Bill Gates once stated that most people overestimate what they can do in one year and underestimate what they can do in ten years.
Similarly, the majority thinks of positive routines as a magic cure to fix their lives and underestimates the power of avoiding negative habits.
However, the truth is that a set of positive rituals barely unfolds its full power if you’re not letting go of the harmful practices that are standing in your way.
Briefly speaking, eating an apple a day won’t remove the negative effects of smoking.
Similarly, a few 60-minute workouts per week won’t compensate for the lack of movement if you spend the remaining 23 hours of your day being inactive.
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Too often, we put much more weight on building something new instead of improving what’s already present.
Yet, the truth is that your daily activities ultimately determine your life.
If your day-to-day life is full of practices that are holding you back from living up to your potential, you’ll likely fail to become your best self.
That’s because, in most cases, something you occasionally do won’t have a fundamental impact on your life — no matter if it’s positive or negative. What you do every single day, however, can indeed have a powerful effect.
Stop taking things personally, even if it’s hard
As a digital entrepreneur and online writer, a huge part of my work is public to everyone.
Anyone can access, read, judge, and comment on my work. And while 99.9% of the comments and messages I receive are positive and empowering, there’s a nasty 0.1% of people who feel like sharing their hate in my comment sections or inbox.
If these people come across your work while you’re a beginner, you might doubt yourself, even if their messages are nonsense.
Don’t take it personally is easier said than done. However, the truth is that those who judge or mistreat you barely have a problem with you but actually struggle with themselves.
Nobody who’s content and mindful would ever leave mean comments or treat somebody poorly.
We’re all human and life is not about being perfect but about giving our best and creating a reality we can be proud of.
And the reality is that in the long run, taking things too personally can cost you hundreds of hours and your sanity.
What to do instead:
Whenever you get offended by someone’s behavior or message, you have two options:
- You can ask yourself why it hurts or affects you and whether there’s an unsolved issue deep within yourself
- Or you can just let them do and say whatever they want and wish them all the best
If somebody’s hurting you with their words out of nothing, they likely have a problem with themselves and their own lives. Quite often, these people are just trying to reflect their frustration on you because that’s easier than facing their own shadow.
Once you can look at it from a neutral position instead of being overly emotional about it, you’ll often realize that those who might hurt you are actually deeply frustrated themselves.
Additionally, be aware that there’s a huge difference between constructive criticism and mean comments. You should always be willing to learn and grow, but someone whose opinion is truly valuable won’t make you feel miserable anyway.
In his book Limitless, brain coach Jim Kwik shares that compared to the 15th century, we now consume as much data in a single day as an average person from the 1400s would have absorbed in an entire lifetime.
A 2015 report even indicated that respondents spent around eight hours per day consuming media.
According to Kwik, we’re struggling to find connection when we’re with friends and family, and we’re struggling to stay focused at work because of our always-on and ever-connected devices.
And the key problem is that we actually enjoy being online and mindlessly scrolling through social media feeds. That’s because each time we refresh a page or our notifications, we experience a dopamine rush. With each hit of dopamine, we’re more tempted to scrolling and refreshing and soon find ourselves in a doom loop that’s hard to escape.
What to do instead:
Controlling your (social) media usage can give you so much freedom and time. It’ll help you to disconnect from the world so you can connect with yourself.
And even though most of us are so used to our devices and certain platforms, there are a few simple steps we can take in order to regain control over our time and energy.
- You can schedule 30 minutes of off-time in your calendar every single day and use that time to do something that nourishes you. You can create a journaling practice, paint, cook, enjoy a cup of coffee or tea in silence, meditate, read a book, or do anything else that helps you feel energized and relaxed. If done correctly, 30 silent minutes can sometimes be as refreshing as a week of vacation.
- You can avoid using your phone during downtimes and consciously enjoy spare minutes when waiting for the bus or in line at the grocery store.
- You can turn off all notifications on your phone, so you’re less tempted to unlock your screen. Research shows that it takes us more than 15 minutes to fully focus on a given task after receiving a notification on our phone, even if we don’t unlock the screen. Just hearing or seeing the notification is enough to distract you.
- You can set certain time limits for the usage of specific apps such as Facebook or Instagram. Once you exceed that duration, you’ll see a notification that reminds you of your intention.
Retaining control over your social media usage might sound challenging, yet it’ll help you have a clearer mind, more time, and more mental energy to focus on the things that truly matter.
Stop screwing up your sleep
According to bestselling author Shawn Stevenson, there’s no facet of your mental, emotional, or physical performance that’s not affected by the quality of your sleep.
Yet, research proves that the majority of the global population lacks sufficient amounts of sleep.
Self-proclaimed productivity gurus often try to convince you that you might achieve more if you sleep less, but the truth is that if done correctly, sleep can be your #1 productivity and energy booster.
Getting a great rest is inevitable for a happy, healthy life. With just a few tips and tricks, you can quickly improve the quality of your sleep and life.
What to do instead:
The first thing to do is making sure you get enough sleep at all.
Contrary to common belief, you can’t operate well and perform at your best with an average of 4–5 hours of sleep per night, even if you think that it’s enough.
Additionally, you should sleep in darkness and silence. These two tips can improve the quality of your sleep tremendously. If you can’t wholly darken your room, use a sleep mask. That’s cheap and easy. Plus, you can take it with you wherever you go.
If your bedroom is not entirely silent, use earplugs. Also cheap and easy yet super effective.
What’s also important for a night of great sleep is what you do before going to bed.
For example, avoid eating big, fatty meals, or doing excessive workouts. Instead, focus on calm activities like journaling, meditation, reading, or light yoga exercises.
Additionally, avoid screens and excessive lighting. If you need to use your devices, use a blue light blocking app, or blue light blocking glasses.
By sleeping better (and more), you’ll be able to increase your health, productivity, and focus. Getting enough sleep will boost your energy level, creativity, and ability to make difficult decisions.
Quite often, it’s the most underrated daily routines that harm our happiness, productivity, and success.
If you manage to stop taking things personally, reduce your passive social media usage, and increase the quality of your sleep, you’ll experience a positive impact in almost all areas of your life.
Letting go of these three habits will help you:
- be more present and caring in your relationships
- be more effective during working hours
- be more mindful
- and ultimately improve your health
Additionally, tackling these three common negative habits will allow you to have much more time and energy for new, positive routines that might help you transform your life.
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