If you’re always feeling overworked, stressed, unfocused, exhausted, and guilty when you take time off, it’s probably because you have toxic beliefs about what you should be doing.
Even though self-help, productivity, and financial advice are often well-intentioned, the harsh truth is they can also be harmful.
Here are nine lies that might be well-meant but destroy your peace of mind:
“I don’t deserve to rest yet.”
Toxic hustle culture and advice like “sleep faster” make us believe we need to earn rest.
This is also a cultural belief because most of us grow up thinking our worth is linked to our productivity.
We believe we need to do more to be worthy of love and appreciation.
And yes, a strong work ethic and discipline are crucial if you have big goals, but the truth is, you don’t have to “earn” breaks.
You need rest to feel and work at your best. You’re a human, not a machine.
Research has shown that working 10+ hours per day for even just 50 days per year can increase your risk of stroke by almost 30%.
“I don’t have time.”
This might sound contradictory but hear me out: Even though many people struggle to rest, it’s not because they “don’t have time.”
It’s because they’re bad at managing their time, energy, and priorities.
We do have time to rest, enjoy quality time, pursue our dreams, and take care of ourselves.
The problem is we waste it by scrolling through social media feeds, being distracted, not knowing what to do, being mad at others, and thinking about what to do instead of just doing it.
I know you’re busy. And I know you have lots of things to do. But if something’s truly important to you, you’ll be able to make time for it.
“It’s not too bad.”
If you ever tell yourself something’s “not too bad” or “just fine,” it might be time to rethink your boundaries.
My partner barely has time for me, but it’s fine.
I lent money to a friend who doesn’t make an effort to pay me back, but it’s fine.
I skipped working out for 2 weeks because my boss is constantly putting more to-dos on my plate, but it’s fine.
I bet you’re giving your best to serve lots of people. Sometimes, you might even sacrifice your own needs. But the truth is, others won’t prioritize your mental or physical health.
You have to do it by speaking up for what you want.
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“I’m not good enough.”
As a writing coach, I constantly talk to talented writers who don’t start publishing their work because they believe they’re not “good enough.”
While most people think this is a form of perfectionism, it’s also a brilliant way to procrastinate.
If you tell yourself you’re not good enough, you can continue being lazy because you have a good excuse for not showing up and doing the work.
You’ll inevitably suck at anything you’re doing for the first time.
Take writing as an example: Nobody expects you to write a brilliant first piece. But to get better, you have to start.
And you need to trust yourself so you can persevere and keep going, even if it feels uncomfortable.
You don’t need more “information.”
Another excuse for procrastinating instead of taking action is saying that you need more knowledge and information.
You’re so afraid of just doing it that you overload your mind with books, Youtube videos, podcasts, and courses. You constantly learn, but you never do.
As a result, you stay stuck in a learning circle and never move forward in life (or business).
We’re living in an information-overloaded world anyway. We now have access to more knowledge than ever before.
While this is a privilege, it’s also a trap because it reduces our mental sharpness and ability to be focused.
As a result, you always feel busy, but you’re not getting things done or moving forward.
You constantly consume content, but you don’t use it.
You’re rewarding yourself with “stuff.”
I have friends who “reward” themselves with bags that are half their paycheck because they “work so hard.”
At the end of the year, they wonder why they don’t have any money left.
Don’t get me wrong: You can (and should) reward yourself with things you genuinely love. But don’t use “working hard” as an excuse to waste your money.
Instead of justifying purchases after making them, justify them before.
Use the 24-Hour Rule to avoid impulse purchases you might regret: Whenever you’d like to buy something (online or in a store), take a pause of at least 24 hours. In most cases, your desire to make the purchase will be gone by the time the 24 hours are over.
And if you still want it, it’s a sign the purchase might be well worth it anyway.
Nobody will take care of your (financial) future.
Most people avoid taking care of their future because it feels too hard and scary. They believe the government, their employer, their families, or other people or institutions will do it for them.
The truth is, nobody cares about you.
You must take things into your own hands and actively arrange your (financial) future. Even if you make mistakes, you’ll at least be able to pivot and make changes.
You can’t expect someone else to do you a favor.
Of course, having expectations and blaming others is easier, but it’s not effective.
As humans, we’re always dependent on other people. But what’s the point of complaining about others’ behavior when we can’t do anything about it?
Learn to focus on the things within your control and let go of the things you can’t influence.
Yes, you have a (money) problem.
If you bury your head in the sand because you don’t want to get uncomfortable and deal with (financial) problems, you’ll only make things worse.
At the very least, grab a notebook and take some time to write everything down.
Note down your thoughts, ideas, fears, goals, ambitions, and obstacles. That way, you’ll face your mistakes and gain clarity on where you want to go.
Most people spend their lives being stuck and broke because they don’t want to accept that they’ve made mistakes in the past.
When you commit to making changes, you start to make peace with the past and decide to move on.
No, you won’t be more disciplined when you “have more time.”
I’ll work out later.
I’ll eat healthily when I’m not so busy.
I’ll save/invest when I make more money.
I’ll start that side hustle when I have more time.
I’ll have more time for my partner when this project’s over.
The odds are high that you won’t do any of these when you “have more time” because you’ll have new excuses by then.
If you genuinely care about a goal, person, or project, you’ll find a way to make time for it. If not, it’s just not important enough. Stop lying to yourself by saying you’ll do it when xyz happens.
Read also: The 8 millionaire skills I wish I knew at 18
Final thoughts: Here’s what to do now
Even though you might’ve been telling yourself some of these lies, the good news is that you’re the only one who’s responsible for changing things up.
Stop blaming others. Get in the driver’s seat of your life. Gain clarity on what you want, and create an actionable plan for getting there.
Life’s too short for constantly making excuses instead of progress.
CONTRIBUTED BY Sinem Günel
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