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Last Updated on March 30, 2020

16 Simple Rules to Live by for a Successful And Fulfilling Life

16 Simple Rules to Live by for a Successful And Fulfilling Life

Is your day-to-day life full of stress and chaos?

Are you scrambling to find a peaceful moment in the day when you can put your feet up and relax? Are you rushed, stressed out and ready to call it quits?

Why is that so? Who is responsible for it? Why have we made it so difficult?

The solution is simple: simplify your life.

It’s the implementation part that is hard, but here are the rules to live by to help you with that:

1. Believe in Yourself , but Be Aware of Your Limitations

The first step to accomplishing all your goals and making your dreams come true starts with this simple realization that you are human:

You are not perfect and you can’t do everything alone.

Always keep things realistic. Don’t put so much pressure on yourself that you find it hard to move; trust yourself to deliver what you need to, but also be prepared to cut yourself some slack.

Own up when you make a mistake. Set goals, and enjoy the journey.

2. De-clutter and Simplify

You have a thousand different things screaming for attention:

You have to tidy up the kids’ room again; you have to do the dishes and laundry; and the never-ending household chores are waiting. You have to organize your calendar and make room for more appointments; make time to socialise; help the kids with homework; and make a gazillion school runs.

Don’t even get started on what needs to be done at the office.

Let’s get one thing straight—you cannot accomplish anything unless you get yourself some of the clarity that comes from creating space in your life, in your relationships and your environment.

You need to reduce, cut back, simplify—Only then will you stop the feeling of being overwhelmed and rushed.

Give anything you haven’t used for the past 3 years to charity. Get organized

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Enjoy the concept of enjoying without owing, and appreciating without acquiring.

3. Use Everything in Moderation

This is something I live by, be it work, socializing, family commitments, overeating, shopping, or watching too much TV—it helps with every single thing.

Embrace the philosophy of “having enough”:

There’s no need to go to extremes, so exercise common sense and learn to curb any obsessive behaviour.

Spend less money than you make. watch your diet and watch less TV.

4. Keep Things in Perspective

I admit there will be times when nothing will go your way, and you will find yourself fighting battles, fixing problems and minimizing damage all day long.

We all have those days, and it is too easy to get caught up in the drama. Get a handle on things: this, too, shall pass.

Your child will get better soon, the noisy neighbourhood parties will end, your backstabbing colleague will get transferred (we can hope, can’t we?), and there will be actual days where you tick off all the items on your to-do list.

Don’t sweat the small stuff. Have an open mind. Here’s Why Perspective Taking Is an Essential Skill for Success.

5. Treat Others How They Want to Be Treated

You might end up getting in trouble if you try treating others how you want to be treated, instead of how they would like you to treat them.

For instance, if you are not a phone person, you might not call your friend because you assume that they feel the same way you do, which may not be the case.

Try to be sensitive to the needs of others, and occasionally going out of your way to do something for them.

Try not to judge. Be generous; try to do something nice for somebody on a regular basis.

6. Family First

My priority is my family, and I left work to start my own freelancing career for the flexible hours it gives.

That doesn’t mean that my work is not important—it just means that I have to operate in a way that works for me and my family.

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How important is it to you that you spend time with your family? Are you making sure that your work doesn’t prevent you from doing just that? What sort of arrangements have you made to make it happen?

You don’t have to stop living your life for your family members, but you’ll feel far less guilt if you prioritise and make time for them.

7. Pay Attention to the Moment

Stop thinking about what happened in the past, or worry about what might happen in the future.

Live in the moment and learn to savour each one: How to Live in the Moment and Stop Worrying

8. Have a Positive Mindset

You are what you think all day long.

If you have nothing but negative thoughts racing through your ahead, then that’s what you are going to get, so try shifting to a more positive outlook on life.

You will be surprised to see that whatever you wished for will start to manifest itself around you.

“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t—you’re right.” ― Henry Ford

This is How to Cultivate a Positive Mindset (A Step-By-Step Guide).

9. Educate Yourself

The most interesting people are the ones who take an interest in life and never let go of the “beginner’s mind”. They discover learning opportunities and continue to grow, both personally and professionally.

Be a life-long learner. You don’t have to get old to become wise.

Read good books. Try to learn something new every day. Take courses in subjects you enjoy.

Learn to Create a Habit of Continuous Learning for a Better You.

10. Be Passionate About Something

There are some people who are so bursting with energy and vitality that others feel compelled to listen to them, and feel drawn to them.

Passionate home cooks, budding interior designers, gourmet chocolate lovers, antique collectors—just try asking them a question about their interest and they will talk your ears off.

