Do you ever wonder if you will ever be truly happy in your life?
Do you wonder if happiness is just a hoax and success is an illusion?
Do you feel like they don’t really exist?
I felt like this a little while ago.
At the time, I was making six-figure income, was working for my dream company (Apple) and had a flexible work schedule. In spite of all this, I was miserable.
To make things worse one day, my 10 yr old daughter said, “ Mommy you are just not nice when you come back from your job”.
That was a wake up call.
I wanted to make a change. I wanted to be happy. I wanted to be a good mom. But I didn’t know how.
Quitting takes Courage
It was clear that my job was draining me.
But, I kept thinking, “ I can’t quit my job. Can I?
I didn’t want to be a quitter. I wanted to be successful, not a failure.
I was very scared. I had no idea what to do after quitting. I had no idea if I would make it without the corporate safety net.
I realized that quitting is not easy. I had to build up courage to quit.
I looked for ways to boost my happiness. I started scouring the Internet for answers. I read several books and research journals on happiness and success. There were so many contradictory theories and tips. I had no idea if any of them really worked.
I decided to test the popular theories out, one week at a time.
I started following practical tips to make myself happy on a daily basis. I did one new tip for a week at a time to see if it made me happy.
To my surprise, not doing something was much easier than doing something new. Quitting something made me much happier than learning and keeping at something new.
May be it is the human perception!
7 Little Things to Quit to be Happy and Successful
I would have never been able to quit my job if not for the practice I got from quitting little things.
Of all the things that I tried, quitting these seven little things made me the most happy.
1. Quit Reading the News
News headlines are usually about happenings around the world. Most times they are negative. Negative headlines make for better stories than positive headlines.
Would you read a headline that says ‘Electric Chair Makes a Comeback’ or a headline that says ‘Legislation debate in Tennessee’.
See what I mean.
Journalists have to write stories that interest us. Can’t blame them for that.
Changing the time that I caught up on the news helped me be more positive during the day. I started reading inspirational posts first thing in the morning instead of news.
I still did catch the news later around 11 am instead of at 6 am.
2. Quit Hunching Your Shoulders
This boosted my confidence levels.
We hunch our shoulders and take up as little space as possible when we are feeling nervous and not too comfortable. This is body language 101.
Keeping a posture, opening up my shoulders made me feel more confident during the day.
But, I must admit it made me more tired than usual. It took me a total of 45 days before I was doing this effortlessly.
3. Quit Keeping a Corporate Face at Work
We are all trained to not show real feelings at work. Having a corporate face is good for corporate, not for you.
Smiling all day even when I was upset lifted my mood. It made me feel better sooner than when I had a corporate face.
Studies have shown that smiling makes you happy.
4. Quit Writing Huge Goals
It is better to write and work towards goals that are achievable before starting to write our stretch goals. Stretch goals are great to push ourselves.
But, we all need achievable goals to boost confidence and to have successes that we can build momentum on.
This was very hard for me, because I am an overachiever.
5. Quit Eating Fries and Eat Oranges Instead
Fries are my comfort food. But eating them saps energy.
I ate oranges instead of fries every time I felt down and felt the need for comfort food. This not only boosted energy for me, I lost 4 pounds in a month. This gave me more energy and clarity of mind.
6. Quit Charging Cell phones Next To Your Bed
This relatively small change helped me a ton. Keeping cellphones on silent or do not disturb mode doesn’t work. It still will be very tempting to check the time or email when you wake up for your pee break at night.
After I started charging my cellphone and iPad in the living room, I slept for 8-9 hrs every day. I got enough undisturbed sleep. This helped me feel better. I was also more productive the next day.
7. Quit Inefficient Multi-tasking
This is by far the most tempting thing to do, especially with kids at home, and at work. I started time blocking my calendar and started working on tasks sequentially instead of switching between them all day.
I realized that I am able to get more accomplished in less time when I focused on one task at a time.
Quit Little Things to be Happy and Successful
What do all these seemingly irrelevant things have to do with being happy and successful?
