I’m sure you’ve heard the saying that bad habits are like a comfortable pair of old shoes. The first time you put them on, they’re great: They fit perfectly and feel amazing. But after spending more time with them, it becomes clear that the shoes have several problems. Sure, they might be comfortable (and look pretty nice) but they’re clunky and hard to walk in. We all know what it’s like to struggle with unhelpful habits—the ones that once seemed harmless but now make our lives more difficult than we’d like them to be. The good news is that if you’re willing to put in some effort, you can change those habits into something better! Here are 10 unhelpful habits everyone should quit.
Also read: How Does The Brain Play Into Mindset?
What are unhelpful habits?
Everyone has at least one unhelpful habit they’d like to quit, but we often aren’t sure what makes a habit “bad.” Bad habits are things you do that are not helpful to you in any way. They can be physical, mental, or emotional; harmful to yourself or others; boring and uninteresting — it doesn’t matter. If it isn’t working for you and your life (or someone else’s), then it’s probably a bad habit worth quitting.
Are we slaves of our own habits?
Have you ever noticed how hard it is to break a bad habit? Maybe you’re trying to quit smoking or stop biting your nails, but every time you feel like giving in, the urge becomes too strong. It can be so tempting to give up entirely when we realize how difficult it truly is.
But what if habits are not our masters? Here are some unhelpful habits everyone should quit.
Unhelpful habits everyone should quit right away.
My most important piece of advice is to ask for help when you need it. It’s not always easy, but it will make a world of difference in your life.
I’ve found that some of the most unhelpful habits are connected with comparing yourself to others, putting off self-care, and saying yes when you want to say no.
When you’re comparing yourself to others, it’s important to remember that everyone has their own challenges and struggles. Even if you feel like your life is perfect, there are things going on behind the scenes that nobody knows about. So when you look at other people who seem more successful than you are, ask yourself why they are doing so well.
Here are some of the unhelpful habits everyone should quit:
Comparing yourself to others.
Comparing yourself to others is an unhelpful habit that wastes time and energy, makes you feel bad about yourself, and can lead to negative self-talk and self-doubt. It’s not productive for your mood or your career.
The best way to avoid this tendency is by being mindful of it in the moment—you shouldn’t compare what you have with someone else when there’s no need for comparison at all. When comparing does happen (like when you see an Instagram post from someone who got an amazing promotion), try reminding yourself that this isn’t about fairness or some kind of cosmic competition; both people have different situations and experiences that make them who they are today.
Also read: Discover the 7 Mindsets To Master your Life.
Trying to have work-life balance all the time.
You’ve probably heard of the concept of work-life balance, but are you actually able to achieve it? Perhaps you feel like your day job takes up too much of your time and that you don’t have enough time for yourself. Or maybe you’re doing the opposite—overworking at your day job because it’s all you have, and then feeling guilty about not spending enough time with friends or family. Either way, it’s important to remember that work-life balance is not necessarily something we can achieve all the time. Instead, it should be seen as something we can strive for by getting our priorities straight.
Work-life alignment might sound like a buzzword from Silicon Valley (and in some ways it definitely is), but this term refers to more than just making sure you spend enough time at the office—it also involves finding what makes each area of life important to us so that we can prioritize them appropriately based on our values and goals.
For example: If one aspect of my personal life is fitness and another aspect is spirituality/faith/church attendance (or whatever), how do I make sure these two areas don’t interfere with one another? Do I need more free time during which I’m able to exercise or attend religious services; or less free time during which there are fewer opportunities available? Or maybe neither needs changing! It all depends on what matters most when considering all aspects involved in our lives together.
Giving yourself ultimatums.
An ultimatum is when you make a demand, usually a very strong one, that if not met by the other party immediately results in some form of punishment.
Ultimatums are never helpful because they are a way of trying to control other people and force them into doing what you want them to do. They can also lead to unhealthy relationships where neither person feels comfortable expressing themselves for fear that speaking their mind will result in an ultimatum being issued against them. Ultimatums are basically saying things like: “I want X from you right now and I’m going to punish you if I don’t get it.”
When we give ourselves ultimatums, this is how our brains interpret what we’re saying: “This thing has got me really worked up so if I don’t do something about it soon then this feeling will overwhelm me.” Or even worse: “This thing has got me really worked up so if I don’t do something about it soon then maybe I’ll die.”
Giving yourself an ultimatum when there isn’t really any reason for one is just another way of trying too hard at controlling your own feelings instead of accepting that life just happens sometimes and reacting accordingly instead of making everything all about yourself (which is pretty much impossible anyway). Giving yourself ultimatums is an unhelpful habits everyone should quit.
