1. Saying ‘no’ to anything or anyone.
We tend to say “yes” at the expense of our own needs, New York-based psychotherapist and author of Be Fearless: Change Your Life in 28 Days Jonathan Alpert tells BuzzFeed. “Saying ‘no’ seems like like a dead-end, and you don’t want to feel like you’re being aggressive or letting a friend down.”
But there’s a difference between being kind and sacrificing your own needs, he says. “Remember, you’re not obligated to say yes. It’s OK to decline an invitation or request.” Plus, what’s the worst thing that can happen if you say no? A friend might be disappointed or upset with you. Fine. Maybe it’s time to reevaluate that relationship if your homegirl can’t let you have your “no.” #factsonly
2. Skipping that workout three days straight.
Flaking on a fitness class could be your body’s way of letting you know it needs a break, says Lateef Oseni, a wellness consultant and co-owner of Triomph Fitness, Health, and Wellness in Brooklyn, NY. “Rest and recovery are key ingredients to success.” Not enough of it, and your muscle fibers don’t get a chance to repair. “This is where chilling on the couch is actually a good thing.”
Also, if you have to drag yourself to the classes, maybe consider whether this is the class for you, NASM-certified personal trainer and blogger Erika Nicole Kendall tells BuzzFeed. “People think that they need to go all in, 110 percent, early on, but then they experience burnout. It’s always OK to give yourself a break. That’s not the same as ‘giving up.’”
3. Eating those fries at lunch.
No one’s trying to sanction a solid diet of junky foods, but according to new research out of Cornell University, indulging in some French fries, a donut, or ice cream from time to time is not a guaranteed path to obesity. Turns out, it’s more important to keep watch of your portion sizes and how often you snack on those “non-ideal” foods.
Try the 80/20 rule, Kendall says. This breaks down to 80 percent of your regular consumption being healthful and nutritious and the other 20 percent is the foods you might need to limit. “This way, you aren’t in a constant cycle of deprivation and guilt, where you feel angry about all the things you can’t have and then wind up bingeing on a bunch of stuff all at once.” Sounds like the green light to celebrate Fryday proper, yes?
4. Not finishing the 700-page book everyone says is *so* good.
Economist Tyler Cowen, a professor at George Mason University and author of Discover Your Inner Economist, suggests that we ask ourselves if reading a particular book we’re not that into is actually the best use of scarce resources — namely, time. It boils down to opportunity costs. Basically, every minute you spend dragging through the book you hate is a minute lost from reading one that you’ll totally love.
If the answer to “Do you love it?” is nah, ditch that book, buddy. And Cowen’s not just talking the talk. He says he finishes one book for every five to ten that he starts.
5. Trying to impress everyone.
Spending all that time and energy trying to make people think you’re aces? Just skip it, New York-based relationship and etiquette expert and author April Masini tells BuzzFeed. Suiting up in your “pleasing armor” and trying to make people think the world of you is utterly useless. You want to attract people who genuinely respect you and what you stand for, she says, not for who they think you are.
Also, remember, everyone is not for everyone, Jonathan Alpert says. Don’t worry about forcing things. “You want your friendships and meaningful relationships to develop organically.”
6. All the things you “should” be doing with your life.
You know that thing when you spend a large chunk of your day, month, life “should-ing” all over yourself? You’re so focused and stressed about all the stuff you think you should be doing instead of spending time trying to figure out what you truly want to do. Yeah, that’s not helping you — like, at all — says Alpert. “We get to a point where we’re leading our lives according to other people.”
He recommends keeping a tally — a legit written-down list — of what your needs are and how you spend your time. “You’ll clearly see where your time goes and if it is at odds with what you truly want and need. This simple act of writing it down serves as catalyst to make meaningful changes.”
7. Buying instead of making your kid’s birthday cupcakes.
Even though we’re super deep into the 21st century, mothers across this nation are still carrying boulder-like guilt on their shoulders over tiny things. Forget the Perfect Mom juggling act, New York-based, coach, workplace strategist, and entrepreneur Rachael Ellison tells BuzzFeed. “Just like in the workplace, women need to figure out their unique value-add, focus on that and draw boundaries around the rest.”
