More often than not, we stand in our own way when it comes to getting what we want in life.
It’s important to remember that when building the life we want, we have to leave some habits among other things behind.
Trimming the fat, letting go, making sacrifices- call it what you want. At the end of the day, inward change is the first step to outward change.
I love my life right now, but I wasn’t always this happy. A year ago I would have said “I’m living the dream,” with the sarcasm of a jaded workaholic. And that was only after less than a year of being in the workforce.
Aside from my dream career, I had to quit a handful of activities and habits to get on track towards living my best life. Here’s everything I had to quit to get to where I am now in life.
I started smoking weed in college and after graduating, I continued to smoke occasionally. Instead of having a glass of wine in the evening, I toked up.
I did this for months, but my lack of productivity became an issue. I felt guilty about how lazy I was being. I struggled to control my diet. My creativity kind of came to a standstill.
Eventually I realized smoking weed got in the way of doing stuff I actually wanted to do, so I eventually stopped.
Comparing myself to others
I’m goal oriented, but I’m also a competitive and jealous person by nature. I used to compare my success to others’ success. Knowing a classmate or colleague was getting ahead somehow used to bother and discourage me. I made excuses like, “Oh, they came from a family with connections and I didn’t.” Or, “Oh, they just have a natural talent or quality that I don’t.”
Thinking this way was demotivating. I have since learned to stop comparing my beginning to someone else’s middle. Just because someone else found success one way doesn’t mean I can’t carve my own path.
Sweating the small stuff
It’s easy to get tangled in life’s little frustrating situations that don’t matter in the long run. In college, I used to be caught up in the politics of my extra-curricular activities. Now I laugh because the problems that swallowed my energy back then make no difference today.
Knowing my time and energy are limited makes me reconsider what issues need my attention. I let go of the little things and focus on the bigger ones that will affect me long term.
Relationship drama is a time suck. I was preoccupied with what my ex-boyfriend was thinking and doing (or not doing), and I honestly wish I could get that wasted energy back. I would have spent more time on what mattered and less time fighting with him.
Now, if a relationship takes me away from my long term goals, it has to end. I’m not letting a romantic relationship get in the way, no matter how great that person is.
Luckily I’ve found an amazing partner who pushes me towards my goals and enhances my life.
Friendships that held me back
At some point after college I realized I had some incredible people in my life, but I also had some friendships that added no value. Maybe it seems harsh, but it made sense to me to focus less on emotionally and mentally draining friendships.
I didn’t call up these former friends and say, “Hey I can’t be friends with you because I have goals.” It was just a matter of letting things drift as time went on. So much changes after high school and college. Forcing friendships based on the fact that we grew up together was more work than anything else.
I started to recognize and focus on the friendships that were the most positive. Now I feel surrounded by people who legitimately believe in me.
I used to let lack of knowledge be a blaring excuse for not taking action.
Last year I couldn’t tell you one thing about investing money, but after starting to educate myself, I feel confident in when it comes to money.
Now I have goals in place that I’m taking steps towards accomplishing. If one of those steps involves learning about something unfamiliar or a new skill, I welcome the challenge instead of seeing it as a road block.
My “dream” job
When I graduated college, I hit the ground running with an assistant job in the entertainment industry. I was on track to become a talent agent. Getting an assistant job in New York City having no prior assistant experience is tough. But I did it.
After a short eighteen months, it was obvious my dream job was more of a nightmare. I couldn’t force myself to be the perfect assistant. I wasn’t the worst, but I wasn’t good enough either.
Quitting my assistant gig and leaving behind my dream of becoming a talent agent was the most difficult thing I’ve ever had to do. But letting it go was the best thing I ever did for myself.
Quitting things and making changes is so much easier said than done. I didn’t stop everything at once. Recognizing what needs to change is the most crucial step. In the moment, I had no idea that quitting weed or my job would lead me to the happiness I experience today.
I challenge you to think about how you’re getting in your own way. Take one thing at a time. Small changes add up.