There are a lot of habits that are advised to be adapted if you want to succeed. It is equally important to get rid of the habits that will hinder your success a.k.a. bad habits.
The kind of habits you have, dictate the kind of life you live. The way you live your life has a huge effect on how you work, and it does not require a genius to figure out that how you work has a huge impact on your success.
Here are some of the habits that you need to get rid of, not only to work for your success but also to become a better version of yourself.
1. Checking Social Media first thing in the morning
After waking up, many people check their phones. This then leads them to scroll through the feeds of multiple social media channels. Precious morning hours that could have been used to work on yourself or your work are wasted.
Make a rule to not look at your phone until and unless you have completed your morning chores. If you want, you can go through your phone while you have breakfast, that way you will take your time to finish the meal, instead of rushing and forgetting breakfast altogether.
2. Watching TV especially Reality Shows
Watching TV is one of the most time-consuming forms of entertainment people engage in. One show leads to another and then another. Now we have Netflix that helps us fuel this addiction more by allowing us to binge watch complete shows.
While some shows can be helpful, reality shows aren’t. They are like junk food for our brain. We might enjoy seeing them, but they are going to have negative effects on us.
3. Not Reading Anything
Reading is a great tool for anyone thinking of learning anything. Reading is one of the important hobbies to take on. Most successful people find time to read. They also advise reading at least one book every week.
If you think reading books is a difficult thing and you can’t commit to reading an entire book, then read magazines in your field. Read articles online; blogs have great reads to offer. Most articles can be read under 5-minutes. Start with small articles and then gradually increase the length of the text. Eventually, you will be able to read a book.
Multitasking can be great but not many people are good at it. Your attention is divided among different tasks, not allowing you to finish even one. If you would really like to get things done, pick up a task, focus on it, get it done, and then move on to the next one.
When you are working in a browser, shut all the other tabs and use only the ones that are necessary for the task you are currently working on. All the clutter can overwhelm you, it is important not to lose focus.
Procrastination has become one of those popular terms that people consider as sort of quirky and relatable. They don’t feel bad or take it seriously, but it is a real issue. Procrastination can delay your success. If you can’t stop putting off important work, then you might as well accept the fact that you aren’t going to achieve the heights you would like to.
You can’t not work for something and expect it to happen. To stop procrastinating, you need to get rid of all the distractions. While working, keep your phone farther from you, answer only important phone calls. I keep my phone always on “Do Not Disturb” mode and it has done wonders for my productivity.
Follow the 2-minute rule. If something can be done within 2 minutes, do it immediately. This stops tiny tasks from accumulating and also gives you a sense of accomplishment.
6. Not Budgeting
Whether you have a job or run your own business, budgeting is really important. You can’t only live in the now with your money and have no safety net to fall back on.
“Don’t save what is left after spending; spend what is left after saving.”
At the beginning of your career, it is easy to get lost in a spending spree because you earn now. But, take a step back. What if there was an emergency one day and you needed money. You won’t have any because you spent it all.
You don’t need to spend every penny, neither do you need to save every penny. If you don’t know how to do it, then the 50-30-20 rule is a good one to start with and follow. This rule tells you to put 50% of your after-tax income for necessities like bills, housing, food, etc. 20% goes to your financial goals, that is, saving. Finally, the remaining 30% can be spent on wants, like dining, entertainment, etc.
I would also advise to save and keep aside at least 6 months of living expenses so that if you lose your job or source of income, you will have enough cushion to fall back on.
7. Not Investing
While saving is important, you can’t neglect investing. If you are following the 50-30-20 rule and saving 20% of your income, have you ever thought about what to do with the 20%. In today’s time keeping your money in the bank just doesn’t cut it. There are many investment options. Buying real estate, gold, stocks, bonds etc are just a few of the many ways to invest.
