Looking for some down and dirty lifehacks for positive growth going into 2019? We’ve got 4 big ones you’re going to want to focus on if you’re really serious about turning the corner and begin some real personal development.
It’s important to be committed. Plenty of people make great New Year’s resolutions and plans, but they don’t stick to them or really act on them at all. This is what keeps people in ruts and promotes unhealthy behavior that creates negative feedback loops.
You want to break that cycle. It’s not hard to transform your life, you just need the dedication. Doesn’t matter if the changes you want to make are big or small. Either way, you need the will to see your plans through.
Stop Blaming Others
I considered adding an additional part to this heading, but ultimately, anything more would be superfluous. Want to live a more fulfilled, healthy life? Stop blaming others.
For anything. At any time. For any reason. Just stop doing it.
Placing blame is low-vibrational behavior that stems from insecurity 99% of the time. This means that is entirely a gesture of ego, as well as an attempt to garner energy and attention from other people. Blaming edifies nothing.
Don’t confuse this with calling out or acknowledging very real issues or problems that may or may not be caused by other people. There is nothing inherently wrong with those actions.
However, any scenario that involves a perceived or actual personal slight or situation that is not to your liking, or happenstance that you don’t like, or behaviors in other people that you do not prefer, or literally anything that makes you feel agitated or out of control, before you place blame on other people or forces, stop a second and just take responsibility for the moment.
You can’t always control what happens to you. You can’t always control what other people do. But you can always, without a doubt, control your reaction to these situations.
What most people would hate to admit to themselves is, the desire to want to place blame is really the ego’s way of deferring culpability and responsibility for actions and situations it places itself in. The need to remove culpability from itself and place it on someone or something else, is ego-driven behavior at its finest.
It’s important to note that this even applies if someone actually did directly do something “wrong,” and this “wrongness” affected you in some way.
There is literally no point in placing blame on another person. Remember, you are only feeling “wronged” in the first place because your ego was wounded. The ego sets its own parameters for how it expects other people to behave, and when they don’t conform to this expectation, it perceives this as a slight against it.
In other words, the feeling of a need to place blame is an egoic construct, it has no basis in anything palpable or meaningful. At best, successfully placing blame on another person (that is, causing another person to shoulder the blame for something on your behalf) is nothing but a power move, an act of ego dominance.
Just stop. Cutting this toxic behavior out of your life will save you untold amounts of hassle and stress. Learn to understand your surroundings how they actually are. Practice compassion and develop empathy. You’ll be far happier and you’ll perceive the world around you in a more accurate light.
Dedicate Time Every Day For Improvement
Everybody is crazy busy these days, but even the busiest among us have 15 minutes to spare every day, right? Instead of only working out once or twice a week, or binge watching random videos on YouTube every night before bed, switch up how you do things a little so that you can create “improvement habits.”
A simple 15 minute workout every day can yield incredible results. But don’t make them “fluff” exercises. If you actually lift some weights or do some pushups, 15 minutes a day is plenty of time to change your body in a positive way.
My advice for doing this is, spend 15 minutes every day at the same exact time doing something healthy for your body. Try working out 6 days a week and using one day for a guided meditation or bit of yoga.
15 minutes isn’t really a lot of time if you get easily distracted. Make sure that you form a healthy habit by dedicating this space solely to your development. This means no phone, no computer, no food, just keep the goal in mind and perform the workout.
This is beneficial not just because of the results you will see in your body after a few months, but you will learn the benefits of healthy habits and time management, which are areas many of us struggle with.
Train Your Spatial Awareness
This is a big one, and something that can change your life if you follow through with it.
Far too many of us are not using all of our senses, or even most of them. Lack of general awareness is rampant and there are more distractions and mental traps than ever out there.
This technique calls for you to bring yourself into the present multiple times a day. It doesn’t matter where you are or what you’re doing. You will remind yourself to “come back” to the present and calmly take stock of your surroundings. Really absorb and process everything going on around you and in turn control what is going on inside your head.
One ironic method of accomplishing this is using your phone. You can set it to alert you at various times throughout the day with a simple sound or on screen notification. This will remind you that you need to ground yourself and “come back” to the present.
When engaging in these little moments of awareness and reflection, deep breathing helps. Make sure you are breathing with your diaphragm as you would be during meditation.
Don’t limit yourself to how many times a day you want to do this. Eventually you won’t need reminding and you will learn to consciously stay in the present more often and for greater periods of time.
