15 things you should give up in order to be happy?

by Nick on May 21, 2012

I don’t spend a lot of time on my personal facebook page, but I recently spotted a shared article with a title that I couldn’t resist… 15 things you should give up in order to be happy.  Pretty cool, right?  Fifteen things… I can do that.  Then again, I’m already a pretty “happy chap.”  But surely there’s nothing I need to give up… right… Juuuuuuust in case (haha) I figured I’d click through… 😉

Anyhow, in case you’re looking to put a little extra pep in your step on a Monday morning, here are the fifteen things you should give up to be happy.

1. Your need to always be right.  Good thing for me it just happens that I always am right… haha!  On oh… this one hit close to home.  And it’s the first one!  Maybe it’s time to pay a little attention.

2. Your need for control.  Control – one of the more frustrating topics floating in my brain.  I get stressed pretty often when I have two competing forces that I believe are out of my control and I just neeeeeed to get in control!  Usually it’s a tug between work and family duties.  Work needs (or directs) me to work more.  And home needs me at the same time and someone gets sad (or mad) that I’m stuck in the office.  Layered on top of this is my “want” to be home to help and spend time with the kids.  When I feel guilty (or get crap) for things that I think are beyond my control it really gets me.  So I end up trying to control everything around me.  Maybe it’s time to give up that need a bit.  Hmm…. this is getting very close to home….  Maybe I should get on the couch and tell you about my childhood…

3. Blame.  Five years ago, this was a problem for me.  I’ve been working on this one a lot.  Now, if things go wrong I often take more blame than deserved.  It’s mostly because I don’t care very much about the perception of why something got messed up, especially if I know the truth.  But it was a long road to get there.  When the buck stops messes begin to clear up and wounds start to heal.  You get a lot of respect from others, and yourself.

4. Your self-defeating self-talk.  Your mind will convince you that you’re dumb, lazy, fat, not good enough or whatever.  Stop listening to those negative thoughts.  If other people spoke with you like you speak to yourself would you hang out with them?  Probably not.  So stop hanging out with the negative jerk in your head!

5. Limited beliefs.  I gave this one up a while ago.  Sometimes people think I’m crazy, but I aim very, very high.  (Editor’s note: On the first draft of this post I forgot the “i” in aim in the sentence right before this.  Very… very… different meaning, haha!)  There’s very little I don’t believe I can do.  It really transformed my attitude.  I was never really “ho hum,” but going from thinking “impossible” to “why not” really helps you think, and feel positive.

6. Complaining.  I complain a bit too much.  I need to work on this.  Bad vibes.

7. The luxury of criticism.  Your need to criticize things, events or people who are different than you put a negative taste in everyone’s mouth.  Remember, that person getting under your skin, for whatever reason, is someone’s mother, father, son, daughter, sister, or brother.  Just let it go.

8. Your need to impress others.  This, fortunately, I gave up a long time ago.  I think I may have gone over the other way a bit too far… like with my property search, I prefer to make others question my success, haha!  I gotta tell you though – when I truly gave up the need to impress others it was pretty liberating.

9. Your resistance to change.  Change for the sake of change is pointless.  But trying a new way of getting out of debt, investing, saving, thinking, expressing yourself, or whatever, is the only way to grow.  Love it.

10. Labels.  Stop calling people or things “weird” or “different” or any generic label-words like that.  It clouds your mind.  It’s pointless.  And it doesn’t even say anything.

11. Your fears.  Cliche, I know.  But fears are often mental blocks with little basis in reality.  Give up the ones that are keeping you down.  (But not the ones that keep you from jumping into the lion’s den at the zoo, ok?)

12. Excuses.  You know what they say… excuses are like (ahem) rear ends… everyone’s got ’em… and they all stink!

13. The past.  This one drives me nuts, especially when arguing with people (yes, I argue… I’m a bit stubborn)… What gets me the most is when people selectively define “the past.”  I remember one time arguing about something stupid I said or did a few weeks before and they brought it up.  A few minutes later the argument was over and I was annoyed that the person wasn’t arguing fair (they got personal), so I mentioned that it wasn’t cool to do that.  The response:  “It’s over.  That’s the past.  Let’s move on.”  SERIOUSLY?!?!  You’re arguing with me about something from a few weeks ago, but then tell me something thirty seconds ago (that you said) is “in the past!”  GRRRRRRR!!!!!  So annoying.  That’s another problem with “the past.”  It’s too subjective.  (And no, the “someone” wasn’t Wifey McGee.).  Just leave the past in the past.

