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25 Things You Should Stop Putting Off And Do This Year

25 Things You Should Stop Putting Off And Do This Year

I know. Your life is busy. You have to take care of your job, your family, your hobbies… 24 hours ain’t just enough in a day. And you need to sleep.

STOP!

Now is time to take a step back, or life will pass you by. Don’t be a mindless zombie… Take control of your life.

Breathe in…

This year is THE year. It’s the year you start doing all those things you’ve been putting off.

Breathe out…

Here’s a list of 25 things you should do this year.

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1. Learn to do something new

Learning is a muscle. If you don’t use it, you’ll become lazy, and soon you’ll become obsolete in a world that has learnt to live without you. But if you start learning something new, a world of opportunities will open and you’ll even realize how pleasurable it is. You can still learn to code if you’re 70!

2. Break one bad habit

Whether it is smoking or eating junk food, there is at least one habit you have always known you should stop. It’s time you consider stopping. Ask your friends and family to support while you’re going through this phase, you will need them… and not disappointing them will be a good motivator.

3. Make plans for a trip you can afford and do

Have you always wanted to visit France? It’s a great country. If you find it too expensive, then plan early in advance and find great tips on online forums and aggressive travel packages. Bon voyage!

4. Try that dish

I never really liked Lebanese food. It comes from that one time I went to a Lebanese restaurant and I could NOT finish my dish. I though it was bad and avoided eating Lebanese cuisine like the plague. Until one day, I went to a business meeting and I had no choice but to try. Guess what? I love it now. It’s such a refined food I blame myself for my stubbornness. Just try that dish you’ve avoided for years.

5. Earn forgiveness

Earning forgiveness is not just asking for it. Make up for it… like Earl would. This TV series character made a list of all the people he’s wronged and works tirelessly until he can cross them off the list. You don’t have to focus on how you can undo what you did, but what you can do to make the other person’s life better. At least, it shows you care.

6. Finish that one book

It’s sitting on your bedside table. It’s calling for you… It’s the book you never finished and sometimes, you still wonder how the story ends! Good news… you can read a book by bites, even spaced by a few years, it will be remembered as a whole experience at the end.

7.  Recognize your toxic thoughts

  • “I don’t deserve to be happy”.
  • “I must not make any mistakes or I’ll be fired”.
  • “I did not graduate from the right college, so I’ll never have a really successful career”

I could go on and on with all the toxic thoughts that could cripple your mind… but only YOU know them. You should first admit they exist, and listen to them carefully. As you write them down, they will look really dumb. Look at them on the paper and treat them like children. Smile,  reassure them, educate them. Then let them go. Tear the paper and let the toxic thoughts go.

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8. Stop contacting space-fillers

For some people, it’s hard to stay alone. If you’re one of them, you have some people you call when you don’t want to be alone. These people are your space-fillers. They are filling the emptiness in your life with their presence. But if you don’t share any true experiences or values, then it all remains shallow… Learn to live with yourself. It’s the only person who will always be there for you. And silence is not such a bad thing after all.

9. Develop a daily practice

Meditation, work-outs, yoga… the compounded interest of a daily practice over the years is huge. If you start a morning practice like Yoga now, imagine how flexible you will be in ten years… and all that for just a few minutes per day.

10. Surprise a loved one

Love is often taken for granted…  as we grow accustomed to the other person. A small gift, a surprise dinner at a fancy restaurant, will show that you still care. A little surprise matters more than you think.

11. Face what terrifies you

There is something that terrifies you. Just seeing the name of it horrifies you. It could be spiders, snakes or heights… and you’ve always been putting off treating your phobia. This year is the year you treat your fear. Face it. Embrace it. Science says that if you confront your fear often enough, it will diminish. It’s called “habituation“. If you really can’t do it by yourself, seek professional help… phobia cure has reached new levels of effectiveness with virtual reality.