Let your money make more money for you. If you want to retire early or not slave away every day, then investing smartly can be of huge help. One of the best things to invest in is yourself. If you invest in learning and training, it pays huge dividends. It enables you to start a business which then allows you to make money even when you are sleeping.
8. Not Punctual
Punctuality is one of the very important traits of people who get things done. Nobody likes tardiness. If you are not punctual, chances are, people are going to stop taking you seriously.
If you are always an hour or two late to every meeting, every deadline, then you are making a bad impression. People like working with people they can rely upon. Someone who misses every deadline and has no value to their word, is not the person people want to work with.
If you run your own business, this can have a very adverse effect because relations with clients can bring you more business. If the word about your unprofessionalism spreads then your business will take the hit.
9. Getting Too Comfortable
Being too comfortable in the position you have is good but you need to always have some sort of ambition, to rise from your current position. Consider getting too comfortable with your situation as still water. Still water eventually gets stagnant.
It can stump your growth, stop you from reaching the heights of success. Which is why, it is important to always think about what next and then aim for it. It gives you a sense of purpose and the required push to go to the next step.
10. Complaining Too Much
Nobody likes hanging out with negative people. Certain things piss everyone off, but if you spend a lot of time and energy gloating about things that upset you, you are going to push people away.
Quick sessions of complaining when everyone complains can be fun, knowing when to stop is the key. People lose interest in you and what you have to say if you keep complaining. No one likes surrounding themselves with negative people.
Stop spending time thinking about things you cannot change. If there is something you don’t like, then instead of complaining, there are two sensible ways to go about it. One- if you can’t change it, then stop thinking about it and go on with your work. Two- if you can change it, then work on changing it. In either case, there is no room for complaints.
11. Not Making Eye Contact and Poor Body Language
Not making eye contact portrays a low level of confidence. When I was in college, there was a guy who didn’t make eye contact. The problem was that his line of sight was a person’s chest. It wasn’t an issue when he talked to guys but when he talked to girls it was a whole other scenario.
If you have a problem making and holding eye contact, then you can look at the person’s forehead or their nose, keep the height difference in mind. A short person looking at someone’s forehead is a very easy giveaway. Look just past their heads or ears, that way you are making eye contact with them through your peripheral vision while not getting uncomfortable yourself.
Slowly, you will find that you can now talk while maintaining eye contact. Same goes for body language. The way you hold yourself gives off the aura about the kind of person you are. This is why you are always advised to keep your back straight; it portrays confidence and authority.
12. Skipping Meals
I know how easy it is to get lost in your work and skip meals. Breakfast is one of the most important meals of the day. Start by not missing your breakfast. You will start the day with the needed energy, and even if you have a late lunch, your body won’t suffer much. When you have a late lunch or skip lunch with no breakfast to support your body, you start feeling weak.
Recently, I was skipping too many meals because I was busy. It eventually caught up. My sugar level was low. I started blacking out, my whole body started feeling too light and tingly. I had to sit down and eat a few bites, drink something for it to subside.
Is it worth it? Is feeling like this just to get a lot of work done, worth it? No, it definitely isn’t. Making your health suffer in the name of being busy is one of the stupidest decisions you can make.
A healthy body is going to work more, so instead of burning yourself out, try keeping a pace that doesn’t affect you in the long run. Take care of your body, eat proper meals at proper times.
13. Not Exercising
Like eating proper meals, exercising is essential. When your body is in good condition, you can work all you want. When it is not, you spend a lot of time and money to make it better.
Instead of letting it get to that, start exercising. Start with small changes in your routine. Go for a quick walk after lunch and dinner. Do yoga in the morning, meditate before going to bed or in the morning.
Start small and as you start getting comfortable with the routine, increase your pace. A sound body and a sound mind is the key to success.
14. Not Trying New Things
Remember when we were kids, curiosity made us try so many different things. As we age, we stop trying new things. New experiences teach us a lot. They help us learn about ourselves. We find new hobbies, and we learn something that we wouldn’t have.
