Remember those resolutions you made at the start of the year? Yeeeeah, what happened to them?
Lucky for all of us, every single day is a new chance to start doing better. Here are a few pointers to get you going.
STOP - the unnecessary meetings
If you spend all your time meeting people, you spend less time doing things. There’s only so much that needs to be talked about. Have one meeting about stuff, decide the stuff, then go and do the stuff.
A simple way of expediting matters is to follow this template. Set an agenda for the meeting. Ask every person there what they’re working on, what they’ve finished and what they need to complete the rest. Then everyone knows where everyone else is at, and you can move on to getting things done.
STOP - with the paranoia
The postman is not throwing away your mail. The kid at the bus stop was not laughing at you. If your boss doesn’t return your smile when he’s on the phone, he’s not talking about you and plotting how to throw you off his team. Everybody is wrapped up in their own issues, and are thinking about themselves. Just as you’re thinking about yourself right now.
If you stop analysing every nuance of interaction and deciding it’s all about you, you’ll find there are so many more interesting things to think about. And your life will be much happier because of it.
STOP - trying to multitask
None of us can do it. Almost none of us, anyway. And you might feel more productive when you’ve got a million tabs open on your computer and you’re jumping between all of them, but no. You’re not. Please stop.
New plan going forward: shut off everything except the one thing you need to work on right now. Close Facebook down. Mute your inbox alert. Focus on one thing at a time, and start blitzing through your projects.
STOP - comparing
Life is not a comparison website. It is impossible to look at everything other people have, and measure up in every way. You’re always going to think someone has it better, or looks hotter, or has more money, or has achieved more things (or lives where you wish you lived, or is doing the job you want to do, or has x amount of kids, etc etc etc). There is no way to win this game, and you’ll only make yourself miserable. Focus on what you have, and where you want to get to. Improve your health, calm your mind. You’ll be far better off.
STOP - whining
The more negativity you spread, the worse you feel - and the worse you make everyone around you feel. There is no upside to constant complaining. Nothing good comes of it. If you make a concerted effort to focus on the positive things around you, you will feel more positive and so will everyone else.
STOP - letting negative people ruin it all
In the same vein, don’t let people around you spread negativity either. If you have people in your life who constantly make you feel bad, or drag you down, or can’t be happy for you when you’re happy, it’s time to reevaluate what they’re doing in your life. What’s the benefit to keeping them around? If they’re an old friend you could never cut loose, they should care about you enough to listen if you ask them to stop making your life miserable. If they don’t, perhaps they’re not that great a friend.
It doesn’t have to be a big drama. If you just stop being where they are, they probably won’t even notice.
STOP - spending your life indoors
Seriously. Human beings need fresh air and sunlight. A large percentage of the global workforce spends 90% - ninety per cent - of each day inside. This stops us getting enough light, which can lead to depression (we’ve all heard of SAD, right?) and negatively affect
our sleep cycles. Sunlight resets our circadian rhythm, which is what helps up sleep. Going outside for thirty to sixty minutes a day - a lunch break’s worth - will expose you to enough rays to anchor your circadian rhythm. Your sleep, your health, and your peace of mind will thank you.
STOP - saying yes to everything
Ever get the feeling there aren’t enough hours in the day? That you’re constantly buzzing from one place to the next, and don’t have much to show for it by bedtime? It can help to remember that ‘no’ is a perfectly valid word that is at your disposal, and you are well within your rights to use it. No, you will not do someone else’s work for them. No, you will not cover three extra shifts for the second week in a row. No, you will not run down to the mailing room when you’ve got your hands full with your own work.
You don’t have to go to every event, and be seen in every place. This is your life. Do what needs to be done, and the spend the rest of it doing what makes you happy.
STOP - the self-doubt
You are not the worst person in existence. You are not terrible at your job. No one actually hates you. You can do this.
Everyone has self-doubt, and everyone has things they don’t like about themselves. Guess what? Everyone can take steps to change those things too. Try meditation to calm your mind, and centre yourself. And make goals - they instantly motivate your brain into looking for ways to make them happen. Write down three things you want to change this year. Tomorrow, pick the first one and write down things you need to do in order to make it reality.
Planning is the first step to achieving goals. Doing things, rather than dreaming about them - or telling yourself you can’t have them - is the best way to show yourself you are worth the things you want.
STOP - sitting down
Get up. Move. Walk around, and stretch. Your body will thank you, and your mind will work better. Simple as that.
STOP - underachieving
The clock’s ticking on life, and when it’s done it’s done. There is no better time than right now to start getting the things you want. Killer body? Hit the gym. Own your own business? Start a website, and get going. Staring at the sky and wishing things were different is a surefire way to make sure everything stays the same. If you want to achieve, make it happen.
STOP - going too early
You know, that thing that happens when you get an idea and start talking about it a lot, getting enthusiastic, filling yourself with the prospect of how it’ll work…annnnd then you do nothing about it. Why? Because your brain thinks you’ve already accomplished it.
Don’t mistake talking for doing. Be a bit more circumspect, and put the work in first. Then you can talk as much as you like.
STOP - making excuses
We all know an excuse when we hear it. You’re not fooling us, and you’re definitely fooling yourself. Except deep down, you’re not doing that either.
Oh, and listing reasons why you can’t do something? Also just excuses.
STOP - with the social media at work
Facebook and Twitter will keep you rooted in your chair, achieving precisely nothing, for entire years of your life if you let them. Of course they will; they’re a never-ending stream of content. But is any of that content relevant to the work you’re actually supposed to be doing?
Just turn them off. All of them. The updates will still be there when you hit break time - and you’ll enjoy catching up more, because you won’t have that nagging feeling that you should really be doing something else.
STOP - with the mental junk food
Reality TV. Gossip columns. The latest news about who’s sleeping with who, and who just filed for divorce. You’re a grown-up with an actual life of your own, remember? And be honest - if you look back ten years ago to when you were obsessed with the people in the Big Brother house…can you even remember their names now? No, me either. All this stuff is just filler, and you don’t need it in your life.
STOP - thinking the worst
The world is almost definitely not going to end in the next week. Or even in the next 3.5 years, despite some worrying signs to the contrary. Constant pessimism is just as bad as spewing complaints and negativity around. It drags everyone down. Make the choice to be an optimist instead (you can start small and build up, if it doesn’t come naturally to you). Allow yourself to see the times people are actually good to each other, and appreciate those moments. Instead of looking at the disaster, look for the people helping to clean up after it. People are, by overwhelming majority, Not That Bad.
STOP - wasting time on what you can’t control
Things you can control: what you wear, what you eat, what you think, what you do.
Things you can’t control: just about everything else. And obsessing about them is not going to change that. Focus on making yourself the best you can be, and you’ll be on a fast-track to happiness. And you might find the good things in life start coming to you.
STOP - searching for perfection
It’s not going to happen, and it’s just procrastination in disguise. Spending another month on that project is not going to improve it. You’re done. Move on. Endlessly searching for the unreachable is just another way of being scared of progress and change. Stop tripping yourself up.
STOP - thinking you can’t change
You can. I can. We all can. We’ve just got to make the decision, and commit to it. That’s all.
I believe in you.
What bad habits are you trying to stop in 2017? Let us know in the comments below!