. Just like a GPS gets you to a destination, you need your own inner GPS to guide you.

7. You spend too much time with people who don’t contribute to your growth.

It’s easy to get stuck hanging out with people who are not making you feel like a better person. But if you keep doing that, then you will stay stagnant or get pulled down with them. I like to call them “Energy Vampires.” They suck the life out of you and give you nothing positive in return. Instead, go find growth-oriented people to be around.

8. You’re addicted to your phone.

Sure, cell phones are super cool gadgets that can leave us entranced when we use them. While that’s fun, think about all the time you are wasting with your phone. Even worse, think about all the relationships that might be affected. Maybe you’re texting or searching the internet while you’re having dinner with your spouse or kids. If you are, you’re missing out on meaningful time you can spend with your loved ones – or time you could devote to making a plan for your future.

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9. You spend money on things that don’t matter.

There is a difference between a “need” and a “want.” I’m sure we all learned that in kindergarten. However, in today’s society, we have blurred the lines quite a bit (see #8… the cell phone). In fact, I know people who can’t pay their mortgage, but still have the fanciest gadgets on the planet. If you stop to think about it, there is very little that we actually need. Food, water, shelter and love are some of those things. All the rest are just bonuses. So look at what you’re spending your money on and see if you can make adjustments. Maybe you can use the money you save to invest in your future.

10. You don’t get enough sleep.

I’m not a medical doctor, but I have read enough books to know how vitally important sleep is. I could write 20 pages on it. But I obviously don’t have enough room in this short article. Sleep is crucial for good health. If you’re too busy to get enough sleep or if you simply have a bad habit of staying up until the wee hours of the morning, you should re-evaluate your habits.

11. You’re not taking care of your body.

Not only is sleep essential to your health, so is food and exercise. I know I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know. But eating a balanced, healthy diet and moving your body around truly does have more positive effects other than weight loss. It affects your mental attitude and overall well-being. So take a look at your diet and level of activity. You might find that making a few small changes will greatly improve your life.

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12. You don’t leave your comfort zone.

I know how easy it is to live in a comfort zone. In fact, when I go to a familiar restaurant, I always order the same thing. Not because I’m afraid to try something new, but because I like the food I normally order. But that’s not the kind of comfort zone I’m talking about. I’m talking about taking a risk that will improve your life. And keep in mind, there is a difference between a “risk” and a “calculated risk.” Any risk has the possibility to be deadly, but a calculated risk is one in which you’ve weighed all options and thus come up with a good, sensible plan of action.

13. You’re living a life you don’t like.

The way I measure success is by someone’s level of happiness. Are you happy? If not, then you should change something! Even a feeling of contentment or satisfaction doesn’t tell you that you’re living life to the fullest. Life should be exciting! So if you’re not enjoying life, take a look at some of the changes you can make to get you to a better place.

If any of these 13 points sounded like you, don’t despair. You can make changes. But the first change you need to make is getting rid of the idea that you can’t do it. Many times, your biggest obstacle is your own thought process. So start there. Change your thinking – then change your life!

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Carol Morgan

Dr. Carol Morgan is the owner of HerSideHisSide.com, a communication professor, dating & relationship coach, TV personality, speaker, and author.

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Last Updated on July 8, 2020

How to Say No When You Say Yes Too Often

How to Say No When You Say Yes Too Often

Do you say yes so often that you realize you aren’t really happy about this, wondering how to say no to people?

For years, I was a serial people pleaser. Known as someone who would step up, I would gladly make time especially when it came to volunteering for certain causes. I proudly carried this role all through grade school, college, even through law school. For years, I thought saying “no” meant I would disappoint a good friend or someone I respected.

But somewhere along the way, I noticed I wasn’t quite living my life. Instead, I seem to have created a schedule that was a strange combination of meeting the expectations of others, what I thought I should be doing, and some of what I actually wanted to do. The result? I had a packed schedule that left me overwhelmed and unfulfilled.

It took a long while but I learned the art of saying no. Saying ‘no’ meant I no longer catered fully to everyone else’s needs and could make more room for what I really wanted to do. Instead of cramming too much in, I chose to pursue what really mattered. I started to manage my time more around my own needs and interests. When that happened, I became a lot happier. And guess what? I hardly disappointed anyone.

The Importance of Saying No

When you learn the art of saying ‘no,’ you begin to look at the world differently. Rather than seeing all of the things you could or should be doing (and aren’t doing), you start to look at how to say yes to what’s important.

In other words, you aren’t just reacting to what life throws at you. You seek the opportunities that move you to where you want to be.

Successful people aren’t afraid to say no. Oprah Winfrey considered one of the most successful women in the world confessed that it was much later in life when she learned how to say no. Even after she had become internationally famous, she felt she had to say yes to virtually everything. It was only when she realized that after years of struggling with saying no, I finally got to this question: “What do I want?”

Being able to say no also helps you manage your time better.

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Warren Buffett views no as essential to his success. He said,

“The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”

When I made ‘no’ a part of my toolbox, I drove more of my own success focusing on fewer things and doing them well.

How We Are Pressured to Say Yes

It’s no wonder a lot of us find it hard to say ‘no.’

