If you suspect you have some toxic habits to change, then don’t feel bad about it. We all have bad habits; not one of us is perfect.
Luckily, we can unlearn bad habits, change, and grow.
We all have the right to happiness. The first step is to recognize the bad habits we need to give up to be happier in life.
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Bad habits can be awfully sneaky. You may not even realize you have them. I’ve been there myself- living with certain toxic mindsets, engaging in toxic behaviors, and totally unaware! I’d had my toxic habits for so long they were invisible. Until my problems became too big to ignore and I had to go searching for the cause.
Toxic habits are not only stealthy but also extremely common- we all have them. What we need to do is shine a light on them. Then we can begin to actively change.
Listed below are 10 common bad habits that may be sabotaging your happiness. Shifting out of these bad habits will allow you to feel stronger, more peaceful, and happier in life. Let’s talk about what those habits are and some solutions to heal them.
10 Toxic habits to give up to be happier
1. Being too hard on yourself
So many of us have this toxic habit- we are way too hard on ourselves. We focus on our flaws, failures, and shortcomings.
Try instead to give yourself some grace. Practice letting go of perfection and accepting yourself for who you are. That does not mean giving up on yourself, or not trying to better yourself. It just means realizing how imperfect we all are. Sometimes wildly so. So please cut yourself a break and be nicer to yourself.
2. Comparing yourself to others
Comparing yourself is others is another common toxic habit to give up. You will feel so much happier when you let go of comparing.
Know that we are all on our own timeline, our own path. Life is not a competition- you don’t need to have your career path mapped out by your early 20’s, be married by 30, or have the perfect figure. Have a little more confidence with where you are in life now.
Furthermore, we often compare ourselves to people we don’t know well, or at all. Their past, their current struggles, their inner truth- all a mystery. Comparing yourself to people you don’t know is even less fair to yourself. Instead, practice self-acceptance more vigilantly.
3. Worrying and not trusting God/the Universe
Another incredibly common problem is worrying about what we cannot control. And anything outside of your own self- your actions, thoughts, and emotions- is out of your control. This includes what other people think, events at work, and happenings in the world.
The solution is strengthening your faith in God/the Universe. It can be challenging to have Faith- our ego does not want us to trust. We feel too chaotic, traumatized, and scared. That is where we can pray for Faith. Pray to be able to trust. Practice letting go of fear by asking God/Spirit to take it from you. This really works. A strong Faith, no matter your religion or even lack thereof, is the best antidote to worry.
4. Not taking chances
There is nothing wrong with comfort zones, but you don’t want to stay there forever. Life is meant for living. For experiencing those highs and lows. For YOLO type events and breathtaking moments of awe & beauty.
Opportunity waits for no one. But also, it doesn’t always magically appear. Sometimes we must create our own. Use good judgment, but don’t let the fear of the unknown hold you back from starting up a new conversation, project, or business.
5. Not taking action
Inaction is a toxic habit that can stem from many places- low self-esteem, lack of energy, fear, or overwhelm. Aside from examining and healing the source of what’s blocking you from taking action, a terrific solution is using micro-movements.
Micro-movements were invented by the author Susan Ariel Rainbow Kennedy (she goes by SARK.) She discusses them in her book Make Your Creative Dreams Real. All of her books are outstanding, by the way. (Huge raving fan!)
Essentially, you accomplish stuff by completing one small task at a time. That task could take anywhere from 5 seconds to 5 minutes. For example, open up the computer to email, but don’t read emails yet. Take a break, then read. Go do something else, then respond. Micro-movements can work well for many people struggling to take action.
6. Not setting boundaries
Boundaries can be tricky to learn, but once you get a feel for how to set them, you will feel so much happier. Setting proper boundaries includes standing up for yourself, saying no, and being assertive without being aggressive. With good boundaries, you protect your time, energy, and self-esteem.
If you are a people pleaser or insecure, it can seem easier to let people walk all over you than to face your fears of them rejecting you. But once you find out that people won’t reject you- they will respect you more- you will feel so glad you said “No.” It feels amazing to transform the toxic habit of poor boundaries.
7. Ignoring self-care
Self-care is so important. Eating nutritious, quality food, proper sleep, exercise, and stress relief should not be ignored. Even when you get super busy, try not to let it take away from your basic self-care each day.
Don’t work yourself to the point of exhaustion, skip meals, or let yourself be inactive for long periods of time. Get out in the sunshine, wear a nice outfit, do some journaling, and have some fresh fruit. (Just to name a few helpful self-care ideas.)
8. Having a closed mindset
Having a rigid or closed mindset with set beliefs is a very toxic mindset to have. And it’s easy to do- we all do it to some degree. The best thing to do is to adopt a positive growth mindset.
A positive growth mindset simply means you know that you can change and grow, rather than believing that you are stuck where you are.
A positive growth mindset is a flexible mindset, open to change, new ideas, and new information. With a positive growth mindset, you are not afraid to be wrong, because you aren’t clinging to being “right.” You don’t mind making mistakes because you know that making mistakes is how you learn.
9. Expecting the worst
It’s so common to imagine the worst-case scenario. Often, we do this to protect ourselves- we don’t want to get our hopes up. But expecting the worst can manifest bad outcomes. You can psych yourself out to make mistakes, say the wrong thing, or worse.
Changing the toxic habit of catastrophic thinking can do wonders for the reality you are creating for yourself. If thoughts manifest reality, then expecting the worse can indeed create those bad outcomes.
Practice visualizing what you want, not what you don’t. Love and accept yourself more. And trust in God/the Universe to both help you shift your mindset and manifest positive outcomes.
10. Not letting go of the past
The past is done- unless you won’t let it go.
Maybe you haven’t emotionally processed the past. Maybe you need to forgive yourself or others. But replaying the past in your mind over and over can be very toxic. Try journaling, talking with a friend or therapist, making art, or meditating. Keep experimenting with ways you can process and release the past.
Give yourself grace; some things can be extremely difficult to let go of. But never give up on healing yourself. You deserve to be happy and free. You’re worth it!
Best books on changing bad habits
Reading inspirational books is another great way to gain knowledge and insight into ways to break bad habits. The following are some terrific reads all about transcending those toxic habits which can hold you back in life.
So, do you think you have any of these toxic habits? They really are quite common. And fixable!
You don’t have to change them all at once either. Start by being aware of what you would like to change or improve, and work on changing your habits bit by bit.
No matter how you go about improving your life via your habits, give yourself a pat on the back. Be your own best support and your own best friend. Change isn’t always easy, but your happiness is worth it! Please let me know what you think in the comments!
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