August 8, 2012
Although I’ve been trained to understand the concepts and actions that undermine our happiness and personal growth, there’s nothing like watching someone reach that ‘ah ha’ moment and begin to transform their lives. Not only is it profoundly gratifying to be privy to these moments, it helps me examine the areas in my own life where I’m stuck in old routines and behaviors that aren’t serving me.
Often, we don’t even realize we have other options in our perspective, beliefs, and actions, until someone leads us to a new way of thinking. Our routines and behaviors have become so ingrained, and even addictive, that it is often impossible to identify them as the cause of so much of our frustration and suffering. I firmly believe that there are some ‘universal’ shifts that everyone should make in order to live a life of integrity, balance, fulfillment, and joy. These shifts aren’t always easy to embrace, but the first step toward change and growth is always awareness.
Here are 50 things to stop doing forever in order to shift your life up to a more profound level of happiness. You may not agree with all of these, but I invite you to ponder these suggestions over time to see if awareness might lead you to a new approach to your life.
I have completely stopped . . .
1. Struggling. I don’t resist or fight against life or even ‘bad’ events. I go with the flow and make the best choices I can in the moment.
2. Doing things because I ‘should.’ I am not motivated by guilt but by my own adult decisions about what is best for me.
3. Delaying solving a problem. I face the situation squarely and handle it as quickly as possible so it doesn’t cause me anxiety.
4. Tolerating crap from other people (VERY important). I no longer hang around with people who diminish me, drain my energy, or treat me poorly.
5. Creating or tolerating drama in my life. Even though it can bring attention and a weird sort of excitement, I know that drama creates negative energy.
6. Setting goals that I should achieve. I set goals that I want to achieve.
7. Trying to change people, especially my spouse or partner. I accept people exactly as they are or I get out. (This doesn’t mean you can’t ask for something you need from the relationship.)
8. Putting other people’s needs before my own. I recognize that unless my cup is mostly full, I can’t be available to lovingly give to others.
9. Creating mindless tasks. Life is too precious and beautiful to whittle it away on empty tasks just to feel like you are accomplishing something.
10. Putting work, money, projects, or television before those I love. Relationships are the most important thing in my life, and I act like it.
11. Spending money to fill a void. I seek to find the cause of my emptiness. I don’t try to buy my way out of it.
12. Beating a dead horse. If I see something isn’t working, I recognize it and move on.
13. Driving aggressively. I don’t need to express my power or my urgency through my car. I don’t tailgate, cut people off, or run yellow lights.
14. Gossiping. I recognize that gossip is my attempt at having power over others, and I release my need for that.
15. Trying to prove myself. I just am myself and live according to my own values and personal operating system.
16. Owning other people’s problems (another critical point). I will support, listen, and love, but I no longer manage or invest myself in other people’s difficulties.
17. Manipulating people. I don’t have to go in the back door to get what I need. I ask directly.
18. Defining myself by my achievements or roles. I define myself by the actions and choices I make in every moment.
19. Dwelling on the past. I consciously live in the moment and focus my awareness on what is happening right now.
20. Reacting before thinking. I may not be able to control my feelings in every situation, but I can control my behavior.
21. Pretending I’m too old or it’s too late. I recognize this as an excuse for not trying.
22. Saying yes when I mean no. I am becoming a master at saying no even when I know it might upset someone.
23. Compromising my values. I know what my values are, and I completely orient my life around them.
24. Over-promising. I promise only 50% of what I can deliver, leaving myself space for change.
25. Allowing other people to waste my time. I take the necessary steps to educate or avoid them.
26. Accepting anxiety, depression or ill-health. I do everything in my power to restore my mental and physical health because I know good health is the foundation for a happy life.
27. Filling all of my time. I leave some time during the day completely open to just do nothing.
28. Focusing on the future. It’s great to have goals, but I enjoy the process as much as the outcome.
29. Believing I’m right. I recognize that there are many ways to perceive things and more than one way to handle situations.
30. Ignoring my intuition. I trust my instincts and listen to my own wisdom.
31. Accepting limitations. I assume I can accomplish or achieve something until it is absolutely proven I cannot.
32. Isolating myself. I know that it takes effort to expand my network of friends, and I see the value in that.
33. Fighting what comes naturally. I no longer try to force my life to be a square peg in a round hole. I go with the flow and strengthen my strengths.
34. Accepting boredom. I either find the beauty in the moment or I take action to create energy and enthusiasm.
35. Feeling guilty. I right any wrongs, I ask for forgiveness, I restore my integrity. Then I let it go.
36. Juggling. I don’t fill my plate so full that my life is out of balance.
37. Stuffing my feelings. I express myself fully, ask for what I need, and seek help to resolve pain feelings I can’t handle alone.
38. Behaving childishly. I don’t have to whine or have a tantrum to get what I need.
39. Having a chip on my shoulder. I have a lighthearted approach to life and don’t get my feelings hurt easily.
40. Controlling people or situations. I accept ‘what is’ rather than what I think should be.
41. Waiting for other people to decide. I have the self-confidence to initiate.
42. Living beyond my means. I know that debt is an enormous energy drain and reclaiming that energy is far more important than material things.
43. Eating for emotional comfort. I recognize this when it happens and deal with the issue directly.
44. Taking other people for granted. I regularly express my love and appreciation to those close to me.
45. Fighting. I simply don’t fight with anyone any more. I calmly walk away from arguments until I can resolve conflict peacefully.
46. Over-thinking. I spend a reasonable amount of time contemplating a problem or decision. Then I get out of my head and take action.
47. Living below my standards. I am clear on my standards, and I live up to them.
48. Stagnating. I continue to actively grow and learn.
49. Seeking to fill my ego before my soul. I can distinguish between the two and place my priority squarely on soul-fulfilling actions and choices.
50. Assuming I’m not creative. Life itself is a creative act, and every day I can create myself just the way I want to be.
What have you learned about things to stop doing forever in order to expand your personal growth and happiness? Feel free to leave your thoughts below.
Until next time…
About the author
Jason Garcia, Founder
Author, Shifting the Balance