4 Habits to Stop Now

4 Habits to Stop Now
Photo by Jose Aragones / Unsplash

I know we're still a month out from New Year's, but that doesn't mean we can't take a little more control of our lives today! In fact, taking command of your life now can help you mentally "earn" the upcoming Christmas holiday. Because that's how it works, right?

The habits we're about to cover don't belong to a particular genre. Instead, we'll cover a range of topics from the easiest way to lose weight to the best ways to think about death. Let's get into it.


Drinking Calories

If you subscribed to RxTeach 2 years ago, you would have caught our weight loss guide which covered in detail exactly how to shed those extra pounds. You can find that article below:

How to Optimally Lose Weight
It may not surprise you that “losing weight” held onto its crown as the number 1 most common new year’s resolution in 2022. As healthcare providers, it’s important that we understand how to lose weight safely so that we can assist our patients and ourselves.

One of the best tips for weight loss is to STOP DRINKING CALORIES. It can be a tough habit to break, especially for someone like me who grew up having milk with dinner. Having said that, milk is not normally the problem. The number one offender of calories drunk is soda (aka pop or coke, depending on your location). It's effortless to grab a 42 oz drink for 79 cents at the gas station. I used to get a large sweet tea regularly in college because it was so affordable. Still, water is cheaper.

In the weight loss article above, you'll notice that I recommended a 500-calorie deficit for most people based on their maintenance calories. A single can of Coke has 140 calories and 39 grams of added sugar. A 42 oz gas station Coke would have 490 calories and 136.5 grams of sugar. If you're like me and you get one of these drinks a day, that's 3,430 extra calories and 955.5 grams of sugar per week.

Just cutting out this single habit and replacing it with water every day would drastically decrease your calorie consumption. It may even put you directly into a calorie deficit! Like I said, that's easy weight loss.

You should also consider the hidden calories in alcoholic beverages. It's easy to identify that a sugar-filled glass of sweet wine or a boozy egg nog is packed with calories. But many people don't realize that alcohol itself is calorie-dense. For example, every gram of protein you eat has ~4 calories, whereas every gram of alcohol has ~7 calories. So, among many other reasons to potentially cut back on alcohol consumption, weight loss can be added to the list!

Avoiding Thoughts of Mortality

Everyone dies. It's an unfortunate truth, but it doesn't have to be a sad one. Here at RxTeach, we enjoy the teachings of stoic philosophers and modern authors like Ryan Holiday. Last year, we took a look at the average American's life as presented in the image below:

Live Longer and Accept Death: An Approach to Life
Your Life in Weeks | HuffPost Impact

It's a pretty interesting representation of life. It also scares a lot of people... There aren't as many boxes up there as you might have originally thought, and seeing an entire life on one page can be daunting. BUT, thinking about death and your own mortality (memento mori) can be extremely empowering! Stoic philosophers have known this for centuries, and it's a method of turning the inevitability of your own death into an asset. You can read more about this topic below:

Live Longer and Accept Death: An Approach to Life
There is only one god, and his name is Death. And there is only one thing we say to Death: “Not today.” - Syrio Forel, First Sword of Braavos

As for myself, I try to remind myself that every week (every box) counts. Am I going to waste it or utilize it? Will I let myself be bored, continue scrolling, and sit on the couch doing nothing? Or can I turn my time into value by spending it with family, exercising, and learning something new? We all have a choice, but it can be hard to make the right one without a reminder. Hence, thinking about your own mortality can be the push you never knew you needed.

baby's gray knit hat
Photo by Minnie Zhou / Unsplash

Sleeping Inconsistently

I know better than anyone that consistent sleep is dependent on circumstance. With a newborn at home, I barely remember what consistent sleep even feels like! In my mind's eye, it's glorious to behold.

Having said that, creating a schedule around sleep can be life life-changing. It's really all about consistency. If you can find a way to fall asleep and wake up at roughly the same times every day, you'll notice significant benefits.

Last November, Alexandra Boulware, PharmD, provided an entire article on sleep that you can find below. In that post, she presented 5 fantastic tips for consistent sleep:

1) Put sleep farther up on your priority list.

2) Keep wake-up times consistent, which includes weekends and days off. It will feel a lot better in the long haul.

3) Separate smartphones or tablets from the designated sleeping area.

4) Create a bedtime routine and use of the same steps each night. This helps put your mind and body in a relaxed state.

5) Avoid alcohol, late-night caffeine intake, and daytime napping. Try stopping caffeine consumption by mid-afternoon and limit a nap during the day to 30 minutes or shorter.

To Sleep or Not to Sleep
Let’s talk about the effects of sleep deprivation, why sleep is important, and some tips on how to get a better night’s rest!

Avoiding Discomfort

Pharmacists have many different career paths available to them after graduation. Despite that, I know numerous pharmacists who are unhappy in their current roles. I've come to believe that they've become content with their discontent (does that make any sense?) In other words, they've simply accepted their unhappiness because moving on to the next thing would be too difficult and cause too much discomfort.

I'm here to tell you how big of a mistake that is. Being unhappy in a job is far too consequential to simply accept, particularly when there are so many other options available to you! Just look back at the image of the average American's life... You spend a massive percentage of your time working! If that work makes you unhappy, how can you possibly live a fulfilling life?

The key here is to seek out discomfort. It's the only way you'll stay content in your career and ensure that you don't feel stuck. If you're looking for a little more motivation, check out this super short read from March of 2022:

Become Comfortable with Discomfort
You might not realize this, but you’re bad at a lot of things. You’re genuinely not good. Seriously. That’s true for most things. Like, more than 90% of all things. That’s the case for you, me, and everyone else.

Now, stop these 4 habits and go take the end of 2023 by the horns. If you can do that until Christmas, you'll have earned that cheat meal egg nog.