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Our habits are without a doubt, a fundamental part our lives.
It’s the little things we do every single day, without thinking, that go a long way in determining the type of life we live.
You’ve probably heard a million times that our habits can make or break us. Well that is a hundred percent true.
The right kind of habits can make life somewhat easier for us and help us out on our way to success. While the wrong kind of habits can tie us down and keep us from achieving the things we want, or enjoying the things we have.
But like I said, the thing about habits is that we do them, more or less subconsciously, which is why they can have such a great effect on us.
The good thing about habits is that just as they can be learned over time, they can also be unlearned as well.
In this post, you’ll discover 8 toxic habits that may be ruining your life, and how to get rid of them for a happier and better life.
8 Toxic Habits To Get Rid Of
The first step in fixing any problem is in identifying it. So first we need to identify the negative habits we wish to change, and then work on changing them.
While there are tons of toxic habits people can portray, these 8 are some of the most common among people today. And getting rid of these things will no doubt help us improve the quality of our lives.
1) Always Comparing Yourself To Others
It’s obvious that the human brain loves to make comparisons. When buying stuff at the supermarket, you compare different products in order to choose the best one for the task.
In almost any decision we make in our daily lives, we end up comparing several things, based on certain factors, in order to choose what we feel would be better for us.
While I understand comparison between objects, and for the sake of decision making, comparison between humans, more specifically, comparing yourself to others, is the worst kind of comparison to make.
And here’s why.
First of all, we’re all different. Sure we may look alike, but fundamentally, no two people are the same. We all have different backgrounds, experiences, ambitions, struggles, etc.
Comparing yourself to others ignores these factors and jumps to a generalized conclusion, which is usually, almost, always false.
Another reason is because comparing yourself gives you a false sense of self-worth.
In almost any situation you find yourself, you’ll always find someone who seems to be doing better than you. And if you look hard enough, you can also find someone who seems to be doing worse too.
If you depend on your perception of other people’s lives, you will always find a reason to feel down, or feel proud. Both of which are equally unhealthy.
What To Do Instead
Realistically, the only person you should be in a competition with, is with yourself. This is because the only person you know 80%, is you.
The best type of competition is trying each day, to make sure you are better than what you were yesterday.
Rather than comparing yourself with others, which gives a false sense of self, and is often paints a false picture, try to be better than who you were yesterday. You should be your only competition.
2) Always Procrastinating
Later always seems like the convenient time to do things, until that later arrives, and then we push the things further down to another time, and the cycle goes on and on.
Procrastination is another toxic habit that hardly ever does us any good. It’s important to understand that procrastination happens for a variety of reasons.
Sometimes, it could be that something more important came up, and we need to reschedule, or maybe due to recent developments, it would be best for us to do that task at a later date.
In such cases, pushing things forward a bit can be understood. But more often than not, we tend to procrastinate for some not-so-valid reasons. It could be that we don’t like the task at hand or don’t feel like doing it.
While procrastination relieves you of whatever you have to do in the short term, it doesn’t help at all in the long term, because you still have to do those things eventually, and it only makes things tougher for you in the future.
What To Do Instead
Instead of procrastinating unnecessarily, try to focus on identifying the things you need to do, and making efforts to get them done as soon as possible.
Try to avoid having to do things later, unless completely necessary. Also, removing distractions that make you procrastinate can help steady your focus on what you have to do.
And remember, whether you leave it to the future or not, you’ll still have to do it anyways. So why not do it now while you have the chance and quite possibly enjoy later in the future? The choice is yours.
3) Pointing Fingers
The blame game is one that hardly ever fixes the problem, but rather turns the attention away from the issue at hand, towards something usually way less important.
As adults, we are responsible for the things we do, and whatever outcomes they produce. Whether, we like it or not, we need to take responsibility for those things, even if it feels uncomfortable to do so.
Pointing fingers tries to take the burden of responsibility off our shoulders. This rarely helps solve the problem, and only makes us come off as immature. Plus, people who never take responsibility can never fully grow to their full potential in life.
Holding yourself accountable for your actions is the only way to ensure they are corrected, and it will keep you moving forward in life.
What To Do Instead
Rather than blaming others, try to take responsibility for your actions. Granted, it isn’t always the “comfortable” thing to do, but it is the right thing to do, and its part of being an adult.
You’ll find that it’ll not only help you make better decisions in life, but it’ll also earn you the trust and respect of others, like your peers and even superiors.
4) Being Overly Pessimistic
Pessimism involves having a primarily negative outlook on things. If there are 99,999 reasons why something could go right, you can trust the pessimist to find the one reason why it won’t.
Sure, everything has its positives and negatives. But being overly pessimistic robs you of your ability to see the full picture, and keeps you focused on the negative part of things, rather than the reality.
I understand that life isn’t all cupcakes and flowers, and has its dark times, or times when things don’t always turn out like we expected. But life also isn’t a dark forest filled only with despair.
