Living with Intention: 3 Habits to Ditch in 2019
If you make your bed every morning soon after getting up, you’re starting your day with a small accomplishment and laying the mental groundwork for more
good things to come. It’s hard to argue that is anything other than a good habit.
However, many of us have plenty of other habits that are not so healthy. When we allow our actions to slip into autopilot mode, we sometimes end up with undesirable outcomes. Rather than acting with intention, we give in without thinking to default behaviour – even when this leads to unpleasant results.
Fortunately, bad habits aren’t permanent. Here are three habits to ditch in 2019 to help you live a more positive and intentional life.
1. Stop letting circumstances dictate your mood
Do you ever have a day that starts out fine but ends with you in a foul mood because of some negative event? Whether it’s a lost taxi driver making you late for a meeting or a colleague speaking poorly about you in front of others, you’ve likely had your share of normal days that turned into ‘bad days’ over the years.
Frustration, annoyance and even anger are natural emotions, and they can be triggered in anyone when the right – or rather, wrong – thing happens. But just because they rise up in you at a given moment doesn’t mean you need to let them take over and dictate your mood for the day.
While you can’t simply avoid negative circumstances, you can choose how you handle them. With a mindful approach, you can acknowledge the situation and your emotions, even if they’re negative, and accept them without judgement. Then you can make the intentional decision to let go of these emotions and move on with your day without a dark cloud hanging over you.
2. Stop assigning blame for the obstacles before you
We all face challenges in life, whether big or small, temporary or long-lasting. Sometimes they are of our own making, sometimes they are caused by others and sometimes they are just plain bad luck.
Whatever the cause of the obstacles you are facing, getting angry at yourself or blaming others is unlikely to improve your situation. It may feel good at times to blame someone or something, but it’s not moving you towards a solution.
By ditching the blame game, you can direct your energy instead to finding ways to overcome the challenges you are facing, or at least minimize their negative effects.
3. Stop watching life push you along
How often do you do things because you ‘have to’ or accept situations because ‘that’s just how it is’? Customs and norms often create expectations for how we should behave, and we all must follow laws and regulations. However, if you’re not careful, you can allow this mindset to go too far and give up control of your life to societal pressure or the people around you.
If you’re unhappy at work, what’s to stop you from applying for a new one? If you dream of travelling, what active steps can you take to find the time, money or other resources needed to make this happen? If you feel pressured to buy a fancy car because your colleagues all have one, what’s to stop you from bucking the trend and sticking to the MRT?
You may not be able to swim directly against the currents pushing you in a particular direction, but you can angle yourself toward a target of your choosing. By refusing to be a bystander, you can stop being pushed along and start searching for solutions and routes forward that make sense for you.
Start choosing intentional living
While healthy habits can help you lead a happier and more efficient life, harmful habits can have the opposite effect. By ditching the latter and becoming more intentional about your behaviour, you can clear the way for more positive outcomes in 2019 and beyond.