12. Plan your retirement – and beyond

What will happen when you retire? Will you have enough money to live? Where will you live? And when you’ll die, who gets your money? There are many questions you’ve put off answering until now. There’s no best moment to answer those questions than now. It’s not easy to visualize those situations, but you have to… for your own sake, and for your family’s.

13. Celebrate your achievements

“When you’re at the top, enjoy the view”. You might not be at the top, but I’m sure there are many achievements you’re proud of, and that you never celebrated. Your brain needs to know you have accomplished something. Reward it by inviting the people that matter to you and throw the party you knew you should have had for a long time. Celebrate that promotion, celebrate those past five birthdays, celebrate life!

14. Ask the older member of your family about their youth

Elders are fantastic living libraries. They have stories about events that shape the world we live in, stories that shaped your family, and also their lives. Suck in all the knowledge you can and ask all the questions you can imagine. I often wish my grandparents were still there so I could ask them about their life in Vietnam.

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15. Revisit your wardrobe

Get rid of that sweater. You’ve had it since you were 18. It’s worn off, and you’re not the student you were any more. In fact you’re not the person you were two years ago. Are you dressing the way you want to be perceived? Throw away those remnants of your old self and buy what your current self deserves to wear.

16. Write letters

It takes time. It’s slow. But it’s so much more precious. In a world of emails, letters will let people know how much you care about them. Buy some stamps, good stationary and a quality pen and write those new years wishes, thank-you letters… You will stand out and people will remember you for that.

17. Meet new interesting people

Your comfort zone is shrinking every day. By meeting new interesting people, you will make your life more interesting and remain open to new experiences. One easy way to do that is to look at meetups near you… you will find many people who share your passions near you.

18. Share your experience

I’ve always taken time to teach Marketing and Influence on my blog or in academic classes. Why? Because teaching and sharing forces you to organize your knowledge. You then realize what you didn’t know you knew, so that you know it better. Knowledge and love are the only things that grow when they are shared.

19. Learn new words

Words shape your world. If you can’t express an idea, it does not exist. So learning new words will allow you to understand more concepts and to have more ideas… as a by-product you will sound smarter. We only need 3000 words to cover 95% of the common texts, so it would be easy to put off learning the half million remaining word of the Oxford English Dictionary. Install a vocabulary app or learn a word everyday.

20. Reunite with the best friend who moved away

Life sometimes puts distance between best friends. Time gives the final blow to friendship… or so you’d think. It’s not over until the fat lady sings or the telephone rings. Pick up your phone and organize that reunion meeting. You’ve been putting this off for too long already. Your friends are just as shy as you are.

21. Remember to say thank you

There are many people you should be grateful to. You could send them a letter, surprise them with a gift or just say “thank you”. It’s a lot better if you can tell them why you thank them.

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“Thank you for being here when I needed you.”

22. Make a list of 25 other things you should stop putting off and do this year

I’m not in your head. I don’t know what you did, or what you want to do. So, follow those instructions:

  • Write your bucket list (minimum 25 items)
  • Do everything on it this year

23. Learn a new language

You can get by nearly anywhere in the world by speaking English. But you don’t really get into the depth of a culture of you don’t speak the native language of the country you visit. As you learn a language, you learn a new way of thinking and reach a new level of understanding… and open yourself to so many new people you can talk to. Surprisingly, I find that I also change personality when I speak another language. A friend of mine said that she feels sexier when she speaks Italian.

24. Buy productive tools

If you’ve kept your phone or your laptop for more than three years, you might be missing new technological improvements that would allow you access to a new world of productivity. Apps, cloud, ergonomics, connectivity can make your life much more productive. You might want to make this investment you’ve been putting off for a while.

25. Do a random act of kindness

Do something good for somebody you don’t know. Help a stranger and expect nothing in return. Just know that you’ve made somebody’s life better.
Leave a big tip
Let tourists sleep on your couch
Give free hugs

What else do you think you should start doing this year?

