Our modern society has become a nest to many things. Some of them can be considered quite safe and motivating. Some others can very easily hold us back from achieving our dreams and full potential, whatever it is you believe in. Whether there is a God or not, whether there’s an afterlife or if we’re just here by chance, should never stop us from pursuing what we want.
Leaving a Legacy
We don’t have too long for wealth, belongings, and money at the end of the day. It is our time here that grants us a sense of satisfaction that we can pass on down onto generations, leaving a legacy. A footprint on the world that will allow our descendants to look back with pride and realise that no matter how terrible things could ever get, we managed to push through the heaviest of the storms and still reach the top. Now, we all know life isn’t easy most of the times. It is precisely those difficulties that mark the milestones of how far we get to go. With perseverance, dedication, motivation and a relentless wish to keep going no matter the circumstances, we can achieve anything we want.
Life, as you probably know, works in mysterious ways. As I have come to learn from my own experiences, there’s hardly anything we can recognise as a pattern. But sometimes, there will be certainly waves of good and bad times. These are marked primarily by our choices and decisions. That no matter how relevant they might seem at the time, carve the path through which we walk, defining where our horizon ends. Our minds will be challenged lots of times with tricks, situations, questions, and doubts that only if we’re careful and thoughtful enough, we will get to overcome with success, and the light that brightens our path will shine strongly enough to show us where the next stop in our journey might be.
As we walk down the path that we set ourselves on, we make minor decisions that could unknowingly change our course. Sometimes for good, and some other times, as it was my case, it could drive us away from where we were meant to go. These choices can quickly become habits. How we get used to a routine is within our nature. Picking the right elements to make part of it can be rather tricky depending on the life we’re leading.
Bad habits, for example, might seem harmless at the start, or even helpful. Adopting behaviors that help us to escape a tough reality we don’t want to deal with. This could likely lead to a life of lies and deceit, that in the end, will only evolve into a spiral of isolation and smoke curtains that won’t ever allow us to see through them and achieve our dreams and goals.
Today, I want to share with you five reasons to break bad habits. I hope that you walk a different path than the one I did. You will realize that the earlier you start to pursue your passion and follow your heart, the more you will get to enjoy this beautiful gift we know as life.
1. More time
Even if you believe in the concept of an afterlife, I bet we could both agree that no matter what happens after we hang the gloves, nothing will ever be the same as what we’ve been through. From our first steps, first words, and first smile going through our first kiss, and the first time we say “I love you”. It is all based on what we know as a reality that will never be recovered once we bid farewell to our existence. The time we spend alive is a precious gift that should never be wasted. Leaving bad habits behind will allow us to appreciate everything we have at hand. It will also give us the chance to enjoy it and develop it further. Develop it into projects of life and personal growth that we can look back upon with pride and joy.
Use it wisely
They say “Never leave for tomorrow what you can do today” Sometimes, we take time for granted. Sometimes, we forget that our life on earth is nothing but borrowed time. A bad habit will literally steal time from places, moments and fields in our life that could help us to achieve our full potential. Once everything is said and done, our wasted time will never be back. There’s nothing we can do to recover those seconds, minutes, days or years that washed away like the sand at the beach during the strongest storms.
Living life could be taken as a synonym of using our time here properly, and we should never forget that. The way I see it is as if it was a film movie at the cinema. Every time the light goes through a picture it shows up on the screen for a fraction of a second. Then, it ceases to exist before our eyes, and the next one is on. There is no past but only our memories, and there’s no future but our hopes and dreams.
As Immanuel Kant, the German philosopher once said, we are social animals. We have evolved to live in groups, develop a social sphere and find our own role within society. Bad habits, as well as bad decisions, drive us further away from what we could or should become. Abusing substances such as alcohol or drugs, for example, can very quickly go from being a bad habit, to an addiction. It then becomes a disease that grows out of our control. Stealing everything we hold dearest and masking away all sorts of opportunities we could take to grow as people, as lovers, as professionals, and as friends.
