If you suspect you have some toxic habits to give up, then don’t feel bad about it. We all have bad habits; not one of us is perfect.
Luckily, we can unlearn toxic habits and negative tendencies. Everyone has the power within to change their bad habits and grow into a happier version of themselves.
We all have the right to happiness. The first step is to recognize any unhealthy, toxic habits we need to quit to experience more joy, success, and confidence. Then make better choices.
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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.
To figure out how to better my life, I had to do some deep self-reflection. I came to understand that I was self-sabotaging my own happiness with many of my negative tendencies and bad habits.
Toxic habits are not only stealthy but also extremely common- we all have them. What you need to do is shine a light on them. And pinpoint exactly what they are. Then you can begin to actively change for the better by making better choices.
Listed below are 10 common toxic habits to quit asap. Habits that may be sabotaging your happiness, confidence, and success in life. Recognizing then changing these bad habits will help you to feel stronger, more peaceful, and happier in life. Let’s talk about some unhealthy, negative habits. And some solutions to fix them.
10 Toxic habits to give up to be happier in life
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. We don’t always see our beauty or our positive qualities. And we take our success and wins in life for granted.
Being hard on yourself can be a tough habit to break, but you must find a way to choose better thoughts. Try instead to give yourself grace.
One trick to break the toxic habit of being too hard on yourself is to imagine yourself comforting yourself as a child. Imagine hugging yourself and loving your little self.
Next, imagine yourself as the older, wiser version of yourself. The older you would again comfort the younger, stressed-out you (the now-time you.) Your older self would love the now-time you regardless of your flaws. This is a powerful way to find self-love and acceptance.
You can also visualize receiving love and acceptance from God or your angels. Know that you are perfectly imperfect.
Keep practicing letting go of perfection and accepting yourself for who you are. Self-acceptance does not mean giving up on yourself, or not trying to better yourself. It doesn’t mean being lazy. It just means realizing how flawed we all are as humans. Sometimes wildly so. Look around you and you’ll see proof of imperfection all around.
It is ok to make mistakes, drop the ball, and screw up at times. It’s ok to not look perfect, to not be successful, and so on. 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 quit. You will feel so much happier when you let go of comparing.
Know that we are all on our own timeline, our own life 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 at any age. Have a little more confidence in 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. It’s not fair to compare yourself to anyone.
Comparing yourself to people you don’t know is even less fair to yourself. It’s most definitely an unhealthy, toxic habit that you must change for your own inner peace and happiness. Instead of comparing, make the choice to practice self-acceptance more vigilantly. You don’t need to compare yourself to anyone else because you can’t compare- you are your own person. A unique creation.
3. Worrying too much
Another incredibly common negative tendency 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.
A solution is strengthening your faith in God/the Universe. Or according to whatever your personal spiritual beliefs may be.
It can be challenging to choose Faith- our ego (that part of our logical mind that wants to control, judge, and compare) does not want us to trust in a Higher Power. We feel too chaotic, uncertain, and scared. Trusting in a Higher Power requires letting go of mental control and accepting a degree of uncertainty in life. And the ego portion of our mind cannot get on board with the energy of trust in uncertainty.
That is where we can pray for faith. Pray to be able to trust in something greater than your own understanding.
Practice letting go of fear by asking God/Spirit to take the fear from you. This really works. A strong Faith, no matter your religion or even lack thereof, is the best antidote to the toxic habit of worrying.
The energy of Faith and trust is the energy of allowing life to just…happen. When you allow without fear, you’ll find you gain so much inner peace. You will often be pleasantly surprised by what ends up happening. God/The Universe is so good. Just let go of fear, trust, and see for yourself! Worry is one of the most unhealthy choices and toxic habits you must give up to be happier in life.
4. Not taking chances
There is nothing wrong with comfort zones, but you don’t want to stay in your comfort zone forever. Life is meant for living. For experiencing those highs and lows. For YOLO-type events and breathtaking moments of awe & beauty.
It’s true that some people enjoy adventures more than others. And if you are the type that craves excitement then you must make adventure happen! I’m that way and when life gets too routine I get extremely antsy. It’s unhealthy for me to live without adventure.
But I have friends who are the opposite. They like to play it safe. And that is ok, too.
No matter how adventurous you are, everyone needs to take chances in life sometimes. Opportunity awaits for no one. But also, it doesn’t always magically appear.
Sometimes we must create our own opportunities. And plan for adventure or excitement. Use good judgment, make good choices, but don’t let the fear of the unknown hold you back from starting up a new conversation, project, or business. Don’t let uncertainty stop you from living to the fullest. Letting life pass you by is one of the biggest regrets of older people according to multiple polls. It’s certainly a toxic habit to quit right now.