The benefits of training your focus on the “now” are many. You will be more aware of your surroundings, attentive to people’s needs, intuitive, less stressed (because you are less focused on the future and the past), and overall more vibrant and happy. You will also find that you can think clearer and make better decisions when grounded in the present.
It is for this reason that training spatial awareness with techniques like this has become a common practice for entrepreneurs and biz gurus. Awareness is vital for proper decision making. It is one of the skills that separates the successful, and everyone else.
Let People Enjoy Things
There’s certainly plenty of other behaviors and issues that I could have touched on here, but I feel that sometimes simple is better.
We’re a society that seems more and more predicated on resentment, disgruntlement, fear, anxiety about what other people are doing, lack of empathy, judgmental thinking, and bizarre Puritanism. An awful lot of people have simply lost their ability to have fun and enjoy life as it is.
It is to the point now where seeing other people have fun, especially young people, is considered “cringe,” or even morally wrong.
Being judgmental and policing other people’s capacity to enjoy life is not an honorable way of living. It nets you no brownie points in this life or the next.
More importantly, it’s unhealthy.
I see these strange unhealthy patterns of behavior more and more these days, and it is a reflection of the wider society at large which seems to be trending more toward boorish customs, conservative rhetoric, and a kind of universal Puritanism based on immaturity and lack of understanding and empathy.
Nothing makes me shake my head in disdain faster than seeing some college-aged “adult” poke fun at and even chastise younger people online for dancing a funny dance or doing something they enjoy. The same goes for how many adults view other adults. Choice of clothing, hair styles, hobbies, and even career, is all up for grabs in terms of judgment.
These are extremely toxic, low rung behaviors that actually produce negative energy. Unwarranted judgment is basically nothing more than an ego-mind trying to justify its existence and superiority by comparing itself to other people based on arbitrary benchmarks. Its existence is validated by “making” those benchmarks where other people do not.
Yes, some people’s identities are based on the casual pursuits of other people and whether or not they meet some kind of arbitrary standard. I wish it weren’t so, but that is the state we find ourselves in society. And we wonder why so many people are disgruntled and isolationist these days?
This kind of a mindset stems from deep insecurity, and I would posit, deep boredom with one’s own life. There’s far too much worrying about what the next man is doing or how someone is having fun or making money, when the focus should ALWAYS be on the Self. If you are not generating positive energy and building your Self, there is no room for discussion. Never mind the fact that unless other people create negative energy from what they are doing, there are literally no grounds to judge it anyway.
There would be a lot more happy and fulfilled people out there if everyone just took a step back and decided not to engage through their ego, not to send out negative energy. Instead, choose higher vibrational behaviors: empathy, understanding, inner peace.
Work on yourself. If you ever find yourself in a situation where other people are having harmless fun, and you’re “judging” them for it, then you have an out of control ego and need extensive personal work.
These behaviors are easy to change, just like anything else. It simply takes the conscious decision not to engage in the behavior. After that, mental discipline can be forged through meditation and yoga. It’s not difficult to change. The only hard part is making the choice.
Changing Yourself For the Better
If you want to talk about activities with the highest rate of return, there’s nothing that comes close to personal development. Work on your Self and you will see all of the other pieces in your life slide into place.
This is the time of the year when everyone is making all kinds of resolutions and promises with themselves that they will “go to the gym” or “eat better.”
Think bigger. These kinds of amorphous “goals” are just the ego comforting itself and making you believe you will see progress.
Then the results never come because actions were never taken.
You have to think bigger and do more. That means really working on yourself and changing.
And this goes for anyone. It doesn’t matter if you felt like a lost puppy in 2018, or if you are a yoga guru with an online masterclass and a studio. Anyone can benefit from this advice. There’s always something you could be doing better, some way you could be growing, some way you could be expanding your awareness or practicing greater compassion.
It might seem arduous to undergo change, especially if the behaviors are a part of your identity. But it’s for the better: you will reap the rewards of awareness, inner peace, empathy, and health.
Everything comes down to choice though. You have to be the one to make the conscious decision to change yourself for the better. No one else can make the change or grow for you. It has to be you.
The founder of Digital Sages, Matt has an extensive background in self-mastery and has authored several books on the subject. His goal is to demystify important esoteric subjects and help people transform their lives through self-awareness and personal empowerment.