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15 Things Everyone Should Stop Doing For A Better Life

15 Things Everyone Should Stop Doing For A Better Life

“The sculptor produces the beautiful statue by chipping away such parts of the marble block as are not needed – it is a process of elimination.”
-Elbert Hubbard

My desire to have a better life has been with me for as long as I can remember.  What I believed a “better life” would be for me in my twenties was very different than what I believe a better life is for me now thirty years later. In my twenties, a ‘better life” was focused more on the material things (car, house, clothes), which I believed would make me happy. In reality, looking back at me at 26 years old, those material things probably would have made me happy.

Now a ‘better life” for me is more about living my dream with lots of passion, lots of laughter and love, which of course brings happiness to me. Not a material thing in sight! Even though our definition of what a better life is can change over the years, the steps we take to how we can attain that “better life” doesn’t really change. As Elbert Hubbard said, a sculptor creates the beautiful statue through a process of chipping away the parts of the marble that are not needed. This process of elimination is what we need to take on board as we try to eliminate those things  that we do which prevent us from attaining a “better life for ourselves”.

The list of 15 things to stop doing has no order of priority – only you can decide which of the 15 things are the most important for you to stop doing.  Also, if you do want to create change in your life, get clear on the definition of what a better life is for YOU. This will help you identify the key things that you need to STOP DOING so that you can have a better life.

1. Stop overcomplicating your life. 

Complexity creates confusion and hides solutions in a haze of fog. It is very hard to be creative and innovative when you are bogged down with complexity and detail. Complexity will also prevent you from being open to finding the solutions that are often right in front of you.

 “Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated”
-Confucius

2. Stop adding BAD stress to your life.

Being too busy, working too hard on things you really don’t like doing, striving for perfection, taking on more responsibilities because you think it makes you feel valued and ending up having too many things to do takes away time for you to JUST BE YOU. Bad stress is harmful to your health and I don’t need to quote all the scientific research that supports how harmful bad stress can be. To be blunt, BAD STRESS over a continuous period of time will KILL YOU – so if you are prone to creating BAD STRESS in your life PLEASE STOP. Figure out WHY you are doing this to yourself and change.

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Stress is not what happens to us. 
It’s our response TO what happens. 
And RESPONSE is something we can choose
-Maureen Killoran

3. Stop regretting your actions from your past, what you haven’t achieved and what you have lost.

The past is over and what is more important is where you are now and where you want to be in the future. All your past experiences, mistakes and failures in your life have prepared you for living your life in the present and in the future. Acknowledge your past and what you have learnt, then let the past go and move forward to the future

“Make it a rule of life never to regret and never to look back. Regret is an appalling waste of energy; you can’t build on it; it’s only good for wallowing in”
Katherine Mansfield

4. Stop saying you have NO TIME.

Whether it’s to be with a friend, to visit your elderly aunt, to watch the sunset or sunrise, to have a holiday, to read a book, to sleep peacefully, or to go to a funeral, our time is so precious and you will never know when you run out of time. With no time, you can miss the most precious and beautiful moments in your life. With no time, you will put off all the important things you know you should do however choose not to do because you say you have no time.

“Time is a created thing. To say ‘I don’t have time,’ is like saying, ‘I don’t want to.”
Lao Tzu

5. Stop choosing to be fearful about the future, about making mistakes, about following your dream, about change.

Fear is paralyzing and it will stop you from making any changes in your life. Your limiting self beliefs will control your thoughts and actions and will fuel your fear. You must deal with these limiting beliefs and know why it is that you are so FEARFUL. Acknowledge your fear and act anyway and I guarantee you will feel liberated and free!

” Fear is a powerful force that somehow does not allow many people to get what they want in Life”
-David Schwartz

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6. Stop procrastinating about all those things you say you want to do but never get around to doing.

Whether it’s taking up a cooking class, learning another language, going back to university, following your dream, writing a book, taking drama or painting classes, go do it. Take a trip to Europe, go to the gym, get fit and lose weight. Figure out what is important to you and what makes you happy and then go do it. I especially love what James Surowiecki says about procrastination!!

