Drop these bad habits in order to be a better version of yourself and to design the life you want.
1. Stop People-Pleasing
Stop caring too much about what people think about you. Most of us have this silent voice in our head that constantly asks “what will people think” “what will *insert name* think. But are you living your life for them or yourself? Anything you do will always be criticized one way or another because you can never please everyone. Caring too much about what people think leads us to start editing our behaviors and personalities constantly which eventually leads you to be a shadow of your true self. So long as you’re not causing harm to anyone or society, be yourself and those who like you for you will stick around. Remember to constantly self-reflect, work on your flaws and strive to grow as a person. Do this and it’ll be easier to care less and less what people think and just do you.
2. Stop Overspending: Make a budget and stick to it
Budgeting is crucial but it’s of no value to you if you don’t stick to your budget and you keep overspending.
To do a better job of sticking to your budget, pick two or three things that you will not compromise spending on. Things that regardless of how much disposable income you have you will never worry about the price and you’ll spend on it because; it makes you happy, it increases your quality of life, it is crucial to your well-being or health, etc. For me, one of those things will be coffee. What’s yours? If you set money aside in your budget for these expenses, there will be less temptation and fewer emergency expenses in your day to day that’ll cause you to break your budget. Set money aside for these expenses and then stick to your budget. Once you make a habit of sticking to it, then you can work on making the budget better as time goes on. Read more about budgeting here.
3. Stop Putting Yourself Down And Give Yourself A Break
If you know deep down and objectively that you are lazy and could be doing more, then this point is not for you. Get off your arse- with love.
This is for the people that constantly feel the pressure to do more and sometimes get crippled by the anxiety and fear of not being good enough. This is for those who feel like the time constraint of a meager 24 hours in a day is never enough. Give yourself a break. Juggling so many things can be fun but it’s also a sure way to burning out. This year, take some days off to decompress and relax. Don’t get any work done but also don’t think about all the work you need to get done. Find some zen in yourself and recharge. You’ll find that when you return to work rejuvenated you’ll have fresh ideas, a healthier perspective on things and your mental health will thank you for it.
4. Stop Spending So Much Time On Your Phone
By now more of us are realizing the damaging effect of spending all our time on social media. It reduces your attention span and makes it harder for you to focus on your important tasks. Constantly scrolling through your phone is an addiction. An addiction to instant gratification and distractions. I love a good meme as much as the next person but the satisfaction you get from seeing that red dot on your phone, from those hilarious memes, from those crazy vines that have you heaving and whizzing is fleeting and robs you of productive hours. Make an effort to spend less time mindlessly scrolling through social media. It can be a difficult habit to kick at first so you can try it in little bits until it gets easier. Try the 20-minute rule or keep your phone offline or far from you when you work.
Having long hours of uninterrupted work makes you more productive. It takes diligence and determination to focus on your work for longer periods and having your phone by your side to constantly distract you makes it almost impossible.
5. Stop Comparing Yourself To Your Peers And People On Instagram
Comparison is a soul crusher and social media makes us do it more frequently. People share the best parts of themselves and their lives on social media and it leaves you thinking you’re the only one with problems, issues or just normal ups and downs of life. It is false. Social media makes it so that you’re constantly bombarded by the perfect versions of people’s lives and you start to compare their lives with yours which leaves you feeling inadequate or like a failure
I have a friend who unfollowed every Instagram account that made her feel bad about herself. Perhaps you followed a fitness page to get inspiration but now all it does is make you feel not good enough when they post pictures of perfect bodies and an endless array of abs. Time to hit that unfollow button. Maybe you are following an influencer because you love to see travel destinations and now whenever you see their travel posts on a yacht, swimming with dolphins or skydiving across a volcano you start to feel like you hate your life, time to hit unfollow. Protect your mental health. Unfollow.
