Wednesday, June 25, 2014

15 Habits to Avoid

In a recent article, we discussed how the way we think definitely affects our actions. A lot of times, these thoughts are influenced by what is around us, or what we encounter on a daily basis. Knowing that humans are creatures of habit, it is important to take an inventory of what habits we currently have that actually might be doing more to hinder our success, instead of advance us along. Here is a list of 15 habits that might actually be causing you to waste your mental energy:

1. Checking your non-business related social media account first thing in the morning

If you are old enough to remember when email first appeared on the scene, everyone was so excited to wake up each day and check to see who sent them what. That feeling has now been replaced by the eagerness to see who has posted what on whatever site, or what the trending topic of the day is. Social Media accounts are the modern day office coolers, where people go to talk the latest gossip or event. But, ask yourself if knowing about Uncle Adam's breakfast is really adding to your motivation first thing in the morning.

Jumping on to these sites first thing in the morning can many times cause MAJOR procrastination. These sites aren't bad per se, but if they aren't aiding you in any way towards the achievement of your goal, save it for lunch time.

2. Watching, and reading, too much of the news

If you haven't yet read the article on how we impact our actions by what we let affect our mood, check it out here. If the first thing you read, or see on TV, is something along the lines of "Drastic Earthquake","X amount of people hurt from...", "Financial Crisis...", etc., then not only are you reinforcing the negativity that you see in your personal world, but you are setting the mood for the rest of your day.

Hearing about these things can cause you to worry about things that may either not be true, or you have no control over. Because of this, it is useless to worry about it, or for that to be the first mental fuel you ingest for the day. If it is something truly important that you need to know about, I promise, it will find its way to you.

3. Complaining

Everyone needs to vent sometimes, but there is such a thin line between the two, that many times we just end up complaining. Where venting is healthy, as a release in a non-negative fashion, complaining is a dagger to productivity. Complaining will clog up your creative stream, causing you to focus on what is not going the way you want, instead of concentrating on how to fix the issue. If it is something that you have no control over, then it is best to let it go. If it cannot be fixed creatively, let it go.

4. Spending more than you make

We all know this, either by accident or just common sense, we know this. Yet, probably the majority of people you personally know do it anyways. This is a very, very, bad habit that leads people to stay in severe financial ruts over a long period of time. We can ALWAYS make more money. The problem is that we often collapse into a state of panic instead of thinking clearly. Until you have figured out how to raise your income, it would be of great service to yourself if you were to cut back on things that you truly don't need (that morning coffee, the extra bacon for $1.25, the new e-book you get every week, the happy hour every Thursday, etc.). It is with mathematical certainty that you will never be financially struggling if you are always making more than you spend.

5. Over eating

Who doesn't like food? Even the cleanest eaters of the world LOVE food. Whether or not they choose to partake in a double layered chocolate cake is another story. There is a huge truth in that eating healthier is optimally best for our nutrition, but people often fail to realize that they really need to start with their own self control. We have an incredibly bad habit of over eating. There is a reason that companies flash delicious looking meals at 8pm at night while you are sitting on the sofa. You honestly shouldn't be hungry if you ate the right amount an hour earlier.

This lack of self-control causes us to give in to whatever negativity is influencing us. Whether it is sadness from a breakup, tension from work, or simply boredom, we obey these yearnings instead of listening to our actual body. If you truly listen and pay attention to your body, you will know when to eat, and how much.

In addition to the health ramifications you can cause yourself from over eating, you also set your productivity to shoot down hill as one can become sluggish afterwards. This is obviously the opposite of what we want to happen as we strive for our goal.

6. Bad mouthing

Anything and everything that can be considered negative, affects your actions in a sub-par manner. This includes bad mouthing. If you are not building someone up in some form or fashion, then you really should not be talking about them. Bad mouthing someone may make the bad mouther appear interesting at first, as those who are listening to the venom being spewed are very engaged, but afterwards people always catch wind of that person's true nature. Everyone realizes at some point that if you are going to talk about him this way, why would you not talk about me just the same? A person who bad mouths others comes to light as a very immature, selfish person. They bring no value to any discussion. Any promoter of hate, or negativity, does these things out of a selfish nature. To get caught up in these circles is to surround yourself with thorny vines which will eventually entangle you as well. Avoid it.

7. Staying up too late

Sleep is probably your body's best friend. Aside from eating healthy, and thinking healthy, sleep is what keeps you mentally and physically performing at optimal degrees. There are times when you feel like you just have to cram in another bit of work, or study for tomorrow, but the truth is you are damaging your potential to use 100% of your faculties the following day. If this is continued over some time, your body will start to slow down, your mind will not be as quick to think, and even your physical appearance will be trying to exclaim to you and the world that you need sleep. Remember, our mind is our greatest asset, and if through your body your mind is telling you to rest, you should probably just do it.

8. Drinking too much

Wine, beer, juice, water - everything has its place and time for consumption. But anything out of moderation can hurt you in the short term, as well as in the long run. Even too much water, as crazy as that may sound, can be damaging to your body. As stated above, just listen to your body. Sometimes, after two cups of coffee and a few hours later, we start to feel sluggish. So, we think it's time for a third cup of coffee, when in actuality, if you just rehydrated yourself with ample water, you would wake up quicker.

