7 Ways to Ruin Your Life
By Guest Blogger Heather Matthews
Cynthia, my ever-so-hardworking friend, was back in our hometown for a vacation. She said she needed a breather from her busy corporate life.
It’s been years since I last saw her, so I canceled some of my appointments to make time and catch up.
We met up at our old hangout, The Bar, a place where we can just be ourselves and savor a tall glass of beer.
“So, how are you Cynths?” was my first question. She just stared at me with watery eyes and I was so surprised that I wasn’t sure what to do.
Did I ask her the wrong question? What’s the real deal with her?
Over the next hour, she told me how things have gone south for her.
Cynthia’s long-time partner of five years left her for another woman. She hasn’t been able to focus on her work and made a lot of major slip-ups as a result.
“I was lucky I didn’t get fired after we lost an important client because of me,” Cynthia said between sniffles and sobs.
On top of that, she’s racked up thousands of dollars in debt from all the impulsive credit card purchases she made in the wake of her brutal breakup.
She’s always had a taste for retail therapy, but now it’s gotten way out of hand.
Honestly, it was a bit surreal to see her unravel like that. Here I thought Cynthia was a person in control and had everything good going for her.
But it seems that not even she was immune from life’s occasional curveballs.
For the time being, she’s a mess. But I’ve known her for a long time and I’m sure she’ll get it together after this little slump.
Wouldn’t it be great if we could consciously avoid getting into horrible situations though?
Why does it seem that the bad stuff always happens to us, even if do our best to avoid it?
Bad decisions = bad life
While some unforeseen circumstances are beyond your control, most of what happens in your life is a direct result of the choices you make.
Sometimes, people unconsciously make decisions that cause them to unwittingly sabotage their lives.
Maybe it’s a result of behavior programmed at an early age, and other times it’s how they react to their circumstances.
Either way, it’s better to be aware of this now before you make too many wrong choices that will put you on the path of disaster.
Here are the 7 Most Common Ways People Sabotage Their Lives:
#1: Worrying about what others think of you
This is a huge drain on your time and energy. You don’t want to spend your mental and emotional resources on something that’s beyond your control.
But I know saying that doesn’t help someone who feels compelled to worry about other’s people’s opinions.
So if you’re one of those people, the best thing to do is focus your attention elsewhere. You’ll learn to disengage from pointless overthinking if you give your mind something productive to do.
For starters, try developing the habit of gratitude. Keep a daily journal and make an effort to keep track of at least one thing every day to be grateful for.
Another good habit is doing one good deed for someone without expecting anything in return.
Make their day a little easier and then forget about it – what they think about your genuine efforts is beside the point.
Giving does wonder for your soul and sets you up to be a happier, more successful person.
#2: Staying in a job you hate
There’s nothing more soul-crushing than showing up to a job that’s become a source of misery.
Not only are you giving your energy to something unfulfilling, it also feels like you’re digging yourself deeper into a pit of your own making.
This isn’t how you were meant to live. One day you’ll wake up and realize how much of your life you’ve wasted.
Don’t stay out of fear of the unfamiliar, or because “it pays the bills.”
You could be earning more at another job that actually makes you happy.
Develop an exit strategy while you’re slaving away at your current job. Ask your family, friends and colleagues to help you with this.
Browse job openings and imagine what it would be like at your awesome new job. Think of the healthier working environment and supportive co-workers you’ll meet.
This will keep you positive and keep the despair at bay as you search for greener pastures. You’ll also have something to look forward to when you finally give your notice of resignation.
#3: Complaining about everything
This ties into what I said earlier about reacting to your circumstances.
Constantly whining about all the things happen to you is another unhealthy way to respond to life’s challenges.
In T. Harv Eker’s book “Secrets of the Millionaire Mind”, he says, “What you focus on expands.”
So if you focus on the negatives around you rather than taking positive action, you’ll end up as a powerless victim in your own life.
The next time you feel like complaining about a trivial annoyance, think about what purpose it REALLY serves you.
