We’re focusing on success and happiness today at Healthy Body, Happy Spirit, and as we work towards a happy, successful, emotionally stable life, sometimes what we don’t do is as important as what we do.
7 things to stop doing if you want to be successful
Stop letting others define success
I posted this picture on the Facebook page recently, along with the comment “That wonderful moment when you realize you are a success after all’. It was meant to be light-hearted, but I received a very moving message from a Facebook fan.
She said that she’d always felt a failure, not having been to college and got a high-paying job like her siblings. But by the above definition, not only was she a runaway success, but the siblings quite clearly weren’t.
We all have to define success for ourselves, based on our deepest values and highest priorities. It’s fine to be a high-flying lawyer, but it’s also fine to be a just-making-the-rent artist, stay-at-home parent, or anything else that makes you happy and lets you align your daily life with that which is most important to you.
If in doubt, the above definition is a useful guideline. Work towards that and you should be on track for success and happiness.
We all do this. It’s human nature. A friend, acquaintance or relative seems to be so much more successful than we are. It’s even worse with strangers sometimes, whether it’s the other moms at the school gate, or the celebrities we see on TV.
When you stop comparing yourself with others, you give yourself permission to focus on you and what’s important to you at this point in time. Remember we’re all on a unique journey in this life, and you have no idea what the person you envy has gone through or will go through.
We have a particular tendency to compare ourselves with others our own age or other members of our own cohort (which is why school reunions can be so fraught with anxiety). But people go through good and bad times throughout life. The wildly successful twenty something may have overcome childhood abuse and the happy has-it-all mid-lifer may be one divorce, bereavement or diagnosis away from disaster. All we can do is work on our own success and support those around us through their highs and lows.
I’ve been on a journey towards natural health, optimal nutrition and emotional well-being for a while now, and it shows. I’m looking and feeling pretty healthy and happy (which led to the birth of this blog). I didn’t expect that such a positive thing would lead to me being judged by others, but occasionally it does.
I’ve even had people who don’t know me (at all) assume that because I’m fit and healthy I’m a bad mother. Apparently I must be a gym bunny who neglects her children to work out and otherwise focus on her own selfish agenda.
The truth is I homeschool my children and am with them almost constantly. Yes, I’m active and eat healthily, but most of my activity takes place with my children and I prepare healthy meals for my little clan every day.
What’s more, my interest in natural health and nutrition was inspired not by vanity but by the fact that more than one of my loved ones has had to battle cancer in the last few years. This is what triggered my interest in how nutrition and other lifestyle factors can give your body the best chance of fighting disease.
Unfortunately, we often pass judgment on others because it provides us with something that we desperately need: an excuse.
Stop making excuses
If we tell ourselves that someone has more time, or money or support than us, and that’s why she’s able to achieve more, it’s easier than admitting that maybe she’s working harder or making more sacrifices, or being more resourceful.
We have a tendency to blame negative outside influences (bad luck) for our own failures and attribute other’s successes to positive outside influences (good luck).
Sometimes there are, of course, genuine reasons why we can’t achieve something specific at this point in our lives, but we can all set our mind to achieving something, and stop making excuses as to why we’re not there yet. Sometimes you have to be willing to let go of excuses, get out of your comfort zone and start your next big journey.
If you’re not sure if the issues hindering you are genuine reasons or excuses, look at how many of them you make. It’s true that one excuse is always more convincing than many, because if you can identify one major obstacle it’s probably genuine.
I recently tried to advise a friend who was thinking of setting up her own business. At every turn she had an excuse as to why it would be hard for her. By the time we hit ten I gave up. If you have that many excuses, you don’t really want to do it. If you have just one or two, that’s great news. They’re probably genuine obstacles, rather than excuses, and genuine obstacles can, in time, be overcome.
Start now. Do what you can with what you have.
Only have ten minutes a day? Start using it to find out more about the craft or skill you want to learn, the business you want to run, or the career you want to have.
Only have a few hours a week? Consider an online course you can take from your own couch, at your own pace.
Want to start a business on very limited funds? Get hold of a copy of The $100 Start Up. If you have no money at all, try your local library.
Procrastination becomes an ongoing habit. The less you achieve the less you feel able to achieve. Conversely, once you start taking small steps you invariably carve out more and more time to work towards your goals.
Stop unproductive worrying
Worry is natural and can even be productive. You worry about your future so you start working towards a better one. You worry about your health and start taking better care of your body. You worry about your kids’ education and start taking a more active role in it.
Most of us, however, also do our fair share of unproductive worrying. We worry about things we can’t control or we worry about things we could control without taking action on them.
Banish unproductive worrying. Either do something about the problem you’re worrying about, or accept that you can’t do anything about it.
Stop caring what other people think
I’m a people pleaser. I want people to be happy. I want to make them happy if I can, especially when it comes to my loved ones. But I’ve finally had to accept, you can’t please all of the people all of the time, and there are some people you can never please.
Act appropriately, Use your manners. Be classy. Then let it go. Some people won’t like you or what you’re doing. Some people will think you’re crazy, especially if you’re being particularly innovative. Some people won’t agree with your ideas, your ideals or your politics.
One of the happiest, healthiest, most successful (using the definition above) people I know recently answered one of those ‘finish the sentence’ quizzes you see posted on social media. She finished the sentence “People laugh at my…” with the word “Life”. She's a great example of not caring what people think, and she’s doing great things with her life. Unconventional, but great.
What other people think of you really is none of your business. Get on with being happy, healthy and successful. That’s your job.
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