From an early age, we are conditioned to say ‘yes.’ We said yes probably hundreds of time in order to graduate from high school and then get into college. We said yes to find work. We said yes get a promotion. We said yes to find love and then yes again to stay in a relationship. We said yes to find and keep friends.

We say yes because it feels better to help someone. We say yes because it can seem like the right thing to do. We say yes because we think that is key to success. And we say yes because the request might come from someone who is hard to resist like the boss.

And that’s not all. The pressure to say yes doesn’t just come from others. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves. At work, we say yes because we compare ourselves to others who seem to be doing more than we are. Outside of work, we say yes because we feel guilty we aren’t doing enough to spend time with family or friends.

The message no matter where we turn is nearly always, “You really could be doing more.” The result? When people ask us for our time, we are heavily conditioned to say yes.

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How to Say No Without Feeling Guilty

Deciding to add the word ‘no’ to your toolbox is no small thing. Perhaps you already say ‘no’ but not as much as you would like. Maybe you have an instinct that if you were to learn the art of ‘no’ that you could finally create more time for things you care about. But let’s be honest, using the word ‘no’ doesn’t come easily for many people.

The 3 Rules of Thumbs for Saying No

1. You Need to Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

Let’s face it. It is hard to say no. Setting boundaries around your time especially you haven’t done it much in the past will feel awkward.

2. You Are the Air Traffic Controller of Your Time

Remember that you are the only one who understands the demands for your time. Think about it, who else knows about all of the demands on your time? No one. Only you are at the center of all of these requests. are the only one that understands what time you really have.

3. Saying ‘No’ Means Saying ‘Yes’ to Something That Matters

When we decide not to do something, it means we can say yes to something else. You have a unique opportunity to decide how you spend your precious time.

6 Ways to Start Saying No

Incorporating that little word ‘no’ into your life can be transformational. Turning some things down will mean you can open doors to what really matters. Here are some essential tips to learn the art of no:

1. Check in With Your Obligation Meter

One of the biggest challenges to saying ‘no’ is a feeling of obligation. Do you feel you have a responsibility to say yes and worry that saying no reflect poorly on you?

Ask yourself whether you truly have the duty to say yes. Check your assumptions or beliefs about whether you carry the responsibility to say yes. Turn it around and instead ask what duty you owe to yourself.

2. Resist the Fear of Missing out (FOMO)

Do you have a fear of missing out (FOMO)? FOMO can follow us around in so many ways. At work, we volunteer our time because we fear we won’t move ahead. In our personal lives, we agree to join the crowd because FOMO even while we ourselves aren’t enjoying the fun.

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Check in with yourself. Are you saying yes because of FOMO or because you really want to say yes? More often than not, running after fear doesn’t make us feel better.

3. Check Your Assumptions About What It Means to Say ‘No’

Do you dread the reaction you will get if you say no? Often, we say ‘yes’ because we worry about how others will respond or the consequences of saying no or because of the consequences. We may be afraid to disappoint others or think we will lose respect from others. We often forget how much we are disappointing ourselves along the way.

Keep in mind that saying ‘no’ can be exactly what is needed to send the right message that you have limited time. In the tips below, you will see how to communicate your no in a gentle and loving way. You might disappoint someone initially but drawing a boundary can bring you the freedom you need so that you can give freely of yourself when you truly want to.

4. When the Request Comes In, Sit on It

Sometimes, when we are in the moment, we instinctively agree. The request might make sense at first. Or we typically have said yes to this request in the past.

Give yourself a little time to reflect on whether you really have the time, or can do the task properly. You may decide the best option is to say ‘no.’ There is no harm in giving yourself the time to decide.

5. Communicate Your ‘No’ with Transparency and Kindness

When you are ready to tell someone no, communicate your decision clearly. The message can be open and honest to ensure the recipient that your reasons have to do with your limited time.

Resist the temptation not to respond or communicate all. But do not feel obligated to provide a lengthy account about why you are saying no.

A clear communication with a short explanation is all that is needed. I have found it useful to tell people that I have many demands and need to be careful with how I allocate my time. I will sometimes say I really appreciate that they came to me and for them to check in again if the opportunity arises another time.

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6. Consider How to Use a Modified ‘No’

If you are under pressure to say yes but want to say no, you may want to consider downgrading a “yes” to a “yes but…” giving you an opportunity to condition your agreement to what works best for you.

Sometimes, the condition can be to do the task but not in the time frame that was originally requested. Or perhaps you can do part of what has been asked.

Final Thoughts

Beginning right now, you can change how you respond to requests for your time. When the request comes in, take yourself off autopilot where you might normally say yes.

Use the request as a fresh request to draw a healthy boundary around your time. Pay particular attention to when you place certain demands on yourself. If you are the one placing the demand on yourself, try to evaluate the demand as if it were coming from somewhere else.

Try it now. Say no to a friend who continues to take advantage of your goodwill. Or, draw the line with a workaholic colleague and tell them you will complete the project but not by working all weekend. Or, tell someone in your family you can’t loan them money again because they never paid you back the last time. You’ll find yourself much happier.

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Featured photo credit: Chris Ainsworth via unsplash.com

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