Bad habits will impact your life whether you realize it or not. And bad habits can be especially detrimental to your every day happiness. Sometimes you need to look at which bad habits to break in order to take control of your life and be happy once more.
Habits are routine behaviors which we acquired from frequent repetitions over a period of time and now unconsciously do on a regular basis. Most of the behaviors that define or characterize your person were formed as habits.
Every one of us have one or two bad habits we exhibit. Some bad habits are just weird, others dangerous to your health, and some are out-rightly harmful and can ruin your chances of happiness and success in life.
Bad Habits To Break This Year
Here are some common bad habits to break this year in order to live a happy, fulfilling and productive life.
1. Living On Social Media
We are in an age where the internet has taken center stage and life seems to revolve around social media. Most of us have become so addicted to social media that staying off our favorite site or social media platform for a few days would be tantamount to being exiled to the moon.
Social media isn’t bad in itself, but getting addicted to it is a bad habit. Don’t seek validation by uploading every detail of your life to Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, etc., and checking up on the number of likes on your post/update as if your existence depends on that.
The social media world, truth be told, is a world of hype, pretense and lies. The blue you see there could actually be a green, and so don’t get pulled into the crazy competitions that happen there.
For some people, Facebook is the first thing they do in the morning and the last thing they do at night. If you happen to be among this group, know that you are not alone but you need to consciously apply self-control and discipline and pull out the fangs of social media addiction off your life.
2. Neglecting Yourself
Some people are naturally self-sacrificing and have the tendency of putting themselves and their needs last. If this is you, be honest, this disposition leaves you all burnt out and dejected at times.
The tiredness and frustrations that come from this could make you just want to yell and scream, especially when your efforts are not reciprocated, unappreciated and taken for granted.
Inasmuch as you have to be there for others, for example family members, you don’t have to give up on your own goals in the bid to help others achieve theirs. You still need to take care of yourself.
Burying your dreams to see the dreams of others come alive is not selflessness, actually, it is a bad habit you need to break loose from if you want to succeed in life.
Your goals and aspirations are as important as that of others, and if you don’t work on making your visions come alive then who else is there who would do that for you?
We all know that one person who loves to complain about anything and everything; the coffee is too hot, it’s too chilly today, the grasses are too green, the birds are flying way too fast, and on and on and on. I am sure you abhor the presence of such a grumpy character like a plague.
Nobody enjoys the company of a chronic complainer. Complaining creates a gloomy and toxic atmosphere that can swallow you up in bitterness and negativity.
Be optimistic and stop getting stressed over unnecessary things. Choose to see the positive side of life, see the glass as half full.
The worst thing about complaining is that while it blinds your eyes from seeing the positive, it does not in any way help to ameliorate the negative situation. In fact, problems tend to appear larger than life when we complain about them. Talk of literally making a mountain out of a molehill.
Quit complaining and objectively make your disapproval known when confronted with a truly negative situation. Also note that everything will not be ideal and perfect all the time, and so learn to accept things for what they are.
4. Holding On To The Past
Although the events in your past may influence your life and your disposition towards life; recognize that your past doesn’t in any way define you.
Most of us have made one or two mistakes in the past. You don’t allow your past to dictate what becomes of your present and future. Yeah, you worked as a stripper at the night club to pay your tuition that semester. Now just get over it and move on with your life.
Carrying shame or guilt or regret from your past like a stamp and wishing you could rewrite that part of your history does not serve you. Learn what you can from your mistakes. Put the past behind you and forge ahead.
It all begins with forgiving your self and then letting go of yesterday. Pick up the remaining pieces and move on with your life, or else tomorrow you will be regretting why you wasted today regretting about yesterday.
5. Comparing Yourself To Others
If you must compare, compare your today with your yesterday in order to have a progressive mindset. You are not in a competition with anybody. We all have different race to run and different paths to follow.
You’ll come down fast with depression if you keep comparing yourself with others. The grass will always be greener on the other side. Consciously and consistently refuse to run a compare and contrast study between your life and your friends’.
A famous African musician, Tuface Idibia, sang … we are all different and unique in our own different ways. You are unique and special. Maintain your lane and appreciate yourself for who you are.
6. Stress Eating
Many of us are guilty of this bad habit which is not only harmful health wise but can also harm your image, appearance and confidence as well. Stress eating is resorting to food for comfort whenever you feel stressed.