Learning new stuff challenges our minds. You might discover how much more you can do than you are doing right at this moment.
Curiosity is an important asset to learning. Never stop learning and never stop experiencing new things. In the end, our experiences are what make us.
15. Not Having Fun
The way to get success isn’t working 24×7, it is finding the balance between work and self. Only working can tire your brain, burn out your mind, and put you in a rut. Getting out once in a while doesn’t mean that you are not serious about your future. It means you care enough to give yourself a break.
Let loose, go out for that drink you have been saying no to, go out for the movie you have been waiting to watch, catch up with your friends, spend time with your family. In short, have fun!
“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.”
The changes we make in our daily routines, our habits, have the power to change the narrative of our lives. They directly contribute to the outcome of the work we do. It is crucial to recognize the areas we need to work on and then find ways to make it right.
“The most important investment you make is in yourself.”
Key Principles Of Living A Good Life
Everyone wants to live a good life and one that is filled with happiness and peace. But the first order of business is to understand what constitutes a good life. A good life is generally the result of right decisions and your character decides what decisions you make on a regular basis. Only after understanding the behaviors a person needs to adopt to improve one’s character, can they truly achieve peace, happiness, and a changed life. In this post, we will look at a few key principles that contribute to a good life.
The key principle to having a good life is having good values. With good values, you will have lived life well. You might not have ‘enjoyed’ it, but it will be, at the end, worth it. Since the subject of discussion is how to live a good life, we’ll not focus on how to be happy. The distinction must be made and understood.
For example, when you feel like having junk food, the value of staying healthy prevents you from getting obese as well as contracting related diseases. Often, feelings come in contradiction to values, however, keeping up good values ensures long term fulfillment and even success in life.
Select good values and live accordingly to have a positive impact on yourself, your family, community and the world at large. Prosperity and fulfillment comes with living a life of good values.
“Almost everything wrong in the world comes from people either not having higher moral values or not living by them.” –Dennis Prager
Don’t Be Too Serious About Everything
If you have such a habit, then you should definitely try to stop being serious all the time and lighten up. Having a serious approach towards everything will strip your life of any fun. The first step in removing such tendencies is to understand why you fail to enjoy the things in life. Have you always been serious since childhood or were there events that pushed your humor out?
If any specific traumatic event resulted in your serious outlook towards life, then you need to consult a good psychiatrist who can help you overcome such negative psychological patterns. Another way would be to change your perspective and start seeing the world in its entirety (or at least other angles) rather than only focusing on yourself. When you truly realize that you are nothing but a tiny speck in the vast universe, you will feel more relaxed and will start taking things lightly.
After all, we are only here for a couple of decades at most, and then we got to move on. This is the truth that faces everyone on the planet. So, it’s up to you to make the ride a bit more worthwhile.
Be Okay With Your Fears
Every person has some kind of fear deep inside them. And the greater you are bound by them, the less you will be able to live a good life. Fear influences every decision and blocks you out from experiencing things that could have brought you so much happiness. For example, suppose that some tragic event in the past has made you afraid of being abandoned by a loved one. As a result, you might be scared of getting too close to someone since you do not want to take the chance of being emotionally crushed in case they decide to leave you.
But this behavior will essentially destroy any chances of you ever entering into a loving relationship. This is why it is necessary to deal with your fear straight away. You don’t have to conquer it if it seems impossible. But, at least try to develop your mind to the extent that you are okay with living with your fear. Accept that such a fear exists and take a strong decision that you will not let it dictate the course of your life. This should help you get out from the grip of your fears and allow you to live a life that is fulfilling.
Don’t Hold Yourself To Impossible Standards
Many people hold themselves to very high standards. And this can eventually play havoc in their lives as they remain consistently dissatisfied with never meeting their standards all through their life. If you have such issues, then try to set realistic standards. For example, if you are a student of a college, you might feel like you need to get A grade in every subject. While the standard that you set is admirable, one has to also accept that it can be impossible on a consistent basis.
