10 Toxic Habits that Drain Your Energy
It’s time to break the habits that have been holding you back. Respect yourself enough to let go of the mindsets and routines that have been sucking you dry.
Bear with me for a moment. You know when you’re driving to an unfamiliar place, blasting the radio while simultaneously watching your GPS spit out directions? Then you suddenly get to that one part of the route that’s ridiculously confusing, so you lower the volume even though it has no direct impact on the way you read the directions?
That is your life. The radio noise you need to cut out to concentrate? That is the needless, energy-sucking noise in your head.
Turning down the radio in the car re-energizes your mind and offers you clarity when you need it most. You don’t really think about how or why this makes such a huge difference, you just know that it does.
Now it’s time to apply this same principle to all the other noise in your life, starting with the noise in your head.
The first step is to eliminate toxic, energy-sucking habits that support this noise. With over ten years of experience as life coaches behind us, here are ten such habits Angel and I have seen thousands of people struggle with, again and again:
- Pretending like everything is OK when it isn’t. – Do you feel overwhelmed? Do you feel like giving up? There’s honestly no shame in it. You are not a robot; and even if you were, you’d still need to stop for maintenance sometimes. There’s no shame in admitting to yourself that you feel exhausted, doubtful, and low. This is a natural part of being human. The simple fact that you are aware of this means you are able to turn things around. It’s okay to fall apart for a little while. You don’t always have to pretend to be strong, and there’s no need to constantly prove that everything is going well. You shouldn’t be concerned with what other people are thinking either – cry if you need to – it’s healthy to shed your tears. The sooner you do, the sooner you will be able to smile again.
- Letting pain from the past devastate the present. – I am stronger because of the hard times, wiser because of my mistakes, and happier because I have known sadness. The same is true for you. Every difficult conversation you have had included someone who was teaching you something about yourself. Every trying situation contains an opportunity for deeper self-reflection and learning. Every irritant, heartbreak, frustration, disappointment, and fearful moment is a teacher. Remember, nothing is as bad as it seems. Nothing. There’s a benefit and a blessing hidden in the folds of every experience and every outcome. So don’t you dare give up on today because of the way things looked yesterday. Don’t even think about it. Every day is a new day to try again. (Read The Road Less Traveled.)
- Believing that your best days are either in front of you or behind you. – You spend your whole life stuck in the labyrinth, thinking about how you’ll escape one day, and how incredible it will be, and imagining that pristine future keeps you going, but you never do it. You just use the future to escape the present. This is precisely what keeps so many of us stressed and unhappy. The flipside is true as well – obsessing about the past. What you need to accept is that there are only two days in the year that nothing can be done. One is yesterday and the other is tomorrow. So today, this moment, is the right time to love, to laugh, to work and to live boldly. Yes, this moment needs your undivided attention, for this is the only time and place you are truly alive.
- Trying to hold on to who you were before one of life’s storms. – Hard times are like strong storms that blow against you. And it’s not just that these storms hold you back from places you might otherwise go. They also tear away from you all but the essential parts of your ego that cannot be torn, so that afterward you see yourself as you really are, and not merely as you might like to be. This is a great thing. It may seem impossible now, but one day you will look back at the storms you have weathered and give a silent thank you. For many of us, it is the storms of our lives that have given us compassion, kindness, and gentleness that we otherwise may not have known – and that we can now give away to others, because these qualities are inside of us. (Angel and I discuss this in detail in the “Adversity” chapter of 1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.)
- Resisting change and growth. – You must consistently check with yourself and ask: “Am I committed to feeling good, or am I committed to growing?” Because growth does not always feel good, and feeling good does not always provide growth. Neither is wrong, as long as there is balance. The important thing is to remember that being uncomfortable is important too, and this discomfort often arrives right on time. Don’t avoid it – embrace it. Channel your energy into progress. All growth begins at the end of your comfort zone. When you’re feeling uncomfortable, know that the change taking place in your life is a beginning, not an ending.