Disappointed by a friend, a slice of cake to the rescue; anxious about your unpaid bills, five scoops of ice cream will help cool down the fire; annoyed by a colleague at work, find comfort in the spread arms of chicken wings; and after you will be left angry with yourself.
Bingeing on food to get your mind off issues or stuffing your face to gain temporary comfort from tension will only plunge you deep into depression and low self-esteem.
Whenever you feel like heading to the kitchen to find comfort, strictly rebuke the thought. Place a sticker on the door of your fridge or on the dining table that will remind you to eat only when you are truly hungry.
To break this die-hard bad habit, you need to go ghetto on yourself. No self-pity. Practically throw yourself out from the kitchen.
It is good to let others know you know about some things but spreading tales about people is never a good thing, unless they expressly asked you to. Gossipers are particularly happy to spread the word when the story is unpleasant and concerns the misfortunes of others.
Nobody trusts a gossiper, and this includes the people that relish sharing gossips with you. If you can say horrible things about others why would they assume you won’t say the same about them when they’re not in the room.
Gossiping is tiring and depressing. You may feel on top of the world when your audience are oohing and aahing at your story, but afterwards you’ll feel embarrassed with yourself. Spending your time telling others the personal details of another person’s life is terrible.
You can break this habit by saying three positive sentences about someone whenever the temptation to gossip comes. Gossip lovers will rarely urge you on if the news is positive, as they would rather prefer malicious contents. Resolve not to reveal secrets or speak negatively about others.
8. Addiction To Television
Ma’am, I am ten and TV is my life, that was Kelvin McAllister in the movie Home Alone. Well, for one you are not ten years old but a grown-up and so TV can’t be your life.
Some of us are so addicted to TV series and can spend several hours mooning over romance stories on cable or Netflix. Some follow up on addictive 24/7 reality shows such as Big Brother or binge on 90 Day Fiancé, and hence aren’t able to go out there and face reality.
It’s time to turn off the tube and get a life. One day you’ll look up from that screen and discover life has moved past you while you were busy being a couch potato.
Be productive, don’t allow the make-believe world of entertainment steal your time. Reality happens in the real world and not on the four cornered screen of the TV.
9. Wearing Makeup To Bed
This is more for the ladies, but sleeping with your makeup on is another bad habit you should work on breaking.
Whether you do this out of tiredness or carelessness, you need to know that it is not right and is quite counterproductive.
The whole essence of wearing makeup is to boost your looks, isn’t it? Then why allow the makeup destroy your looks by wearing it to bed. How? I will tell you. Makeup clogs up the pores on your skin and make it difficult for the skin to breath. At night, when you are asleep and your makeup is off, the skin cells gets the chance to rejuvenate.
Wearing makeup to bed will make you age faster, so take some time to remove it before you go to bed. Moreover, the bed sheets will thank you when they don’t get the residue and smudges anymore.
Too tired or lazy by bed time to remove your makeup? Then make it a point of duty to take off makeup as soon as you arrive home at the end of the day.
10. Shying Away From Leadership Positions
Have you ever noticed yourself trying to avoid taking on responsibilities and putting yourself in a leadership position? That’s one of many bad habits to break right there.
Some of us are crippled by the habit of shying away from leadership. Break out from your comfort zone. That’s truly the only way we learn to grow ourselves. If you have an opinion, push your way to the front and voice it out loud and clear.
Sure, you may not always get it right, but not trying at all is just failing ahead of time. So next time you have the opportunity to step up, do it. You might discover something about yourself and you will certainly grow from the experience.
And remember, no one can judge you but YOU! You rock the cradle and you shape the world. It is high time you had a say in deciding issues concerning your world.
Finding it hard to make up your mind and follow it up with actions? Tell me about it. You’re one among many.
This is one bad habit that handcuffs many from living a productive and happy life.
Not sure what to do? Then make a plan to figure it out. It doesn’t help to just sit and think about it without taking action. And a decision likely won’t get any easier with time.
It doesn’t mean you should make hasty decisions, but after all the fact findings, you need to follow up with taking immediate action. Else you might just keep on writing pages upon pages of business ideas or things you want to do that never gets to see the light of the day.
12. Letting Your Happiness Depend On Others
No one holds the key to your happiness except you and nobody can break you except if you permit them. Stop depending on the actions of others to define your happiness.
Stop waiting for some knight in shining armor to come and rescue you out of a gloomy castle of unhappiness and loneliness. You are in control of your life and circumstances are what you make of it.