Sometimes, you might come across a test that is just too difficult to crack that you have to settle for a B. Don’t get disheartened in such situations and start blaming yourself for not having prepared enough. Forgive yourself; unnecessarily being depressed about the results will simply do you no good.
Forgive And Move On
There might be occasions in your life where other people will harm you and cause tremendous psychological damage. As a result, it is very likely that you will develop a very negative worldview about everything. This may also lead you to depression or you may feel the need for vengeance. This will certainly make you bitter and hateful.
If you keep this hatred inside you for too long, your life itself might end up being consumed by it so much so that you would be avoiding opportunities for happiness. You may also be afraid to open up and enter into a relationship with other people since you don’t want to be hurt again. What you need to do, under such circumstances, is to learn to forgive – not the person who hurt you, but yourself.
Tell yourself that whatever happened has happened in the past and that you should not destroy your future by constantly dwelling on past events. Slowly, you will learn to live normally and be in a position to move on to newer experiences. The person who hurt you will never again be a constant source of hatred in your mind. Instead, they will become a lesson that will teach you what type of people to avoid in the future.
“Holding a grudge is like drinking poison and hoping the other guy will die.”
Don’t Be Afraid Of Rejection
Many people never live their life to the fullest because of a big fear – rejection. This fear can manifest itself in all walks of life and can truly limit your experiences.
Maybe you love someone, but do not wish to open your heart to them because you are afraid of being rejected. Maybe you have an incredible idea on how to grow a company but are afraid that your ideas may be rejected and mocked upon. Whatever the case may be, you need to understand that this fear of rejection is not good.
It’s also important to understand that being rejected is a normal part of life. After all, not everyone will agree with everything you have to say. As such, just go ahead with your feelings and ideas, and see all rejections as just the way life is. Doing so will open yourself to new opportunities and you will be able to live a better life.
A cure for this is to speak your mind even in difficult circumstances. This trains you and your mind to speak in more sensitive situations as well.
Why Should You Stop Being Hard on Yourself
Growing up, we are often subjected to comparisons drawn by adults. You are always in competition with children in your society, children in your school, children in your parent’s friend circle, and so on. Eventually, you start comparing yourself to everyone else as well.
This becomes a subconscious habit that can be really detrimental to your mental health. Constantly making comparisons puts undue stress on ourselves in addition to the amount we already have from work and life in general.
We get so caught up in proving ourselves that we often forget to give ourselves credit for the things that we have done and milestones we have achieved. There comes the point when we have had enough, and we start losing motivation; as a result, we start spiraling.
When people say “life is too short,” what they mean is that it is too short to spend trying to impress others. The years you have should be spent on doing things you like and learning stuff that you want to. You don’t have to prove yourself to anyone, and you don’t need to be better than anyone. The only person you should be in competition with is your past self. Aim on being better than yourself, that’s it.
It is Okay to be Yourself
One thing we are never told is that it is okay to be ourselves. We often try too hard to be like someone else, to impress others, to make our families proud, but the price we pay is too high. We lose ourselves in the process. Sooner or later, it catches up to us, and we start feeling unsatisfied with our lives, no matter how great it is.
“The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.” – Friedrich Nietzsche
Our peace of mind and state of health is not worth compromising, our happiness is not worth giving up, our motivation is not worth losing; be yourself, that is who you can be the best version of.
It is Okay to Put Yourself First
Every person has their own strengths and weaknesses – no person is the same. No one is perfect, even if they seem like they are. What meets the eye is just the tip of the iceberg. If they seem insanely good at something, chances are they have sacrificed something else in their life to get to where they are.
“Faithless To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
If you want to learn something and master something, then it is okay to say “no” to other people. It is okay to put yourself first. Doesn’t matter if it is for you to focus on your craft or your mental health. At the end of the day, if you don’t value yourself enough to put yourself first, why would someone else?