6. Stop Saying Yes To Everything
Let your yes be your yes and let your no be your no. Learn to say “NO” when necessary and stop being focused on pleasing people all the time. It can be difficult sometimes especially when it’s to someone you care about, but you have to prioritize things so your days and life are actually by design. You cannot be your own person and build the life you want if you’re constantly bending to the whims and demands of other people. Time is a resource and if all you do is give it away, you’ll have none left to spend on yourself. Control your time and let your commitments be ones that you choose and enjoy. When you’re intentional in this approach, you find that you have more time and energy to spend with and on people and activities that you care about and your days become more wholesome.
7. Stop Procrastinating
I’m guilty of this too. Procrastination is an overpowering habit and it takes a conscious effort to drop it or at least reduce its occurrence in your life. Give yourself deadlines and condition yourself to meet them. Try productivity tracking apps, deepwork, meditation or productivity hacks like this one. Do whatever you can to make yourself less of a procrastinator and more of a go-getter. Time waits for no one and while you put off starting work on that project, making that big pitch, etc time slowly passes you by.
One reason chronic procrastinators find it hard to kick the habit is that most times you still make your deadline. It’s like eating your cake and having it. However, the real truth that slips through the cracks is that your quality of work when rushed or compressed down to a few days is never as good as if you spent more time on it. So if you’re a procrastinator, you very likely have been churning out work that does not reflect your complete potential and genius. Imagine how much more you can achieve if you just spend more time on your tasks. Kick the habit now! Watch this Ted Talk by Tim Urban on the effects of procrastination.
8. Stop Clout Chasing
Why would you invest so much time and energy into something that isn’t real? Spend less time chasing the hype and more time building yourself and your brand.
9. Stop Complaining All The Time. Practice Gratitude
I have a friend who dislikes when people complain all the time. It conditioned me to complain less about trivial things. So when I miss the train and instantly feeling the urge to text in the group chat “omfg I missed the train urgggh this day is so annoying” I instead try to dwell on the positive things around and see the silver lining in bad situations. Sometimes practicing gratitude can be difficult when everything around us and the world seems bleak and sad. However, you can hold on to hope by focusing on the positives in your life and letting that outlook slowly spread to other things and to those around you. Not sure how to start, try gratitude journaling by writing down three things you are grateful for each day. Read more on journaling here.
10. Stop Being Mentally Stagnant. Read and Learn
When was the last time you learned something new? We should never stop learning. If you’re not an avid reader, try to pick up the habit of reading. You can start small and slowly but make sure you’re learning something new on the regular. It could be by reading articles on some of your favorite sites, get a New York Times subscription, sign-up for newsletters that have well-curated content on news, culture or the industry you’re in. If reading is not how you consume information, try watching educational videos, listening to a podcast or following educational social media accounts. Ensure that you’re adding to the knowledge you have otherwise you will start to become obsolete.
Bonus Thoughts: In 2020 Be a Better Friend
How can one be a better friend? Well, there’s no one answer to this but we can try. Often, it seems people are more enthralled by the idea of having friends than of being a friend. Thus, they care less about the individual they are friends with or trying to be friends with and more about the idea of having them as a friend. To be a good or better friend, you must care genuinely about your friend and this includes being intentional in being there for them. Ask how they are doing, support them and be understanding if you have conflict. Whenever you text or call up a friend to vent or talk about yourself, don’t forget to follow up with “and how are you? “How is your heart?” “how was your week?” “Give me a life update”. I particularly love life updates, they keep me informed on what my friends are up to in various aspects of their life- especially friends living in different countries or cities. It’s an open-ended question so it gives the other person (and you when you’re asked) a chance to talk about anything — from “I just got a new house plant” to “I’ve decided to be a nihilist”.
Of course, you can be this intentional and in-depth with so many people. It can quickly get draining. This is why you must choose your friends wisely. It’s better to be surrounded by a small group of close and high-quality friends than to be friends with the crowd and have no one who can be there for you and you for them.
Cheers to 2020!