30 Things to Stop Doing to Yourself


Marc and Angel offer 30 concrete and practical tips for changing your life for the better.

Originally appeared at Marc and Angel Hack Life

As Maria Robinson once said, “Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.”  Nothing could be closer to the truth.  But before you can begin this process of transformation you have to stop doing the things that have been holding you back.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

  1. Stop spending time with the wrong people. – Life is too short to spend time with people who suck the happiness out of you.  If someone wants you in their life, they’ll make room for you.  You shouldn’t have to fight for a spot.  Never, ever insist yourself to someone who continuously overlooks your worth.  And remember, it’s not the people that stand by your side when you’re at your best, but the ones who stand beside you when you’re at your worst that are your true friends.
  2. Stop running from your problems. – Face them head on.  No, it won’t be easy.  There is no person in the world capable of flawlessly handling every punch thrown at them.  We aren’t supposed to be able to instantly solve problems.  That’s not how we’re made.  In fact, we’re made to get upset, sad, hurt, stumble and fall.  Because that’s the whole purpose of living – to face problems, learn, adapt, and solve them over the course of time.  This is what ultimately molds us into the person we become.
  3. Stop lying to yourself. – You can lie to anyone else in the world, but you can’t lie to yourself.  Our lives improve only when we take chances, and the first and most difficult chance we can take is to be honest with ourselves.  Read The Road Less Traveled.
  4. Stop putting your own needs on the back burner. – The most painful thing is losing yourself in the process of loving someone too much, and forgetting that you are special too.  Yes, help others; but help yourself too.  If there was ever a moment to follow your passion and do something that matters to you, that moment is now.
  5. Stop trying to be someone you’re not. – One of the greatest challenges in life is being yourself in a world that’s trying to make you like everyone else.  Someone will always be prettier, someone will always be smarter, someone will always be younger, but they will never be you.  Don’t change so people will like you.  Be yourself and the right people will love the real you.
  6. Stop trying to hold onto the past. – You can’t start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading your last one.
  7. Stop being scared to make a mistake. – Doing something and getting it wrong is at least ten times more productive than doing nothing.  Every success has a trail of failures behind it, and every failure is leading towards success.  You end up regretting the things you did NOT do far more than the things you did.
  8. Stop berating yourself for old mistakes. – We may love the wrong person and cry about the wrong things, but no matter how things go wrong, one thing is for sure, mistakes help us find the person and things that are right for us.  We all make mistakes, have struggles, and even regret things in our past.  But you are not your mistakes, you are not your struggles, and you are here NOW with the power to shape your day and your future.  Every single thing that has ever happened in your life is preparing you for a moment that is yet to come.
  9. Stop trying to buy happiness. – Many of the things we desire are expensive.  But the truth is, the things that really satisfy us are totally free – love, laughter and working on our passions.
  10. Stop exclusively looking to others for happiness. – If you’re not happy with who you are on the inside, you won’t be happy in a long-term relationship with anyone else either.  You have to create stability in your own life first before you can share it with someone else.  Read Stumbling on Happiness.
  11. Stop being idle. – Don’t think too much or you’ll create a problem that wasn’t even there in the first place.  Evaluate situations and take decisive action.  You cannot change what you refuse to confront.  Making progress involves risk.  Period!  You can’t make it to second base with your foot on first.
  12. Stop thinking you’re not ready. – Nobody ever feels 100% ready when an opportunity arises.  Because most great opportunities in life force us to grow beyond our comfort zones, which means we won’t feel totally comfortable at first.
  13. Stop getting involved in relationships for the wrong reasons. – Relationships must be chosen wisely.  It’s better to be alone than to be in bad company.  There’s no need to rush.  If something is meant to be, it will happen – in the right time, with the right person, and for the best reason. Fall in love when you’re ready, not when you’re lonely.
  14. Stop rejecting new relationships just because old ones didn’t work. – In life you’ll realize that there is a purpose for everyone you meet.  Some will test you, some will use you and some will teach you.  But most importantly, some will bring out the best in you.
  15. Stop trying to compete against everyone else. – Don’t worry about what others are doing better than you.  Concentrate on beating your own records every day.  Success is a battle between YOU and YOURSELF only.
  16. Stop being jealous of others. – Jealousy is the art of counting someone else’s blessings instead of your own.  Ask yourself this:  “What’s something I have that everyone wants?”
  17. Stop complaining and feeling sorry for yourself. – Life’s curveballs are thrown for a reason – to shift your path in a direction that is meant for you.  You may not see or understand everything the moment it happens, and it may be tough.  But reflect back on those negative curveballs thrown at you in the past.  You’ll often see that eventually they led you to a better place, person, state of mind, or situation.  So smile!  Let everyone know that today you are a lot stronger than you were yesterday, and you will be.
  18. Stop holding grudges. – Don’t live your life with hate in your heart.  You will end up hurting yourself more than the people you hate.  Forgiveness is not saying, “What you did to me is okay.”  It is saying, “I’m not going to let what you did to me ruin my happiness forever.”  Forgiveness is the answer… let go, find peace, liberate yourself!  And remember, forgiveness is not just for other people, it’s for you too.  If you must, forgive yourself, move on and try to do better next time.
  19. Stop letting others bring you down to their level. – Refuse to lower your standards to accommodate those who refuse to raise theirs.
  20. Stop wasting time explaining yourself to others. – Your friends don’t need it and your enemies won’t believe it anyway.  Just do what you know in your heart is right.
  21. Stop doing the same things over and over without taking a break. – The time to take a deep breath is when you don’t have time for it.  If you keep doing what you’re doing, you’ll keep getting what you’re getting.  Sometimes you need to distance yourself to see things clearly.
  22. Stop overlooking the beauty of small moments. – Enjoy the little things, because one day you may look back and discover they were the big things.  The best portion of your life will be the small, nameless moments you spend smiling with someone who matters to you.
  23. Stop trying to make things perfect. – The real world doesn’t reward perfectionists, it rewards people who get things done.  Read Getting Things Done.
  24. Stop following the path of least resistance. – Life is not easy, especially when you plan on achieving something worthwhile.  Don’t take the easy way out.  Do something extraordinary.
  25. Stop acting like everything is fine if it isn’t. – It’s okay to fall apart for a little while.  You don’t always have to pretend to be strong, and there is no need to constantly prove that everything is going well.  You shouldn’t be concerned with what other people are thinking either – cry if you need to – it’s healthy to shed your tears.  The sooner you do, the sooner you will be able to smile again.
  26. Stop blaming others for your troubles. – The extent to which you can achieve your dreams depends on the extent to which you take responsibility for your life.  When you blame others for what you’re going through, you deny responsibility – you give others power over that part of your life.
  27. Stop trying to be everything to everyone. – Doing so is impossible, and trying will only burn you out.  But making one person smile CAN change the world.  Maybe not the whole world, but their world.  So narrow your focus.
  28. Stop worrying so much. – Worry will not strip tomorrow of its burdens, it will strip today of its joy.  One way to check if something is worth mulling over is to ask yourself this question: “Will this matter in one year’s time?  Three years?  Five years?”  If not, then it’s not worth worrying about.
  29. Stop focusing on what you don’t want to happen. – Focus on what you do want to happen.  Positive thinking is at the forefront of every great success story.  If you awake every morning with the thought that something wonderful will happen in your life today, and you pay close attention, you’ll often find that you’re right.
  30. Stop being ungrateful. – No matter how good or bad you have it, wake up each day thankful for your life.  Someone somewhere else is desperately fighting for theirs.  Instead of thinking about what you’re missing, try thinking about what you have that everyone else is missing.