“Lack of confidence, sometimes alternating with unrealistic dreams of heroic success, often leads to procrastination, and many studies suggest that procrastinators are self-handicappers: rather than risk failure, they prefer to create conditions that make success impossible, a reflex that of course creates a vicious cycle.”
James Surowiecki

7. Stop looking to others for your happiness because your happiness can only come from within you.

When you look to others to make you happy, it is a sign that you are not being true to yourself. It is a dangerous thing to do because we can convince ourselves that being with the people we love does make us happy, however that is only part of the equation to you being happy. The message is pretty clear “only you can make yourself happy” and its important to figure what it is that you need to do to be fulfilled and happy.

“The greatest gift we give to someone who loves us is simply to be happy”
-Robert Brault

8. Stop comparing your life to others because they will have a better life than you and you will always feel miserable.

If you are doing this, then please stop and focus on doing things that build your self confidence and self belief in you.

“Comparison is the death of joy.”
Mark Twain

9. Stop waiting for the right time.

Don’t wait for the “right time” for you to take action, to make the change, to leave your job, to follow your dream, to do what ever it is that you need to do to be happy and have a better life. There never is a right time to be courageous, to initiate change and chase your dreams. If you choose to keep waiting for the right time, accept that your life will pass by and you will never attain that life you desire. Choose not to wait and you will have that life you so desire. Very simple!

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“I have always, essentially, been waiting. Waiting to become something else, waiting to be that person I always thought I was on the verge of becoming, waiting for that life I thought I would have……. And through all that waiting, here I am. My life is passing, day by day, and I am waiting for it to start. I am waiting for that time, that person, that event when my life will finally begin”
Shauna Niequist

10. Stop running from your problems and taking the path of least resistance.

This is so easy to do. I use to be the Queen of Running away and looking for the easiest way out of a problem. However, I learnt over the years that the problem will come after you and will be waiting for you at the finish line. Running away from a problem or choosing the easy option does not give you a sense of achievement or make you feel courageous. Life is not perfect and its full of challenges, hard times and bad times. The challenges and problems we have in our lives have to be dealt with, and sometimes we have to be courageous and make difficult decisions.

You get hit the hardest when trying to run or hide from a problem. Like the defence on a football field, putting all focus on evading only one defender is asking to be blindsided.”
Criss Jami

11. Stop spending time with the wrong people as this will sap you of your energy, create friction in your life and get you nowhere.

This is a tough one to manage because there are times in our lives particularly in our work lives where we do come in contact with people who are not good for us. To stop spending time with the wrong people you may need to be quite strategic in how you manage the interaction with them. The goal here is to minimize the impact they have on your life. However, if you choose to spend time with people who are sucking happiness from you, then you need to remove yourself from these relationships. The relationship you have with these people is toxic and will only bring unhappiness to your life.

The worst regret we can have in life is not for the wrong things we did,but for the thousands of right things we did for the wrong people”
-Unknown

12. Stop focusing on what you DONT want to happen – focus on what you DO want to happen.

When you are focusing on what you don’t want to happen, it is a sign that you don’t know what you want in life and you are not committed to making the changes you need to make in order for you to create a better life. There is no desire, no motivation and no vision of your future. If you don’t have these things then all you will do is focus on what can go wrong and how bad it will be for you. Flip the coin – get your life vision sorted, get motivated and commit to making the changes you need to make to have a great life. Once again, its simple, but it requires work and perseverance from you.

Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart. Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside awakens.”
-Carl Jung 

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13. Stop trying to be someone you are not because you will end up confused about who you are.

You will end up doing things that will be in conflict with your value system. For a period of time you will be able to convince yourself that you have done the right things and you will have all the excuses lined up in your head as to why your actions or behaviour was justified. After a while the feeling of discontentment and unhappiness will rise to the surface and you will have a choice – either ignore it and continue with the feeling of discontent OR stop being that person that you don’t like being. If you stop being that yucky person your life will get better.

To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

14. Stop putting other people’s needs before yours – spend time getting to know you and look after yourself.

If you are doing this then you are not taking care of your needs and you are being a martyr –  which may not serve you well. Being a martyr to me is about personal sacrifice for the benefit of others and that role is really only for people who have been ordained Saints! Not everybody is a Saint and it doesn’t mean that if you are not a Saint, you are a bad person. Ask yourself “why is it that I sacrifice my needs over those of others?”.The answer may be that, you believe that by putting others needs before yours makes you feel loved?? I read this wonderful book called the FIVE LANGUAGES OF LOVE  and it helped me get perspective on what I need to show and feel love. Here is the website – 5 Love Languages –  go have a look and figure out what it is you need to do to express love and to be loved,

“It is under the greatest adversity that there exists the greatest potential for doing good, both for oneself and others.”
Dalai Lama XIV

15. Stop beating yourself up.

No matter what it is, stop beating yourself up about not being great, not being perfect, being too fat, not being good enough, not being intelligent enough – just stop beating yourself up.

