Getting the things we value most in life often requires adjustments in our choices. We need to learn what to start doing and what to stop doing. However, the goal of creating a better life is worth it. Are you up to this challenge?
Understanding What We Value in Life
A better life is something we need to define before we strive to reach it. However, this quest isn’t as easy as it should be. Religion, negative politics, and commercialism control much of the cultural narrative and they profit from telling us what we should believe and achieve. Most of the time, it means buying things we don’t want or need.
Many people find the treadmills of religion and commercialism do not bring joy and happiness. The things we value most in life are often things you cannot buy.
Sometimes we confuse desire with value. We can desire things that are not what we value in life at all. Addictions are desires disguised as something that fills a legitimate need.
Religion sells ideologies. It uses promises of financial success and health, but its best-selling product by far are the afterlife benefits of heaven. These are all sales tactics that make people customers. It substitutes counterfeit answers that do not answer the essential questions of life.
There’s a better way.
Pursuing What We Value In Life
The key to getting the most out of this strategy is persistence, because changing long-standing patterns of thought and behaviors is difficult. So, before you begin the process, we recommend reviewing the article on change and how it might affect your life.
It is common to think we are ready for change, and then we run into some roadblock which makes us second-guess our decision. Knowing how you react emotional roadblocks is helpful. Review the coping skills for change to keep on track, and it will give you the knowledge to push through.
It’s important to realize that this process takes time. Some people spend months or even years, especially when they have addictive or compulsive behaviors. The way to do this is to learn what to stop doing and what to start doing.
Seek professional help with this process inner work process if you have a history of addictive or compulsive behaviors. A skilled counselor can help you through this life-change process. Anytime you do inner work, you can expect any unresolved issues to surface. So a good counselor can help you deal with the roadblocks to your new, better life. Since we all have our own life experiences, there isn’t one way to handle these.
It’s also helpful to find a partner walking the same path. It’s true, you walk your own path, but it doesn’t mean you can’t go with someone traveling in the same direction. You don’t need to be alone. A partner involved in this same type of change process will help you. And you may find that assisting them to will bring clarity to your own struggles.
What to Stop and What to Start
This strategy involves stopping negative thought patterns and behaviors, which makes room for adding positive ones. Then, with the new space, you can reprogram with positive scripts. It sounds easy. So why is this so hard?
Finding the harmful scripts is actually easy, it is stopping the habitual long-standing thought behavior patterns, which is difficult. Habitual behaviors reinforce the negative things and situations in our lives. It’s a self-perpetuating circle of negative thoughts and actions. It’s the essence of self-sabotage. We often know exactly what the negative self-talk is and what actions follow, but you can’t wish them away. You need the right strategy or tools to remove them.
Habitual activities become unconscious thoughts and actions. We do the very things we don’t want to do. Breaking this cycle takes some work, but these are what get in the way of the things we value most in life.
Another common issue is what we call the comfort zone, because our Ego is comfortable in any situation where it can maintain control, even if it is unhealthy. People can live in unhealthy conditions and do harmful things, yet they do not want to change. Just because you are comfortable where you are doesn’t mean it’s healthy. If you can envision a better life, you have a goal that can help lead you out of the twilight zone of the comfort zone.
Here’s the positive. Stopping destructive behaviors leaves more room for good behaviors. We learn to use the mind’s habitual nature to install positive thoughts and actions.
There are some universal actions we can take to create a better life. It involves some changes in the way to live, but the return is worth it. When we have more time and space, we can move toward what we value in life. So, let’s start with the things you should stop:
What to Stop
Many people find this to be the most challenging aspect of the exercise, but you need to remove the negative self-talk scripts to make room for the positive. Don’t try to program good things to offset the bad. It will not work. The negative ways are powerful will cancel out the positive, leaving you feeling guilty.
So, for these strategies for a better life to work, you need to identify the negative patterns. Then you can remove them. It makes space for new self-talk and positive behaviors. Here is a list of the most common things that are roadblocks.
- Above all, Don’t live life as a victim. It makes you powerless with the rest of this process. Everyone has some past traumas. You’ll need to take the time to deal with them. The problem here is the victim mentality becomes your identity. When you are a victim, you live life with an undercurrent of fear and anxiety. The goal is to transform from a victim to a victorious survivor.
- How can you tell if you have a victim mentality? One way to tell is you spend a lot of time blaming other people for your situation. Bad stuff happens to almost everyone. The challenge is learning from these experiences and moving on. If you can’t move on, you get stuck and start blaming.
- Resist living and believing what society tells you to think. Don’t let others determine what we value in life. We see at least one hundred (100) different advertisements for goods and services every day. Stay away from network TV and radio. That subliminal stuff works whether you realize it or not.
- Don’t let yourself get caught up in consumerism. It’s a trap. Stop following popular trends and fashions because it leads to unhealthy comparisons, and is a never-ending spiral which always leads to unhappiness.
- Trying to make other people happy is a trap. Of course, you still need to meet your boss’s needs at work and meet the company’s goals. Do not make it personal.
- Relying on others to make you happy is a mindset that makes you codependent.
- Stop or minimize your exposure to self-hypnosis and group hypnosis tactics which come from the propaganda of religion and politics. It comes in several forms, radio and TV programming, the typical required meetings, and this type of programming is dangerous for you and everyone on the planet. It takes up a lot of mental bandwidth and stunts your ability to use reason and common sense.
What to Start
Once you’ve eliminated the negative, it’s time to reprogram. Don’t cheat. If you don’t eliminate first, you won’t have the space for the new programming. The old stuff is more powerful and it will override any new programming.
The space and clarity of thought will make these new processes more powerful. It’s where strategies for a better life pay off. If you are already doing some positive things, reinforce them. If you aren’t doing these things, then it’s time to start using them. You can do this!
- Where to start, what to start? Start by making the most of your resources, life situation and abilities. Most people are underemployed, and many people have valuable skills and knowledge they don’t use, so find an outlet for these abilities, try volunteering.
- Create and maintain a beginner’s mindset. Use every meeting as a learning opportunity.
- Spend time alone in meditation, so learn to meditate!
- Practice mindfulness meditation techniques to increase your presence.
- Learn how to research and come to your conclusions. The scientific process brought us out of the dark ages. Science, not mythology, is at the root of all human advances learn something scientific and apply it to your life. Learn how to spot the facts from the fiction.
- Cultivate and express your creativity. Art is an expression of the heart. The source of creative insight comes from a deep place in our spirit. Do art for yourself, not for others.
- Learn how to open the voice of your intuition. We need to trust our hear to lead us to what we value in life.
- Help others any way you can and be open to receiving guidance. Be a kind person.
- Enhance your observational powers. Learn to observe your thoughts without judgment.
- Practice moving meditation.
- Add at least one element of self-care to your routine.
- Use your smartphone to remind you of the things you should start or stop.
- Use sticky notes on your refrigerator, on your bathroom mirror, and in your car.
Learning what to stop and what to start takes persistence. These strategies for a better life aren’t easy. But then, change never is. So, are you willing to put in the work to make it happen?
Change is often incremental, so other people may notice the changes in your attitude and behaviors before you do. So, keep a spiritual journal of this inner work, and it will help you see the small steps of growth and identify any patterns you need to change.
You cannot change the past. However, you can write some new chapters into the present story of your life. Keep the goal in mind. Move toward the things we value most in life.