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Do you want to talk about how to have richer, more mindful, and enduring relationships?


Be sure to also read Marc and Angel’s follow-up post 30 Things To Start Doing For Yourself 


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About Marc and Angel Hack Life

At Marc and Angel Hack Life we enjoy sharing practical thoughts on a broad range of topics pertaining to life, hacks, productivity, aspirations, health, work, tech and general self improvement. We promise you will not find a regurgitation of someone else’s point of view on our site. Regardless of the topic at hand, these views are our own.


  1. This is a good list. I hate to be a party-pooper but in your bio it says that we won’t find a regurgitation of other people’s wisdom on your site. This article is full of quotes that have been floating around on inspirational pages on Facebook. I can see how it would have been too much to give credit to the original owners of them but still… it makes it look like they were your wisdom.

  2. This post is lame and for unaware people. There’s plenty of obvious ‘stop doing this’ suggestions but not real concrete advice on how to stop doing these things or altering for the better. Most people are already far too familiar with the sh1t they shouldn’t be doing.
    I look forward to a post with stronger, more tangible guidance.

  3. I really needed to read this. As a short man, an Asian American man, and a virgin in my late twenties, there’s a lot of stuff I beat myself up about because of society’s expectations. I should be proud and happy to be who I am. Being who I am is not a problem to me. If who I am is a problem to others, then they should mind their own business. It’s not my responsibility to fix society.

    An analogy comes to mind: I make a point of emptying my email inbox every time I check it. I either respond to, star, or discard every single message. I don’t waste time reading spam messages or mail that doesn’t concern me. Likewise, I should treat the swirl of positive and negative messages in the media, in society, from my family and friends, and from myself the same way. Quickly evaluate whether this message is even worthy of my consideration for more than half a second, reply to or save the ones that matter, and discard/ignore the vast majority of messages that only serve to bring me down and waste my time.

  4. I think this would be a much more powerful list if it were stated in the positive! I can’t read a list of “don’ts”, would much rather read a list of “do’s”!!