In my case, these small wins boosted my happiness. I became much more positive and creative on a daily basis. I saw a lot of opportunities that were in plain sight but never crossed my mind before.
What do you know? Some happiness theories and practical tips do work.
This whole process of quitting little things for an entire year made me brave. I was able to take action in spite of being afraid.
I finally quit my job. I developed the courage to do so.
I handed in my resignation to my director. He handled it much better than I expected. He asked me what I was planning to do.
I told him that I was going to be consulting for businesses.
Surprise!!! Surprise!!! Something unexpected happened.
He set me up with his tech entrepreneur friend who needed marketing strategy. He was my first client.
I was delighted!!
Three months later…
I made more money than at the job. I had much better control over my time. I learned a lot and it challenged me on a daily basis. I was energized even after an 11 hour workday. I became much more positive and creative. I saw opportunities everywhere.
I felt silly for not quitting sooner.
What Will You Quit For Happiness and Success?
The idea here is to start with small wins towards your happiness. Be successful and build momentum. These little changes give you a positive outlook and confidence.
I wouldn’t have been able to quit my job almost without quitting these little things first.
Go ahead prove me wrong!
Try these things for a month and if you think, it didn’t help you at all, let me know.
In the comments below tell me the one little thing that you will quit. Which one do you think will have the most impact on your life and why.
Photo by pedrosimoes7
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49 thoughts on “7 Little Things You Should Quit to be Happy and Successful”
I totally enjoyed reading your thoughts about make small quits to get to the real quit. Boy when I read them, I could see how much they would open me to new positive directions for myself.
My fave is the quit watching the news. I started to quit that about 2 years ago. Yes, we need to know what is going on in the world. We just don’t want to pay the price of depressed thoughts.
When I quit watching the news, and wanted to still be informed, I changed my quit. I quit heeding the direction the news people took me on. Instead I watched for what information I needed for decisions in my life. For the news that brought up sadness and anger, I chose to give different meaning to them. For sadness, I added healing light to those who could use it. For anger, I used to it figure out what positive change I wanted to make in me.
That’s how I quit watching the news for happiness and success.
I am glad you enjoyed reading the post Susan.
It is so true about figuring out the perspective you want to see from watching the news. Just like you did, we can gain control what we take out of the news. That is wonderful that you were able to do it.
My husband Bill totally enjoyed your post. He especially loves No1, give up the news, but will not do No.5. He loves fries too much. I do bake them for him though, not fried. Next best thing.
That is a good idea. Baking the fries. A little bit less guilt :)
Hi Pratima, what a wonderful post! I wholeheartedly agree with your views. Small changes propel larger changes which in turn will create eventually *the* big change. Thanks for sharing. Great to read you suceeded in your endeavors. Best wishes,
Thanks Jose ! Glad you enjoyed the post
Great advice, indeed! My personal list included quitting the cable TV contract (don’t watch the news OR anything else on TV — reading is far more rewarding) and quitting soda (tea is fabulous).
Thank so much for this post Pratima it really made me smile.
I love #4. Quit Writing Huge Goals… nothing worse than spending days writing out a massive plan… then feeling too overwhelmed to make any of it happen. Small actions everyday that make you feel ‘yay I did it’ are far better than still looking at your giant plan on the wall 2 years later and having done nothing.
The one thing I’ll quit this month – is spending too long in front of the computer in one sitting. I’ve been meaning to get a timer to prompt me to move my *rse every hour – so thanks for the prompt. I’ll keep you posted!
That’s a wonderful idea Cat. We should all move more and stretch more during the day. Let me know how it goes.
I love this article and thank you for sharing. I will certainly spread the word. It’s amazing how easy it can be to make change…simply by making simple choices (though I don’t think the french fries one is simple) that don’t take a great deal of thought and hard work. However, the rewards can be everlasting :)
Thanks Joe. You are right about the french fries ! :)
I really loved the article. Quitting a plethora of daily routines to focus on few which actually pay returns. Makes perfect sense!
