This is a new year. A new beginning. And things will change.
Are you tired of dealing with the same type of headaches and heartaches over and over and over again?
Seriously, it’s time to purge some bad habits as we begin a New Year. It’s time to learn from your mistakes rather than be conquered by them, and let your errors be of commission rather than omission.
Remember, you ultimately become what you repeatedly do. If your habits aren’t helping you, they’re hurting you. Here are 12 common examples of the latter that stole happiness from hundreds of our coaching clients last year:
- Sticking exclusively with what you already know. – When you stop learning you stop living a meaningful life. This is the truth. Life’s richness does not come from always residing within familiar and comfortable territory. It’s when you venture out, away from the familiar, that you grow stronger and more capable. You must hold tightly to your core values while at the same time opening your heart and mind to new ideas, feelings and experiences. Your own perspective will become clearer when you look at things from different angles. Find ways to provide a healthy challenge to your current understanding of life, and you will discover and experience far more of life’s magic in the year ahead.
- Resisting life’s inevitable and necessary changes. – There will always be more tough changes to make. Always! And yes, this growth can be painful. Change can be painful. But in the end, nothing is as painful as staying stuck somewhere you do not belong. You’re not the same person you were a year ago, a month ago or a week ago. You’re always growing. Experiences don’t stop. That’s life. It takes a great deal of courage to admit that something needs to change, and a lot more courage, still, to accept responsibility for making the change happen. But doing so is worth every bit of effort you can muster.
- Letting others define what’s possible for you and your life. – Some people will kill you over time if you let them; and how they’ll kill you is with tiny, seemingly harmless phrases like, “Be realistic.” When this happens, close your ears and listen to your inner voice instead. Remember that real success in life isn’t what others see, but how you feel inside. It’s living your truth and doing what makes you feel alive. There will come a time when your back is up against the wall and you’ll realize all you can do is say, “I’m sorry, I’m doing things my way this time!” That’s the earth-shattering moment you stop planning for someone else’s expectations and start making progress on what’s truly important to YOU. That’s when you begin to live life according to your own morals and values. And that’s when you can finally be happy and free.
- Focusing on everyone’s story except your own. – Don’t be so satisfied with the success stories of others and how things have gone for them that you forget to write your own. And don’t compare your Chapter 1 to someone else’s Chapter 15. Unfold your own tale and bring it to life. You have everything you need to become what you are capable of becoming. Incredible change happens when you decide to take control. This means consuming less and creating more. It means refusing to let others do your thinking, talking and deciding for you. It means learning to respect and use your own ideas and instincts to write your passage. If you want your life story to soar to new heights this year, you’ve got to clear a path, reduce the time-sinks and burdens weighing you down, and pick up the things that give you wings. Keep your best wishes and your biggest goals close to your heart and dedicate time to them every day.
- Focusing on every little problem. – The greater part of our happiness or misery depends on our attitudes, not our circumstances. If you’re stressed out by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your interpretation of it; and this is something you have the power to change at any moment. In other words, frustration and stress come from the way you react, not the way things are. Adjust your attitude, and the frustration and stress is gone. (Read The How of Happiness.)
- Wanting to be more right than everyone else. – When it’s suddenly more important to win arguments than to love people, we need to start all over again with our priorities. Remember, truly confident people don’t mind being proven wrong. They know that finding out what is right is a lot more important than being right. And when they’re wrong, they’re secure enough to back down graciously and appreciate the lesson learned. In fact, sometimes we must choose to be wrong, not because we really are wrong, but because we value our relationship more than our pride. When two people who care about each other fight, both are wrong. They have put some kind of superficial outcome over love and compromise. The one who apologizes and makes up first is the one who is right.
- Holding on to someone who continuously and deliberately hurts you. – Sometimes you have to walk away from people, not because you don’t care, but because they don’t. Forgiveness is important, but when someone hurts you time and time again, purposely, you have to accept the fact that they don’t care about you. It’s a tough pill to swallow, but it’s necessary medicine. Do NOT strive to impress them anymore. Waste not another second of your time trying to prove something to them. Nothing needs to be proven. Do not act with any thought of them for the foreseeable future. Create space for yourself and dedicate your time and energy to rediscovering your happiness and peace of mind.
- Being more loving to others than you are to yourself. – Life gets a lot easier when you are your own best friend. So don’t forget about YOU out there, and don’t be too hard on yourself either. There are plenty of others that will do both of these things for you. There’s absolutely nothing selfish about self-care. If you don’t take good care of yourself then you can’t take good care of anyone else. Because we can’t give what we don’t have. Treat yourself right and you’ll be life-giving to others. And know that there’s a big difference between self-care and…
- Being too self-absorbed. – Generosity is what keeps the things you own from owning you. In other words, generosity isn’t just to help others, it’s also to liberate you. Which is why you cannot live abundantly until you have done something nice for someone who can never repay you. Know this and live graciously. There is no exercise better for your heart and mind than reaching down and lifting people up.
- Expecting everyone else to be as kind and caring as you are. – Bottom line: You will end up very disappointed if you expect people will always do for you as you do for them. Not everyone has the same heart as you. (Read Loving What Is.)
- Expecting to never lose anything. – It’s incredibly tough to comprehend at times, but there’s a reason for everything. We must know the pain of loss, because if we never knew it, we would have little compassion for others and we would become bigheaded monsters of egoism – creatures of sheer self-interest, never being happy with what we have. The awful pain of loss teaches humility to our prideful kind, has the power to warm-up a cold heart, and make an even better person out of a good one. So remember that no book is just one chapter. No chapter tells the whole story. No hardship defines who you are. Keep turning the pages that need to be turned.
- Letting yesterday’s displeasures defeat you. – Don’t live with disappointment, live beyond it. You cannot stop what has already happened, but you can let it make you stronger and more determined. The journey to emotional maturity requires that you review the events in your life to find the wisdom and purpose they contain. And a time will inevitably come in your life when you finally get it. When in the midst of all your hesitation and frustration you stop dead in your tracks and somewhere the voice inside your head cries out, “ENOUGH!” This is the turning point that ultimately leads to healing and growth. So as we begin a new year, close the door on your past, open the door to your future, take a deep breath, take a step forward, and start a new chapter in your life.
As I’ve mentioned before, if you’re struggling with any of these points, know that you are not alone. Many of us are right there with you, working hard to feel better, think more clearly, and keep our lives and relationships on track. This is precisely why Angel and I wrote our book, 1,000 Little Things Happy Successful People Do Differently. It’s filled with short, concise tips on how to do just that. And believe it or not, Angel and I review a lot of our own material on a regular basis too, just to center our minds on these positive principles.
The bottom line is that it’s never too late to take a step in the right direction. It’s never too late to become the person you are capable of being. Things can change if you want them to, at any age. Right now you have the opportunity of a lifetime.
The floor is yours…
What stole a little too much of your happiness last year? What changes are you going to make this year to reclaim your happiness? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts.
Photo by: Marcus