“Don’t beat yourself up for not knowing the answers. You don’t always have to know who you are. You don’t have to have the big picture, or know where you’re heading. Sometimes, it’s enough just to know what you’re going to do next.”
Sophie KinsellaThe Undomestic Goddess

Featured photo credit: Anita Peppers via morguefile.com

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Kathryn Sandford

Career Resilience Coach passionate about supporting others to grow and thrive in a complex world.

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Last Updated on January 16, 2020

12 Simple Ways to Boost Your Confidence Right Now

12 Simple Ways to Boost Your Confidence Right Now

The way you feel about yourself greatly influences how you live and interact with others. If you are confident about yourself, you tend to see yourself positively and actually enjoy spending time with and around people. You don’t feel self-conscious or awkward around others, and that allows you to live your fullest and happiest life.

However, if you’re drowning in a sea of self-doubt, hesitancy and shyness, you often withdraw and isolate yourself from others and avoid interacting and connecting with people. That anxiety you feel in the pit of your stomach when you are around people is holding you back greatly and it is not good for your emotional health and overall well-being. You need to do something about it if you are low in self-confidence or have friends or family members who are not confident.

“Confidence isn’t walking into a room thinking you’re better than everyone, it’s walking in not having to compare yourself to anyone” – Anonymous

Here are simple, practical tips to boost your confidence right now and make you feel and act your best.

1. Stop labeling yourself as awkward, timid or shy.

When you label yourself as awkward, timid or shy, you sub-consciously tell your mind to act accordingly and psychologically feel inclined to live up to those expectations. Instead of labeling and entertaining negative self-talk, visualize and affirm yourself as confident and strong. Close your eyes for a minute and visualize yourself in different situation as you would like to be.

Be your own cheerleader. Experts believe that positive affirmation and good mental practices like picturing yourself winning or achieving a goal can lead to greater feelings of self-assurance and prepare your brain for success.[1] As the saying goes, “seeing is believing.” Picture yourself as confident and soon enough you will begin to manifest behavior that gives evidence to this new ‘fact.’

2. Recognize that the world is not focused on you (unless, of course, you are Kanye West).

That means you don’t have to be excessively sensitive about who you are or what you are doing (or not doing). You are not on the center stage; there is no need for preoccupation with self and perfectionism. As rap music star Rocko sings, “You just do you and I will do me, aight?”

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Forget about trying to please everyone or being perfect. Trying to be perfect and being a people-pleaser puts too much pressure on you and creates unnecessary anxiety. Besides, people are too preoccupied with their own issues to pay much attention to your every move unless, of course, you are a mega famous, super celebrity like Beyonce or Kanye West.

3. Focus on other people as opposed to yourself.

If you are low on confidence, self-conscious, nervous and shy in social situations, focus your attention on other people and what they are saying or doing instead of focusing on your own awkwardness.

For example, think about what it is that is interesting about the person who’s the centre of the party or the guy or girl you are talking with. Prompt them to talk more about themselves and be genuinely curious and interested in what they say. You will instantly come across as confident and warmhearted.

People generally want to talk about themselves, be heard and understood. They will love it when you’re eager and willing to listen to them and really hear what they have to say.

This habit of focusing more on what you love in others as opposed to what you dislike in yourself will not only help you become more assertive and comfortable in virtually all social situations, but also instantly make you feel great about yourself.

4. Know (and accept) yourself for who you are.

Chinese military general, strategist and philosopher Sun Tzu, author of the internationally acclaimed book The Art of War, said, “Know yourself and you will win all battles.” Even in the battle with lack of confidence, you will need to know yourself to win.

Knowing yourself starts with understanding that people are not all the same, neither are all social situation suitable for everyone. You might not be confident in large gatherings, but you could be bold and confident in one-on-one and small group interactions. We all have our own unique gifts and unique ways of expressing ourselves. Embrace yours!

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Introverts, for example, have a quiet confidence that is, unfortunately, often confused for shyness. They are naturally low key and prefer to spend time alone. However, this natural disposition affords them certain unique gifts, such as an ability to listen better than most people and notice things that others don’t.