It is Okay to Make Mistakes
Don’t beat yourself up for mistakes, embarrassments, and having negative thoughts when things don’t go your way. It is natural to feel beaten up when you face failure or make mistakes. All of these things, though, contribute to the uniqueness of your character. The moment you start being yourself, you will start noticing that a lot of people are like you, lost and isolated in the big world – thinking about things they could have done differently.
“You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.” – Maya Angelou
You have to learn to make the most of what you have already achieved and build on the lessons that you learned because of those mistakes and failures. People are afraid to try new things because they are afraid to fail in front of someone else. But, if you do not take those leaps, then you will never reach where you want to be. One thing to remember is that when things go wrong, it is US who have to face the brunt of it, not THEM, so do things and make mistakes with only you in mind.
It is Okay to Have Bad Days
We feel success is when we do not have problems and are always happy. It cannot be farther from the truth. No matter how much you earn or how successful you are, life will also be a sequence of ups and downs because, without downs, there are no ups.
“Some days are just bad days, that’s all. You have to experience sadness to know happiness, and I remind myself that not every day is going to be a good day, that’s just the way it is.” – Dita Von Tesse
Without experiencing bad days, you won’t be able to appreciate the good days. Bad days also make us who we are, more than the good days ever will. We learn and grow from them. Remember, if it is a really bad one today, you do not have to do today again. Tomorrow brings a new day and new opportunities.
It is Okay to be Less Than Perfect
This is the one area that I have struggled with the most. The need to be perfect has been ingrained in us since childhood. Being compared to children who were good in other areas always made us feel inadequate. Some children learned to cancel the noise, while some couldn’t take it. It became a part of them, eating them out with every passing day. When thoughts like these are ingrained in you, no matter what you do, you will never feel satisfied.
“People are not perfect… very often the relationships that are strongest are those where people have worked through big crises, but they’ve had to work through them. So the challenge to us is to work through that.” – Patricia Hewitt
You have to learn to be okay with not being perfect in every single thing. It is okay to strive for perfection, but do not make that your goal. Your goal should be learning and achieving. That is what makes the process perfect.
Life already throws a lot of curveballs at us. We do not need to add ourselves to the mix. Be your own cheerleader, and go easy on yourself from time to time. Understand that not all days are going to be the same. You are going to achieve a lot one day and nothing the other day. On the days when nothing seems to be going your way, remember to be kind to yourselves.
Keep reminding yourself that it is okay to do things for yourself, and it is okay to stop for a moment and gather your wits. Take care of your wellbeing, and everything else will follow.
How to Prioritize When Everything Seems Important
Prioritization is the key to achieving your goals. It helps you focus on what is important. While talking about how to prioritize your tasks to help you achieve all your goals, I briefly touched what you should do if everything seems like a priority –
If you find yourself with more than three top priorities, then that’s a problem. It means you haven’t figured out what tasks are more important. Figure out which ones can wait until later. If all of the tasks are of same nature making them equally important, then that means you need to cut out some tasks, you might have taken on more than you can handle.
Having a laser-like focus on only a handful of things is essential here so that you can have only the tasks that matter the most on your list.
Most of us struggle with this. Prioritizing is not easy if you don’t know how to differentiate actual priority from the task that seems like one. Even if everything on your plate is supposed to be equally important, you will still need to find a way to break down which ones you should be spending your time on.
How we slice up our time and what we dedicate our time to often dictates what direction our life is going to take. The first question one has to get past is whether or not everything really is of equal importance – when you start questioning is when you will start looking for ways to deal with the problem the question possesses.
Dealing with Conflicting Priorities
When you are trying to deal with your personal and professional life at the same time, the tasks together can become more daunting. We face multiple demands on our time every day because of that.
In the professional scene, often the tasks that are urgent override the schedule, resulting in loss of control and inattention to priority tasks. So how should priorities be determined?