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 to this unhealthy habit 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, micromovements are about taking action in short easy steps. You accomplish stuff by completing one small task at a time. That task could take anywhere from 5 seconds to 5 minutes. (Hence, why it’s called a micro-movement.) For example, open up the computer to your email account, but don’t read emails yet. Take a break, then read your emails. Go do something else, then respond.
Micro-movements can work well for many people struggling to take action. They can help you gain the momentum to get started on bigger, overwhelming tasks. They can help you break the negative and unhealthy habit of inaction. With micro-movements, you can make one small choice at a time. And end the paralyzing feeling of being unable to start.
6. Not setting boundaries
Not setting boundaries is an extremely unhealthy habit, and very common.
Boundaries can be uncomfortable to learn, but once you know what they are and how to set them, you will feel so much happier in life. 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 smile and be agreeable all the time. But unfortunately, that can backfire and be unhealthy for your self-esteem. Being overly agreeable and not having boundaries is toxic because you end up letting people walk all over you. You try to be nice, but you end up attracting people who take advantage of you. Even if it’s subtle.
Setting boundaries with people means facing your fears of rejection or judgment. But you must conquer those fears. Once you find out that people won’t reject you for setting boundaries- they will respect you more- you will start to understand the importance of boundaries. And you will feel so glad you finally learned how to say “No.” It feels amazing to transform the toxic habit of poor boundaries.
7. Ignoring self-care
Self-care is so important. Don’t make the bad habit of ignoring your body, mind, and spirit!
Proper self-care means many things:
- Choosing nutritious, quality food
- Getting a good night’s sleep
- Drinking enough water
- Getting exercise, fresh air, and sunlight
- Nurturing positive relationships and love in your life
- Doing things that you enjoy each day
- Finding good forms of stress relief
- Having some type of spirituality
None of these aspects of self-care should be ignored. Your happiness matters, and it is directly tied to your self-care.
Often, when you’re young and self-care doesn’t seem important. Same for when you’re super busy. But try not to let your lifestyle take away from your self-care. 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.)
Not caring for your body, mind, and spirit is an unhealthy toxic habit to change right now.
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 learn & choose to adopt a positive growth mindset instead.
A positive growth mindset simply means you know that you can change and grow, rather than believing that you are stuck where you are. It’s an empowering way of understanding yourself and the world.
A positive growth mindset is a flexible mindset. It’s a way of thinking that leaves you open to change, new ideas, and new information.
With a positive growth mindset, you are not afraid to be wrong. This is because you aren’t clinging to being “right.” You are open-minded and chose to be curious about life, rather than thinking you have all the answers.
People who have a positive growth mindset don’t mind making mistakes because they know that making mistakes is a way to learn. They know mistakes don’t define them. People with this mindset tend to be much happier and more successful in life because they are open to possibilities. Open to learning and growth. People with rigid, closed mindsets often have the unhealthy (and annoying) habit of being a know-it-all. Or to put it another way, they can be Karens.
9. Expecting the worst
It’s a common bad habit in life to imagine the worst-case scenario. Often, we do this to protect ourselves- we want to feel safe planning for the worst. Or we don’t want to get our hopes up. But expecting the worst is one of the most toxic habits that exist. It not only makes you feel bad but expecting the worst can manifest poor outcomes. You can psych yourself out to make mistakes, say the wrong thing, or worse. Yikes!
Changing the toxic habit of expecting the worst, (also known as 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. We don’t want that!
Instead, practice visualizing what you want, not what you don’t. One helpful way to do this is through using affirmations. Affirmations are short, positive statements to help train your brain to be more positive.
In addition, choose to love and accept yourself more. And trust in God/the Universe to both help you shift your mindset and to manifest positive outcomes.
10. Not letting go of the past
The past is done- unless you won’t let it go. Not letting go of the past is the final bad habit to discuss.
There are many reasons for not letting go of the past. Maybe you haven’t emotionally processed the past. Maybe you need to forgive yourself or others. Or you have certain regrets. But replaying the past in your mind over and over can be toxic.
To help process the past, try journaling, talking with a friend or therapist, making art, or meditating. Keep experimenting with ways you can process and release the past so you can let go.
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. And to let go of the toxic habit of repeating the past over and over in your memory. Doing so won’t change anything. And mental repetition is an unhealthy habit to engage in.
Instead, try to practice mindfulness. Learn to live in the present moment. So much happiness can be found in the tiniest details of everyday life.
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 if you so choose!
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. Talking, meditating, journaling, and other self-care activities can help.
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. Changing unhealthy or toxic habits isn’t always easy, but your happiness is worth it! Please let me know what you think in the comments!
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