Many of us don’t live our lives the way we want.
The reasons are countless. But a big one is our minds and how they operate.
Your actions, or lack thereof, are dictated by a series of habits that many of us unknowingly harbour.
These habits, subtle yet insidious, continuously shape our choices, actions, and, ultimately, our life’s direction.
We try our best, but we’re only humans. And as humans, we have bad habits that can sabotage us.
Let’s unravel the seven habits that might be holding you back from a more vibrant, connected, and fulfilling life.
1) Mindless consumption
There’s been a lot said about social media.
At this stage, I think we all know it can be bad for us, like alcohol, but we continue to use it.
It just doesn’t have a warning tag yet, like a bottle would.
I strongly believe it is not our fault that we get addicted to scrolling. And some of us might find breaking bad habits linked with social media use nearly impossible.
It might sound discouraging, I know, but it’s essential to acknowledge that.
Social media is designed by giant teams of specialists to keep us hooked. So it’s only fair not to blame yourself when you can’t seem to break your addiction to social media overnight.
Yet, it is possible to become more mindful about it.
Doing longer digital detoxes can show you how your mind feels without this constant dopamine (and possibly anxiety) boost.
Once you overcome the dopamine withdrawal, your mind will start to regenerate, and you will be able to see how it can function when it’s not in constant distraction.
It is worth giving it a try if you want to improve your life.
Changes are scary, but if we resist them, then, you know — nothing will change.
2) Resistance to change
We tend to avoid changes because we avoid discomfort. Shifting the known (even if it’s bad for us) for the unknown (which can be better or worse) doesn’t come easy.
It is understandable to fear the change.
Yet, I think a helpful mindset shift here is to view changes not as exceptions from the normal flow of life but as the flow of life itself.
If we see changes as something inseparable from how we lead our lives, we will stop resisting them. It is perceiving them as disruptions to our carefully crafted reality that makes us resist changes.
Changes can feel overwhelming sometimes, and sure, they often come unwanted. But if we learn not to resist them, we will also be able to adapt to new situations more easily.
To make this easier, it’s also good to focus on yourself in transitional times and not compare your life with others. It might seem like they have it all figured out, but usually, just like you — they don’t.
Yes, social media exacerbates our tendency to compare.
But it’s not like we weren’t doing it before the Internet. We just had less exposure and insight into other people’s lives.
Comparison is a natural habit of our minds. It helps us find our place in society and feeds into our sense of self-confidence and self-worth.
It might not be possible to eradicate this habit in its entirety (at least not without very deep and prolonged inner work).
However, we can all work on limiting the volume of self-comparison.
Constantly comparing ourselves to others might not only make our mental health worse but it also prevents us from seeing our lives clearly. It can also cause us to overlook our true strengths.
Here are some ways to limit how much you compare yourself with others:
- learning to celebrate uniqueness and real connections,
- focusing on the present moment,
- getting to know yourself better,
- recognising your strengths,
- practising compassion and acceptance.
Learning to compare yourself less with others will make your life more peaceful and enjoyable — even when others do things you’d like to do but cannot.
4) The fear of missing out (FOMO)
The thing with FOMO is that it strikes regardless of whether we’re missing out due to our own choices or not.
That’s why it can hinder our work towards life improvement.
Choosing ourselves and our growth over quick rewards and mainstream entertainment is not easy. It takes grit, courage, and commitment.
When we notice we feel like we’d rather do something else than we decided to commit to, we might start doubting our decision.
FOMO sneaks in even when we know we’re choosing to spend our time in ways that are ultimately better for our long-term well-being.
Seeing FOMO as just another habit of our minds (often linked with comparison) will make it easier to deal with it.
And over time, as we start enjoying our new endeavour more, it will disappear.
But for that, we need to stick with it long enough and commit wholeheartedly.
5) Half-hearted commitments
We might be afraid to commit fully to a new endeavour when we fear failure.
Worrying about the outcome, even before we give a new activity a go, can cause us to commit only partially and give up on the first challenge.
That’s another habit of the mind. Most of us struggle with this at some point.
It’s only natural to fear that all of our efforts, time, and commitment won’t pay off.
But we need to be aware that by not committing fully, we are actually sabotaging ourselves.
If you struggle with trusting in your ability to go all in, enjoy the journey, and do your best on the way, it might be because you hold some limiting beliefs…
6) Saying (and believing) ‘I can’t’
Our minds shape our world. Whatever we believe, gets manifested.
But not necessarily in the ways you might think.
Sure, there’s a lot said about manifesting things you want in life. But we need to be mindful of the fact that it works the other way, too.
Simply put, our beliefs shape our habits, and our habits shape our lives.
So if you believe you ‘can’t do’ something, it will likely result in you, well, being unable to do that thing.
Of course, self-awareness and knowing your limitations is crucial. However, it is different from limiting beliefs that create self-induced barriers.
To change this habit, try changing the narrative of your mind.
The easiest way to go about it is to start with vocabulary.
Next time you face a challenge, instead of thinking, ‘I can’t do it’, try saying, ‘I will try’ instead.
Framing it this way will allow you to open up to the challenge a little bit while still keeping you safe — after all, you do not promise anything to anyone when you say you will try.
It can always go two ways, so you’re free to experiment and allow yourself to enjoy the process more than the outcome.
Our minds hold many habits that often can be limiting, keeping us from the lives we ultimately want to live.
The process of unpacking the habits can be complex and long, though, especially if they’re deeply rooted.
That’s why it can be helpful to pick one habit that you feel is currently disturbing you the most and gently work on it every day.
Continue until you feel like it’s no longer bothering you. It might mean you have dealt with it or that it got weaker. Either way, your life will get better.
Don’t forget to check in with that habit every now and then, and don’t be discouraged if you find it bothering you again after some time.
Self-improvement is not linear. So try to be patient and kind to yourself.
Slowly but surely, you will create a life for yourself that keeps a smile on your face.
I want to note that if you are currently experiencing any mental condition, your self-improvement capabilities can be limited. The last thing you want to do is beat yourself up for being unable to change your habits. If that’s your case, please seek professional help, focus on your mental well-being first, and then you will see a positive change unfolding naturally as a result of these efforts.