  5. No. 18 don’t hold grudges…naw I don’t agree. Holding a grudge doesn’t ruin your happiness in life. Nor does it mean you plot your revenge. In many instances you give people countless chances after an incident despite holding a grudge for the manner in which they hurt you. But more often then not you are proven right as history repeats itself and you save yourself from being burnt because the grudge against them keeps you on your toes. Humans are flawed, there are acts that are unforgivable, acts committed that will ruin that person’s happiness in life whether they hold a grudge or not. And personally when you’ll never get to say your side or your bit let alone revenge (not that I advocate that part-lets go with justice) a grudge is all you’ve got. Bizarrely a grudge and the anger that comes with it can help you keep going in dire times, to prove that you’re better than them, or simply to prove them wrong-even if you never see this person again, it can make you strive to be better.
    I find the statement ‘Forgiveness is the answer… let go, find peace, liberate yourself!’
    so benignly simplistic that I doubt any person truly advocating this philosophy could have gone through any significant trauma or tragedy in their lives…leave this one for the spiritual meditation class I think.

  6. This post is everything, and then some.

  7. If #7 is true, ie if Doing something and getting it wrong is at least ten times more productive than doing nothing, then #13 should be wrong, ie involving in bad companies should at least be ten times better than being alone !

  8. Lex Moran-Solero says:

    Lots of good stuff here. It’s mostly common sense, but important to hear ’cause common sense isn’t common at all these days. I can certainly identify with #11.

  9. I always wondered why i was not good enough like certain people but this article has really filled with positive thoughts thanks alot!

  10. #29 was a lesson I have been learning over the past three years. It has resulted in a complete rebirth, though it looks like there is still a lot more to learn.

  11. Specialk says:

    I think a better list would be one that encourages not reproaches. It’s as easy to say – 30 things to start doing… and it makes me feel like less of a failure. How we talk to ourselves matters as much as the message.

    • Peter von Maidenberg says:

      How about being honestly brutal (often taken for brutally honest) and call it 30 Things to Start Doing to Yourself?

      It would certainly appeal to that segment of men who believe in no pain, no gain, and embrace the idea that positive change need not be nurturing or caring – indeed, that sometimes it can even be destructive.

  12. William says:

    #5 “Don’t change so people will like you. Be yourself and the right people will love the real you.”

    If the “Real You” has faults, then you should change.
    Ignoring your faults is’nt gonna make life any more easier.

    The “real me” at one time was shy and socially awkward, and i didn’t like the path the “real me” was going.
    It’s still a struggle at times, doing things the “real me” would never have done.

    • What are faults? If it’s what you want to change, more power to you. If it’s what others tell you, examine the message very carefully. Striving to meet others’ arbitrary expectations really “isn’t gonna make life any more easier.”

    • Renner Larson says:

      I agree, but I think most of the problem is in the phrasing. Same with “Stop lying to yourself.” “Be who you are” implies that who you want to be is your natural state of being. But, most of us, me included, have a natural state of being that involves doing as little as possible and just watching netflix. We have to train ourselves to be more. This involve accepting yourself, faults and all, as a start, but “be yourself” doesn’t really communicate all the work it takes to become someone you’re proud to be. I would say “Choose To Be the Person You Want To Be” not who you’re expected to be. This can sometimes involve “lying” to yourself, because you are being who you’re becoming not who you are. It’s hard to sum up in a nice little sentence.

  13. Valter Viglietti says:

    A truly smart list.
    Start loving (and being honest with) yourself, and all the rest will become easier.

  14. Especially like #30 last but not least. I am always trying to focus on that which I am grateful to have, my loving wife, my health, my two beautiful children, a comfortable life. When things start bothering me or I begin to feel down, I keep the good things in my life at the front of my mind, reinforcing that when some things are not going well, many other things that I hold most important have been reliably constant and positive for me. I am truly thankful for many things and it humbles me to think that there are so many people with lives devoid of the kind of happiness that I experience routinely. I am lucky.

    • Joanna Schroeder says:

      We had a TED speech featured in the Good Feed Blog here at GMP a few weeks ago where a guy studied what made businesses more productive, as far as personnel. What he learned was that changing people’s outlooks toward the positive and giving them the tools to live happier lives made the companies more profitable.

      He gave great concrete tips, too. But one was to send a positive email thanking someone or telling someone something good about themselves *first thing* every morning. I thought that was brilliant.

      He also said to make a list of 3 things you’re grateful for/happy about every day.

      Sounds very Oprah Winfrey, but I truly believe it works.

  15. #21 reminds me of some wisdom I heard about meditation. A guru prescribed half an hour of meditation every day. But if you are too busy to do this, the guru said, then you should meditate for a full hour a day.

  16. Love this! This is great. It is definitely getting bookmarked for further reading!

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