With that, I have a question for you. One of the big detrimental factors of my life is intermittent outbursts of acute depression. When that happens immaterial of however much I achieve that day, some pain inside me eats me away. Do you happen to know that small thing I can start quitting which will lead to quitting more things and that in turn leading to quit this monstrous depression. Basically I want a massive chain reaction of quitting.
Let me know if you do.
Happy to even share the reasons (on the web openly) for depression if that can help you suggest. Coz hey! I just left behind the fear of embarrassment after reading your article. :D
Karthik, I am honored that you gained a new perspective from this post.
I am not really qualified to give any advice for curing depression, but I can tell you what helps me when I am down.
For me, I quit thinking about the few times that I am down. I think about all the other times that I was happy and excited. This creates a thought process change that helped me create a snowball effect. This might help you too.
Hope this helps
Nice post, I am also going to quit reading the Morning news that certainly pulls down our enthusiasm towards the most important and productive tasks of that day that we plan beforehand. there are many a days that downed my efficiency after reading negative news in headlines. Infact I’ve now learned to quit checking for the regular news updates in the portals right from today.
And am also going to quit charging/placing the cell phones in the bedroom.
Quitting these three shall be helpful to me to uplift the mood and to be more happy.
It is wonderful that you have decided to quit charging cellphones next to your bed as well. It will help you avoid distractions and sleep well. It might be tough at first but stay with it. You will see your productivity increase.
Thanks Pratima for the nice post.I stopped watching news and telefilms long time ago and now i decide what I want to watch and read and not the papers or TV channels.By the way don’t you think that Meditation will help you to be more positive?
I am glad that you stopped watching the news. I am sure it has helped you a lot.
You are right about meditation, in that it gives clarity of mind and positivity. I have started to do this now, but it also requires discipline to practice it everyday to see results.
These little tips do add up and make difference if you actually apply them. Here are few additional points to increase your happiness: http://gameligit.com/lasting-happiness-fresh-perspective/
I enjoyed reading the article Vishal. Thanks for sharing.
Excellent post, I totally agree with you of all the points that you have highlighted. Ironically, instead of bemoaning and blaming ourselves, we need to be realistic in setting our goals. We are the once who decide our destiny.
Very true Obaid.
I still read the news online but I often avoid the comments on difficult articles because I know that people’s quick judgements etc only frustrates me so I avoid them.
I’ve also quit allowing people’s negative behaviour in my life. I’m not talking about the little things (which we need to accept and forgive to a certain level) but if a relationship hasn’t been working for some time and you’ve tried to unsuccessfully fix it then I am more than happy to quit it and walk away because no one else is going to look after yourself better than you! :)
Lovely post Pratima!
Toni, avoiding negative influences on our thoughts is very important for our happiness and success. One way to do that is to counter it by thinking about something positive. Another way is to avoid negative situation altogether. Both have worked for me depending on the type of situation.
Glad you liked the post.
I stopped reading the newspaper years ago, like you said it’s mostly negative. I tried to continue reading it, skipping through the bad stuff looking for the few positive stories but having to read through the bad headlines was still intriguing and getting to me. Once I stopped cold turkey my outlook improved.
I don’t know if I could give up the fries though, I love them :-) But I have been eating more apples!
Tell me about it Lea ! Funnily fries are very hard for me to quit as well. :)
Thank You Pratima! I totally agree with you. Understanding what is happening around us is good but too much will wear us down like what you say. Endlessly chasing after big goals will only make us wear out as we feel bad when it isn’t completed within the timeframe that we set.
Yes Nic, it does leave us with a sense of failure for no good reason, don’t they !
Practical and awesome tips!!! A good read! Thank you!!
I am glad that you enjoyed the tips Divya.
It is great to know that despite the flooding of bloggers on the internet, there still surface someone who can give justice to what they call ‘real blogging’. And you are one of them. Thank you for sharing these wonderful ideas. I really appreciate it.
Thank you George for the compliment. I hope to make a difference through blogging. :)
Quit procrastinating and start taking action is one that resonates with me when I was building my business. It has allowed me to stop worrying about whether the business will work or not and adopt this “I will make it work” mentality. Another one that has helped me become more positive is to quit watching TV and read a PMA book before going to bed.
