Five Habits You Should Dump in the New Year

In December, the Internet is rife with stories about the things we should incorporate into our lives for a better new year. How about the things we should get rid of? In honor of the Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, the 2011 runaway classic about getting your sh** together by getting rid of it, let us look at five habits you should dump in the new year. Think of it as a way of sparking joy in your personality and not just in your hip, minimalist home/office.

Based on painstaking research, here are the top five habits you should dump for the new year: self-sabotage, self-aggrandizement, debt, reliance on will power, convenience, and stuff. Looks like a simple enough list. Let’s dig in!

Self-sabotage
Wikipedia defines Impostor syndrome this way: “Impostor syndrome (also known as impostor phenomenon, fraud syndrome or the impostor experience) is a concept describing individuals who are marked by an inability to internalize their accomplishments and a persistent fear of being exposed as a “fraud”.” When you don’t feel like you deserve the fruits of your labor or think you are as smart as you should be, you suffer from impostor syndrome. And you are in good company. “Even after publishing a dozen best sellers, Seth Godin wrote in “The Icarus Deception” that he still feels like a fraud.” (https://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/26/your-money/learning-to-deal-with-the-impostor-syndrome.html)

Here are a few ways to overcome impostor syndrome: take credit for your accomplishments, speak up, know your worth, keep a file of your accomplishments and compliments… Call your impostor syndrome by its name. Labeling it takes away some of its power. Journal about it. Know that “authenticity” is a set up – each of us is always becoming.

Self-aggrandizement
Facebook and Twitter are filled with self-aggrandizement. We publish only the greatest aspects of our lives in Social Media. We want to appear bigger, better, strong, faster, slimmer, taller, younger than we actually are. But really our attempts at upstaging one another results in weakening self-acceptance and its potential for happiness. Certainly harping on our less wonderful attributes contributes to a downward mental health spiral; its opposite has similar unhealthy ramifications.

Debt
Having a judicious amount of debt can be very helpful. A car, a home…these are good things that can improve one’s life. But as Business.Financialpost.com tells us, “Borrowing money today is like negotiating a pay cut with your future self (due to the interest you’ll pay)…. If you find you can’t buy depreciating assets without borrowing money, that’s simply an indication that you can’t actually afford it.”

Reliance on Willpower
Benjamin P. Hardy writes in Medium.com: “If you want to make any permanent change in your life, willpower won’t get you there…Whether you want to get healthier, stop using social media so much, improve your relationships, be happier, write a book, or start a business — willpower won’t help you with any of these things.” This is because of the way the brain works. Our habits create neural pathways in the brain. We become habituated to behaving/thinking in certain ways. To break out of these ruts, we must create new neural pathways, new ways of being. Willpower alone cannot cause the change we seek. Hardy tells us we need commitment, a schedule, accountability, and to remove all barriers/opposition to our success. (https://medium.com/the-mission/willpower-doesnt-work-here-s-how-to-actually-change-your-life-4fffab6a72ac)

Convenience
Convenience is a fallacy. Fast food illustrates this claim perfectly: fast food maybe convenient in the moment, but its deleterious effects on our health, taste, and appreciation for food have created a crisis that will take our culture generations to overcome. When we choose convenience, mindfulness suffers. We are never in the present moment as we rush through our “Happy Meal”.

Monoculture farming is another example of the fallacy of convenience. While it is certainly more cost-effective (read: convenient) to raise a single crop in huge amounts, biodiversity pays the price. The smartphone is also convenient and yet it has nearly destroyed our ability to relate to one another face-to-face.

Accumulating Stuff
Most of us have got too much of it. If this was not the case, books such as Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up would never have been written. Stuff is expensive. Stuff causes debt. It causes clutter; it zaps your time. The less stuff you buy, the more money you’ll have to spend on things like travel or retirement. The more stuff you give away, the less stuff you’ll have to clean, the more time you’ll have to spend doing things you love. Less, as it turns out, really is more. This cool blog gives some tips on how to become a minimalist: https://www.becomingminimalist.com/.

Best wishes for the very best you in 2018. Dump self-sabotage, self-aggrandizement, debt, reliance on will power, convenience, and stuff. You’ll find you’re at your best.