#134: Five Bad Habits That Will Wreck Your Life [Podcast]

The quality of your life is directly impacted by the quality of your habits. The problem is, most of us did not consciously choose to habits we currently possess. We drifted, stumbled, or otherwise accidentally acquired most of our habits.  Not all of those habits support the outcomes we truly want for ourselves or the ones we love.

Couch Potato

In today's episode, we will examine five common habits that will completely wreck your life and how to get rid of them.

Tip of the Week:

Maybe you read The Four Hour Workweek and tried to outsource different parts of your job or business. Maybe that even worked well for you. And maybe, just maybe, you are still kind of stressed out. Perry Marshall suggested something to me once that was actually life-changing. It's one of those “tiny hinges that swing big doors”. It's a twist on the idea of outsourcing.

What if, instead of outsourcing high-level tasks at your job or business, you outsourced tasks in your personal life? You may scoff at first, but think about it: if you could outsource things like your laundry, yard maintenance, shopping, cooking, cleaning, mail pickup and drop-off, etc… how much time and energy would that free up for you?

Perry's suggestion to me was that it's better to start by outsourcing those things to clear out space in my life so that I could have time for critical thinking. This gives me margin so that I can spend time on creating ideas, reading, making connections, and generally performing the kind of alchemy that entrepreneurs get paid for.

I've been experimenting with this idea in a serious way recently, and my latest find came to me through my friend Stu McLaren, who turned me on to Fancy Hands. Basically, Fancy Hands will do anything for you that can be done in 15 minutes or less. So far I've had them:

  • Research a long list of inspirational quotes for an upcoming presentation.
  • Find me the best deal on a Keurig coffee maker.
  • Proof some blog posts.
  • Find and recommend a list of local people who might be available to do some personal assistant work for me (like the things I listed above).

One of the things I really like about their service is they calculate how much time you've saved by having them do this stuff for you. So far, I've invested about 10 minutes typing up the tasks I wanted them to work on: they estimate they saved me 1.4 hours. I think that's about right.

Currently, I plan to have them proofread all my blog posts, which I estimate should save me anywhere from 4 to 6 hours per month. Not that I spent that much time proofreading my blog posts, mind you…that estimate comes from the number of emails I get from people who say things like, “Do you realize what a goofy typo you made in this blog post?”

For the record, I had them proof this post. How did they do?

This is a very easy service to try, and if you decide to stick with them it's cheap. And there's no contract. Click here to check out Fancy Hands now.

Spiritual Foundations:

Are you worried, anxious, stressed out, overwhelmed? If you are troubled about a lot of different things today, I have an answer for you.

You've heard me talk about a book called The One Thing by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan. And that is indeed a good book. You've also heard me talk about a book called Essentialism, By Greg McKeown. That is also a good book.

But in truth, there is really only a single “one thing” that is essential to a fulfilled and peaceful life. And you'll find that story in a different good book-the Bible.

In the Gospel of Luke, chapter 10, we read the story of Jesus visiting the home of two sisters, Martha and Mary. Martha was fluttering around the house working hard at being “the hostess with the mostest”. She wanted everything to be just right. Mary, on the other hand was sitting at Jesus's feet, soaking up everything he had to say. It didn't take very long for Martha to get angry, and she apparently felt angry enough that she rebuked Jesus! She said to him, “Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do all the work? Tell her to help me!”

Technically, Martha was correct in her assessment. In that culture, and at that time, it was considered improper for a woman to be sitting at the feet of the teacher. And it was also considered good manners to prepare food and serve your guests.

Jesus was gentle, but he came down on the side of Mary.

But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:41-42

The emphasis on “one thing” is mine.

So what is the “one thing” that Mary chose? It was to sit at the feet of Jesus, and listen to what he had to say.

If you have a lot on your mind today, the one thing you need to do is to sit at the feet of Jesus and soak up his words. He has an unlimited supply of grace, wisdom, and peace.

We tend to get busy doing things when we are anxious. We often transfer that into our spiritual life, thinking if we can just serve God at some higher level then he will bless us. That's exactly what Martha was doing-and it wasn't working.

That's not to say that serving God is a bad thing. In fact, it's worth noticing that Jesus did not rebuke Martha for the service; he gently corrected her for being “worried and troubled about many things.”

 You might say, “Ray, how can I sit at the feet of Jesus and listen to his words now that he's no longer on the earth?”

Two things to consider:

  1. First, we as believers are the “body of Christ” on the earth. Jesus resides in your brothers and sisters who follow him. He can speak to you through them: through their words, through their prayers, and their acts of service.
  2. Second, Jesus recorded his words for us through the Holy Spirit in the New Testament. And of course, all Scripture is inspired by God, so the entire Bible is his word. You can have it with you all the time-even on your smart phone!