That is wonderful Edmund!
Thank you Pratima, a very timely article! I recent times I have reduced my news intake (not easy for a news junkie like me) I am also currently working too on 6. and 7. Thank you for reminding us that success comes by winning these small interior battles.
I am glad that my experience is of help to you
Hi, I’ve quit the day job for a year (at least). In a week’s time the plan is to start catching up on the rest of life and explore some other ways of making a living that don’t involve going to an office. Quiting takes effort becuse we have to push against the expectations of others and ourselves. But life is about chocies and that means something important to us might mean quitting something else.
Very True Peter!
Congratulations! What a great ending!
Your tips are a breath of fresh air too – like quit reading the news. Last month I spent 20 minutes tweaking my Facebook feed so that I wouldn’t have to see all of the things/people/stories that either depressed me or irritated me. What a difference it has made.
And getting rid of goals (I wrote about that two weeks ago here) – totally on the same page.
As for charging cellphones next to bed… does it count if I put it on airplane mode :-) ??
Only if you are not tempted to use it in the middle of the night Rosanna :)
I like your article, as it relates to what I like to call “positive quitting”.
Quitting can be positive or negative. You can quit because you are lazy and undetermined which is of course, negative and you are labeled as a “quitter”. However, quitting one thing to adapt something better is empowering.
If you stop watching news because you’d rather focus on learning and reading, that’s improvement. If you stop watching news because you don’t care about other people and the rest of the world, that’s not so coo.
Great thoughts. Keep it up!
As you said quitting does takes a lot of courage and it is worth it for the right reasons.
Very True that Little changes impacts alot… Tips are really helpfull. But Pratima, while reading this blog, till end I was very curious to know about What changes you made for your daughter. There was a line ” I wanted to be a good mom. But I didn’t know how”. Is it that you disconnected yourself from the main theme which encourage you to write it ?
The sentence about being a ‘good Mom’ was in the context of not being in a good mood to be patient enough with my daughter.
Very nice post, I am already skipping / avoiding news and feel happier for not going through those garbage every day ( actually now, after making it a routine of not going through newspaper / news on tv, I could configure that, those were garbage).
Thanks and best wishes.
Thanks for reading Pravin
Hi Pratima, Lovely article. This is the first time I am writing to unknown set of likeminded people.
I don’t read newspapers early morning, no news either. Somewhere during the day, i read through news websites.
I have started to de addict myself of my phone addiction…i don’t carry my phone while i take my dog for a walk, or when out for short shopping trips.
I dont check my emails post work, i have blocked 99% contacts on watsapp…I would rather hear a human voice than exchange smileys on phones.
I try and not speak too much English at work with my Indian colleagues…..speaking in Hindi which i have spoken during my growing up years and in Delhi is a common language keeps me close to home even when I am on top of big presentations….
Yes, Quitting some small things does keeps my sanity alive …thanks once again !!
Sakshi, That is wonderful that you are able to do that on a daily basis
I am going to quit….charging my phone by my bed, hunching my shoulders, reading mindless content on the internet, going to bed without brushing my teeth, keeping my workspace and living space unkept and finally quit caring what people think about me.
I’ll write this down in my daily journal and commit to it for 30 days to see if there are any improvements. Not seeking perfection but just daily intention.
Thanks for the inspiration.
I think that God let me read your post on the right time. Thanks so much for the inspiration.
I’m a structural engineer. I’ve spent most beautiful years of my life forgetting about almost everything except my work. Working for some company after another. Eventhough I’m considered getting a high income, I never was able to save. Work depressed me, took me from my family and friends. Most importantly ruined my look by gaining weight and losing control over my life!
3 months ago I decided to take unpaid leave which I’m still on now. The reason for this is to give myself the chance to review my life and hopefully build some courage to consider having my own small consultant office. I’m still thinking about how I’m going to resource it and if it gonna give me the same money that I make at my job.
I’d appreciate if you can give me some details on this regard, where to start. ..
I truly appreciate your post, you’re God’s reply to my thoughts!