You need to create your own world. Douse your life with all the happiness you need, color it bright with all the colors of the rainbow and give your world the pizzazz you desire to see. You are responsible for your happiness. So let your hair down, laugh, be happy and be your own knight in shining armor.
It’s a bad habit to believe that someone else should be responsible for bringing you all the fulfillment and happiness you want. You’re holding the pastel and the brush, paint your world the color you wish.
13. Living Above Your Budget
Overspending is a flaw that some of us have developed over time. Whether you go on a shopping spree as a means of relieving stress or you do it just to keep up with societal trends, overspending will sooner than later plunge you irrecoverably into debts.
Some of us have turned shopaholics because of the deadly attitude of competing with others, and so we spend more than we can afford to just to keep up with the competition.
Oftentimes the people we go overboard to impress are those who don’t like us and we don’t really like as well. You feel at home with those who love you and aren’t worried about keeping up appearances around them. Therefore you may see yourself spending money you don’t really have to impress those you don’t really like.
Meanwhile, overspending has a twin sister called borrowing. Continue rolling with her and she will soon introduce you to her sister. Borrowing will rob sleep off your eyes and keep you caged in sorrow.
Be yourself. Life within your means. Limit your spending to what your budget permits. Roll with people who love you for who you are.
You can also learn about money management and then create a weekly/monthly budget and stick to it religiously.
14. Expecting Others To Read Your Thoughts
Ever seen that cartoon that shows a group of people protesting with placards and upon being asked what they want, they said they don’t know. And when asked about when they want it, the answer was a resounding ‘now!’.
Humorous as it may seem, the satirical cartoon was eluding to a bad habit of expecting others to know what you want, even when you sometimes don’t even know yourself.
People around you are not clairvoyant and there is no way they can decipher what you want unless you put your thoughts together and articulate it.
This is one bad habit that can destroy relationships. If you assume that your partner (or anyone really) simply knows what you want or how you feel, but then you flare up when they don’t act according to your expectations, you need to re-examine yourself.
The truth is that it’s nearly impossible for anyone to discern another’s thoughts. Therefore you need to work on streamlining your thoughts and learn how to verbally communicate your needs.
15. Hiding Behind Men
Another one for the ladies, but you need to know that being a woman doesn’t mean we are second class or inferior to men. The mindset of ‘oh, it’s a man’s world‘ has limited and robbed many talented women of the chance to excel in their fields of endeavor.
To your competence, girl, you need to add a good dose of confidence, and go after what you want. Don’t ever let someone put you down or tell you that you can’t do something. And even when it’s hard, remember you can do hard things!
How To Break Bad Habits
Here are some tips to help you do away with your not too appealing habits.
- Realize you have a bad habit: The very first step to stopping a bad habit is becoming aware and acknowledging you have an unpleasant habit that needs to be done away with.
- Identify the triggers: Identify and avoid the people, situations and activities that your mind has linked to particular bad habit and then deliberately change your behavior towards the triggers.
- Replace the bad habit with a good alternative habit: Consciously replacing a bad habit with a good one is one proven way of breaking a bad habit. For example, where you would usually say something deprecating about others, commend them instead.
- Change Location: A habit is most effectively broken when you’re in a new location away from your usual daily routine and triggers.
- Be accountable: Keep a diary and record your progress. Being accountable will help you remain focused and dedicated in your mission to change a negative behavior.
- Break the connections: Keep people or things that remind you of your bad habit at bay. For instance, you can break away from that clique of friends with whom you normally indulge in shopping sprees or gossiping about others.
- Emulate good habits: Choose as a role model someone who has a good habit opposite of the bad habit you want to break.
How Long Does It Take To Break A Bad Habit?
In case you’re wondering how long it will take for you to break your bad habit, well, there is no hard and fast rules. Some habits are easy to cultivate and some people find it easier to develop a habit than others. This also applies to breaking away from a bad habit.
However, according to a 2009 study published in the Journal of Social Psychology, the length of time could be anywhere from 18 to 254 days. Bad habits can be so deep-rooted that it can only take conscious effort and continuous action to break them.
Never Give Up
In conclusion, remember that bad habits can impede your happiness and success in life, and hence you need to stop them before they stop you. To do this you need to apply self-control, discipline and perseverance.
And even if you identified some bad habits to break, don’t be discouraged. There is always room for improvement, and in fact, continues growth and self improvement is something we should all strive for.
Be a better person today than you were yesterday!
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