Your uniqueness is where your strength and advantage lies. You won’t be comfortable and confident in all situations all the time. Albert Einstein said,

“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

5. Crack a smile.

If there is one sure way to instantly boost your confidence, it’s cracking a smile. Christine Clapp, a public speaking expert at The George Washington University, says that flashing those pretty, pearly white teeth will immediately make you appear both confident and composed. But, the effect of smiling is not just external. Studies show that smiling can also help nix feelings of stress and pave the way for a happier and more relaxed you.[2]

Not a bad return for something seemingly so trite, wouldn’t you agree?

6. Break a sweat—with exercise.

Working out is another great way to make yourself feel amazing and confident. Science has shown that exercising increases your endorphins, helps reduce stress, tones your muscles and makes you feel happy and confident.[3]

And hey, all you have to do is take a walk a few times a week and you’ll see the benefits. What seems to matter—as far as your confidence goes—is whether you break a sweat, not how strenuous your session is, which is pretty cool. Start working out now.

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7. Groom yourself.

This might seem mundane, but it’s amazing how much of a difference a shower and shave can have on your confidence and self-image. And when you spritz on a scent, the boost on confidence and self-esteem is incredible. As it turns out, your favorite fragrance does more than make you smell oh-so-nice.

A study found that a fragrance can inspire confidence in men. Interestingly, the study also found that the more a man likes the fragrance, the more confident he might feel. Another study found that 90% of women feel more confident while wearing a scent than those who go fragrance-free.

8. Dress nicely.

Another one that might seem trite, but it works. If you dress nicely, you’ll instantly feel good about yourself and give your confidence a real boost. That is largely because you’ll feel attractive, presentable and sometimes even successful in nice clothes.

While dressing nicely means something different for everyone, it does not necessarily mean wearing $500 designer outfits. It means wearing clothes that are clean, that you are comfortable in and that are nice-looking and presentable, including casual clothes.

9. Do activities you enjoy.

Whether it is reading a book, playing a musical instrument, riding your bicycle or going fishing, do what you really enjoy and what makes you truly happy often. It will boost your self-esteem, soothe your ego and allow you to identify with your gifts and talents. That will in turn bolster your self-belief and grow your confidence exponentially.

You might not become popular for doing what you love, but you might not even want to be popular at all. Being popular doesn’t make you happy; doing what you love does.

10. Prepare for the possibility of rejection / setback.

Late World No. 1 professional tennis player Arthur Ashe said, “One important key to success is self-confidence. A key to self-confidence is preparation.” You need to prepare for the possibility of rejection and setback.

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Why?

Everybody suffers rejection and setback at one point or another. You are not exempted. The question on your mind, therefore, should not be if you will be rejected, but how you will handle rejection when it comes.

Prepare yourself adequately in every situation to minimize the risk and effect of rejection and so that your confidence is not broken. For example, learn public speaking and rehearse what you are going to say beforehand if you have landed a public speaking engagement. That way, you are sure of yourself and confident you have what it takes to hack it. If you are rejected, don’t take it personally.

Rejection and setbacks happen to the best of us. Take it as a learning experience. Learn from your mistakes and move on.

11. Face uncomfortable situations square in the face.

Don’t run away from uncomfortable situations. Running away from people or situations because you feel scared, shy or timid only confirms and reinforces your shyness. Instead, face the situation that makes you uneasy square in the face. For example, go ahead and talk to that person you are afraid to approach, or go straight to the front of your yoga class! What’s the worst that can happen?

Prepare and be ready for any eventuality. The more you face your fears, the more you realize you are stronger than you thought and the more confident you get. This simple, yet admittedly courageous, act makes you unstoppable. You get comfortable being uncomfortable and begin to feel like you can take on the world. And that is the hallmark of someone destined for great things.

12. Sit up straight and walk tall—you are awesome!

Yes, sit up straight and believe you are awesome. Don’t slump in your chair or slouch your shoulders. Experts say the right stance can not only keep your self-esteem and mood lifted, but also lead to more confidence in your own thoughts.[4]

The way to sit is to open up your chest and keep your head level so that you look and feel poised and assured. And when you get up, stand tall and walk like you’re on a mission. People who sit up straight and walk tall are more attractive and instantly feel more confident. Try it now: you’ll feel fierce and confident just by sitting up straight and walking tall.

Featured photo credit: Freshh Connection via unsplash.com

Reference

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