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You want to be that person:

Someone who’s full of love for something significant.

Have one meaningful hobby that encourages you to follow your passion, and you’ll begin each day looking forward to something special.

Don’t know your passion? Take a look at this: How to Find Your Passion and Live a Fulfilling Life

11. Always Be Reflective

Do you ever think about yourself in moments of solitude?

What makes you, you? What makes you tick? What bores you to death? What sort of things do you dream of? What can’t you get over? What regrets do you have of your past?

Take some time to think about those things and you’ll understand yourself more clearly and deeply. You’d be surprised at the life-changing impact such reflection can bring.

Consider doing a Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) or another personality assessment to develop true understanding of your self.

12. Surround Yourself with Supportive People

Three things can change your life: friends, books and your thoughts.

Choose them wisely.

Avoid naysayers and party-poopers.

Learn the 15 Differences Between Positive People And Negative People and surround yourself with the positve ones.

13. Banish the Word “Perfection”

Listen to what you tell your children: always do your best and forget about the rest. Here is Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

You are expert enough. Strive for excellence, not for perfection.

14. Fix It or Deal With It, Stop Whining About It

Nobody likes a person who complains all the time.

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If you look around, you’ll see many people who have been dealt a bad hand, but are making the best of things.

Don’t blame others for your problems. Don’t make excuses. Don’t be overly sensitive. Don’t be a drama queen.

15. Remember Things That You Are Grateful For

Try this exercise:

Whenever you are feeling low, make a list of all the things that make you happy, joyous, and grateful.

A beautiful family, adoring kids, kind friends, health, happy home, a job that pays the bills, surprise dinner prepared by a loving spouse, a blog, favourite books and keepsakes, unexpected twenty dollar bill in your jeans pocket.

Everything counts.

After you’ve done this, consider what has happened to the feelings of doom and gloom. It is impossible not to be cheered up after remembering all the fantastic things you have in your life.

Be grateful, and always make room for more happiness.

Some inspirations for you: 32 Things You Should Be Grateful For

16. You Can Have It All, Just Not at the Same Time

There is no greater truth than this:

You cannot have everything at the same time. You have only 24 hours in a day and need to take care of your relationships, work and spirit.

One any given day, the focus will shift. Some days your children have to go to after-school care because you have an important meeting, while other times work has to take a back seat because of a sick child with a high fever.

Sometimes you just need to chill with your girlfriends because it has been ages since you last took a break.

You don’t have to do everything all at once, and life doesn’t have to be complicated.

Simple living is mindful living.

More Tips About Living a Fulfilling Life

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

More by this author

Marya Jan

Marya is a business strategist. She shares tips about life and success on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on November 9, 2020

10 Real Reasons Why Breaking Bad Habits Is So Difficult

10 Real Reasons Why Breaking Bad Habits Is So Difficult

Bad habits expose us to suffering that is entirely avoidable. Unfortunately, breaking bad habits is difficult because they are 100% dependent on our mental and emotional state.

Anything we do that can prove harmful to us is a bad habit – drinking, drugs, smoking, procrastination, poor communication are all examples of bad habits. These habits have negative effects on our physical, mental, and emotional health.

Humans are hardwired to respond to stimuli and to expect a consequence of any action. This is how habits are acquired: the brain expects to be rewarded a certain way under certain circumstances. How you initially responded to certain stimuli is how your brain will always remind you to behave when the same stimuli are experienced.

If you visited the bar close to your office with colleagues every Friday, your brain will learn to send you a signal to stop there even when you are alone and eventually not just on Fridays. It will expect the reward of a drink after work every day, which can potentially lead to a drinking problem.

Kicking negative behavior patterns and steering clear of them requires a lot of willpower, and there are many reasons why breaking bad habits is so difficult.

1. Lack of Awareness or Acceptance

Breaking a bad habit is not possible if the person who has it is not aware that it is a bad one.

Many people will not realize that their communication skills are poor or that their procrastination is affecting them negatively, or even that the drink they had as a nightcap has now increased to three.

Awareness brings acceptance. Unless a person realizes on their own that a habit is bad, or someone manages to convince them of the same, there is very little chance of the habit being kicked.

2. No Motivation

Going through a divorce, not being able to cope with academic pressure, and falling into debt are instances that can bring a profound sense of failure with them. A person going through these times can fall into a cycle of negative thinking where the world is against them and nothing they can do will ever help, so they stop trying altogether.

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This give-up attitude is a bad habit that just keeps coming around. Being in debt could make you feel like you are failing at maintaining your home, family, and life in general.

