Change is an inevitable part of life. We may often feel like our lives are on repeat day after day (after day), but when we step back and look at the bigger picture, we often see we are drastically different people from who we were 15, 10, or even just 5 years ago.
As someone who has, for the most part, always embraced change, I’ve gone through my fair share of alterations, some of which I adopted long term, and others which never stuck.
Reflecting on these changes, I decided to put together this list of five common things I’m grateful to have cut out of my life. My hope is not to encourage you to cut out these same five items, since what works for me might not work for you, but rather to inspire you to reflect on the habits in your life and identify if any of them may be holding you back from a better, happier you.
Here are five common things I cut out for a happier life, in both video and written form:
1. Scary Movies
Let me start by setting the record straight: I am NOT suggesting that scary movies as a whole are a bad thing we would all be better off without. I am simply sharing my own experience with them.
Because so many scary movies have become so effective at creating the fear they intend to instil, I often found myself affected by them long after my time in the theatre. Things like walking to my car at night, doing work in my basement, and even hopping into bed in the dark would suddenly become concerning to me despite not having triggered anything pre-movie.
While these feelings have always gradually dissipated over time, I identified this mental torment as completely unnecessary, especially since I never particularly enjoyed the film genre in the first place. I’ll still occasionally watch a scary movie if it comes highly recommended, but for the most part, I’m glad to have cut them out and have been happier since.
2. Social Media Free-For-All
By “social media free-for-all,” I’m referring to the habit of giving myself permission to go on social media at any given time, whether it be in response to a notification or simply out of habit.
I realized this was an unhealthy behaviour when I one day accidentally left my phone at home before heading out for a 12-hour work shift. At first, I was scarily amazed by how frequently I found myself looking for my phone only to remember that I didn’t have it with me. Once that reality settled in, I was then amazed by how much more productive my day ended up being.
Since then, I’ve made a point of regulating my phone use as often as possible. When I’m at work, you’ll often see my phone on silent and upside down on my desk until I complete what I’m currently working on, and while at home you’ll usually see me without my phone entirely to give myself a break from technology. The end result? A more productive, less addicted, and happier me.
3. Macho Man/Woman Mentality
In hopes of seeming mature and tough, I spent the vast majority of my teenage years far too concerned with how others perceived me. Suppressing not only emotions but also passions was a regular part of my life, and I was unhappy as a result.
While many would consider this a normal part of the maturation process, I’m beyond grateful to have recognized just how unhealthy this was at the age I did. Since then, I’ve not only made a point of openly pursuing my passions without concerning myself with what others may or may not think of it, but I also express and process my emotions as they arise.
Just as I did with scary movies, I will once again start by clarifying that I am not condemning pornography as a whole and am instead sharing my own personal experience with it.
As appealing and stimulating as many elements within pornography may be, I personally did not like the impact it was having on how I viewed women and sexuality as a whole. In the moment of watching it I enjoyed the experience for obvious reasons, but I did not like what I was allowing it to do to my thoughts and perspectives afterward.
Admittedly, the road hasn’t always been easy to stay on, but I am grateful to have done so and more than appreciate the impact this decision has had on my relationships since.
I’ll assume that, like me, you’ve got too much to do and what seems like too little time in which to do it in. The obvious solution to this problem might seem to be multitasking, a ‘skill’ I once considered myself to be quite proficient in, but I’m here to tell you, you’re doing yourself a disservice by choosing this option.
It wasn’t until I came across the work of Kevin Trudeau and Neil Pasricha — in Your Wish is Your Command and The Happiness Equation, respectively — that I realized efficiency in multitasking is an illusion.
We might believe we are accomplishing several things simultaneously, but unless all tasks involved are things we can do unconsciously, what we’re actually doing is splitting our attention and giving each task less than our best. (Read more on this here.) Since this discovery, I’ve made a point of avoiding multitasking and instead focusing all of my attention on one task at a time, a decision that has without a doubt made me both happier and more productive.
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