Happiness is a journey and a choice. Happiness has been one of my biggest goals for many years. In the most recent years, I have been writing about happiness in this blog and in my books. The topics of my posts may vary, but the focus is always on one thing – being happy.
To reach happiness, we need to focus on what we can do to make our life happy, rather than what we need to stop doing in order to avoid being miserable. Looking forward, towards a better life, makes for a better journey than looking backwards and running away from unhappiness. Focusing on the good has been my motto for years. I teach my life coaching clients to avoid pink elephants, to stop talking about the past and what not to do, and to move forward.
In recent years, I realized that there is a group of people who are unable to move forward, because there is no space in their minds for good and for happiness. They are so consumed by attitudes and behaviors they have formed as habits that they cannot even make that first step. For these people, the first step towards happiness is often stopping the things that make them unhappy. The things that keep them stuck, in the junction of life, miserable and sad, frustrated and angry, feeling like a failure. I want to go over all the things they must stop doing, before they can start moving forward.
Before we get to that, I want to suggest you look at the journey towards happiness like the speed of a car. In order to reach happiness, you need to move forward. The faster you move, the faster you get there. Some happy things move us forward faster and others have a steady speed. For example, writing makes me happy. So, when I write, my speed towards happiness is an 8 out of 10. When my clients achieve their goals, I am absolutely ecstatic. So, when one of my clients achieves his goal and gets back with his wife (after they were considering divorce), my speed is now up to 10. The thing is, we can’t move at a speed of 10 all the time. These sort of happy experiences are much like an orgasm, short and sweet. These few seconds of total joy bring us happiness, fast! They also help us charge our happiness batteries to last us through the not-so-happy times.
Unhappiness works the same way. Every unhappy thing drives us faster in a backwards direction, towards unhappiness. Some take us backwards slowly, others take us backwards, fast.
What to Stop Doing if You Want to Be Happy
Below is a list of things that take us backwards. It is better to stop doing them if we want to slow our backwards trajectory and start a forwards journey. The more of them we slow down or stop totally, the greater the chance of moving forward.
Each item on the list is something you need to stop doing to reverse your backward trajectory, and an alternative that will help you move forward towards happiness. Rate your “speed” from 0 to 10. If you do not have the behavior, rate it 0. If you are doing it a lot, rate it 10. You will be able to follow up on your speed, forward or backwards, using this list. Remember, you need to change the direction, more forward than backwards and you will be on the right track.
- Stop trying to be someone you are not. “Be yourself. Everyone else is taken”.
- Stop thinking of things that don’t happen the way you want them as problems. Most of the time, they are opportunities in disguise.
- Stop hiding your feelings. Hiding them does not make them go away, it only gives them a permanent place in your heart and inner motives. Feelings are a compass that guide you; don’t try to hide your compass.
- Stop paying too much attention to what is not working in your life. In life, you get what you focus on. So focus on what is working. Being negative puts you on the fast track backward.
- Stop ignoring your problems. It does not make them go away. Ignoring is an illusion. It is a suppression of feelings. It is temporary. The problems are still there!
- Stop living in the past. It is gone! Until we learn to turn back time, let go!
- Stop trying to change the past! Because you can’t. Why waste energy on things you can’t do anyway?
- Stop feeling sorry for yourself! It is like walking around with a sign that says “I am weak”. It is not attractive and it just attracts bullies.
- Stop trying to please others! You are the person you need to please. When you are happy, you are happy!
- Stop giving others a higher priority than you give yourself. You are the most important person in this world. Always were, always will be.
- Stop lying to yourself and others. There is power in honesty, especially with yourself. If you find it hard to say it out loud, write it down. Journaling is a good way to be honest with yourself. Even if your memory pushes it far into your subconscious, journaling can help bring it out.
- Stop looking at other people in jealousy. Everyone must go through their own journey to happiness. Be inspired, not jealous.
- Stop being afraid of making mistakes. You cannot know what is going to happen before you make the mistake. You are not a fortune teller so when you make a choice to do something, you do the best you can. It is never a mistake.
- Stop beating yourself up over past mistakes. If you learned something from them, they are no longer a mistake, they were a learning opportunity.
- Stop complaining! Complaining is self poisoning. Why would you do it that to yourself?
- Stop being a perfectionist! Perfectionism is a state you will never reach. It is like a disease and its symptoms are inadequacy and constant failure.
- Stop waiting for the “right” time. Life is the sign that it is the right time to do anything you want to do. If you are alive, the right time has come!
- Stop waiting for opportunities. Opportunities are sought and made. If you wait for an opportunity to come on its own, it means you are not looking. There are endless opportunities, you just have to find them and make sure they don’t pass you by without you noticing.
