Ever heard of the saying “addition by subtraction?” It’s one of those clichés sports talk show hosts throw around along with “playing hardball” and “stepping up to the plate.” It also happens to apply to making your life better. Removing the weak links in your habits and guilty pleasures will effectively cut down on the unnecessary garbage that’s clogging up your productivity, your self-worth, and ultimately your happiness.
Keep in mind I don’t list these things with a whimsical disregard for moderation. There are certain things that probably aren’t terribly good for you (beer, chocolate, Family Guy), but that doesn’t mean they can’t be enjoyed in small doses. They add value. Value is good. The things on this list probably don’t add value to your life. You might disagree. You’d be wrong, but that’s your prerogative.
Cut these 20 things out of your daily life, and you’ll be that much closer to being a certified, self-aware, bad motherfucker (to quote Sam-u-ell).
1 | Soda
Or pop, or whatever you call this high-fructose diabetes in a can. At this point in human history I shouldn’t have to tell you how bad this shit is for you. Cut. It. Out.
2 | Online Shopping
Unless you’ve been medically or lawfully sanctioned to you place of residence, there’s no reason you need to be purchasing anything from the comfort of your pajamas. Buying shit releases endorphins resulting in a momentary high but in the long run leaves you with nothing more than a bunch of shit you don’t need. If you think you need something, take the time spend getting off your ass and going to the store to realize you can live without it.
3 | Complaining
I’ve already written about the ill-effects of complaining your day away, but it’s worth noting again. The only thing complaining does is internally reinforce how much you think your life sucks. It doesn’t. Change out complaining with a daily gratitude practice and instantly become aware of what you have rather than what you don’t.
4 | Dressing Like an Asshole
Actually, dress however you want as long as you do it with confidence. Get rid of all the rags in your closet that don’t make you feel like Don Draper. You know…minus all the womanizing and alcoholism. And don’t give me any shit about buying new clothes. Go to a thrift or consignment shop and find something that fits.
5 | Dieting
Diet should be a four letter word in your vocabulary. It represents a deviation from the norm and something you do to ‘cleanse’ or ‘cram’ or ‘crash’ or whatever the fuck. If you want to change your eating habits change them for good. Going on a ‘diet’ assumes at some point you’ll stop.
6 | TV in Bed
Watching TV in bed is a generational habit that’s incredibly hard to break. We do it as a way to lull ourselves to sleep without having to think thoughts in the process. The problem is going to sleep on an overly-simulated brain leads to a poor night’s sleep and a shitty morning mood. Try reading.
7 | Hitting Snooze
I recently wrote about 40 things to do when you snooze. The morning is a grossly under utilized chunk of your day, and if you can program yourself to wake up an hour or two early (see number 6), you’ll find your days getting longer and more prodictive. You also give your brain a chance to wake the fuck up.
8 | Procrastinating
I’m pretty sure people have been telling me not to procrastinate since I was wearing LA Gear light up sneakers and carrying around a pet rock. I should have listened to them. Putting shit off doesn’t mean it goes away. Nut up and deal with the tedious things that make you uncomfortable. The more you run head strong into fear, the easier it becomes.
9 | Worrying
Stuff your worries in a sack along with your insecurities and your VHS tape of Risky Business and throw them down a well. You’ll never be able to live your life freely until you come the the realization that you really can’t control anything. Be present. Enjoy the now. What will happen will happen.
10 | Listening to Haters and Trolls
On your way to doing anything great there will be a long line of haters and trolls put on this earth for the sole reason of testing your resolve. They aren’t worth the dog shit on your shoe, so learn to smile and nod at the people who’s misery is only quelled by spreading it around the world.
11 | Half of Your Shit
Just get rid of it. You don’t need it. Throw it away. Give it away. Just remove it from your life and never think about it again.
12 | Poisonous Relationships
Relationships are the most important component of a fulfilling life. Do your best to identify the people that take more than they give and cut them off like a gangrenous appendage. Those suck monsters will use up your compassion and kindness and leave your deflated carcass in the gutter.
13 | Weighing Yourself
Getting healthy and losing weight is great, but in order for it to work it has to be a procedural and incremental change to your lifestyle and attitude. Weighing yourself will add unnecessary stress to that journey and ends up discouraging you as much as it helps. If you absolutely have to, weigh yourself once a month rather than once a day. The point really isn’t to lose weight. That’s just a nice bi product of getting your shit together.
14 | Blaming Others
Blaming anyone or anything other than yourself will never help you get over bad shit that happens to you. In fact, don’t even blame yourself. Blame no one. I wrote about this at length here, in essence saying the world isn’t out to get you and the sooner you understand that, the sooner you can use adversity to be better at life.
15 | “Facebooking” as a Recreational Activity
Ugh. Facebook. The life-sucking vortex of trending Kardashians and recently searched advertisements. Connecting with people is great, but there’s nothing real about the connecting that happens on Facebook. Staying tuned in from a distance to what your friends are up to is fine, just don’t let typing “f-a-c-e-enter” become a reflex when turning your computer on.
16 | Caring What Others Think
I hesitated to add this to the list because of it’s something I struggle with mightily. There’s a big difference from lacking consideration and not caring what other people think, and it’s an elusive sweet spot, to say the least. Be aware of how your actions are effecting people around you, but don’t let phantom third party judgements get in the way of doing what you want to do. Make sense? Yeah, I didn’t think so. C
17 | Chasing The Night
When I lived in San Francisco and treated weekends like Spring Break, there was a saying my friends and I had: “don’t chase the night.” Going out every once in a while is fine, but have your fun, say your goodbyes, and tuck in before the creeps come out. And remember: nothing good ever happens after 2 AM. Try and prove me wrong.
18 | Photographing Everything
Our phones have turned us into a culture of amateur photographers. Which in itself isn’t such a terrible thing. However, if you’re living your experiences through a sun-flared Instagram filter you aren’t really living it at all. Put the goddam phone down and be amazed at how rich the world is when you unplug.
19 | Eating When You’re Bored
Didn’t your mom ever tell you to go outside when you’re bored? Cooking and eating is one of my favorite things to do, so when lulls in the day happen my default activity is to reach for the fridge. Fight that urge! Eat when you’re hungry and eat enough to stay hungry. And eat good food for Christ’s sake! Whatever that means for you.
20 | Giving Fucks
Live your life how you want. Do the things you love. Be unapologetic about knowing what you want and going for it. If you really love Coca Cola and feel passionate about it as a business and a product, tell me to fuck off and pursue it anyway.