As 2017 draws to a close, I know many of us wish this was The Year That Never Was. A lot of things are topsy-turvy, out-of-whack or downright unfathomably ridiculous and yet, we must persist. Finding the energy to persist is a major feat for me and I realize that in order to have more energy and vitality, I need to let go of the low-energy, time- and motivation-sucks that come so easily to me. Here’s my list of bad habits to bid farewell in hopes of having a happier, more satisfying year and life! Join me won’t you.
5 Bad Habits to Bid Farewell in 2018
Bad Habit #1: Complaining
Complainers. You know them, maybe you are them but, shut up about it already. Complaining solves absolutely nothing and only makes you, and everyone else, feel worse about the situation. Of course, we’re all guilty of letting a complaint slip from our lips from time to time, but those of us who find something to complain about every day can certainly leave this particular bad habit behind. How? Accept what is more than you pine for what is yet to be. Done.
Bad Habit #2: Being Outraged/Venting
This bad habit is a close cousin to complaining. Lord knows we’ve had plenty to be outraged about over the past year, but we must move past this pattern of outrage followed by venting and then, ultimately, doing nothing about the outrageous thing. Social media is a perfect and continuous conduit for this bad habit. I’m not suggesting that we should turn a blind eye or let everything go, we shouldn’t. But raging and venting is a reaction, not a response.
We are living in charged times. Everyone’s trigger is razor-thin because we are constantly bombarded with messages and policies that are not in alignment with who we think we are. Difficult stuff. However, please remember that social media is an echo chamber. Venting on your profile is tantamount to preaching to the choir. Expressing outrage, no matter how well-deserved, does very little to combat the problem. Let’s live in the solution this year.
Ways You Can Get Involved and Help
Great Nonprofits (Near You)
Bad Habit #3: Chronic Overwhelm
Are you someone who wears their busy-ness as a badge? Does your daily to-do list regularly require a Herculean effort? If you answered ‘yes,’ you may be a victim of overwhelm. Overwhelm is no one’s friend.
I want to first say that there is a difference between feeling challenged and feeling overwhelmed. A challenge is when you bite off more than you can chew and then chew it. That is how we grow. Overwhelm is taking on far too much, too often and/or taking on problems not meant for you to solve and being crushed by the weight of someone else’s work. How does this happen? A few ways.
First, the constant onslaught of ‘great ideas’ to incorporate into your already overly busy life is very real. You know how it goes. Someone on social media, or in your inbox, is promising a smarter, faster, more organized way of doing XYZ. You sign up/sign on thinking it’s going to make things easier for you when really, it’s only adding to an already over-crowded list. As I see it, the problem here isn’t in managing your list, it’s in shrinking it. Do less, live more.
Next is the misguided notion that you are the only one that can do something. The old adage, ‘if you want something done right, do it yourself’ can be damaging. While it is true that another person may not do it the way you would, it is not true that yours is the only way to do it, or that yours is the only ‘right’ way. Outsource where you can and keep it moving.
Finally, there are the folks in your life who aren’t carrying their own weight. They look to you to pick up the slack, and because it needs to be done, you do it. Well, stop it! I’m reminded of a quote from the great wise one, Iyanla Vanzant. She said, “sometimes you have to let someone else fall on their ass to save yourself.”
And let the church say, AMEN!
Bad Habit #4: Glorifying “The Struggle”
Humans are not meant to struggle. This is a foreign concept for some of us, I know. Humans are meant to work, to be strengthened, to be challenged, to grow, to achieve. But for the love of all that is holy, get off the Struggle Bus! There is no honor on the Struggle Bus. The Struggle Bus is a downtrodden, weighty place where people put their noses to the grindstone and gut it out, ‘get on their grind’ and all manner of unpleasantness. Life is not meant to be a grind for f*ck’s sake!
Let go of the notion of struggle and see how much more pleasant it can be to strive toward a goal instead. To arrive at your destination with joy in your heart because you cultivated it on the path. Find ways to enjoy the process. Wouldn’t you rather skip to the finish line than get there with a skinless, ground-down nose? Think about it.
Bad Habit #5: Holding on to Past Trauma
This is one of the worst bad habits. It’s a big one and will take more than a notion to overcome. Make no mistake, this is not a 30-day challenge that you can tackle with a series of cleverly crafted emails. This one may require some professional help but boy is it worth it. Past trauma is an insidious creature that lurks in your being and convinces you that it is, in fact, a part of you. It is not.
Some of us have no idea who we are without our pain. We don’t know who we are without the armor we were forced to install to protect ourselves from some mundane or unimaginable offense. Let’s work to let it go, forgive, move through it, craft a different personal narrative. If armor was installed, it can be uninstalled; like an app. Uninstalling a thing that weighs heavily on your heart frees up space and processing power. In other words, we get our energy and vitality back.
Mental Health Resources
If your health insurance has a mental health provision, by all means, avail yourself of it. If not, there are several online mental health resources for people who need/want therapy but may not be able to afford a counselor. Lifehacker has a good list with general overviews and I’ve included a few here for you as well.
Take care of you, my lovely, give up a few bad habits in 2018 and let’s have a glorious new year!
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