"All our life, so far as it has definite form, is but a mass of habits." ~William James
Just how purposeful is our day? Have you ever thought about that? We'd like to think we are our own man, our own woman, our own person and that each of our actions are the results of well-considered, well-thought-out decision making. Unfortunately, they are not. Most of our life's journey is encapsulated by habits. We don't think too much about habits because each habit means little in isolation. However, over time, the foods we eat, what we say to our spouse each day, what we spend, what we save, how often we exercise, how we organize our work tasks and routines, all of these things in combination and over time have a huge impact on our physical, mental, emotional, and financial health and wellbeing. If we want to level up in life, meaning if we really want to grow and be the best version of ourselves, we have to be mindful of our habits, good and bad. Today's article we will explore 10 habits that are preventing us from managing our stress and flourishing mentally and emotionally.
Bad Habit #1- Starting Your Day with a Negative Mindset
You set the tone for your day. It may be hard to believe but it is true. If you start your day convincing yourself that you are tired, you will be even more tired than you actually are. If you start your day convinced that you are going to screw up that meeting at work or your presentation at school, or criticizing yourself on how you handled a situation last week, you will feel bad. You will feel uninspired. Starting your day from a place of negativity is doing nothing but stunting your emotional and mental growth.
Bad Habit #2- Your Education Stops When You Got That Paper
If you are anything like I was and hated going to school because the idea of formal education felt too restrictive, then I can understand why this one may cause an involuntary eye roll. But please hear me out. Education is more than just sitting in a classroom. The world is vast and wide. The truth is, none of us could possibly know everything there is to know about life and the world around us. It would take a hundred lifetimes and I'm not even convinced that we would get it even then. When we refuse to continue learning, we get in the way of our leveling up in life. Our brains best help us grow when we keep them active and sharp. We keep them active and sharp by learning something new. It doesn't have to be as complex as going back to school for formal education. Keep it simple. Learn a new word or a new concept. Attend an event on a special interest topic i.e. gardening, sewing, canning, painting, music, finances.
Bad Habit #3- The Last Time You Exercised You Were in P.E. Class
When was the last time you did a push up? A sit up? That long huh? We have touched on this before. And full transparent moment, I have had to have a come to Jesus meeting with myself about this one. I have slacked off tremendously. I know it not just because my jeans hug a little tighter, but also because I am more sluggish. Exercise not only keeps the waistline trim but also helps us feel more energetic. What better way to level up than to both look and feel good?
Bad Habit #4- Breakfast? Who Has Time for That?
We dishonor our bodies when we do not give it the fuel and nutrition it needs to function well. A healthy breakfast is one that includes a variety of nutrients, including carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats. Ideally, it should consist of whole grains, lean protein sources, fruits or vegetables, and healthy fats. When w do not have a routine of a balanced, nutritious breakfast, we inadvertently deny our bodies access to the energy from this meal necessary to help our bodies and minds to operate at their peak. A balanced, nutritious breakfast not only activates our metabolism but also helps prepare us for our day ahead. So while breakfast is beneficial, it's essential to choose nutritious options to maximize its advantages and promote overall well-being.
Bad Habit #5- Filling Every Minute with Something To Do
Our world today makes no allowances for just being. In this hustle culture, we always have something that we could be or should be doing. Always. Though this could lead to the glitz and the glam, its effect on our mental and emotional wellbeing is detrimental. Ever heard of a person having the heart (think stress and damage here) of a person much older? This is what hustle culture gets us. Material things with no little to no material health and wellbeing. So, if you want to sabotage your level up in life, keep doing, doing, doing, and never pause to reflect or rest. Your body will not like you for this.
Bad Habit #6- Not Setting Goals for Your Day
When we don't set daily goals for ourselves, we leave ourselves open to lacking purpose and direction in life. A very famous quote from Henry Kissinger reads like this: “If you don't know where you are going, every road will get you nowhere.” If we start our day off this way, we may get through the day but that's about it. Life is about more than just making it through the day. Each day, we should set small goals that promote a sense of purpose and direction for ourselves. Life is about seizing opportunities to be the best version of ourselves that we can be for both ourselves and our communities.
Bad Habit #7- Glued to the Hip with Your Electronic Devices
If we are honest with ourselves, we’re all guilty of spending way too much time glued to our screens. Whether it’s mindlessly scrolling through social media, binge-watching shows, or even working late into the night, we spend way too much time tuned in or connected with our devices. This is not a good thing my friends. Not only does excessive screen time mess with our sleep and posture, but it also robs us of the time we could be using to do something more productive or fulfilling.
Bad Habit #8- Water Tastes Nasty
For my water tastes nasty crew please listen up. Water is essential for the level up you are seeking in life. When we don't get enough water, our urine turns dark. What other things do we need to look out for? Not being properly hydrated increases our fatigue, causes headaches due to decreased blood flow to the brain, reduces our ability to think and concentrate, causes muscle cramps, and increases likelihood of constipation. If you are trying to have that sun-kissed glow about yourself, just know that lack of proper hydration also dries out our skin thus giving us an older, aged appearance.
Bad Habit #9- Not Practicing Daily Hygiene, Emotional Hygiene
We all have family, work, and social commitments. We all do. And even though we may feel blessed to have the fullness of life and love in this way, the truth is, juggling all of these commitments in this way with no recharging, no refueling, will eventually lead to crash. Just like we get up each day to perform personal hygiene, you know, brushing our teeth or taking a bath, we also have to practice emotional hygiene. Some therapists and coaches call it coping skills. Some therapists and coaches call it self-care skills. No matter what you choose to call it, the thing is we all need to practice it and daily. Whether it’s a 5-minute meditation in the morning, a leisurely bath in the evening, or just some quiet reading time before bed, do something each day that is just for you. Haven't picked up the alto sax since your college HBCU band days? Gave up your passion for writing sheet music and songs? Haven't dusted off your music equipment in the last 2 years? Or maybe you haven't painted since high school? Gave up your passion restoring old classic vehicles? Whatever the things are in your life that bring you those microdoses of happiness, do more of that even if only 5 minutes' worth. If you truly want to level up in life, schedule more time for the glimmers in your life.
Bad Habit #10- Refuse to Let Go of Negative People
When a relationship feels like a constant battle or "boxing match," it's important to address the issues and conflicts in a healthy and productive way. Key words here are healthy and productive. Whether it's a romantic partner, a friend, or someone else, there are signs to consider when contemplating whether or not to step out of the boxing ring. Is there emotional manipulation? Does the person constantly betray your trust or constantly trying to see how close they can toe the lines of your boundaries? Is the person consistently negative towards you or consistently showing a lack of respect for you? Is there a loss of connection? Or maybe repeated patterns of them harming you (physically or mentally)? You cannot level up in life if you refuse to get out of the ring with people who constantly dishonor you. They'll make sure of it.
So what did you think of our list? Think of anything you'd add? Noticed any habits you need to re-evaluate?
Leveling up in life is not just about adopting new habits; it's equally about the art of letting go. As you shed the old habits that weigh you down and embrace positivity, you open the door to a life of growth, fulfillment, and boundless potential. Say goodbye to what holds you back and welcome positivity with open arms, and watch as your life transforms in ways that you never thought possible. The power to change is within you; seize it and let your journey of personal growth unfold. And please remember, wherever you are on this wellness journey, do not worry about getting it perfect; just get it going. Until next time. Happy reading!
Change is not made without inconvenience, even from worse to better." ~Richard Hooker
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