Change is inevitable. As we age we are bound to look back on our past and regret some of our decisions. There are times when in the moment we do not see ourselves in the wrong but once some time has elapsed, we look back on our actions and see them as what they were: mistakes and errors of judgment.
No one is perfect, we all make mistakes but what makes a difference is constantly engaging in self-reflection and striving to be better. There is always room for improvement and as long as we keep looking inwards and finding things about ourselves that need to be changed we open ourselves to progress.
Self-awareness is the first step for improvement. Some thought and behavior patterns become so ingrained in our minds that we repeat them daily and they turn into habits that are hard to get rid of. However, becoming conscious that we are doing something wrong is necessary and it can then be followed by small steps to change ourselves for the better.
17 bad habits you need to get rid of right now
Here are 17 bad habits that are holding you back from achieving your full potential or causing distress to those around you. If you identify any of these in yourself it is time to bring some changes and get rid of these bad habits so you can be the best version of yourself.
We are all guilty of laying off doing our assignments to the last minute. But we can all accept that rushing to get things done at the twelfth hour leads to many blunders. And what good is doing a piece of work and not giving it our best shot? If we keep acting this way we will execute each task in a mediocre manner and never utilize all our abilities.
Decide to get rid of procrastination, by prioritizing each activity and planning out your day.
2. Talking behind someone’s back
We all come across people who find a way to get under our skin. Sometimes we don’t have the guts to tell that infuriating person off on their face. So we seethe in anger and once we find ourselves in the company of a close confidant we let all our frustration out by telling them what a horrible person so-and-so is. This is a bad habit that builds up bitterness and resentment and if anything complicates matters more.
For one, instead of addressing the problem we are facing with the one concerned, just expressing our displeasure in someone else’s company just makes us hate the said person in question even more. And if the person lending a listening ear to our problems offers idiot compassion in return i.e. join us in hating on the other person irrespective of the truth; we only end up feeling more frustrated and out of control of the situation we are in.
The best way to handle a difficult person is to discuss with them the problems you are facing. If that doesn’t seem to work, then it’s best to restrict interaction and distance yourself from such people.
3. Living in flashbacks
How many of us can relate to having flashbacks of our past and cringe? It is easy to become a prisoner of the past, but this is one bad habit that you have to get rid of to move forward in life. Accept the past for what it was, accept that you cannot go back and change those moments, learn whatever you can from the past, and focus on improving yourself for the future.
4. Little white lies
Lying is considered an evil universally, but most of us are comfortable telling a few fibs here and there to keep ourselves out of trouble. However, it can very quickly spiral out of control and we might become extremely comfortable telling lies rather than speaking the truth. That is when the trouble starts when we no longer feel awkward telling a lie no matter big or small.
Even little lies told over seemingly inconsequential things can shatter others trust in us. So it is best to make a habit of being honest.
5. Assuming the worst
This is a thought pattern most of us is a victim of and it leads to a lot of unnecessary anxiety. While there is no harm in preparing for the worst — obsessing over negative outcomes, when there is no certainty that things will unfold the way we anticipate, it is only good for getting ourselves worked up over nothing.
It also makes us constantly worry about the future and forget living in the present moment. Gently training our minds to stay focused in the present and not letting thoughts wander to the future or the past can bring a profound change in our lives.
6. Negative self-talk
Quieting the dark voice in our head will help us focus our energy on performing our best. Negative self-talk is a thought pattern that sets us off on a path of self-sabotage. Most of the time we accept our negative thoughts as quite simply — reality, which is not the case. While it is true that life can be unfair at times, what we get in life largely depends on how we respond to our circumstances. Negative self-talk tears down our morale and sets us up for failure from the get-go.
Firstly, it is important to become aware of the negative thoughts crossing our minds and then focusing our attention elsewhere rather than stressing over it.
7. Comparing ourselves to others
So many of us probably don’t even realize we have this bad habit of constantly comparing ourselves to others. Through social media, we constantly receive updates on the lives of our friends, family, and colleagues and it is hard not to feel envious when they upload pictures of themselves having the best time, with the best bodies, and eating delicious foods. It is easy to fall into the vicious cycle of thinking about how we measure up to others.
We are all born with a unique set of abilities and while our lives may appear similar; our paths and the challenges we face are different. There is no point comparing ourselves to others and wallowing in self-pity. If we all strive to be the same there would be nothing to set us apart from each other. The only person we should be competing with is our past self as we continue to try to be a better version and progress.
Life is going to beat us down, people are not always going to be kind, we are bound to face injustice and sometimes our hard work is going to go unnoticed. When everything seems to be going wrong and we feel not in control it is easy to spiral down in self-pity. The problem with blaming others for our life not going as planned is that we turn blind to the gray areas in ourselves which need improvement.
Yes, there are going to be times you will be unfairly treated but it is important to always remember that you are in control of how you respond to adversity and if done right you can turn any crisis into an opportunity to improve yourself.
9. Excessive use of gadgets
It is hard to imagine life without our mobile devices but scrolling through our news feed on social media is addictive and it is best to keep a check on the time we spend online. Staring at the mobile screen may make us ignore the ones around us. The time we spend using social media can make us oblivious to the presence of a dear one and we may pass up on the opportunity to hold a meaningful conversation with them.