Adopting a bad habit will shut doors that we could have otherwise knocked on. These doors are usually the ones that lead to a better and happier life. Regardless of whether you believe in destiny or fate. Making good decisions will have good consequences. It is not a matter of being optimistic or negative.
Surrounding yourself with good people, who can also have a good influence in your life, will open your mind to new possibilities. From here, whichever choice you make will be based on the context you’re in. In other words, a group of people with a negative attitude will influence the outlook you have in life. To the extent that you will reason while being only limited to the boundaries you have set yourself.
Leaving all bad habits behind will also give you the chance to meet new and wonderful people. People that you would’ve never met otherwise. It might be scary at the start, and I couldn’t blame you, but though it might sound like a cliché, the magic only happens out of your comfort zone.
Bad habits will inevitably stop you from achieving anything worth in life. From the smallest short-term goals. Goals such as getting up a bit earlier every day, to much more relevant and transcendent ones. Ones such as starting a family, becoming successful and leaving a legacy worth of admiration and respect.
Our goals are what mark the milestones and the process you go through in life. It gives a sense of purpose, and therefore motivates to push forward. In my own case, I stopped focusing on my goals at a very important age, and opportunities went away to never come back. Whether you need to go through alcohol or drug detox at the end of the day what matters most is the fact that you have to keep going. Our species itself has been showing since the dawn of our existence, how relentlessness, perseveration, and dedication is what guarantees a spot in the food chain. This is what has placed us on the top of our evolutionary process, surviving through hundreds of thousands of years.
Working towards your goals also has an effect on how you feel about yourself. Self-esteem is a very important aspect of everyone’s life, and though sometimes overlooked, it should always be kept in mind, worked on, and improved.
A low self-esteem might not only be blinding you and stopping you from achieving everything you could possibly want. It will convince you that you’re not worthy of receiving anything good. That additionally could also push you towards even worse habits, an addiction, depression or even suicidal tendencies.
Bad habits never help to improve your self-esteem. They degrade the perception you have of yourself and create further issues within that will chain you up and harm you. They can push you into an abyss of doubt, self-hatred, negativity, and depression. That could very likely lead to a much worse situation than the one you’re in. Alcohol or substance abuse can start becoming a regular thing in order for you to cope with your reality and your emotions, and that never ends well.
Kick the habit
Breaking bad habits, on the other hand, will have an almost immediate effect on every single aspect of your life. This is without having to do literally anything else. Stop smoking, stop drinking, stop gambling, whatever bad habit anyone could have. The second after it’s interrupted will bring nothing but good things. A better health for example or a better appearance in regards to your skin will be one of the many amazing side effects that leaving alcohol for good has. Your lungs will slowly start to heal after you quit smoking. Your wallet won’t be constantly drained when you give up on gambling. It’s all positive and good things that in the end could also be counted as new and useful resources for you to achieve bigger and better things.
Your body itself will feel much better and energized. Your mood will shift towards a more positive one and this will also lead to a better outlook on life as well. Motivation can start to burst out of nowhere, inspiration can be waiting just around the corner. You will have all the resources to do anything you want and that feels good. The time you used to spend on binge drinking, partying and escaping from reality will become extra time you will have. Time you have to face things as they are and enjoy it because at the end of the day that’s what life’s about.
Living a borrowed time
Sometimes we let all of our worries take the better part of our minds, our thoughts and our life. Things can get bad every now and then, that’s just inevitable. Just as they say the night is darkest before the dawn, I have come to realize this. From my own experience, that life behaves as a wave pattern of good times and bad times. We can’t have one without the other. The good moments in our life will reward us for our hard work and dedication. They will encourage us to push further, to love, to risk things and get out of our comfort zone. It all becomes worth it, and from being able to marvel at the flight of an eagle, to actually looking back in life with pride knowing that it was wonderful to have been here for that borrowed time.