Does it help you become a better person? Or are you better off shifting your attention to doing something that adds VALUE in your life?
#4: Choosing the wrong partner
It’s funny that people stay in a bad relationship for the same reasons others stay in a bad job.
They would rather be “comfortable” in a situation they’ve gotten used to even if it’s no longer healthy.
Don’t be that proverbial frog in the pot of boiling water. Be honest and ask yourself if it’s getting too hot for you to handle and need to jump out.
And if you happen to be single, choose wisely. Don’t jump into a relationship (or worse, into bed) with someone based on the fear of being alone.
Think of what you REALLY need from a potential partner. Consider the truly essential qualities that will make it possible to have a healthy relationship with that person.
You don’t want to bite off more than you can chew. In fact, you’re better off being single than get trapped in a toxic relationship!
#5: Believing that more money will make you happy
First, let me be clear by saying that money is important in the sense that it allows you to do the essential things in life.
Aside from sustaining your basic needs, it can also give you the means to create goodwill and positivity in this world, like helping others.
But to use currency as an emotional crutch or fill an empty space inside you is something else.
Like Cynthia, many people whip out their credit cards to feel better about themselves. And like emotional eating, spending as a means of therapy is as helpful as stepping into quicksand.
Instead, try to look at money as a means to add value to your life.
For instance, you could set aside ten to fifteen percent of your monthly income to invest in assets that can help you earn passively.
It could be for starting a side project or buying stocks and bonds. These will pay off in the long run and generate more money for you down the road.
Of course, we’re only human and need a little treat as well. The tricky part is keeping it within REASON.
So aside from saving money for passive income, why not allocate another chunk of your money for the “nice to have”s? It could be a soothing massage or a fancy afternoon tea set that you’ve wanted for some time now.
But when it comes to spending on yourself, I’ve found that buying EXPERIENCES is way better than getting that cute sweater or pair of shoes on sale.
Anything that adds to your personal growth – and not your wardrobe – is money well spent.
#6: Comparing yourself to others
We all work at our own pace. Everyone has a unique set of strengths and weaknesses.
Each of us has that one-of-a-kind spark that lights up the world like no one else can.
So why waste your energy on wondering how you stack up against the “competition”?
It’s a mental habit that serves absolutely no one and adds ZERO value to your life.
Starting today, make peace with the fact that everyone, including YOU, has other people around them who are taller, richer, cooler, smarter and faster.
It’s not right or wrong – simply accept it without judgment and let go of the need to challenge that reality.
It doesn’t make you less of a human being if the other person has it “better” than you.
Divert that energy into your own growth instead. If you can’t avoid comparing, then do it in a healthy way.
Think about the progress you’ve made over the last few days, weeks and months.
Have you learned something new or become a better version of yourself since then?
Frame your perspective this way, and all that other noise fades away in the background.
#7: Not going after your dreams
Fear of failure is one of the biggest reasons why people quit on their dreams.
But they don’t realize that failing is the exact reason why you should keep going.
Crashing and burning are signs of progress and growth. Don’t let this crucial step on the road to success put you off from trying.
We learn by process of elimination. And that usually involves trying a bunch of ideas, then figuring out which works, and which doesn’t.
“Someday” is not a date on your calendar – it’s a black hole where dreams go to die.
You owe it to yourself to commit a time every day to work on making that dream of yours happen, even if it means doing it in baby steps.
Make that mountain of a task less intimidating by breaking it up into smaller, more manageable chunks.
Map out the steps you need to get from where you are, to where you want to be.
The more concrete and well-defined they are, the better you can overcome inertia and keep that train chugging along.
Again, it’s all about perspective. The way you approach a project makes the difference between getting it done and putting it off until to the point of no return.
You’re an amazing, capable individual who deserves all the happiness, love, and prosperity in the world. So, you can put yourself in a better position to receive those blessings by making the right choices today.
Aside from making better decisions, you can also attract everything you’ve ever desired without working endless hours or putting your life on hold.