To begin with, ask questions.
Let’s take an example. Suppose you are in your office. You have a project that needs to be done today. A colleague comes by and asks you to help with something that is also urgent and needs to be done by the afternoon. Now, you didn’t say “no” because that might be rude. You have an urgent task that is not your priority and you have your own project that is a priority but not as urgent as this other task.
Ask questions to yourself –
- Is taking this additional work going to affect your workflow?
- Do you want to do this?
- Is this stressing you out or causing you anxiety?
- Are you stretching yourself too thin trying to be helpful?
- Can this work be done by someone else?
If the answer to even of these questions is “Yes” then we move on to the next part, that is, learning to drop the task because it is not a priority.
“You have to decide what your highest priorities are and have the courage – pleasantly, smilingly, non-apologetically – to say ‘no’ to other things. And the way you do that is by having a bigger ‘yes’ burning inside. The enemy of the ‘best’ is often the ‘good’.”
What Do You Do? The Art of Saying “No”
Everyone considers their project to be the most important and wants information or action immediately, they won’t always be considerate of your work. All most people care about is getting their work done. If you have trouble saying “no” chances are that your work will keep suffering. How to deal with this?
Even though you feel bad about not being able to help your colleague, it is okay. You have to put your work first. Of course, special circumstances do demand changing your priorities but most often than not saying “no” will immediately put the dilemma to rest.
If multiple people are involved in your project, find out where your piece fits into the overall project. Taking charge of your space and your time will allow you to focus on what is important, meet deadlines and minimize job and personal stress, this starts with learning to say “no.”
Why Writing Down Your Tasks Help
We have a scientific term to explain why writing down goals helps. It is called the generation effect. What it basically means is that you remember information more when you have generated it with your own mind than when you have read it. There’s no one specific answer to why it happens but a lot of studies have been conducted on it, and this phenomenon is used in quite a few things.
You must have heard people say “Goals that are not written down are just wishes.” You can dream or talk about it all you want, but until you write it down on a piece of paper, it remains a half-hearted attempt – nothing more than a wish.
Another thing and an important one at that, is encoding. Our memory has the ability to encode, store, and recall information. By writing your goals down, you are storing it externally by putting it on paper. Now, by visiting it again and again, we are encoding it into our brains. There are few intensively used types of encoding. Two types are at work here, Visual encoding and Elaborative encoding. I have discussed all of this in detail when I talked about why writing down goals can help you achieve them faster.
Basically how it works is that we write something and that can be visual encoding, looking at that, again and again, evokes the feelings associated with that task, the reason of it, if you may. That is elaborative encoding, this is how priority kicks in. The elaborative part helps us associate reasons behind the task and the consequences associated with it, and in turn, its correlation with our ultimate goals.
This eventually helps us only pick out priority labeled tasks to make us more productive and efficient.
Spending Your Time Right
Most people generally panic when they have to tackle their tasks by priority because everything feels important. When everything looks like a priority, it is easy to feel overwhelmed. It is difficult to skillfully juggle multiple priorities and competing responsibilities at the same time. There are times when you have to manage the workload at the office as well as home.
What we often fail to keep in mind when handling multiple activities is to prioritize them according to their importance. Many people just try to handle various activities as per their instinct and end up never doing the important things. Later, they might blame it on ‘not having enough time’, which obviously is untrue. You have enough time, you just have to start spending it right.
If you don’t know what your priority is, you will never have enough time to get your work done. As Laura Vanderkam says, “Instead of saying “I don’t have time” try saying “it’s not a priority,” and see how that feels.”
Prioritizing your to-do list is very simple if you learn to differentiate between your actual priority and what feels like a priority. Learning to say “no” to whatever is hindering your chances of success is the next big thing. If you learn these two things, you are pretty much sorted. All there is left to do is employ strategies to actually get the work done.
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