14. Attachment.  I’d add “to things that don’t matter” just to clarify.  But I totally agree.  I can’t think of any “thing” (not “anything” – any “thing” – there’s a difference) in my life that I couldn’t give up in a heartbeat if I needed to.  Even the symbolic “stuff” are just symbols.  So give up attachment to crap.  You won’t worry so much about things that don’t matter.  You’ll focus on memories and relatinships instead of things.  Love it.  I’d also love to do a simplicity movement but haven’t been able to convince McGee to join me… So basically it ends up with me selling my crap and everyone else filling the newly empty spaces with toys… 🙂

15. Living your life to other people’s expectations.  Did you pick your college major based on what your mom or dad wanted you to do?  Do you change what you do because of what other people expect?  I think I stumbled into doing well with this one by mistake, having blissfully ignored other people’s expectations… Also, setting high expectations for myself helps.  Lately, though, I’ve caught myself wondering what people expect from a “father” or “husband,” so I guess I fall into this trap every now and then…  I need to work on this.

Hmmm…. Kind of cheesy.  But a good hit list for a Monday morning.  It will take a long time, but stuff to work on.  I guess I do have a few flaws, haha!

Any of these trip you up?  Maybe it’s a good time to focus on dropping a few bad habits!

Until next time, put your credit card down and slowly step away from the mall!

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{ 33 comments… read them below or add one }

Jason @ WorkSaveLive May 21, 2012 at 8:48 am

The first two trip me up. I don’t really have the “need” to be right but I definitely don’t get into an argument unless I am correct.

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Nick May 23, 2012 at 4:05 pm

Haha – you and I are alike in that regard… or at least unless “I know” I’m right (or “think” if you ask the people I argue with…)

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Kooz May 21, 2012 at 10:02 am

Number 1 is going to take a lot of work–that’s a lot of prep time, seriously.

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Nick May 23, 2012 at 4:07 pm

You’re not lying… but imagine not needing to be right?!?! I’ve been able to conquer that in parts of my life (really small, insignificant things where I know I’m right but it’s not worth letting it get to me – had one of those at work a while back). But I need to move that line forward a bit and not “need” to be right with some things I see as bigger issues that may not be incredibly important.

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Michelle May 21, 2012 at 10:51 am

Number 1 is a big problem of mine!

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Nick May 23, 2012 at 4:07 pm

🙂 It’s a tough one for sure.

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Sean @ One Smart Dollar May 21, 2012 at 11:34 am

Big fan of #13. Nothing bothers me more than people dwelling on the past.

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Nick May 23, 2012 at 4:11 pm

It gets me, too, especially when you’ve supposedly resolved those past issues in prior arguments… brings all resolutions into doubt. Don’t get me started… haha.

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Kurt @ Money Counselor May 21, 2012 at 11:46 am

Nick, you’re very wise for your age (whatever that may be. 🙂 )

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Nick May 23, 2012 at 4:12 pm

Haha! Thanks. I’ll be wise when I can actually give these things up…

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Modest Money May 21, 2012 at 11:57 am

Geez this is a lot of stuff to work on, but definitely would make someone happier. For me I guess the worst ones are the negative jerk in my head and the need to always be right.

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Nick May 23, 2012 at 4:20 pm

I know – I’d think one or two of these could make a huge difference. Now that I think about it more, I think I’ve had each of these pop up from time to time. Always being right and in control are the big ones though.

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Bridget May 21, 2012 at 12:00 pm

Great post… I definitely need to work on Attachment and Complaining!

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Nick May 23, 2012 at 4:21 pm

How about this? Throw away (or donate) 5 things by Friday. Just do it! Not your computer though… then you can’t come back here… 🙂

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TB at BlueCollarWorkman May 21, 2012 at 12:55 pm

Pretty good post. Like you, that very first one is what I read and had to stop for a bit before I could even go on! “If this first one is so true, getting through the rest of this list is going to suck!” Haha.

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Nick May 23, 2012 at 4:22 pm

I know! I have a pretty long to do list as it is… and these are earth shattering changes!

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From Shopping to Saving May 21, 2012 at 4:36 pm

#1 and #2 are huge for me. Matter of fact, BF and I always fight because I always have to be right and I have a huge thing for control. I get all fussy when someone tries to tell me what to do and sometimes I take things out on him when he is just giving me suggestions. I also make a lot of excuses.

