We are in the midst of a fresh and brand new year.

So I’d like to start it with a bit of a twist. And focus on what to stop doing this year to make it even happier than previous years while at the same time adding things you can do to start making more positive changes.

10 Things to Stop Doing for a Happier New Year

1. Stop overthinking.

Overthinking can make any issue seem bigger and scarier than it actually is. It can hold you back in life and from taking action.

What to do instead:

Set short time-limits for decisions. This has worked very well for me. A couple of examples:

  1. For small decisions like if should go and do the laundry, start writing a new article or work out, I usually give myself 30 seconds or less to make a decision.
  2. For somewhat larger decisions that would have taken me days or weeks to think through in the past, I set a deadline for 30 minutes or at least for the end of the day.

2. Stop being around negativity (people AND things).

Our happiness is greatly influenced by the people and other sources around us.

If you swim around in a sea of negative people or energy vampires that drag you down into fear, frustration and feeling powerless, then that will surely limit the quality of your life.

What to do instead

Figure out what the biggest time-wasters and energy-drains are among all those things that influence you.

  • What people do you need to avoid or at least limit your exposure to? What other sources like blogs (especially gossip blogs), online media, music and movies do you need to stop consuming?
  • Write those answers down. Then think about what people and sources lift you up and make you feel happier about yourself and life. Make a decision to spend less time with the negative sources and spend the time you have now freed up with those new, positive influences.

3. Stop getting stuck in the past or future.

Spending too much time in the past usually leads to going over old mistakes or failures over and over again and wishing you could go back and do something about them.

And spending too much time thinking about the future usually leads to worrying and building nightmare scenarios in your mind.

What to do instead

  • Spend more of your time in the present moment. You’ll feel lighter, things will feel easier and you’ll be more alert to appreciate the small wonders of everyday life.
  • Reconnect with what is happening right now by just sitting down and being still. Then spend a couple of minutes focusing on just your breaths in and out or on what is going on around you right now with all your senses. Listen, see, smell and feel what is happening in your little part of the world at this very moment.

4. Stop setting the bar too high for happiness.

A common mistake people make is to set a too high bar for their own happiness.

And so they usually only feel happy when they’ve achieve something big, when they do something perfectly or when something unexpected and wonderful happens.

You don’t have to wait for those rare occasions to feel happy though.

What to do instead

  • Tell yourself as you get out of bed in morning: “Today I will have a low bar for happiness.” By doing so you’ll take fewer things for granted. Your attention will naturally be more on what is happening in your daily life and you’ll be more grateful for the small things. Like food, the weather, hanging out with a friend or a pet for a while, the small gestures of kindness and the small moments that pass by so quickly.
  • This has at least been my experience with this habit. And it has not decreased my drive to achieve things or to get things done. Instead, it has made daily life lighter to live and the path to what I want to achieve a happier one to walk on!

5. Stop comparing yourself to other people.

Comparing yourself to other people can easily and quickly become a destructive and depressing daily habit (in what we call the comparison trap).

You compare relationships, cars, careers, bodies and houses and at the end of the day your self-esteem is low and you feel like a failure with negativity buzzing around in your head like a swarm of irritating bees.

What to do instead

  • Compare yourself to yourself. See how much you have grown. How far you have come. The progress you have made towards your goals and dreams.  And don’t forget to celebrate the small successes and steps forward too.
  • This habit will help you see yourself from a kinder and more helpful perspective where you feel energized as you appreciate the steps you have taken on your journey. Instead of feeling drained and powerless, you’ll feel motivated to keep growing and to keep going for what you want out of life.

6. Stop doing things too fast.

When you go fast pretty much all the time while walking, talking, driving or running, you tend to feel more stressed.

Your focus more easily becomes scattered and it becomes harder to think clearly.

What to do instead

  • Slow down. Walk, talk, move, drive and bicycle slower.
  • The stress in your body and mind will float away. You’ll naturally be more in the moment. And you’ll enjoy all the smells, sights, sounds and experiences of life even more.

7. Stop trying to make a million exercise/health/fitness changes in January.

The gyms are usually packed during January. So many want to get into better shape and start living a bit more healthy.

Then as February and March roll by the number of people tend to dwindle as a lot of New Year’s resolutions are abandoned.

What to do instead

Getting regular exercise is so, so helpful both for the physical and mental health.

My workouts reload my mind with optimism and help me to dissolve inner tensions and stress. They make me feel more decisive and confident instead of worried and unsure.

But how can you make an exercise habit stick?

  • Keep things simple. On some days I just use a pair of dumbbells and work out at home. On other days I may use a bodyweight circuit at home or go for a long walk in the park. Keeping things simple like this has made it a lot easier to stick with the exercise until it became a habit and to find fewer excuses to skip the workouts.
  • Take small steps forward. You don’t have to exercise for hours. Instead, make things easy for yourself so it doesn’t become this huge mental burden to work out that you will start to procrastinate in February. Start with just taking short walks or go out running for only a few minutes at first. 
  • Know that progress takes time. You can go for longer runs or lift heavier weights later on. But make the beginning easy on yourself so you don’t give up before exercise has become a habit that you gravitate towards and that you crave to feel good.

8. Stop dishonoring your feelings.

It is one thing to focus on what is positive in life.

But it is another thing to try to push away how you feel about something deep down. And it usually doesn’t lead to happiness even if you try to turn on a smile and force the positivity.

What to do instead

  • Don’t force positive thinking. If you have negative feelings or thoughts that pop up again and again then take some time with yourself to think it through. A pen and paper or a journal on your computer can help you to think more clearly.
  • Or you can talk about it with someone close to you.
  • After you have accepted and processed how you think and feel about things, write down a small plan – maybe just a step or a couple of them that you can take action on to move yourself out of this situation and into something better.
  • And after that, get going and get the ball rolling by taking the first small and practical step forward.

9. Stop spending too little energy and attention on what truly matters to you.

It’s so easy to get lost and spend too much time in your day on things that don’t really matter like on things you might just do out of habit or because you feel you should or on busy work or on things that honestly deep down isn’t that important to you.

What to do instead

  • Get your priorities in check. Focus on what truly matters for YOU (and not what matters most to your boss or parents, etc.)
  • Ask yourself: what are the top 4 most important things in my life? Maybe it is your family. Or your hobby. Or your health and getting in shape. Or an important project at work or in your own business. Sit down, really think about it and reduce what matters to just the essentials.
  • Write those things down and put that note where you cannot avoid seeing it every day like in your workspace, beside your bathroom mirror, or on your fridge. This will help you to keep your focus on the right track every day.

10. Stop waiting for someone else to make you happy.

Don’t make the all too common mistake of waiting for someone else to make you happy. That usually leads to a lot of waiting and frustration.

What to do instead:

  • Be proactive. Get the ball rolling yourself. Give yourself permission to be happy. 
  • Take action and take the first small step forward with making the changes you want to make to create the happiest year so far.
  • Set up a coffee date or an evening out with those most positive people in your life and simply have fun. 

Over to you

This is your opportunity to start the new year fresh and do things that feel good for you. If it feels difficult and you start to procrastinate, then remember you can always take smaller steps forward. Do whatever is needed to reduce any mental barriers and to get yourself to begin being a happier you!

Wassuper, it’s yo girl, Kesha and I believe we should Be the Fruit Loop in a world full of Cheerios because life is more interesting when you dare to be different and challenge what’s “normal!” I am wildly passionate about helping highly driven women pursue fantabulous relationships, juicytastic careers/bizzes, and authentically inspired lives.

10 Things to Stop Doing for a Happier New Year

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