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“We first choose our habits, and then those choices determine who we are,” ~John Dryden

This may seem nice, sound good, and even feel good at first, but in the long run, it won’t do you any favors!

Even after going over and over this idea in my thoughts, I couldn’t bring myself to accept it as true. However, it continued to occur even when I began challenging the established order of things in my life. And by “loud,” “in-your-face,” and “obnoxious” line of inquiry, I don’t mean that at all; rather, I mean a soft, inquiring whisper that asks, “Well, why does it have to be this way, if I may ask?”

In today’s contemporary world, challenging the established order is nothing new; yet, here’s the thing: I was challenging the positive aspects of my life, such as the wonderful practices that I was raised with and the principles that form the basis of my ethical framework.

The concept was depressing, yet it made perfect sense. Every time I finished going through the motions of one of my “wonderful habits,” I’d feel tired, in a state of depression, out of sorts, and fatigued, but not in a manner that was indicative of having done anything.

Therefore, I began making some changes to the routines that I usually carry out on autopilot, and I’ve already seen a shift toward more peace. I’m guessing that this is the kind of counter-intuitive inner work that’s what makes the journey of self-discovery so much pleasure.

So, are you willing to call into question any of the wonderful routines you have? Make sure you don’t get caught up in the rut of a good habit that isn’t really doing you any favors.

1. The practice of laboring vigorously to the exclusion of all other activities.

My first six years working in corporate America were spent with me being an absolute workaholic. Because I overlooked the most crucial components of developing a career, such as forming connections and building trust, those initial years were also the least gratifying for me, both financially and emotionally. This was the case both professionally and monetarily.

The majority of us put in a lot of effort every day, and we take immense delight in that fact. It’s how we were taught to behave; it’s what society expects and rewards, so it comes naturally to us.

Be wary of falling into the trap of hard effort, particularly if you are using it as a Band-Aid for something that hasn’t given you results. For example, if you are working even harder to move ahead at work or to satisfy someone in a relationship, you are falling into the trap of hard work.

What should be done in its place: Take a moment to step back, look at the bigger picture as well as the present circumstance, and reevaluate the strategy that you are using. Do you think that putting in more effort will really get the outcomes that you require?

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2. the practice of putting one’s own needs second in favor of those of others and of everything else.

Even when I was a youngster, I could see that many of my mother’s sacrifices for us were made at the price of her own means of subsistence, and I observed as she did this over the course of many years. I saw that this had an astringent effect on her. Even if the people around her were thankful, she did not have to go to such an extreme. She had the ability to be nurturing to herself as well as the other members of her family.

It’s possible that you’re a compassionate and giving person, but to an excessive degree, which makes you a loving mother (or father, or sibling).

Before you take care of yourself, you make sure that everyone else and everything else, even the laundry and the dishes, is taken care of. There are instances when it comes at their cost. Because you don’t want to come out as selfish, you’re putting your own health and happiness at risk.

What should be done in its place: Be aware of the fact that others’ respect and appreciation cannot be earned via sacrifice. Being a good role model does. You owe it to the essential people in your life to take care of yourself so that you may be as robust and healthy as possible for them. It’s not a selfish act at all. You are permitted to do it, not just because it is essential but also because it is self-nurturing.

3. The practice of listening to the difficulties of other people without setting any limits.

Because I had just arrived in the United States, I was desperate to make new friends, and it would have made my day if someone confided in me.

This practice eventually developed into the habit of listening without placing any limits on what I heard, and as a result, my friends began to confide all of their concerns in me. When I realized that it wasn’t helping them and that it was wearing me down, I had no choice but to draw a line in the sand.

It is a blessing to be able to listen, and if a friend wants to be heard, if a parent needs to express worries, if a spouse needs to vent about work, or if a coworker needs to gripe, who better than an excellent listener?

Just be careful since being the recipient of everyone else’s gripes, fury, grief, and sympathy may have unintended negative implications and put a strain on your mental and emotional health if you allow it to.

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What should be done in its place: You should listen carefully enough to fully understand the issue at hand, after which you should gently steer the discussion toward finding solutions, maintaining an optimistic outlook, and concentrating on the positive. If they are still in need of professional counseling, keep in mind that it is not your responsibility to provide it for them.

4. The practice of promptly responding to all calls for attention, whether they come by email, phone, or text message.

It’s great when people are receptive to you. I have a deep appreciation for those who are responsive, and I do all in my power to get back to those that contact me. But this ongoing distraction may make it impossible for you to concentrate, can throw off your daily routine, and can create challenges for you when you’re trying to operate a company.

What should be done in its place: You should be more frugal with your time and schedule certain times to reply to incoming messages on your phone, in your inbox, and on the phone. There is not an immediate priority unless it is an emergency. You’ll need to hone your skills gradually in order to become proficient in this one since it’s so deeply embedded.

5. The practice of providing your friends and family with your knowledge, goods, or services for free or at a reduced cost.

My brother’s wife is a medical professional, and she has been more than helpful in answering any queries that my family has had about our health. At other times, I get the impression that we take advantage of her medical competence.

Going too far may have a negative influence on the relationship, either in the short term or in the long term, regardless of which side of the scenario you may be on (giving or receiving the action).

What should be done in its place: Establish very clear limits, and both offer and expect respect in this area. It is quite acceptable for you to decide that you do not want to provide your services or goods to individuals who are linked to you at a reduced price or for free. Simply said, it elevates your status to that of a professional.

6. The practice of achieving perfect grades in every course you’ve ever taken in your whole life.

Oh, the predicament of the student with an A! In every culture and civilization, the student who gets an A is honored, while the student who gets a C is looked down upon. As someone who has maintained a perfect academic record throughout their whole life, I can say without a doubt that this has taken away a significant amount of joy and enjoyment from their lives.

If I could go back in time, I would be satisfied with a grade of B- and I would do yoga and spend more time outside.

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What you should do instead is make a decision about whether or not you even want to go to college or graduate school. The next step is to establish your own standards for success and adhere to them. Concentrate on learning and making effective use of the information rather than worrying about the ultimate mark that your instructor will give you.

7. The practice of always going out of one’s way to accommodate one’s children, pupils, or aging parents.

My mother has an aunt who takes care of her fully competent daughter, who is now 35 years old, by continuing to cook for her and cleaning for her.

Handle you take care of everything for other people rather than teaching them how to do it themselves? People aren’t always capable of taking care of themselves, but if you always provide a hand to them, they’ll never learn how to do it on their own without your assistance. You do them and yourself a disservice.

What to do instead: Before completing the next job for the person you’re assisting, ask them whether they’d want to learn how to do it. Begin to focus more on instructing and demonstrating and less on doing.

8. the practice of putting the needs and wants of others above of one’s own goals and aspirations.

Because I was going against my parents’ hopes and dreams for me, leaving my job and establishing my own company was one of the most difficult aspects of the decision. Although challenging, it was in every way, shape, and form the one and only way forward for me.

It is ingrained in us to answer “yes” in order to appease our loved ones and family members. If you have other goals in mind, this could make achieving those goals more difficult and reduce your level of happiness.

Instead, you should focus on being authentic to who you are. You may still be nice and polite toward other people, but you only have one life, and it is your responsibility to make sure that your aspirations and desires receive the attention and resources they need.

Now it’s your turn: do any of these wonderful routines cause you to stop and reflect about life? What other seemingly positive behaviors, in your experience, stand in the way of a happy life?

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