While it is a good thing to stay informed and connected to the world; making a habit of turning off all gadgets and spending some time each day in quiet meditation is best for calming our nerves and will help us rejuvenate.
10. Not taking care of our bodies
Ignoring what we put in our bodies and not working those muscles is a bad habit that can lead to a lot of complications in old age. Becoming conscientious of our diet and opting for healthier, greener foods helps us stay active and energized as well as keep our minds sharp and focused. The better we care for our bodies the better we feel and increase our chances to achieve our fullest potential.
Unhealthy eating and a sedentary lifestyle can have a detrimental effect on our health in the long term. It can affect everything from the texture of our skin, our body’s agility, our mental health and our immune system’s ability to stave off disease. Most of us prepare for our old life by making smart investments financially. But why do we choose not to make the best investment for our old selves by choosing a healthier lifestyle early on?
11. Staying silent in the face of injustice
Understandably, most of us don’t want to attract drama or unnecessary attention in our lives. But if everyone chooses to stay silent even when they witness gross injustice the world can quickly morph into a jungle where everyone does as they please.
When you are looking down the end of the road in your old age you will look back and regret the times you chose not to speak or act for something you believe in. This is one resolution each of us should set for ourselves — to gather the courage to speak up when we see injustice happen so we can bring a positive change in our society.
12. Criticizing others
Have you ever quietly observed someone attempt at something and fail, then instantly wondered that you could have done it better? It is easy to assume that we would be good at something especially if we don’t ever get the opportunity to try it. Unnecessarily criticizing others is a bad habit we all need to get rid of. Instead of doling out harsh criticisms at the ready to make yourself seem superior, frame your words wisely and aim at teaching rather than tearing them down with critique.
Always find ways to build up others confidence and help them rise. Be someone others look up to, not someone they are afraid would ridicule them.
13. Giving unnecessary advice
Wedding, baby shower, graduation, or someone’s first day at a job — there is one thing you will find in abundance in such scenarios: unnecessary advice. The urge to shower the other with loads of advice which you have gained from your experience probably stems from a good place where you want to help the other. But it does not bode well with most people.
After all, there is no guarantee that their experience would be the same as yours. Also, they probably have a personality widely different from yours and may not handle situations the same way you did. A good rule of thumb is to only give advice when asked.
14. Prying into others private life
Feeling curious about others’ life is natural and especially with the rise of social media where most people share their most intimate details with virtual strangers; it is easy to feel entitled to know about everyone’s private matters. It can be difficult to realize when you are being too nosy and making the other person feel uncomfortable. It is always a good idea to choose not to be involved in sensitive matters concerning others like a divorce or a break-up.
While you should offer the necessary support and make sure they know they can count on you. Do not push them to open up and reveal all the little details especially when the wound is fresh and they are trying their best to move on.
15. Being reckless with money
Money does not come easy but it is very easy to let go of self-restraint and spend it all on momentary happiness. While you may feel like giving in to every temptation considering you only have one life to live it is best to save some for rainy days. Life can be unpredictable and we cannot be certain of even the next moment. While the adrenaline rush is worth chasing after it is always wise to divide your earnings to cover necessities, savings, entertainment, and charity.
There is no harm in using your hard-earned cash to have some fun but we must allocate a certain amount for helping others and save a bit as well. Our future self may thank us for the little sacrifices we made to save up.
16. Judging others
Each of us has a set of values that dictate our thoughts and actions. It is tempting to impose our beliefs and opinions on others because we consider them universally correct. But life is not black and white. There are ambiguities and someone can’t act in a manner deemed correct by everyone on the planet.
Centering your life on certain moral values is a noble thing but imposing them on others and taking them to task if you find them deviating from what you consider proper is not worthy of praise. We have to learn to live in harmony with people vastly different from us. The only way to achieve that is to learn to see things from other perspectives. It is also extremely important that we do not consider our beliefs as absolute but evolve with the times and circumstances.
To train ourselves not to judge others we first have to accept that we can be wrong as well. By adopting this approach towards life we open ourselves to progress by constantly focusing on improving.
Self- loathing is a bad habit that can take a heavy toll on our emotional and mental health. Engaging in self-care and talking in a manner that expresses self-love is confused with vanity by many. We end up with a warped idea that to improve we have to be our worst critic. Granted no one is perfect, there is always room for improvement and we should not engage in self-glorification — but self-love is nourishment for the soul and it influences how we treat others.
People who love themselves as they happen to be confident in their own skin and believe they can tackle life’s challenges. This makes them open to trusting others, making new friendships, and helping others in times of distress. While self-hatred makes us isolate ourselves from the rest of the world as we shrink into our shell meaning we are less likely to be of service to others.
Making a habit of monitoring our thoughts and identifying our negative thought patterns is crucial for improving our mental health. Once we become aware of negative thoughts we should make a conscious effort to not respond to them. Instead finding something positive about ourselves or busying ourselves with an activity that inspires joy can help put a positive spin on our day.