Most of us only think about becoming better people as we prepare our New Year resolutions. But the transition from being average to excellent can begin at any time of year.
Here are 20 habits you need to dump if you really are going to reach your goal of becoming a better person.
1. Being late
You know that annoying feeling of hanging around waiting for your friend who is running late? That’s exactly the same feeling they have when they’re waiting for you. Being late all the time is not only bad manners, but also completely avoidable.
Try planning your time better so that you have plenty of time to complete your journey and arrive early in future. Your friends, family and employer will be appreciative.
2. Texting during conversations
When you talk to someone, you expect them to have the courtesy to listen. But texting during a conversation is the non-verbal equivalent of saying “I couldn’t give a damn about you”. You appear to value the text conversation more than the person stood right in front of you.
Put your phone in your pocket and leave it there. If there is a genuine emergency, the other person will call repeatedly. Giving your full attention to the conversation will improve your relationship with the speaker, immediately making you a better person.
3. Being self-centered
You know those people who always talk about themselves? How annoying is that? But when every thought, word and action revolves around you, it is completely impossible to be a good person.
Instead you need to focus on the people around you. Listen to what they are saying. Find ways you can help them. Put others first. This will not only make you a better person, but people will actually want to spend time with you too.
The easiest way to kill any relationship is by lying. Even ‘little white lies’ have the potential to destroy trust.
Make a policy of always telling the truth, no matter how much that may hurt. People will respect and trust you more as a result.
Despite what Facebook would have you believe, there really are things that you don’t have to tell the world. Graphic descriptions of illnesses, a photo of every meal you eat, a quick commentary on your trip to the toilet – no one needs to hear these details of your life.
Limit yourself to sharing just a few details each day, whether in conversation or online, to become a more likeable person.
6. Late night snacking in front of TV
It may seem like a harmless habit, but late night snacks could actually be harming your health. Experts suggest that eating just before you go to bed will upset your body’s natural rhythms, directly affecting sleep patterns. And the less you sleep, the more grumpy you become (as well as risking numerous associated illnesses).
Cut out the late night snacks and you’ll feel better as a result.
7. Binge drinking
A drink or three every now and then is great. But six, seven or eight can spell disaster. You feel sick, you embarrass yourself and your friends have to make sure you get home safely. Not cool.
Drink less to maintain control. Increase self-control to become a better person. Simple.
8. Skipping breakfast
It’s not just something doctors say – eating a good breakfast really does set you up for the rest of the day. Skip breakfast and your day is already off to the wrong start.
Make sure you set aside an extra five or ten minutes each morning to eat breakfast. Not only will you feel better, but you’ll also be prepared to face the challenges that day brings.
9. Paying credit cards late
Bills suck. Unfortunately they are also unavoidable. You must not pay your credit cards late to avoid additional charges and the knock-on effects that late payments have on your credit report.
Paying your bills on time also helps you become a better person by encouraging you to become more disciplined in managing your expenditures and avoiding debt. You’ll also feel lot better without having the worry of unpaid bills hanging over your head.
10. Busting your budget
Few things suck in life quite so much as running out of money. But owing money to other people is actually worse. You feel trapped and you can’t do anything until that debt is repaid.
Drawing up a budget and sticking to it will give you peace of mind that all of your expenses will be covered and help you avoid debt. You’ll feel a lot better for it in the long run too.
11. Not saving for retirement
Admittedly you are unlikely to feel the effects of this one for years, maybe even decades. But once you finish your career, you need to have a financial cushion that keeps you fed, clothed and homed. If you don’t, you’ll face exactly the same kind of concerns and pressures as you do busting your budget now.
Saving for your retirement now, ensures that you don’t have to worry in the future. And without those pressures, you can still be a better person in the future too.
‘A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy person keeps a secret,‘ says the Proverb revealing an age old truth. When you talk about people behind their back, not only are you abusing their trust, but you also reveal yourself to be untrustworthy.
Avoid gossip to immediately become a better person. You will also find that your friends trust you a whole lot more when they don’t have to worry about you sharing their secrets.
13. Dwelling on illness
We all get sick from time to time. Some of us are even unfortunate to suffer from long term illnesses. But this does not mean we need to allow our illnesses to become the defining aspect of our lives.
People respect those who get on with life, and avoid those who only ever talk about how sick they are. Don’t be a loner, practice overcoming your illness and you’ll feel better immediately. And don’t ever overplay your sickness, or you’ll just alienate others.
Some people are never satisfied – they only ever see what is wrong with their lives. And other people hate talking to these ingrates.
Stop moaning about what is wrong with your life and start counting your blessings. Try thinking about the good things you have and you will find that your outlook on life changes. You’ll also find people are much more willing to talk to you too.
Smoking is bad for your health and it stinks. Not to mention the fact that it damages the health of everyone around you.
There is no defense for this habit. Give it up and you will immediately be on the road to becoming a better person.
16. Chewing your nails
Often a stress release mechanism, chewing your nails is actually worse for you than you think. Not only does biting your nails down to the quick hurt, it is also the perfect way to introduce infection. Infected fingers are even more uncomfortable and unattractive.
Leaving your fingernails to grow will help improve their appearance, giving you a confidence boost in the process. And if you look and feel better, you’ll perform better too.
17. Relying on the bank of Mom and Dad
You’ve bust your budget and maxed your credit cards. Next stop, the Bank of Mom and Dad. They won’t be able to resist “lending” you a few dollars – they probably won’t even expect to get it back.
But if you want to be a better person, you need to realise that, as an adult, your parents expect you to stand on your own two feet and provide for yourself. Living with in your means is a sign of maturity – proving you’re becoming a better person.
18. Speaking out of ignorance
“Even fools are thought wise when they keep silent;
with their mouths shut, they seem intelligent.”
These days we are expected to hold (and voice) an opinion on everything. Often we speak out of ignorance, giving a respond based on gut-reactions, often totally wrong. Part of becoming a better person is having the strength of character to keep quiet and not giving an opinion on subjects we don’t fully understand.
19. Under-valuing age
We live in a culture that favours youth over experience, often unfairly relegating older people to second-class citizens. But in doing so, we often doom ourselves to repeat the mistakes of our forefathers.
If you are serious about becoming a better person, make time for the older people in your life. They offer a wealth of valuable life experience and often have fascinating stories to tell too.
20. Acting immature
Thinking like a child will make you act like a child. That’s fine when you’re 15, but not so cool when you’re 25.
Taking responsibility for your own actions will help you mature – a key step in becoming a better person.
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