Featured photo credit: Rear view of beautiful brunette outdoors via shutterstock.com

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Published on April 7, 2021

6 Signs Of A Controlling Person To Be Aware Of

6 Signs Of A Controlling Person To Be Aware Of

Some of the most manipulative people are so good at what they do that their words and actions can convince you into thinking they truly care about what’s best for you when in reality, it’s quite the opposite. The most common signs of a controlling person are rarely obvious to outside observers. And for someone enmeshed in a controlling relationship or friendship, it can be incredibly challenging to stay away from this toxic person, even if you’re aware of their emotionally abusive tendencies.

While it’s ultimately up to you to decide whether to preserve or leave a lopsided, unfulfilling relationship, it’s nevertheless critical to understand the following six signs of controlling people so you can better advocate for yourself and mitigate the influence of their manipulative tendencies in your own life.

1. They Push Their Own Personal Agenda

Do you know someone who always tries to micromanage the words, behaviors, and attitudes of people around them? Does this person act like they have the right to know anything they want about you, including your location, what you’re doing in a given moment, who you’re talking to online, or any other private information about you? And when planning events and special occasions, does this person dominate conversations, steer plans in their own preferred directions, disparage others’ suggestions, and refuse to collaborate with anyone who might disagree with them?

If you answered “yes” to some of the above questions, then those are clear signs of a controlling person whom you absolutely need to be cautious around. Controlling people are reluctant to even consider alternative ideas, let alone enthusiastically work with people who have differing views. They prefer to be the captain of every ship—regardless of how much or how little an issue personally impacts them—and they have an arsenal of manipulative tactics to deploy if someone stands in the way of them achieving their own personal agendas.

In long-term relationships with controlling people, you may feel constantly pressured to meet their demands, follow their schedule, and focus on whatever they feel is most important. It’s not an exaggeration to say that these people act like the universe revolves around them, which can be exhausting to deal with for their family members, friends, and colleagues.

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2. They Make Everything Transactional

Controlling people aren’t always self-centered, but they’re not too empathetic either. Empathy for them tends to appear in the form of strategic concessions they use as a means to get what they want. They typically view interpersonal relationships as transactional opportunities to extract more value from people surrounding them, which can have a draining effect on those they interact with.

For example, one sign of a controlling person may be their insistence on “keeping score.” This can involve doing nice things for you with the ulterior motive of demanding something from you at a later date in exchange for what you thought was just an act of kindness or a friendly support.

Perhaps they shower you in praise (also known as “love-bombing”) or gifts then blow up at you if you don’t intuitively know they’re expecting something back from you. None of us are mind-readers, but controlling people behave as though everyone else should think and act like they want others to and those who fall out of line are punished for failing to meet their impossible expectations.

A controlling person may also threaten to withhold support if you don’t adhere to their demands, but they do so in such subtle ways that the guilt they impose blinds you from the unreasonable nature of their behaviors.

Some statements to be wary of include:

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  • “I did ___________ for you. What do you mean you can’t do ___________ for me?”
  • “Remember how I helped you with ___________? That took a lot of time and energy from me, but I guess you didn’t appreciate my help.”
  • “I always give you ___________. Don’t you care about my needs too?”
  • “You’re so selfish!” or “You don’t care about me at all!” (gaslighting if you respond with hesitation or politely decline their request for help for perfectly valid reasons, such as not having enough time or resources to assist them)

3. They Criticize Everything

One of the most common telltale signs of a controlling person is their capacity to criticize anything and everything, even small things that seemingly don’t matter. As with many toxic traits in relationships, these problems typically start out so small that you may not even notice. At first, you may even agree with their criticism or at least be able to understand their perspective when they bring up an issue.

However, the criticism tends to get more intense, more constant, and more perplexing for people who maintain relationships with controlling people. You’ll likely notice how they rarely seem to criticize something they do. It’s almost always other-oriented and these types of people are so manipulative that any rationale they offer can seem plausibly legitimate.

