Most of us know some of the things we should be doing to live happier lives: sleep more, eat more whole foods, make courageous decisions. But sometimes it's helpful to know what we should not be doing. Based on writings of Life coach Joel Readence

1. Wearing masks. Trying to live in the mold of others people's expectations can be exhausting and take us farther away from who we really are. If we wear these masks long enough, we run the risk of losing sight of who we really are all together. Impress others by following your own path and find your acceptance by leading a fully realized and uncompromised life.

2. Judging Others. Truth be told, people love to judge. We like to judge others who share our same insecurities. If we're pointing the finger at someone else, we're keeping the spotlight off of us. Judgment takes on many forms, but one of the most prevalent is gossip. It's a desperate attempt to mask our own insecurities. When we recognize our judgment of others comes from a place of fear and insecurity, we're able to shift our perception to one of empathy, compassion and understanding. Shifting from a fear based perspective to one of love is the key to living an authentic and happy life.

3. Looking to others for your life purpose. This form of external living keeps your life in the control of others. Many people let outside influences guide their life trajectory. Designate yourself the #1 expert on what's best for your life and don't let others steer you down the wrong path.

4. Procrastinating. We've all experienced the negative outcomes associated with putting off important things in life, so why do we continue to do it? When you procrastinate on those things that are important to you like pursuing your dream job, mending broken relationships or spending time with loved ones, feelings of guilt, sadness and shame can surface. Procrastination can start small, but end big. Time moves quickly and if you're not careful, days, months and years can go flying by.

5. Living in the grip of fear. The number one reason people fail to make positive change in their life and realize their full potential is fear. In our society, people are under the misguided notion that fear equates to weakness, so we pretend we're indestructible and nothing gets to us. When you acknowledge your fear and identify what exactly you're afraid of, you weaken its hold on you. Oftentimes, you realize the real truth about fear; it's not real or rational. False Evidence Appearing Real.

6. Seeking perfection. Want to know one of the quickest paths to experiencing failure and shame? It's trying to be a perfectionist. Society sends us an all together unfair message that if we can't brilliantly execute on all aspects of our lives, that we're not enough, that we have somehow failed. We hold ourselves to this unrealistic ideal, hide our perceived weakness and shame ourselves for not being perfect. You are enough just the way you are. It's okay to not be able to do everything. It's okay to talk about your feelings of weakness and inadequacy. And it's okay to ask for help.

7. Keeping company with the wrong people. You've heard it time and time again. You are the company you keep. So why not surround yourself with people who let you be the real you, support your dreams and foster an atmosphere of acceptance and love.

8. Feeling a sense of entitlement. Knowing what you want for your life gets you nowhere if you don't take action to obtain it. Don't wait around for others to give you what you want or you may never achieve the goals and dreams you have for your life.


The Clark Institute: Private Practice Psychotherapy
for Children, Adolescents, and Adults
Human Resource Associates
Matthew Clark, Psy.D.
(616) 458-0692