Putting off self-care.
Putting off self-care is an easy habit to fall into. Whether you’re feeling stressed and overworked, or just not in a particularly good mood, it’s tempting to postpone doing things that are good for you.
But self-care is important—and it’s important to take care of yourself before reaching a breaking point. If you’re feeling the need to put off self-care, here are some tips for making sure your plan sticks:
- Make a list of activities that make you feel calm and relaxed, then rank them by preference. This way, when you’re feeling stressed out or overwhelmed by work/home life/etc., picking up this list will give you a better idea of what kind of activity will help most at that moment.
- Start small! Don’t try to get through an entire list in one day (or even one week). Pick one item from the top of your self-care list and do it today; then pick another tomorrow; etc., until all items on your list have been completed!
Resenting how your partner unwinds.
It’s not unusual to get frustrated by all the things that your partner does that bug you, but it’s important not to take it out on them. Instead of focusing on how annoying their habits are, try to think about how they make their downtime feel relaxing or rejuvenating—and then ask yourself if you do anything similar for yourself. If you don’t, maybe it’s time for some new habits!
To break a bad habit and replace it with something more helpful:
- Think about what triggers the unhelpful behavior in the first place (for example, eating sweets after dinner every night).
- Figure out why this might be happening (maybe because when I was a kid my parents used food as an incentive for good behavior).
- Consider alternatives that can replace the old habit (playing video games instead of watching TV).
Waiting for a rainy day to use your vacation days.
I know what you’re thinking: “But I can’t afford to take time off from work,” or “I just got a promotion and now I have even more responsibilities.” We’ve all been there, but it’s important to remember that vacations aren’t just about taking a break from your job. They’re about having fun, relaxing, spending time with friends and family, and doing things you love—all things that will make you more productive at work when you get back.
Being afraid to ask for help.
This is a tough one. We are so programmed to think that we have to do everything ourselves, and asking for help can feel like an admission of weakness. But it’s not! You don’t have to be perfect at everything all the time. If you’re struggling with something, ask for assistance before you crash and burn in front of your boss or the client.
Even if asking for help doesn’t seem like your go-to reaction, try thinking about how much easier your life would be if someone else helped out once in a while. Would you really want to spend several hours on what could be done by someone else in just one hour? Asking for help isn’t always easy—unless it’s from me—but it can make your life less stressful and more enjoyable overall (and I’m available).
Saying yes when you want to say no.
When it comes to saying no, there are two things you should keep in mind:
- Saying yes when you want to say no is not helpful.
- Saying no when you want to say yes can be unhelpful, too.
If you’re like most people, this is a difficult concept for your brain and body to get used to!
Be honest with yourself about why it’s hard for you. Ask yourself why saying no feels so hard—maybe there’s a reason behind your reluctance that isn’t obvious on the surface (for example, maybe if other people think badly of me because I’m a selfish jerk).
If there isn’t an obvious reason behind your unease with saying ‘no,’ then ask someone close who knows and respects both sides of the situation—they may be able to give better insight into what makes this process easier or harder than usual.
The more awareness we bring into our lives by asking questions and listening intently, the more likely we’ll feel empowered rather than defeated by something as simple as being asked out on Friday night by someone who doesn’t deserve our time!
Waiting for things to get better on their own.
We’ve all been there: you wake up one morning and realize that your life is a disaster. You’re broke, miserable, and alone. But instead of jumping into action to make things better, you spend the day in bed wishing for things to change on their own.
Waiting for things to get better on their own simply won’t work. You must take action if you want positive change in your life—and that means setting goals and working towards them! If you continue putting off making changes until they happen spontaneously (which rarely ever happens), then they probably won’t happen at all.
You can improve your life by breaking these unhelpful habits
We all have unhelpful habits that we want to quit, but some are more harmful than others.
No doubt you’ve heard all the same advice before and know what will make your life better, but perhaps you are too busy with your own unhelpful habits to do anything about it. I’m going to help you break them! Just as a reminder, these unhelpful habits include:
- Checking social media during work hours
- Spending money on things we can’t afford (like alcohol)
- Staying up late watching Netflix instead of going to bed early enough to get 8 hours of sleep each night
If you can change these behaviors for good, then in the future when someone asks how they can improve their lives or become more happy/productive/successful, etc., they’ll say “break those unhelpful habits.”
Everyone has unhelpful habits they should quit. We hope that you’ve learned a little about bad habits and how they can affect your life. If you’re looking to improve yourself, breaking these unhelpful habits is a great place to start!