5 Easy, Practical Steps to Get Rid of Bad Habits

Do you ever find yourself making the same mistakes over and over? Or getting stressed about the same sorts of things, time and again? It’s hard to learn what we want to change if we aren’t in the habit of reflecting on our lives – but even if we are, we need to have the courage and clarity to get rid of bad habits.

Just getting rid of a bad habit out of the blue, on our own, isn’t easy: but it certainly can be easier if we take practical steps to remove some of the factors around why we keep making the same mistakes. (And by “mistakes” I don’t only mean morally bad decisions, but also behaviors that leave us feeling exhausted, stressed, or unhappy because they don’t serve the major priorities we’ve set for our lives.)

Here are 5 practical steps to help you get rid of bad habits, with clear examples of how to follow them easily.

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Trading in Emotional Expenditure

(“Why am I Always So Tired?” – How Discerning the Cost of Anything is Essential to Living Well, Part IV)

This is part IV of a series looking at how discerning the non-monetary cost of things in our lives can help us figure out why we’re so tired – and how we can live better. Read Parts I, II, and III.

Emotional expenditure is probably the trickiest of life-costs to consider. We know how to track our time, and we have physical indicators of how much energy we have (or lack): but how do we measure emotional expenditure?

Thankfully, (because as humans we are body-soul unities and not brains in jars) our emotions, while not physical in themselves, do have real physical effects. Just think of tears. We feel the emotion of sadness or joy and our eyes suddenly release salt water. Of course, some people’s bodies seem to process emotion more closely than others’ – and even the most highly sensitive people can be unaware of the cost of their emotional life.

What’s to be done? The first step, as with any life-cost, is becoming more aware of the affects of our own actions and that of other’s actions around us. We have to know ourselves well to know what affects us emotionally, and how we process and spend our emotions.

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Trading in Energy

(“Why am I Always So Tired?” – How Discerning the Cost of Anything is Essential to Living Well, Part III)

This is Part III of a series looking at how discerning the non-monetary cost of things in our lives can help us figure out why we’re so tired – and how we can live better. Read Parts I and II.

Most of us think about the cost of a thing is how much money we have to spend on it. But really, it’s how much life we have to spend on it. Life cost can be considered, practically, in terms of time, energy, and emotional expenditure.

Energy is a life-cost closely related to time, but rarely considered on its own terms. We might know that a task will cost us 2 hours to complete – but have you ever noticed that the very same task can cost 2 hours one day and 45 minutes the next? That’s because how much time something costs can depend on how much energy we have to spend. (This isn’t true of all activities, of course: a 3 hour train ride is a 3 hour train ride, no matter how tired we are.)

Unlike time, energy is not a fixed asset. Some activities drain us, while others seem to leave us with more energy than when we started. If we’re paying attention, we’ll know ourselves well enough to be able to judge our daily energy gains and losses.

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Trading in Time

(“Why am I Always So Tired?” – How Discerning the Cost of Anything is Essential to Living Well, Part II)

This is Part II of a series looking at how discerning the non-monetary cost of things in our lives can help us figure out why we’re so tired – and how we can live better.

In Part I, I wrote about shifting our definition of “cost” from that of mere monetary valuation to a more accurate weighing up of the amount of life something requires of us. How much life do we have to trade in to get the thing?

Most of us aren’t used to thinking of cost in terms of life: we’ve been trained from an early age to consider the price tag as an accurate representation of how much something is worth, rather than asking ourselves what the life-cost is to us.

There are three main ways to start thinking about life-cost: time, energy, and emotional expenditure.

Let’s talk about the life-cost of time.

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“Why Am I Always So Tired?” – How Discerning the Cost of Anything is Essential to Living Well

“Why am I always so tired?” If you’ve asked yourself this question, you’re not alone. Most people I know are perpetually exhausted! And the reason why isn’t what you might think: while sometimes we genuinely need to sleep more or explore a chronic health condition, very often what makes us tired is a lack of discernment about the cost of things in our lives.

If we want to truly live well, we have to pay attention to the expenses and income of our lives, not just our bank accounts. When we ask how much something costs, most of us are referring to a thing’s monetary value. How much money will we have to give up in order to own (or lease) the thing?

But most of us get money to buy things by giving up something of ourselves: our time, our expertise, our physical labour.

Giving up these elements of our life can make us really tired.

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