Everything has its ups and downs, and that’s what makes them interesting. If you focus only on the downs, or only on the ups, you’ll miss out on the full experience, and hold yourself back from a lot of things.
What To Do Instead
Just like being overly pessimistic can have its negative effects, so can being overly optimistic. They are both opposite ends of a spectrum that are best not explored to the extreme, especially the former.
Taking a more balanced approach to things, and having realistic expectations, is a good way to go.
If anything, having a bit of optimism is even better, and can put us in a much better mental state to go out there and work towards the things we want.
5) Caring Too Much About Other People’s Opinion
Another toxic habit that could be ruining your life, is giving too much attention to what other people think about you.
Firstly, it is important to know that no one thinks about you as extensively as you might think they do.
We (including you) are all busy with different things happening in our lives, and don’t tend to pay much attention to every single detail concerning other people.
Just as you probably don’t keep thinking about every single mistake Jan from accounting makes, she probably doesn’t think much about yours as well.
Also, when it comes to what other people have to say about you, it’s important to understand that nobody knows you as well as you do.
They may know you to an extent, or not even know you that much. Whatever the case may be, they are not you, and therefore, their opinions, if any, may not be grounded in truth.
Another thing to note is that not everyone’s opinion is worth your time. Really. I don’t mean to sound harsh, but there aren’t a lot of smart people out there.
Odds are, the person whose opinion you’re worried about, isn’t actually qualified or worthy enough to comment on whatever issues they are commenting on. In either case, you don’t need to think too much about it.
What To Do Instead
Some feedback from certain people can actually be helpful. Feedback from people who fully understand a certain situation, and are interested in helping you out, is actually a good thing.
Also, it’s important to develop a healthy perception of yourself, and work towards improving that self for your own good, rather than giving too much thought to what everyone else has to say.
6) Thinking More And Doing Less
In life, the ability to think clearly and effectively is a very good thing, but that ability can only have a useful effect through action.
Our thoughts and actions go hand in hand. To do something voluntarily, you need to first create the mental image of that thing, A.K.A by thinking about it.
For a lot of people, it’s easy to get lost in those numerous thoughts, and end up taking no action, which in turn leads to zero progress.
I’m sure you’ve come across some people in life who may not exactly have the brightest ideas, but have the courage to do whatever it is they think of, and still turn out somewhat successful.
While there are a lot of factors surrounding success, one of the key factors that seems to determine it is action. A good plan without action is just a nice wish.
What To Do Instead
Proper thinking is a good thing, but it should always be followed up with action, or else it loses its meaning.
If you’re the kind of person who finds themselves thinking way too much and doing way too little, try to make efforts convert those brilliant thoughts into actions.
If you’re anxious about taking action, especially when it involves big issues, you could try breaking it down into smaller actions, which will make them easier to carry out.
7) Living In The Past
There’s a reason it’s called the past you know.
You’ve probably heard the saying that life goes on. While that statement is generally true, sometimes, we as individuals don’t move on from certain things, and get stuck in the past.
This could happen for a variety of different reasons. It could be something we can’t or don’t want to let go of, or an event we haven’t been able to mentally come to terms with.
Whatever the case may be, it may result in us getting stuck in that moment, repeating it mentally, over and over again. This often leads to stagnation, and prevents us from moving forward.
Holding on to what has happened (the past) distracts you from what is happening (the present), which will ultimately affect what will happen (the future).
What To Do Instead
It is important to come to terms with whatever happened in the past, in a psychologically healthy way, and move on.
If it is something you miss, accept that it is gone now, and be grateful for such experiences and move on, rather than trying to relive it again. Rather, focus on creating new and possibly better experiences in the present.
If it is something that causes you trauma or distress, consider talking to someone about it, or going for therapy. I understand the past can be painful sometimes, but just like some things in life, we need to let go, or else they’ll pull keep pulling us down.
The only time we truly have, is now. It’s best not to waste it tripping over things that should be behind us.
8) Obsessing Over Perfection
If I had a nickel for every perfect thing on earth, I’d have zero nickels.
The concept of perfection is indeed a funny one. We love to chase it, but realistically, we can never achieve it, because it doesn’t really exist. The perfect body, job, life, etc. are just arbitrary concepts we love to wish on.
While there’s nothing wrong with that, obsessing over that idea of “perfection” and rejecting every other thing or opportunity that comes our way can be damaging, and prevent us from achieving the things we ought to.
There’ll never be a perfect moment to do that thing you want to do. We can get pretty close to what we perceive as “perfect”, but achieving absolute perfection in everything is more myth than reality.
What To Do Instead
Rather than obsessing over getting that “perfect” thing, focus on making the “best” out of what life has to offer.
We may not be able to achieve true perfection in everything in life, but we can get pretty close, and that’s good enough.
Bad and toxic habits can make life less enjoyable, and more difficult for ourselves and everyone around us.
While these things are more or less learnt over time and carried out subconsciously, they can also be unlearned and gotten rid of.
These 8 toxic habits are some of the most common among people today, and unlearning them will no doubt help us create a better life for ourselves and for those around us.