Some warning signs of a controlling person who’s overly critical to the point of abusiveness include:

  • Criticizing things about you that you have little to no control over (e.g., appearance, disability, family)
  • Criticizing your personal choices and interests, such as educational pursuits, career, clothing, favorite music, time spent on your hobbies, etc.
  • Punishing you for expressing vulnerability by invalidating thoughts and feelings you share with them
  • Attacking you whenever you express an opinion counter to theirs

4. They Balk When Someone Criticizes Them

We all know the adage, “what goes around, comes around.” But this statement doesn’t apply as much to toxic, controlling people. They’d much prefer to dish out criticism without ever having to take it in return.

For instance, if your friend constantly talks about your appearance with little regard for your emotions but flips out if you make just a single comment about their appearance, there’s a possibility that they could have some hidden controlling tendencies left unchecked. Remember, these people aren’t just controlling in their behaviors towards others. They’re also actively trying to stay in complete control over every aspect of their lives, which includes how others view them.

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This seemingly insatiable desire for control can prompt them to lash out against even the smallest bits of criticism, leaving people around them too weary or scared to speak up again in the future. While it’s possible they may suffer from something called rejection sensitivity dysphoria, this does not excuse them from the consequences of their words and actions. They should seek professional help to better manage their reactions to criticism.

5. They Socially Isolate You

Not all controlling people do this, but for manipulative narcissists, socially isolating victims is a go-to strategy for maintaining control because it’s effective at preventing people from truly understanding how toxic their partner, family member, or friend is treating them. Think of it this way—if you don’t talk to many other people in your life, there’s less of a risk that you’ll damage their reputation by revealing their abusive tendencies.

Socially isolating others also gives the person more control over you and your life as it becomes more difficult to break away from them if you don’t have other healthier channels of communication and interpersonal support to turn to.

This process doesn’t happen overnight, nor is it something you can readily recognize as abusive. At first, it may seem reasonable, such as asking you to stop engaging so often with family members with whom both of you disagree on major social or political issues. As the social isolation progresses, they may suggest cutting people out of your life—especially if they don’t like that person, regardless of how you personally feel—or even conjure up high-stakes problems like “it’s me or them” under the guise of saving you from people in your life whom they don’t like for whatever reason.

In a controlling person’s life narrative, they’re always the protagonist who’s incapable of any wrongdoing. The blame is always redirected at someone else, whether that’s you or other people in your life. The more they isolate you from other supportive people in your life, the more susceptible you’ll be to falsely believing that they’re right and you “don’t need” your other friends and family when you have someone as perfect as this person.

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6. They’re Emotionally Abusive

It’s hard enough to be in control of your own emotions but when someone else is constantly belittling you and your interests or leveraging guilt and shame to manipulate you into saying or doing what they want, this can make it even more challenging to stay in control of your own life and emotional well-being.

Emotional abuse is another sign of a controlling person that is often overlooked in relationships. After all, human personalities vary widely in terms of passivity, and it’s not uncommon for one person in a relationship to be significantly more passive than the other. This becomes an issue when the controlling partner or friend exudes signs of emotional abuse, which can start subtly and become much more pronounced over time.

Concerning signs of emotionally abusive language or behavior to watch out for include:

  • Dismissing your needs and/or belittling your interests in counterproductive ways
  • Privately or publicly shaming or humiliating you
  • Making you feel as though you can never live up to their expectations or do anything right (according to their own vague, subjective standards)
  • Gaslighting you into thinking they said or did something that never actually happened (making you question your own reality)

Final Thoughts

It’s sometimes hard to see the negative things about someone with whom we have a relationship. We may sometimes unconsciously overlook the signs of a controlling person, especially if that person is someone we have known for a long time or are close to us. However, cutting them off your life is the best thing you can do for yourself. Just watch out for these six signs of a controlling person and take immediate action when you spot them.

More Tips on How To Deal With a Controlling Person

Featured photo credit: Külli Kittus via unsplash.com

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