After 3+ years of blogging and making videos, I’ve amassed a small (but engaged) online following.
When I share the stories of how I was able to build a successful web design business and achieve a location-independent lifestyle, all without zero schooling or coding knowledge, people naturally have a lot of questions.
But sometimes they’re not questions at all.
Excuses of why they are unable to achieve similar goals.
You see, these people say they want these things. Things like owning their own business, being location-independent, designing their ideal lifestyle, working less and spending more time doing the things they love.
But their actions don’t backup their words.
And I don’t blame them. I was once in their shoes.
My heart constantly reminded me that I wanted these things. But my mind and body had other ideas.
They were hooked. Addicted to garbage. Bad habits that were wasting countless amounts of my precious time. And the worst part was, I didn’t even recognize it.
It wasn’t until I completely removed these bad habits from my life that my lofty dreams began to materialize into reality.
I’m willing to bet that you’re hooked on at least 3 or 4 of these bad habits right now. Some of you may even be trapped with all 6 of them.
And I personally guarantee that if you commit to removing all of these bad habits from your life, starting today, your life will quite literally be transformed.
Your physical and mental health will improve. You will be happier. Your business will grow. You will make more money. You will feel a greater sense of freedom and purpose.
It won’t be easy. Nor should it be.
And you won’t like it. At first.
But it will be worth it. I promise.
I’ve ordered all of these bad habits by which ones had the biggest impact when eliminated from my life.
Are you ready to commit? Let’s get started.
1) Netflix (and TV in general)
When I look back on how many hours I wasted watching Netflix, I cringe.
Mind you, I wasn’t even what you’d consider to be a Netflix power user. I probably averaged around 3 hours/day, while the average American now watches nearly 6 hours of TV every day!
So even at 21+ hours of TV per week, I was still at half of the national average. Insane.
But an even greater problem with Netflix, and TV in general, is not just the quantity of the content, but the quality.
No, I’m not talking about production quality. That has definitely never been higher.
I’m talking about moral quality.
Entertainment has been steadily moving towards darker themes for years, even decades. Things like graphic violence, sex and language are now commonplace in nearly all movies and TV shows.
Most people refuse to acknowledge that this type of content has a negative effect on our mental health. They choose to ignore the evidence in front of their eyes.
There is no joy to be found in modern entertainment. And Netflix led the way with their addictive platform designed to keep you on the couch, “binge-watching” your life away.
Cancel your Netflix account. And all other streaming services. Try it for 30 days. If you don’t feel better, send me an email and tell me why.
2) Social media
While it’s still pretty radical to compare the beloved Netflix to a societal disease, public perception of social media is starting to shift. And for good reason.
Facebook alone has been blamed for spreading lies, incentivizing radicalism, spawning division and subverting democracy.
And Twitter is taking a lot of heat for allowing hateful speech and bullying to be regularly featured on its platform, while somehow simultaneously stifling free speech.
Then you’ve got Instagram, where the constant narcissism, self-promotion and warped perceptions of beauty is reportedly contributing to rising depression and suicide rates in kids and teenagers.
Honestly, what more do you need to hear?
No? You’re still not convinced? OK then…
How about all of the time that’s being wasted on these tools that are making people’s lives worse? The worldwide average of time spent on social media is over 2 hours a day.
So, assuming people aren’t using both simultaneously, we’re now up to 8 hours per day spent on just TV and social media.
Now, I haven’t eliminated social media entirely. I’ve kept the ones that only require a tiny amount of time to maintain. Linkedin and Pinterest.
And I do have an Instagram account, but it’s only for friends and family and I keep the app off my phone. I only view it on desktop every few days. (Bonus: no ads!)
Delete your Facebook. Delete Your Twitter. And place strict restrictions on whatever social media you decide to use.
And most importantly, ask yourself: Why do I have this?
3) Poor diet
My teens and early 20’s had come and gone, and I was beginning to feel it.
My body could no longer efficiently process the brutality I was imposing upon it. (you mean you don’t go for an entire Little Caesar’s Hot and Ready and a bottle of Mountain Dew Code Red after a solid gym sesh?)
I was constantly tired, and suffered from severe seasonal allergies.
I even began to have reactions to foods I was normally able to eat without issue.
