Do you feel stuck….
like you’re not moving forward in life?
When you’re ready to change your situation, the first place to look is your habits!
Habits are all the little things that we do day in and day out, and some of yours could be crushing your motivation.
To feel motivated to do something about our dreams, pursue our interests and fix problems in our lives, we need energy. Energy has a physical, emotional and spiritual component to it; and without a certain amount of energy, we find it hard to stick to things or even start them.
File these ten habits under not-so-obvious energy drainers that may be throwing you off your game.
1. Comparing yourself to others
If you don’t have a strong sense of self, comparisons can leave you feeling less capable than you really are and when you feel like that, it’s going to be hard to shore up interest in things you could otherwise easily accomplish.
- Work on becoming a person who is less focused on “stuff.”
- Be more discriminating about your friendships – IRL and on social media. When you join bullies in knocking others down, it’s only a matter of time before you point the criticism at yourself.
- Find your strengths and master something you love. Mastery and the discipline you gain from working on something for a while, make you feel capable and less preoccupied with surface qualities.
- Appreciate what you have. We’re usually comparing our weaknesses to other people’s best, but to someone less fortunate, you have the life and things they’d gladly trade.
- Become aware of when you’re comparing. We’re usually doing this unconsciously but by being aware, we can catch these thoughts and reframe them.
2. Watching too much TV
TV is our great escape but also one of the biggest energy drainers out there. What’s too much? It varies but, more than 90 minutes a day may be too much if you have goals you’re not pursuing.
THE FIX: Swap some of your TV time for entertaining hobbies like photography, cooking, playing an instrument or learning something like DJing and video editing. Your body will produce more serotonin and feel-good hormones when you do those things and will raise your energy.
If you find it hard to cut down right away, start by watching more YouTube tutorials and Talks. That way, you get your TV fix and learn something while you’re at it.
3. Binge drinking and other soft drugs
With marijuana legalization growing, weed is becoming another easy escape. These soft drugs start off helping us, so it can take a while before we notice when they’ve turned into THE problem. The thing to be aware of is that both legal and illegal drugs can rearrange our brain chemicals and our physiology. When that happens, it makes it harder to feel motivated to exercise and commit to things/goals.
THE FIX: You know what happens when you go a few days without showering? That’s right! In the same way, stress, when not addressed, becomes spiritual and mental funk. Make a practice of weekly massages, daily exercise and good nutrition — whatever you determine are good for your well-being.
4. Not getting enough sleep. This throws you off your game like nothing else.
THE FIX: Get the sleep your body needs!
You’ll hear some success-focused people say, “I’ll rest when I’m dead,” and admire that, but here’s why you shouldn’t: We all need DIFFERENT things to function at our best. While someone else may be able to function fine, indefinitely, on 6 hours sleep, you’re not necessarily one of them.
Figure out how much sleep your body needs by doing this exercise:
Go to bed at the same time every night for 7 – 21 days (you decide how long you can commit to) and wake without an alarm clock.
The average amount of sleep your body takes over the test period is most likely what it needs.
5. Not making time for the things and people you love.
THE FIX: Learn to prioritize.
Relationships are central to our happiness. Social bonding makes us feel connected, energized and inspired and produce the chemical Oxytocin (the love hormone), which makes us feel energized. Block time to call home. Set up a weekly lunch date with a co-worker, meet friends for bowling after work, and if taking a group class means you’re more likely to learn whatever you’re into, pay for the class.
6. Dwelling on “If only…” If only your parents did this or that. If only you had more help. If only you had gone to college or finished. If only you were taller, prettier, younger, or a different race. “If only” fantasies that involve things we can’t do anything about keeps us idling in neutral and is another spiritual and emotional downer.
THE FIX: Accept your situation, that no one is coming to save you, and that the world is what it is now. Instead of focusing on what you can’t do, be inspired by great minds, books and people around you and what you do have.
7. Not exercising. File this one under most overlooked productivity habit! Exercise is a cognitive enhancer and the best natural “smart drug”out there. It’s a mood booster and it naturally makes us more productive. Feeling sluggish, tired and unable to focus? Chances are that you’re either not getting enough sleep or exercise.
THE FIX: Carve out a small amount of time – 20 or 30 minutes if that’s all you have – and exercise DAILY. Why daily? If you hate exercising, doing it daily leave you without an out. Look at exercise as one of your daily “supplements.”
8. Spending too much time on social media. Unless your life is perfect, spending more than an hour a day on social media is a drainer and distraction you can do without.
THE FIX: Make healthier uses of your phone and your time.
Take control of your phone
- Check out Freedom, the app and social media blocker.
- Leave your phone when you go for a walk or do certain activities.
- Keep your phone out of sight when you’re at work.
- Put your phone away when you’re out with friends. Let one person be the designated photographer. If you can’t do this all the time, at least set boundaries.
And the most take-charge move would be to schedule your social media time. I recommend a one-hour daily limit and a day off on the weekend. Thing about breaking up your daily usage into 10-15 minute blocks of time throughout the day.
Jason Zook did a 30-day social media detox, which he recapped on his blog and made this entry on Day 30:
It’s amazing how much clearer I’m thinking. Along with a bunch of writing and emails, I outlined an entirely new business idea and sent it off to a developer friend for feedback…. Whenever I sit down to write, I can do it without the feeling of distraction or procrastination. Whenever I answer emails I can tear through them without breaks.
9. Letting your inner critic take over. She’s a pill, isn’t she? If you had a friend like your inner critic, chances are you would dump him/her.
THE FIX: Dump him/her and tune into your reasonable more compassionate voice. You may think your inner critic is an all-knowing part of you. It isn’t. It’s important to know that in addition to the critic, there is also a reasonable more compassionate voice inside all of us. Listen to THAT voice more often.
10. Avoiding your problems.
Do you live paycheck to paycheck, but rarely pay attention to what you’re spending money on or how much things cost? Are you in an abusive relationship, dating someone who isn’t there for you or who brings drama to your life instead of making it better? Do you passionately hate your job or have been struggling with your weight for years?
THE FIX: Pay attention to these problems and work to change them. Yes, it’s going to take effort, but that’s the lovely thing about life. Life is meant to require work (and fun, love, fulfillment, etc.). But work is part of it. Approach your problems with can do. Get help when you need it. To paraphrase one of my heroes, Bruce Lee:
Do not pray for an easy life, pray for the strength to make a difficult one great.
If one of these toxic habits are working you, know and believe that you can change them. You can change anything that’s not working for your best interest.