I don’t know about you, but it seems like 2017 absolutely flew by. And if you’re almost like me, you’re a little bit tired of the cycle of new year, new resolutions, and keeping it up for about a month and a half before falling back into old patterns.
So I want to propose something new this year. I feel like life in many ways improves when we remove things from it that aren’t improving us. We might enjoy it for a few fleeting moments, but it does nothing to make us better. When we make our typical self-improvement efforts in the beginning of the year, we’re almost always setting ourselves up for failure. I say if we really want to make change, start during one of the toughest times of the year—the holiday season.
I know, it sounds crazy, right? This is when willpower is weakest. But think about how much better you’ll feel to have made one last push towards a great end of the year! Or a head start on better habits for the next?
These are five things I think we could all do with less of. Whether you tackle them one at a time or all at once, we’ll all be happier, healthier, and more productive people once we eliminate these distractions and vices from our lives.
5 Distractions and Vices to Ditch ASAP
I love a good show. I really do. And as convenient as services like Netflix and Hulu are, I’m finding that they’re incredibly dangerous to our productivity. When the next episode of our favorite shows are right there, ready to watch as we please season after season, it can be such a trap and a time sink! I shudder to think how many hours are wasted lost in a binge-mode in front of Game of Thrones.
It’s time to break the binge. Just like anything else, too much is bad for us. Not only is the eye strain real, but it often causes us to stay up too late, adopt sedentary habits, and miss out on opportunities to be productive.
In America, we’re addicted to sugar. We just are. If you’re not cooking it from scratch, there’s probably sugar in it. Our breads are filled with sugar. Fast food? Sugar. Drinks? Even the “healthy” ones? Sugar. Breakfast cereals? So much sugar. The studies about sugar are absolutely terrifying, too. If we want to live longer, healthier lives, we can start by cutting sugar out of our diets wherever we can.
Some easy ways? Drop sodas and pick up water instead. Ditch fast food entirely. You don’t need it. Just throw out the sugary stuff. Make it a clean break and cut your addiction cold turkey.
3) Excuses & Complaining
The toughest habits to break seem to be the mental ones. Are you the kind of person who tends to focus on the negative? Complain? How about making excuses? These are behaviors that are tough to change, but they’re necessary. You’ll find that they have a negative impact not only on others perceptions of you but on your own ability to perform and do well.
Complaining does no good. Making excuses does no good. If you can do something about it, do it, and if you can’t, move on and make the best of it. This takes a conscious effort—to think in terms of gratitude and solutions instead.
4) Instant Gratification
Do you consider yourself “good with money” or “bad with money”? If you fall in the latter, you probably have an issue with instant gratification. Buying things on impulse. The most important part of healthy finances starts in the very beginning: save more than you spend! In every area of life, we have to put aside our needs to be instantly gratified. It means learning to wait. To be patient. To save rather than spend.
When you put aside the need to have and instead put your financial security at the forefront—long-term gains for short-term sacrifice—you will find yourself much more at peace!
5) Social Media
Lastly, I think we would all do well to curb the distraction of social media. Eliminate may be too harsh, but wow is it a distraction! We do a little bit of work. Check Facebook. Work a little more. Check Twitter. Check Facebook again. Work some more. Did anything happen on Twitter yet? How about in the last five minutes? Refresh...refresh.
Social media can become a real addiction. It distracts and detracts us from what we should be doing and focusing on, whether that’s work or relationships. It’s time to put our phones and our foot down on this one.
Most of these things aren’t necessarily bad in moderation. Because of that, they can be especially difficult to give up or cut back on. I do think that all of us would be much happier, healthier people if we stepped back and removed the things from our lives that are keeping us from being our best selves.
Some of these things might not be holding you back. So I encourage you to ask yourself: what’s weighing you down?