While on your road to success, you always want to consider what is really benefitting you. Is it really going to benefit you to have more than one beer, or glass of wine, while out with your co-workers? Anything that impairs your judgment can have catastrophic effects on your productivity, as well as your reputation.

9. Competing, instead of creating

Early on we are taught to compete for the prize. Then, at some point, we are told we are actually competing with ourselves. Things involving competition can be fun, motivating, and healthy to a degree, but not when it is at the cost of making another feel bad. In regards to financial success, business and personal endeavors, there honestly is enough for everyone.

People try to be the first to do this or that, or they gauge their success on how someone else is fairing. Stop. ANY energy not concentrated on what YOU are trying to accomplish for YOUR personal happiness, is wasted energy. Trying to compete and keep up with your neighbor is zapping you of being more creative. Innovation comes out of creativity. Use that super brain of yours to concentrate on a creative manner to reach the finish line ahead of you, not looking to your left to see how fast the other racer is.

When you focus more on competing, you tend to force things, rush, and overlook opportunities that organically grow from creating. Those out of the box ideas that randomly pop up when you are in the middle of creating, often DO come at a quick pace as well - but it is an easy, seamless flow. You will feel difference.

10. Having a selfish attitude

This, which happens to be the opposite of being grateful, can lead someone to go through a life of illusion. When someone walks around only thinking of themselves, they miss the bigger picture – we are all here to ultimately help each other. Not only do you feel good about helping others, but life has a very funny way of always paying you back tenfold for your sincere humanitarian efforts. This is why, those who actually do appear to get ahead by stepping over others, in the long run, are not actually fulfilled. It is an illusion if they think that, because at some point – often out of nowhere, they feel this hard truth set in. Materially, they might have everything, but often they have an even bigger internal hole. Selfless people do not experience that.

11. Not taking breaks, or a lunch, during work

Overachievers hate this one, but you can still be the most incredibly awesome person in the office if you step out from behind your desk, stretch, and even take a 10 minute walk. Remember what we said about listening to your body, and your mind being your most important asset. If you are in your "zone", and you have been at it for some time, by all means continue. But don't mistake your will to keep going, with being in your zone.

The will is an amazing thing when used appropriately, and at the right time. But the will is a mental force that we tend to use to force us along in something whose end result is what we want, but whose process can seem unbearable. Being in the "zone" is more like a happy never ending energy. Be sure to never confuse the two.

12. Worrying too much about what others think

Why are you doing what you are doing? The goal that you currently have in your life, is it for your happiness, or that of what someone else thinks yours should be? The only reason we ask people, "What do you think if I do this,” is because we want a form of approval from others. Asking someone for their perspective is great, but ultimately, if you know yourself well, and seriously know what you truly want in your life, it will never be a hard decision.

We spend more than half our lives doing what others think we should do, many times sacrificing our own happiness and positive fulfillment. This isn't an invitation to be selfish, but rather for us to really pursue our dream. As long your dream is for the positive betterment of yourself, those around you, and humanity, you should not feel selfish about going for it.

13. Procrastination

The age old advice of "Why put off until tomorrow what you can do today?" still holds truer than ever. In our modern day society, the ever increasing enticing distractions are rampant. Throw in any habits of indecision and lack of sleep, and we become prime candidates for procrastination. This is probably the biggest killer of using our time effectively, and to its fullest potential. Procrastination will NOT allow you to reach your goal. An unthinkable amount of opportunities are missed when we are in a state of procrastination. Opportunities that can help you reach your goals faster, or even provide you with a better outcome than you had originally wanted. The minute you wake up from sleep, the minute you get home from your "day" job, and the moment you have free time - don't just linger there, MOVE.

14. The illusion of multitasking

Decades ago, you were a "master" of sorts if you could multitask. But, as with everything, time has proven that we in reality cannot literally multitask. What we consider multitasking is really just us doing several unrelated things not well. The brain cannot focus on more than one thing at a time. Yes, you can answer the phone, type up an email, take a sip of coffee, and kick off your shoes to scratch your shin all at the same time - but if you break it down, none of it is actually done at the same time exact time. It's better to focus your attention on one thing at a time, and give that all of your focus.

If we aren't devoting 100%, then we obviously are not giving it our actual best.

15. Being too hard on yourself

Just as you wouldn't tell a kid they are stupid for not completing this, or because that didn't turn out the way it was "supposed" to, never ever should you talk down to yourself. Build yourself up, not tear yourself down. Everything starts within, and your reality is exactly how you view yourself.

When it is all said and done, you have to remember that as long as you know for a fact that you have put every bit of your being into what you are striving for, that that is all that is expected of you. If you have given it your all, and the outcome you were hoping for does not show up, know that it is because there is something much greater and more fulfilling for you lying ahead. Either way, you will end up happy and fulfilled, which is really what we all are pursuing on a deeper level.

Are you guilty of any of these habits? If so, instead of trying to tackle them all at once, start with what you realistically feel you can do. Sometimes it takes the axing of only one bad habit to start a chain reaction of other bad habits going away as well.

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Lover of Family, Life, and Possibility. Creative Soul. "Stop Thinking You Can't, and Start Knowing You Can." Reach out to me, and let me know how I can help!


  1. This is the third article I have read from you guys and all I have to say is thanks so much! Please keep them coming!

  2. I like the creating instead of competing thing. Cheers!


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