I saw this list and thought about writing a blog post, but you beat me to it! Let me know if you got my email too! 🙂

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Nick May 23, 2012 at 4:26 pm

Yeah… these are BIG ones. Sorry I beat you to it (I hate when that happens to me… but trust me, “neither” of my readers would mind seeing your take on it!).

I did – I was out so I didn’t have a chance to reply, but it’s great and I will send more details on e-mail.

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JP @ My Family Finances May 21, 2012 at 6:58 pm

“the past” is a personal challenge of mine. I still live in the moments of embarrassments that are decades old. On one hand, I tell myself that it’s a positive because it reminds me to avoid making past mistakes. However, it always puts me in a negative mood.

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Nick May 23, 2012 at 4:26 pm

Oh… decades-old embarrassments is a good one. I have a few of those… I tend to embarrass myself quite a bit, haha!

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Thad P @ thadthoughts.com May 22, 2012 at 8:16 am

An excellent list. I know #1 is a problem for me, and knowing is the first step to getting past it. But it doesn’t make it easy to get past.

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Nick May 23, 2012 at 4:27 pm

only 11 more steps and you can begin the 12 step program on the other 15 🙂

I guess that makes it a 180-step program to true happiness to get through all of them!

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Jefferson May 22, 2012 at 11:26 am

Very Buddhist thoughts here, and right on the money. Personally, I love this list.
Basically we need to stop trapping ourselves in the worry and frustration inside our heads, be open to changes and opportunities, and enjoy the life that we already have.

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Nick May 23, 2012 at 4:29 pm

As long as I don’t get the belly, I’m cool with a Buddha reference (I know… it was just a “Buddhist” reference, but I needed the belly joke…).

And thanks for summarizing my 800 word post in two lines… haha! Brevity was never my strong suit.

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MyMoneyDesign May 22, 2012 at 1:04 pm

I’m down with No. 9. Change is always coming whether you like it or not. So you’d be a lot happier if you just accepted that fact.

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Nick May 23, 2012 at 4:31 pm

There was a moment a few years back where a former colleague left my company and tried to get me to join him. My company gave me the “change for the sake of change” thought and since then I’ve been a little reluctant to change. I think it’s just taking a more careful look at whether whatever change I’m considering is actually moving me or my family in a positive direction, but either way I’ve taken very few turns since that moment. It’s a really interesting way of thinking about it.

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Kris @ BalancingMoneyandLife May 23, 2012 at 9:50 am

I have issues with control, big issues. I need to work on them. #11 & 12, fears and excuses are my other two big ones. I think this is a great list, and very thought provoking.

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Nick May 23, 2012 at 4:32 pm

I’ve been working on excuses for a while now, too. It used to be ugly how many times I’d throw excuses around. Now it’s just slightly unattractive how often I use them. I question my excuses before I open my mouth and it often keeps my mouth shut.

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American Debt Project May 23, 2012 at 4:00 pm

You really don’t need to read any self-help/improvement books, you just wrote the best one here! I like the luxury of criticism of idea a lot, maybe every time we think we have an excellent criticism it should be required to count to 30 before talking. I bet by then the excitement of criticism will have faded!

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Nick May 23, 2012 at 4:33 pm

Haha! Well I can’t take credit for the actual list but certainly can for my take on them. 🙂

I agree. Waiting 30 seconds would likely resolve a lot of the negative crap in our lives – especially criticism.

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Kylie Ofiu May 29, 2012 at 4:37 am

I should so follow your advice. I definitely often feel the need to be right/prove I am right. There is so much more in this post such as the past, living to others expectations etc I really should apply. I am usually pretty good, but slip every now and then. Thanks for the reminder.

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Jennifer July 30, 2012 at 5:51 am

Brilliant tips to say the least. I think my biggest turn off is short tempered attitude and lack of compromising. I have been doing Yoga and everything for the anger management, hence just hope I would be able to get over these two bad habits in near future for the sake of my family and a peaceful family life.
Jennifer Goldblum

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Jen @ Master the Art of Saving August 6, 2012 at 1:15 am

Well, I’m screwed. LOL But I’m not so sure my 10 (yes, I’m guilty of 10) things are so easy to give up. Maybe I could start with one. 🙂

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