We all want to live our best lives, but it’s easier said than done.
Often certain habits hold us back.
Today, I will discuss some habits which we should all ditch if we really value ourselves.
To be honest, I could probably have listed 50 habits, but I decided to narrow it down to the five that I believe to be the most common and most detrimental.
They make our lives unhappier, unnecessarily stressful, and less fulfilling. If you truly value yourself, you don’t want these habits in your life.
Some are obvious, and others less so, but most of us have some of them. How many do you have?
Let’s find out.
1) Worrying about things you can’t control
This is a big one, and I’d bet it’s one of the reasons that many of us are so often struck down with anxiety and a feeling of helplessness.
Nowadays, with unlimited information at our fingertips, it is easy to become overwhelmed by things we have absolutely no control over.
More often than not, we worry about the future, which is completely out of our hands.
While it is good to plan and take action to mitigate possible downsides, there are some things that we simply cannot influence.
Many of them will never happen, yet they rob us of happiness today.
As Mark Twain said, “I’ve had a lot of worries in my life, most of which never happened.”
Don’t let an imagined future steal your present contentment.
You guessed it. Focus on things you can control.
This is a key stoic principle that has helped many live a happier, more purposeful life.
This includes me. I used to finish my days feeling mentally exhausted despite not having done much at all.
When I came across this stoic principle, however, I realized that it was because I was spending my time fretting about things I could not control.
Once I figured this out, I began actively working on breaking the habit. I haven’t perfected it yet, but the progress I have made has made my life more fulfilling.
If you struggle with mental exhaustion, eliminating this habit from your life may also make you feel more fulfilled, not to mention more productive.
Ask yourself, “What can I actually control?”. Focus on that.
If this is a weakness of yours, you likely have this next habit too.
2) Overloading your life
I’ve mentioned this in previous posts, but it’s so important that I am going to mention it again.
It was one of my biggest takeaways from Greg McKeown’s bestseller, Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less.
I read a lot, and while most books offer at least some lessons, few hit as hard or are as actionable as McKeown’s message on prioritization.
He writes, “If it’s not a hell yes, it’s a no”.
That is, we need to figure out what things are important in our lives and not take on more than we can handle.
Many of us, including myself not very long ago, run around like headless chickens trying to do everything, disappoint no one, and end up achieving little at great cost.
We simply can’t do it all, and as hard as it might be sometimes, we have to focus on the things that really matter.
This means passing up opportunities. It means getting over our fear of missing out.
It may also mean disappointing friends, co-workers, and even family members.
However, once you have narrowed your life down to the essentials, you will have a renewed sense of purpose, more energy, and generally feel more fulfilled.
If you feel overly busy but are underperforming, the solution probably isn’t more. It’s not more experience, education, or effort.
It’s likely less. So ask yourself, what really matters?
Focus on that.
My next point will seem harsh to many, but bear with me. It’s actually a game-changer.
3) Believing you are exceptional
This is another lesson I took from a bestselling book, Mark Manson’s The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck.
I know it seems counterintuitive. Hope and confidence would make our lives happier, right?
Many of us lack self-confidence, but in the back of our minds, we believe we are special and that we are somehow exceptional.
It’s no surprise, given the content of the media today.
We’ve all read a story of that girl next door who started an online business and went from making a very average salary to having more money than she knows what to do with.
We have all heard about, and I have written about, the story of J.K Rowling. Her now wildly successful first Harry Potter book was rejected by more than ten publishing houses before it became the classic it is today.
Could you be like these people? Yes, it’s possible.
Is it likely? Not so much.
The truth is you probably aren’t exceptional. I’m not, either.
This sounds harsh, but accepting it can actually take a lot of pressure off you; you don’t have to do amazing things to have a good life.
That’s not to say that you shouldn’t have big goals and pursue them; by all means, do that.
Take the weight of expectation off your shoulders, however.
Work toward the goals that are important to you with confidence, humility, and realistic expectations. You will be more content, more fulfilled, and generally happier.
4) Skipping that workout
You know this one. You’ve been told a thousand that exercise is good for you.
We often associate it with living longer and healthier lives. In fact, studies have suggested that regular exercise does indeed increase your lifespan.
If living longer is a great motivator for you, you probably already have an exercise routine you are dedicated to.
However, for me, and I’d bet many of you reading this, living longer has always been a benefit that’s hard to take on board fully.
Don’t get me wrong; I don’t wish to go to an early grave. I just think that there are so many variables to this.
You know, I could get hit by a bus in the morning or whatever.
So why bother lifting heavy things or running for ten grueling kilometers when I could be doing something fun?
Exercise has much more immediate benefits that can make our lives not only longer but also more enjoyable, that’s why.
Harvard Health revealed that exercise can help improve memory and thinking. That sounds good to me.
Exercise can also help us to be happier and reduce anxiety. Yes, please.
Healthline noted that it even can help us to have a better sex life. Who wouldn’t say yes to that?
The benefits are almost countless. If you really value yourself and your happiness, regular exercise should be a non-negotiable.
5) Overusing social media
Social media is a valuable tool that we can use to our advantage, but we often don’t.
Many of us use it excessively.
At best, overusing social media wastes our time. On a more serious note, however, studies have linked this behavior to an increased risk of depression, anxiety, and even self-harm.
Not valuing your time or your happiness is the opposite of valuing yourself.
I am ashamed to admit that I used to overuse social media.
Despite being relatively slow in embracing social media when it first landed, there came a time when I would wake up in the morning and start browsing my social media feeds before even getting out of bed.
Ten, twenty, or even thirty minutes would be wasted without me even realizing it.
This would happen multiple times throughout the day.
That was until I faced the fact that it was really starting to affect my productivity and, to an extent, my happiness.
I took steps to reduce my usage considerably and now feel a lot better for it. Breaking the habit was no walk in the park, but I don’t miss it one bit.
The bottom line
Some habits steal our time, productivity, and contentment.
While many contribute to this, the five above are some of the primary culprits for a lot of people, myself included.
If you have some of these habits, saying goodbye to them can make you happier, more fulfilled, and less stressed.
Breaking any habit isn’t easy, but ditching these ones is well worth it, believe me.
As always, I hope you found this post enjoyable to read and helpful.
Until next time.