Getting wrapped up in planning the perfect Pinterest party, answering every email, volunteering for all the after-school parent projects, baking the cookies — this paralyzing sense of obligation that so many middle-class mothers feel is such a waste of energy. “If it’s not your strength, then it’s going to make you feel shitty and deflated,” Ellison says. “Do the things that you like you doing and that make you feel like you’re bringing something valuable to the table, and leave the other stuff alone — or outsource it.”
8. Not having a college degree.
Maybe you started and for various reasons didn’t finish or you never went/wanted to go at all. Either way, don’t sweat the college thing, Masini says. “It’s overrated and not the best route for most people who go simply to defer real life,” she says. “Follow your passion and do what’s truly right for the person you want to be — not the one others want you to be.”
9. Spending a week in bed after a break up.
So they broke up with you. So you need some time to get it together and put your heart back in place. So this needs to happen in bed, with the covers over your head, while wearing stretched-out yoga pants and watching back-to-back-to-backs of The Golden Girls. Yeah, and so what!
“There’s no easy way around break ups,” Masini says, “and you don’t have to bounce back the very next day.” Let yourself wallow for a week or, real talk, weeks. And then get up, get out and get on with your life, she says.
10. Not being skinny or curvy or beach-bodied enough.
When it comes to stressing about how your body measures up to Whichever Celebrity, according to Kendall, the question to ask yourself is: For who? “If you do a little digging into where you developed this ideal body, chances are high it didn’t start organically within you,” she says.
Having these impossible beauty ideals can be so unhealthy for your body and mind.
Instead of setting goals that are finite, like “I want to look like Ciara,” aim for goals that are more centered around you and your body type. For example, “I want to tone up a bit” sounds more focused and specific. Kendall suggests starting with baby steps, and try to both appreciate what you’re doing and how far you’ve already come.
“It’s important for people to know that it’s OK to accept who they are as they are,” she says.
11. Feeling like you’re in the wrong job.
To quote the superlative Rihanna: Work, work, work, work, work, work. (Very loose) translation: People, it’s time to shake off all the worrying about your job. Is it crappy? Is it dead-end? Is it a total drag? Are they out to get you? Maybe. It’s really all about mindset, Ellison says. “It’s natural to feel stuck sometimes. But instead of dwelling on it or trying to ignore it, look for ways you can build momentum.”
She recommends doing things like connecting with people who work for organizations you admire; have coffee with people whose job inspires you; or seek out a small project that allows you try out a new task or new territory. “Connect, experiment, and let that help you begin to see how things could shift for the better,” Ellison says.
12. Stressing over the mess in your room or house.
Yes, yes. Everyone is buzzing about Marie Kondo, the Japanese queen of organization, and her New York Times best-selling guidebook, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. But there’s no need to freak out because you have some clutter in your bedroom…and home office…and kitchen…and basically everywhere. You’re not destined to land on an episode of Hoarders.
According to Brooks Palmer, the author of Clutter Busting: Letting Go of What’s Holding You Back, “clutter” doesn’t really mean disorderly piles of crap on the floor. He sees clutter as all the things (books, old papers, damaged items) that we’re hanging on to that don’t really serve a purpose anymore. Making that distinction — and chucking the junk you don’t need — can help you stress less about not having every item super neat and tidy.
In fact, some professional organizers and experts say that a little bit of messy may be a good thing for you. A 2013 University of Minnesota study published in Psychological Science found that participants with messy desks and cluttered offices were more creative.
13. Watching shady TV shows and loving it.
While some people need to unwind after a long day of life with a glass of wine, there’s no shame in turning to the tube for your comfort. “We can’t all be watching the History Channel or reading the Dead Sea Scrolls every day,” Chicago-based writer, digital strategist and professional trouble-maker Luvvie Ajayi tells BuzzFeed. You need something frivolous, too, she says. “It’s part of my self-care routine. I love watching The Real Housewives of Atlanta and seeing these women acting the fool. It’s my wine, and you will not judge me.”
For real. Time to move on from “guilty pleasures.” It’s all about pleasure-pleasures!