If you are looking to get out of a rut and feel motivated, take a look at this article: Why Is Internal Motivation So Powerful (And How to Find It)

3. Underlying Psychological Conditions

Psychological conditions such as depression and ADD can make it difficult to start breaking bad habits.

A depressed person may find it difficult to summon the energy to cook a healthy meal, resulting in food being ordered in or consumption of packaged foods. This could lead to a habit that adversely affects health and is difficult to overcome.

A person with ADD may start to clean their house but get distracted soon after, leaving the task incomplete, eventually leading to a state where it is acceptable to live in a house that is untidy and dirty.

The fear of missing out (FOMO) is very real to some people. Obsessively checking their social media and news sources, they may believe that not knowing of something as soon as it is published can be catastrophic to their social standing.

4. Bad Habits Make Us Feel Good

One of the reasons it is difficult to break habits is that a lot of them make us feel good.[1]

We’ve all been there – the craving for a tub of ice cream after a breakup or a casual drag on a joint, never to be repeated until we miss how good it made us feel. We succumb to the craving for the pleasure felt while indulging in it, cementing it as a habit even while we are aware it isn’t good for us.

Overeating is a very common bad habit. Just another pack of chips, a couple of candies, a large soda… none of these are necessary for survival. We want them because they give us comfort. They’re familiar, they taste good, and we don’t even notice when we progress from just one extra slice of pizza to four.

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You can read this article to learn more: We Do What We Know Is Bad for Us, Why?

5. Upward Comparisons

Comparisons are a bad habit that many of us have been exposed to since we were children. Parents might have compared us to siblings, teachers may have compared us to classmates, and bosses could compare us to past and present employees.

The people who have developed the bad habit of comparing themselves to others have been given incorrect yardsticks for measurement from the start.

These people will always find it difficult to break out of this bad habit because there will always be someone who has it better than they do: a better house, better car, better job, higher income and so on.

Research shows that in the age of social media, social comparisons are much easier and can ultimately harm self-esteem if scrolling becomes a bad habit[2].

6. No Alternative

This is a real and valid reason why breaking bad habits is difficult. These habits could fulfill a need that may not be met any other way.

Someone who has physical or psychological limitations, such as a disability or social anxiety, may find it hard to quit obsessive content consumption for better habits.

Alternately, a perfectly healthy person may be unable to quit smoking because alternates are just not working out.

Similarly, a person who bites their nails when anxious may be unable to relieve stress in any other socially accepted manner.

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7. Stress

As mentioned above, anything that stresses us out can lead to adopting and cementing an unhealthy habit.

When a person is stressed about something, it is easy for bad habits to form because the mental resources required to fight them are not available[3].

We often see a person who had previously managed to kick a bad habit fall back into the old ways because they felt their stress couldn’t be managed any other way.

If you need some help reducing stress, check out the following video for some healthy ways to get started:

8. Sense of Failure

People looking to kick bad habits may feel a strong sense of failure because it’s just that difficult.

Dropping a bad habit usually means changes in lifestyle that people may be unwilling to make, or these changes might not be easy to make in spite of the will to make them.

Overeaters need to empty their house of unhealthy food, resist the urge to order in, and not pick up their standard grocery items from the store. Those who drink too much need to avoid the bars or even people who drink often.

If such people slip even once with a glass of wine, or a smoke, or a bag of chips, they tend to be excessively harsh on themselves and feel like failures.

9. The Need to Be All-New

People who are looking to break bad habits feel they need to re-create themselves in order to break themselves of their bad habits, while the truth is the complete opposite.

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These people actually need to go back to who they were before they developed the bad habit and try to create good habits from there.

10. Force of Habit

Humans are creatures of habit, and having familiar, comforting outcomes for daily triggers helps us maintain a sense of balance in our lives.

Consider people who are used to lighting up a cigarette every time they talk on the phone or eating junk food when watching TV. They will always associate a phone call with a puff on the cigarette and screen time with eating.

These habits, though bad, are a source of comfort to them, as is meeting with those people they indulge in these bad habits with.

Final Thoughts

These are the main reasons why breaking bad habits is difficult, but the good news is that the task is not impossible. Breaking habits takes time, and you’ll need to put long-term goals in place to replace a bad habit with a good one.

There are many compassionate, positive and self-loving techniques to kick bad habits. The internet is rich in information regarding bad habits, their effects and how to overcome them, while professional help is always available for those who feel they need it.

More on Breaking Bad Habits

Featured photo credit: NORTHFOLK via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] After Skool: Why Do Bad Habits Feel SO GOOD?
[2] Psychology of Popular Media Culture: Social comparison, social media, and self-esteem.
[3] Stanford Medicine: Examining how stress affects good and bad habits

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