It’s always about learning
Bad times on the other hand, are not only what tests us on every level. They are what make us grow, evolve, become better, and stronger so that we can face the next challenge that will also push us further up on the road. It can be hard at times to deal with the toughest times in life, but you should never lose hope. We can deal with everything one way or another and once we leave this place nothing else will have mattered. No matter what difficulties you are facing right now, know that no disease lasts a hundred years, and if it did, death would take us away first. In other words, it all passes. It all goes away eventually no matter what.
Every time I’m down, feeling the blues, I try to focus on the good things I’ve had. They might not have been many and for some, they might not be enough. To me, it’s not about how big or how amazing they were. I had such low self-esteem at some point, that now just the fact that they even happen makes it worth it for me. And when you quit bad habits, good things start to happen. You might not win the lottery, your debts will still be there, but giving up on something that’s causing you and your family harm and pain, is in itself the first good thing that will happen in your life, with many more to come.
There is nothing more important in life than enjoying it. Nothing. Not the debts and loans, nor the mortgages and taxes, or the salaries and the houses. Not the cars or the phones. Literally nothing. When your time comes, and your name is called, it won’t matter how much you saved. It won’t matter how big your house was, how many digits were in your account or how big was your family. When you look back and see the first memory you ever had, and roll the film rapidly before your own eyes seeing everything you got to experience, the feeling you get once they roll the credits is what will matter in the end.
Live life to the fullest might sound like something out of a movie. The truth is that it’s ridiculous to hope to be in a positive mindset 24/7 enjoying the wind through your hair when you’re dealing with the hardest times of your life. It’s not really about that. As I said before, we all need good times and bad times. We need light and darkness because the existence of one, allows us to tell the difference and appreciate each. Live life on your own terms. Love in your own terms.
What success really means
Don’t let all the problems our own society has created stop you from being happy, from appreciating what you have. Take a look at those who have less. Not your neighbour or your friend, not even on the news. Take a look at how real poor people live and at some point you will realize this. First, you could have it much worse yes, but also that these people are also able to smile, laugh and love just as much as the next one. They might not have everything our society has constructed to measure success. But if in the face of despair, necessity, and difficulties you are able to smile, you’re already successful.
In other words…
Quit your bad habits, I’m sure we all have at least one. It will push you one step closer to achieving your goals by giving you the gift of time. It will allow you to see with more clarity what you should do in order to reach your destination. Whatever it is you want in life, our routine has a very important role in whether we get it or not.
Surround yourself with positive people. Friends, lovers, family members, colleagues, it doesn’t matter the label you put on them. It matters what they can do for you to grow and become the best version of yourself. It’s not about “receiving” positive energy from your surroundings. It’s understanding that being in a positive environment will have an influence on the way we perceive our reality. All choices we make will come out of that perception. Therefore they will most likely be good choices that will only improve and lead us the right way.
Bad choices that become regular and turn into a routine will degrade the outlook you have on life, and more importantly, the one you have on yourself. It won’t solve any problems at all. If anything it will only cause more. It will make you feel depressed, worthless and isolated while you should be feeling proud and grateful that you have gotten to this point. The road is not over yet.
Take it one day at a time. They say live life as if today was your last day, I disagree. We shouldn’t have to wait and feel the fear of death to become motivated and inspired to do things differently. It’s all one one frame at a time that ceases to exist the second the next one comes in. We don’t exist in the past or the future, we are basically dead all the time except for the present. So live in that frame, live in this exact very moment and don’t let anything get in your way. Where we go from there, is a choice I leave to you.
If you’d like to ask a question or suggest any other reasons to quit bad habits, feel free to leave a comment below.
This post is written by Andrew Macia. Andy is an entrepreneur that was born in Bogotá, Colombia but raised in Los Angeles, California. He spends his time helping others with their recovery and growing his online business.