‘If you don’t stop, you will finish faster.’ My friend told me this the other day when we were doing our daily evening run. We had been running non-stop for about 45 minutes and I was starting to feel like my legs couldn’t keep on going. As I was about to stop, he told me those words. I didn’t stop. I couldn’t stop. His words made me run all the way to the finish line which made me super proud of myself. Since we started this routine running at the beginning of the year, I always stopped halfway. For the first time, I ran all way without stopping.
This lesson can apply to anything in your life. Doing something consistently till you get to the end will make you happy. You will also feel more fulfilled. What other practical things can you do today, to add to your level of happiness? Here are five awesome things you should avoid and you will surely get happier!
Happiness needs more on the inward disposition of mind than the outward circumstance. – Benjamin Franklin
1. Living above your means
Money mismanagement is one of the greatest causes of unhappiness in the world. People everywhere are living a lie by borrowing money to buy items they do not need just to make an impression on the people around them. What are the last 10 things that you purchased? Did you buy them because you needed them or because you wanted them? If you were shopping right now, would you still buy them? A need is something you can’t live without while a want is something you can live without. Living above your means will cause you stress and anxiety especially if you borrowed the money to finance your life.
If you earn a certain amount of money at your job, but every month you find yourself spending more than you earn, know that you are causing unhappiness upon yourself. People who do this also tell themselves the lie that when they change the job and earn more money, they will stop the debt habit. This is not true. For most people, the more you earn, the more your expenses grow to match your new salary. If you haven’t taken the time to learn the discipline of money management when you earn a little, you will find yourself in bigger debt when you earn more.
What can you do if you are already caught up in this mess?
- Create an excel document detailing the state of your finances as shown below;
|DEBT||AMOUNT||MONTHLY EXPENSES||AMOUNT||DEBTORS||AMOUNT||SAVINGS||AMOUNT||PERSONAL NEEDS||AMOUNT|
Fill in all the details. Be very honest with yourself. This exercise helps you realize how well or badly you’re doing in your financial management. It also shows you how deep in debt you are.
- Now that you know who and what you owe, be deliberate about paying your debts. When you receive your salary, your first action should be to pay your monthly expenses (these are things that you can’t live without such as rent and food), save 10% in your separate savings account, and direct the rest of the money towards paying off your debts. Paying off your debts deliberately and consistently repairs relationships with the people you owe and also lessens your anxiety. It is also a sign of being a responsible adult.
- Read financial books. I would recommend starting with George S. Clason’s The Richest Man in Babylon and Robert Kiyosaki’s Rich Dad Poor Dad. The two books have a practical approach. The tips given are easy to master and you can easily incorporate them into your daily life. If you still haven’t gotten your head around reading, listen to the audiobooks. The two audiobooks are available on YouTube for free!
- Before you buy something, ask yourself if it is a need or a want. If it is something you can live without and especially if you are still in debt, don’t buy it!
- Educate yourself on the psychology behind consumerism. Why is it that the advertising industry is a billion dollar industry? Why can’t I stop myself from buying more stuff? Clutter is contributing towards your unhappiness. Read Paco Underhill’s book ‘Why We Buy.’ It will teach you to make better purchasing choices. You will be proud of yourself for reading this one!
Happiness is a journey, not a destination.- Alfred D. Souza
2. Not doing your best
If you are going to get anywhere in life, you will need to learn to always do your best in everything you decide to do. Doing the very best makes you feel proud of yourself. Psychologists have linked discipline with self-esteem. People who always do what they decide or plan to do, are always happier. You wonder why? Because they have no regrets! Not doing what you set your mind to do will give you more regrets than doing it and failing. Of course, your best will vary. When you are sick, you will not be at your best productivity level. This could also happen when you are tired. But even in these situations, you are your best judge and you know when you have not done your best at something.
As Maya Angelou said ‘Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.’
3. Avoiding suffering
Surprised huh? The reason why a lot of people haven’t explored their full potential by starting a business, losing weight, getting a job, starting a blog, learning a new language or learning a new skill is that they are avoiding the discomfort that comes with it. They are also afraid of it. Do you have an athlete you admire for their prowess? That person got there through exercising on a cold rainy day, working out when they don’t feel like it and pushing themselves through obstacles. A classic example of how most people avoid suffering is by not waking up early. Viral snoozers! You need to learn how to move out of your comfort zone and suffer through the process of creating something. That is the only way to a beautiful, happy life. The beautiful thing about this concept is that the more you push yourself towards hard stuff, the easier it becomes. As it is often quoted, ‘nothing good in life comes easy.
4. Shying away from living your best life
Oprah Winfrey is the queen of this lesson which works like magic! Yes, every day or every week if you may, ask yourself “I’m I living the life I want?’ If the answer is NO, then get off that couch and go and live the life you want. Of course, this starts with thinking about what the life you want looks like. Do you want to start a business and travel the world? What is required for you to do it? Find out, write it down and start the journey towards living that life. If you started yesterday, you’d be a step ahead today. Go. Do it.
5. Comparing your journey with others
Isn’t this the most popular reason for most people’s unhappiness? Looking at other people and thinking that your life journey should be the same. But if that could happen, what would be unique about you? You have the ability to build the life that you want, a unique life to you using your gifts and talents. This will make you feel better about yourself as opposed to copying another’s life. You are doing an injustice to yourself by comparing yourself to others. The same energy and time that you are using to do this is the same energy that you should be using to build the life that you want.
I will no longer compare my path to others-I refuse to do a disservice to my life. – Rupi Kaur
6. Not pursuing a little progress every day
When you look at your life goals and think about the major dreams you have for yourself, it may seem impossible to achieve them all. The most important thing to remember in this case is that you are capable of achieving it all. All you have to do is wake up every day and pursue your goals consistently with an aim of making a little progress every day. Keep track of your progress using your journal. Before you retire to bed every day, write down what you achieved. Also, write down what you must accomplish the next day. This daily habit will propel you to your dreams!
Use the above 6 tips and incorporate them into your life. As it is often said, knowledge without application is useless. So go ahead and use them! Tell us in the comment section which one has brought you a little sunshine in your life. As always, see you at the top!