The next time you are “worried about many things”, why not try doing “the one thing that is necessary” and listen to the words of your Savior?

Feature Presentation: Five Bad Habits That Will Wreck Your Life

The forces that shape our lives are usually more glacial than catastrophic. Meaning, they work over time like the ancient glaciers that carved out the mountains, moving inch by inch over the span of years.

The glacial power of life change is often contained in the habits we form-the things we routinely do without thinking about it, over and over again, year after year.

“Sow a thought, reap an action; sow an action, reap a habit; sow a habit, reap a character; sow a character, reap a destiny.”
~ Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Here are five bad habits that are virtually guaranteed to wreck your life.

  1. The habit of reactivity.
  2. The habit of poor association.
  3. The habit of procrastination.
  4. The habit of instant gratification.
  5. The habit of victimhood.

Of course, I'm not going to leave you hanging. Once you've decided to get rid of these bad habits, you need to replace them with good ones. These are five good habits that will enhance your life. They are the antithesis of the bad habits we just discussed.

  1. The habit of proactivity.
  2. The habit of intentional association.
  3. The habit of advance preparation, and the power of the compound affect.
  4. The habit of delayed gratification.
  5. The habit of the victorious mindset.

Cultivate these habits for 30 days and I guarantee you will see a dramatic change in the quality of your life. Commit to them for six months and I believe your results in life will be almost unrecognizably good.

Next Week:  How to Live with Joy, Lead with Passion, And Prosper with Purpose.

Get The Transcript

Click here to get the transcript. Transcripts provided by SuccessTranscripts – a great solution if you need your podcast, sermon, speech, or other audio transcribed.

Question: Have you overcome any of these bad habits in the past, and if so how did you do it? Click here to leave your comments.

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Ray Edwards is a world-renowned copywriter and communications strategist, writing for some of the most powerful voices in leadership and business including New York Times bestselling authors Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen (Chicken Soup for the Soul) and Tony Robbins. Ray is a sought-after speaker and author, hosts a popular weekly podcast, and blogs at RayEdwards.com.

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  • Awesome stuff, Ray! I’ve only gotten through the first couple habits in Covey’s “7 Habits” book, but I love what I’ve read so far.

    I’ve worked on my associations. I really try to limit my association with people that don’t try to push me up and forward. I don’t really have anyone that tries to pull me down, but there are some that are stuck in neutral (and we know which direction you go in neutral). I’m trying more and more to associate with people that are moving and motivated to improve. As I spend more time with the later group, there is less time with (and less influence from) the former group.

    As an example, my wife and I recently switched churches. There were things going on that we didn’t agree with or just seemed a little fishy. Since joining our new church at the end of August, we have had such encouragement to do more:
    1. My wife joined the choir and is part of a ladies trio
    2. I pulled my violin out and am playing during services
    3. I was able to preach during a mid-week service
    4. There are other possibilities in the near future as well

    • Joshua, thank you so much for your comments and for sharing your own experience. I appreciate it!

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  • Cassandra

    Reactivity—instead of reacting, I act. Example: the area that I have been assigned to minister in is (what people say) depressed, drug infested, crime riddled and down trodden. Being proactive, I have chosen to speak life into the city, the people and the air. The ministry is proactively providing council, food and clothing to the people of the city. We are calling those things that be not as though they are.
    Intentional Association–I adhere to the same advice I gave my daughters when they went to college–“always hang around people who are going in the same direction as you or who are where you want to be.
    Delayed gratification—this one was forced on me but boy am I reaping the benefits. I no longer have a credit card. I only use my debit. If I don’t have the money, I don’t buy or go.
    Victim—I choose to live, speak, act and stand from a place of victory based upon who I am in Christ and who Christ is in me. Because Christ is victorious, I am victorious. I choose to live my life thru Christ, thus, I can never be a victim. PTL
    Thank you Ray for that informative podcast.
    Grace and Peace ~~~

  • Ranee

    PROCRASTINATION IS BAD What I really had been affected by was the 3rd bad habit you mentioned ie. procrastination. After reading the transcript, I felt the Lord was telling me not to delay. I had been trying to write a book for so long that my title kept changing frequently, but while reading your comments which impacted me, I was able to get a clear focus on the title and I have enrolled for your extensive 4 week training course. That is saying something. Thank you so much

  • Beaumont Miles

    Hi Ray – I’d love you to set up a feature on your podcast in relation to when you click ‘download’ so it gives the option to either listen to it via a page in your browser (what currently happens) OR download straight to your computer. That would be COOL Ray… presently it starts playing right away…

  • Beaumont Miles

    Here’s a habbit that will wreck your day: Not making your bed in the morning! Try making it and see how you feel… a tip shared by Tim Ferriss…