It was time to start taking my diet more seriously.
It wasn’t easy. It took a lot of experimenting plus patience. I dabbled with multiple popular diets, and even a few fad ones.
I would try a diet for a few months, listen to my body, then move on to another. This is really the only way to determine what your unique dietary needs are.
I’m not going to give you diet advice. Everyone’s different. You gotta figure out what your body needs on your own.
If you constantly feel lethargic, that’s not normal. Do something about it. Otherwise, your motivation to accomplish anything will be non-existent, and you’ll default to bad habits #1 and #2.
4) Not enough exercise
If your dream is to build an online-based business, like mine was, you’re going to spend a lot of time at a desk. On your butt.
This is very bad for you.
One of the perks of window cleaning for a year was that it kept me very active. I was always on the move. And my waistline began to show it.
When I quit window cleaning and pursued my web design business full-time, the pounds began to rear their ugly heads once again.
I had to commit to a routine of consistent exercise. A little bit of weight-training mixed in with some running seemed to do the trick.
But, let me tell you, when it’s -20 outside and dark at 5PM, you do not want to go to the gym. (Oh, Canada)
To remove even more potential excuses, I bought a pair of adjustable dumbbells and a couple of kettlebells to use from the comfort of my own home. No gym membership needed.
Mind you, maintaining a regular running routine is a lot easier when you live on a beautiful beach on the coast of Ecuador, but we can’t all do that.
Kick the excuses to the curb. You’re not gonna want to workout 90% of the time. I know I don’t.
Do it anyway. You need it.
You’ll look better, feel better, and produce better.
5) Not enough reading
For as long as I can remember, I hated reading.
And how could I not? With all of these other adrenaline-fueling, endorphin-releasing, dopamine-enducing activities to get involved in, why would I bother to read?
And that’s the problem.
The fine art of reading, studying and meditating is being drowned out by all of the noise that our fancy tech devices are making.
It was only after I eliminated the bad habits of TV, social media, and video games that I began to enjoy reading and studying.
Without these other things to distract me, my attention span improved. I no longer had the constant urge to pick up my phone and start scrolling.
My writing has also greatly improved as a result of my new reading habit. And I have a lot more anecdotes, metaphors, illustrations and real-life examples to draw on.
However, too many people like to brag about how many books they read without focusing on what they actually learned or enjoyed from those books.
Start with a habit of reading just one book a month. After awhile, you’ll find you want to read more often.
6) Video games (95% of them, at least)
Much of my reasoning for video games is similar to that of Netflix and TV.
The vast majority of video games these days are full of horrific graphic content. And all of them are designed to be as addictive as possible.
For the past several years, I was reduced to playing nothing but NHL on PS4. With the occasional indie game throw in for good measure.
But sports games are only fun when played with friends, and I don’t have many friends that are into hockey video games these days. Even in Canada, believe it or not.
Since my PS4 was sitting idle, doing nothing but collecting adorable dust bunnies, I decided to sell it a few months ago.
The only game I still play occasionally is a strategy world-building game called Civilization 6. It satisfies my empire-building, world-conquering, ego-fanning cravings. (come at me Gandhi)
If I ever do decide to dabble into video games again, I’ll be going back to my trusty, family-friendly pal, Nintendo. Nothing beats Mario games. Even today.
Too much consuming, not enough doing
I know what you’re thinking…
“Patrick… NO TV, NO Netflix, NO social media AND NO video games?? Do you expect me to become an Amish farmer??”
All of this may sound like overkill to you. That’s fine. It just means your priorities aren’t what you think they are.
We only have so much time in a day. Our priorities determine how we spend it.
If you truly are interested in building a successful online business as quickly as possible, you’re going to have to spend a great deal of time working on it.
That time needs to literally be stolen. Taken from other things you’re currently doing. And you’re likely engaging in at least 3-4 of the bad habits mentioned.
I’m also willing to bet that these habits aren’t providing nearly as much value to your life as you think they are. You can easily live without them. In fact, I promise your life will improve dramatically without them. You’ll be cleansed of these toxic, addictive drugs.
And you will have more time, inspiration and motivation to pursue creative pursuits.
Try it out for yourself and prove me wrong.
1-2 habits. 30 days. Try it and let me know how it goes!