If you’re unhappy, it’s easy to think that one special thing will turn your life around. A bigger paycheck, a dream house, the perfect partner. But what’s really keeping you from living the life you want is all on you. Check out this list to see what you’re doing that’s holding you back, then change your outlook so you can turn your life around.
1. Depend on others for your happiness.
It might sound a little fluffy, but it’s your life, and you should be the one to make you happy. Most people think of themselves first, meaning they put their happiness first. And that’s ok! Because if you’re waiting for someone else to make you happy, you’ll never find it. Go out and do what makes you happy.
2. Beat yourself up.
Just because you say or do something stupid doesn’t mean you have to constantly think about it and berate yourself for your temporary stupidity. Everyone messes up sometimes, and everyone speaks and acts without thinking sometimes, so let it go once it happens! Learn your lesson and try to remember to take a beat or two to think it out next time, but there’s no reason to keep torturing yourself with the memory.
3. Hold a grudge.
It might be hard to forget when someone has done you wrong, but on the plus side — you don’t have to forget! In fact, you shouldn’t forget. Remember what went down, but forgive the person so you can move past it. Let’s be honest — whether you forgive the person or not, they’re certainly not losing sleep over it like you would. So forgiveness is more for your peace of mind than anything else: one grudge forgiven is one less thing to think about.
4. Hold on to the past.
How often do you find yourself thinking about something that happened days, months, or even years ago? It’s usually something embarrassing, right? And you still feel embarrassed, or hurt, and wish you could go back and change things. It’s important to live in the moment and realize once it’s gone, you have to let it go. Learn lessons from what has happened in the past so you can change your future, but don’t dwell on things that happened long ago.
5. Say “no” to things we want to say “yes” to.
How many times has someone asked you to go somewhere with them, or help with a fun side project, or meet someone new on a blind date, and you shrug and say “Naaaah,” with just a bit of hesitation? Pretty often, right? It’s too easy to say no to things that you’d actually like to do — or at least try — because it’s safer. In reality, if you say yes and take these risks, you’ll feel more alive! You’ll be taking advantage of all that’s available to you and living your life to the fullest.
6. Try to do it all.
Not saying “no” to things doesn’t mean you have to say “yes” to everything. Don’t be afraid to turn down things that you don’t want to do, or that will make you overload your schedule. It’s not worth telling your boss you’ll take on another huge project if it means you’re not going to be able to complete your regular workload.
7. Compare yourself to others.
Just because other people your age seem to have found their perfect partner and work at their dream job doesn’t mean you have to. Everyone has a different path in life, so comparing yourself to others will only make you feel bad. Plus, you don’t know what their life is like — they might not be as happy as they seem. Don’t compare yourself to what other people have; think about what you want out of life and strive for it.
8. Try to be perfect.
No one expects you to be perfect, although sometimes you might think your boss does. It’s impossible to be perfect, so just do what you can. Work hard, do your best, and be proud of all you’ve accomplished at the end of the day that’s what perfection should mean to you.
9. Worry about disappointing others.
Like comparing yourself to others, you shouldn’t worry about disappointing them. It’s your life, and you’re the one who should be proud of your accomplishments. Of course it’s always nice when your parents, partner, and coworkers think you’ve done something awesome, but if your work makes you proud, know that it’s not going to disappoint anyone around you.
10. Make excuses.
Don’t want to go to work today? Call in and say you’re sick. Don’t feel like going to the popular new bar with your friends? Tell them something came up with your family. It’s easy, isn’t it, to make excuses to get out of things you don’t want to do, or give reasons you didn’t finish things you were supposed to? Instead of making excuses, push yourself to do your best. Admit that you didn’t do laundry because you sat on the couch all day — it won’t get your laundry done, but you’ll be holding yourself accountable, and after a few instances of not making excuses, you’ll find that it’s easier to just do what needs to be done.
11. Lack focus.
This goes hand-in-hand with everything you’ve previously learned from this list. Lacking focus can be the most detrimental thing to your creativity, your job, your free time, and your entire life. It sounds drastic, but it’s true. If you start focusing on things one at a time, you’ll be amazed at the difference. Focus doesn’t mean you follow one project to completion before you start another. It means you pay attention to whatever you’re doing at that moment, do it to the best of your ability, and then put it down when it’s time to move on. You can work on multiple projects in one day, but compartmentalize them and don’t let things spill over into your personal life.
12. Get weighed down with material possessions over experiences.
You don’t have to have the hottest new gadget to be the happiest person on the block. Just like comparing yourself to others, thinking you need material possessions is detrimental to living the life you want. Would you rather spend $500 on a new phone, or on a weekend getaway with your partner? Focus on making memories rather than racking up the goods, because material items break or get topped by something better, but memories are something you’ll always have to make you happy.
13. Maintain relationships with people who don’t care.
Look at the list of contacts in your phone. How many do you actually talk to? How many would you send to voicemail if they called you right now? It’s time to pare down your contact list to the people who actually matter. Sure, you might have to keep some people because of work or family obligations, but if you have friends you never talk to, either call them or delete them! If you’re “friends” with people who don’t give a damn about you, it’s time to forget them. You don’t need that kind of negativity in your life. Whether you wanted an inflated friends list, or kept thinking you’d give them another shot, it’s time to cut the cord. You’ll be happier for it.