- Stop shopping for happiness! If you try to make yourself happy by buying things, stop. Happiness cannot be bought in a shop. Trust me, if we could do it, we would have done it years ago. Shopping is a short-term illusion of happiness.
- Stop thinking that money is happiness! Money is a magnifier. If you are happy, it will make you happier. If you are miserable, it will make you even more miserable. Make sure that when you make lots of money, it will magnify well.
- Stop worrying! Worrying does not guarantee that bad things won’t happen. It just promotes anxiety.
- Stop hanging out with the people that are not good for you. Jim Rohn said you are the average of the five people you hang around with. Take action to make a change if you are hanging out with the wrong people. Do not procrastinate about it. This just allows circumstances to control your life. If you give circumstances the power, you cannot complain
- Stop being competitive! Competition is only good when you compete with yourself. This is an easy rule that if you follow, will make your life much happier.
- Stop showing off! This is the opposite of being content and confident. If you did something good, be happy! Happiness is inside, no one can give it to you and no one can take it away.
- Stop being afraid of the fear! We often fear the fear of something more than we fear the thing itself. Feel the fear and do it anyway! Like the saying, “fear of the wolf is always greater than the wolf itself”.
- Stop blaming others for bad things in your life. Blaming makes you powerless. It keeps you stuck where you are.
- Stop justifying things that are not good in your life. Justifying ensures your circumstances never change, because you have found a way to make yourself believe they are the best circumstances you are going to get.
- Stop analyzing too much! Most of the decisions we make are completely subconscious. Don’t over think it. People often come up with some creative stories about reasons why. You just end up believing in your own stories and they are 90% wrong.
- Stop saying that “one day” you will do something. “One day” is like throwing it into the rubbish bin of your brain. It is a guarantee that you will never do it. Do it, go towards it or don’t say that you will.
- Stop wanting to be smarter! Being defined as smarter is an external definition. It only works if you compare it to yourself. Every day, you are smarter than yesterday. Just hang in there and it will make you smarter.
- Stop trying to be right! It is not always better to be right. People who insist that they are right usually are, but they are also usually lonely. Choose the one that is more important to you.
- Stop arguing! Immediately! The body interprets an argument as a threat and reacts using its most primitive responses – fight or flight. Nothing good can come of it so.
- Stop anger! Anger affects you more than it affects the person you are angry at. It is like drinking poison and expecting the other person do suffer.
- Stop resentment! Resentment works like anger. It is a like drinking a drop of your anger poison for breakfast as a ritual every morning.
- Stop giving up your uniqueness to be accepted by others. You can be special and be yourself at the same time! I even wrote a book about it.
- Stop ignoring the good things in life. Enjoy every tiny little thing.
- Stop minimizing your achievements! Celebrate them! They are another way to be happy.
- Stop compromising on relationships that are not good for you. There is no one on earth that you must stay with if the relationship is abusive and lacks respect. Find yourself a positive relationship that builds you up and makes you happy.
- Stop aiming low! Aim high! If you shoot for the moon, at worst you will land among the stars.
- Stop talking, start doing! Action speaks louder than words. Talk less, do more!
- Stop saying “I don’t have time”! Successful people have the same 24 hours in a day. Be efficient with your time.
- Stop pretending! Be true to who you are and walk with pride. Being happy is a state of being. Focus on being!
- Stop hate and rage! Hate and anger say more about you than the person they are directed at. They slowly poison you and make it harder and harder for you to get them out of your system.
- Stop aiming for the average! Aiming for the average is what brings the average down.
- Stop avoiding pain! Some people are so averse to pain they are afraid to try anything. Pain is a great teacher. It helps us learn that we are stronger than we think we are.
- Stop apologizing! You do the best you can with what you have at any point in time. Focus on what you can do in the future, not what went wrong in the past.
- Stop trying to cheat time! You can’t. There are only 24 hours in a day and nothing you do can change that. If you want to be healthy, there are some things you cannot compromise on. When you need to sleep, sleep! When you need to eat, eat! You can’t cheat your body into health and serenity.
- Stop catastrophizing! Nothing you do is the end of the world. Don’t work yourself into a panic for no reason.
- Stop talking thinking all your problems are enormously important. Choose you battles. Some problems are more important than others. Focus your energies wisely.
- Stop being ungrateful! Life is beautiful and happiness is within your reach, say “thank you” every day. Use every opportunity to be grateful for the things you have and who you are.
This list will help you determine your speed going backwards, away from happiness. Replace each of them with a good thing to do, with the opposite. This will help you move forward, the attitude that will take you faster and faster towards happiness.
Wishing you much love (love is something that takes us forward fast!),