I used to be in the habit of picking up my phone as soon as I woke up and going right to social media or my newsfeed. I enjoyed having something mindless to do as I got ready, and I rationalized that it was the equivalent of reading the newspaper. However, I began to notice that I felt unsettled and anxious as I started my day. It was difficult to get my thoughts together and to feel focused. I decided to intentionally replace picking up my phone in the morning with silence and prayer. The results were immediately evident.
Sometimes, what you stop doing is just as important as what you start.With just 5 to 10 minutes of silence and prayer, I felt more peaceful and settled. My mind was quiet and I could begin the day focused and rested. It was a small commitment, opting out of Facebook and NPR. But it transformed my mental and emotional states for the better. Sometimes, what you stop doing is just as important as what you start. Here are 3 things you need to stop doing right now.
1. Texting while driving.
I know, you “never” do it. Except you probably do. At least, that’s what the statistics say. Nearly 1 in 4 car crashes involve texting while driving, resulting in nearly 390,000 injuries per year. All of us think we can handle this. We’re successful multi-taskers who have been driving for years. We’ve got this. Except we don’t. Stop texting while driving. Put your phone down. Better yet, set your phone to do not disturb while driving. You’ll never regret it.
2. Watching so much Netflix.
Or Amazon Prime, Hulu, or whatever. Did you know the average adult in America watched over 5 hours of television per day in 2017? That’s about 35 and a half hours a week and just shy of 77 days a year. What could you do with 77 more days? How many more memories could you make with your kids or your spouse? How much headway could you make on that project? What new things could you learn?
In her poem The Summer Day, Mary Oliver wrote, “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” I pray your answer is more than binge-watch Stranger Things. Turn the TV off once in a while.
3. Making excuses.
Yes, your boss is a jerk, your parents were a mess, you weren’t given the same opportunities as others. Welcome to the club. Stop making excuses. You have one life to live. Live it to your fullest. Stand up straight. Speak with conviction. Laugh from your gut. All of us can point the finger at someone else who ensured we wouldn’t achieve all we hoped for. But that does nothing. Simply work on being the best version of yourself. After all, that’s all you can be.
This isn’t to minimize the very real traumas that some of us have experienced or the very real challenges some of us were born into. But it is to recognize that you are not only a product of your environment. You get to choose how you will engage with the circumstances you’ve been handed.
Sound off: What else could you stop doing that would improve your life?
Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What’s one thing you could stop doing that would help you enjoy life more?”