Life is a series of things that happen to us. But it doesn’t have to be that way. You can systematically conquer your anxieties and eliminate the external obstacles holding you back. You can take back control. Your life can be yours. Here’s how.
1. Do something that scares you at least once a week
All too often, fear holds us back from doing what we want to do in life. When you build the habit of facing your fears, you become inured to fear. And then, you start breaking free of the artificial self-imposed constraints that fear creates.
2. Sleep on a regular schedule
Get 7–8 hours of sleep a night. Go to bed and wake up at about the same time every day. The exact time isn’t terribly important- you could sleep from 10–5, or 12–8, or even 3–10. What’s important is keeping a regular schedule so your brain can maintain a healthy circadian rhythm. This regularity, in turn, makes it easier to provide structure and order to your life.
3. Save your money
When you have some extra money saved up, a few great things happen. You can afford to treat yourself to something nice every so often without worrying about the cost. A big part of your life stress vanishes. But perhaps most importantly, when you live beneath your means, you no longer have to make life choices with the goal of maximizing your income- you can choose to prioritize other things, like work-life balance, or following your passions.
However, don’t try to save money by cutting out a cup of coffee every day, or heaven forbid, avocado toast. The easiest, most effective way to save money is to set up a savings account and set up an automatic transfer from your checking account to that savings account every payday. You won’t even notice the money is gone when you don’t see it in the first place.
4. Cut back on caffeine and alcohol
They both have their uses- alcohol for relaxing and socializing, caffeine for staying alert in the mornings. But most people who consume them, consume too much. Try cutting your consumption in half- most likely, you’ll get all the same benefits, if not more. Better yet, you’ll stop being dependent on caffeine and alcohol to feel good.
5. Rent, don’t own
Renting has several advantages over owning. You know exactly what your monthly cost is- you’re not on the hook for unexpected repair and maintenance costs. You’re free to move on much shorter notice than a homeowner. You can also diversify your investments, rather than owning one asset that equals 500% of your net worth.
Bottom line: when you own a home, you own a set of obligations.
6. Stop spending time on social media
Social media is by far the number one way that people waste time when they should be doing something else. Worse, it usually isn’t even fun- social media has become a cesspit of pointless arguments, unhealthy social comparison, and painstaking image management.
Social media is a useful tool for keeping in touch with people and planning events, but you shouldn’t be hanging out there. Check Facebook once a day and focus on living your real life.
7. Start a side business
Having a second income provides the same benefits as saving money: less stress, more financial freedom. But it goes further: with a side business, there’s no limit to how much you can make, and you know that if you ever lose your job- or quit it- you can spend more time on your business and scale it up. The flexibility this gives you is tremendous.
8. Keep your home and workspace clean and organized
Remove the physical clutter, and you remove the mental clutter, helping you to focus on what you’re doing rather than how messy your environment is.
9. Build your network
Stay in touch with people in your industry. Go to events with them where you can meet other people. Focus on giving value to people, and don’t worry about what you’ll get out of it for now. You’ll need your network someday, and it’s important to build that network before you need it.
10. Fast once a week
Once a week, refrain from consuming any calories for 24 hours. This is an easy way to lose fat, since it reduces the amount of time you’re eating for each week by 6/7. But more importantly, by learning not to give into hunger, you transform your relationship with food. Eating becomes a decision rather than something you’re forced to do as soon as you feel hungry.