Thursday, January 7, 2016

Live Better By Letting These 12 Things Go



You don’t have to do more to grow and improve. You can add to your life by subtracting negative habits, and by eliminating mindsets and beliefs that are holding you back can have a massive impact on your life.

1. Let go of making life choices based on the expectations of others.

We’re influenced by friends, family, and society. TV shows, advertisements, and advice from others provide a steady stream of messages about the right way to live. Everyone has an opinion (usually unsolicited) about what you should do with your life. Each person has unique experiences, fears, and dreams. People with different beliefs and experiences shouldn’t direct your life choices. Ignore the expectations society places on you. Let go of living someone else’s life.

2. Let go of questioning your dreams.

You don’t have to drop everything and take huge risks to follow your dreams. You can start by taking small steps in that direction. You put less pressure on yourself with incremental steps instead of trying to get from A to Z immediately. The lessons from your early wins and mistakes will inform your next steps. As you accumulate small wins, you can adjust your strategy and take bigger risks. Starting to move in the direction of your dreams fuels you with excitement and motivation.

3. Let go of waiting to take action until you’re confident in the results.

Even if you create the perfect plan, there will be uncertainty along the way. You can’t remove all risks. You’ll make mistakes. You’ll change direction as you find that certain strategies don’t work like you envisioned. The road map will become clearer as you learn throughout the process. The uncertainty in the outcome will decrease. You just have to take the first step.

4. Let go of comparing yourself to others.

“There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.”
—Ernest Hemingway
When we compare ourselves to others, we look towards more successful people. This leads to us feeling insecure and inadequate. We dwell on why we aren’t as successful as them. We feel envy. We blame ourselves for not having made better decisions. Instead of swimming in these negative emotions, we can compare ourselves against our ideal self. We can run our own race. As we turn our attention to what we want, we cultivate productive beliefs and thought patterns.

5. Let go of seeking validation and approval from others.

If you constantly seek the approval of others, you make decisions based on what others will like. Instead of thinking about what you want, you seek to please everyone else. In this frame of mind, your self-image and emotional state are outside of your control. Your emotions ebb and flow based on the opinions of others. As you become self-validated, you look within yourself for answers. You analyze each situation and simply do what you think is right. You stop worrying about how other people will perceive your actions.

6. Let go of complaining.

Many of the setbacks we face are unfair. Things go wrong for reasons that are out of our control. It’s not our fault. We can easily fall into a pattern of complaining about everything that’s not going our way. It feels good. Yet, complaining doesn’t change our situation. When we stop complaining, our mind switches gears to search for solutions instead of looking for problems.

7. Let go of moving on before celebrating your successes.

We work hard to achieve meaningful goals. Then, we spend a few minutes enjoying the accomplishments before moving on the next endeavor. Looking ahead is a great habit to develop. Taking time to celebrate big wins is equally important. Take a step back to reflect on the journey. Toast to the rewards you’ve earned.

8. Let go of the need to win the argument.

We craft the winning defense in our head like lawyers. We replay the speech we’re going to deliver. Then, we engage in the heated debate. We imagined we were going to hear the satisfying “you’re right” at the end of the argument. Instead, we both leave the scene upset and frustrated. Each of us digs in more fiercely to our side of the argument. We both lose that argument. We can win the argument by starving our ego from the satisfaction of proving our point.

9. Let go of worrying about the past.

The more mental real estate we give to our past, the less growth we experience in the present. The past can’t be changed. Worrying about the past doesn’t provide any benefits. We can’t improve our present position at the same time that we’re living in the past. It’s natural to recall past mistakes. We can’t stop those thoughts from popping up. We have the power to let those thoughts drift away instead of allowing them to draw us back to the past.

10. Let go of being overly critical of yourself.

“Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.”
—Winston Churchill
If you set ambitious goals, you’ll be at the edge of your comfort zone most of the time. You’ll fail over and over as you climb new heights. Failed attempts are part of the growth process. We can appreciate our effort instead of blaming ourselves for each mistake. 

11. Let go of focusing on the urgent over the important.

We can spend most of our time putting out small fires. The urgent tasks will keep coming tomorrow and the day after. Life is an endless conveyor belt of small fires. Most of them aren’t important. When we build the habit of focusing on the important over the urgent, we make consistent progress towards meaningful goals. We create momentum towards the life we envision. That’s better than getting a lot done but not getting where we want to go.

12. Let go of feeling busy and overwhelmed.

We’re all guilty of telling our friends, “I’m so busy.” A part of us likes being too busy because it makes us feel important and valued. We also feel overwhelmed without realizing how it happened. We say “yes” to most invitations and requests without thinking about how they fit into our big picture plans. Turning down requests from our friends and co-workers takes discipline and commitment to our priorities. As we build the “No” muscle, we give ourselves the space to design our days to reflect a balance of work, play, and relaxation. We’re in charge of our time.

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