9 self-destructive habits that block progress in your 30s

Navigating your 30s, as I’ve learned, can be a bit of a rollercoaster.

You’re balancing career growth, personal relationships, and self-improvement, all while trying to avoid tripping up on self-destructive habits.

But, here’s the thing – we all have habits that hold us back, actions that we repeat without realizing their negative impact.

These self-destructive habits are like unseen roadblocks on your path to progress.

They sneak up on you and before you know it, you’re stuck in your tracks.

In this article, I’m going to shed light on 9 such habits that can hinder your progress in your 30s. Take note if you want your 40s to be a smoother experience! 

1) Neglecting self-care

Between personal commitments and professional obligations, it’s easy to put yourself last.

But, here’s the kicker – neglecting self-care is a dangerous game.

You see, when most people think about self-care, they imagine indulging in luxurious spa days or treating themselves to expensive items.

But it’s actually about dedicating time and energy to maintaining your physical, mental, and emotional health.

And when you overlook self-care, you run the risk of burning out and your overall productivity takes a hit.

You’re more susceptible to health issues, stress levels skyrocket, and it becomes increasingly difficult to handle day-to-day tasks effectively.

So, if you want to progress in your 30s, make a conscious effort to prioritize self-care.

Whether it’s adopting a regular exercise routine, meditating for a few minutes each day or simply ensuring you get enough sleep every night – these small habits can make a big difference in the long run.

2) Fear of failure

I’ll be the first to admit – I’ve been there.

The fear of failure can be incredibly paralyzing, especially in your 30s. You start to feel as if every decision you make is a make-or-break moment.

I remember when I was considering making a big move in my early 30s. The fear of failing in a new field held me back for so long from something I’d always wanted to do.

But then, I realized something crucial – failure is not the opposite of success, it’s part of it.

Embracing failure is uncomfortable, yes, but it’s necessary for growth and progress.

Every time you stumble, you learn something new. Every time you fall, you get back up stronger.

So don’t let the fear of failure hold you back from taking risks or trying new things. Learn to see each failure as a stepping stone towards success, not a roadblock.

Trust me, it’s a game-changer.

3) Procrastination

Procrastination is often seen as a harmless habit, something we all do when a task seems too daunting or boring.

But, did you know that chronic procrastination can lead to serious health issues? It’s linked to higher levels of stress, anxiety, depression, and even cardiovascular disease.

When you constantly put off tasks, you’re not just delaying the inevitable.

You’re also creating a cycle of stress and guilt that can be hard to break out of.

Ultimately, this ends up affecting your productivity, your mood, and your overall well-being.

My advice?

The next time you find yourself putting off that important task, remember the potential harm you’re doing to yourself.

Break down the task into manageable chunks and tackle it head-on. Your future self will thank you for it.

4) Living in the past

Your 30s are a time for growth and progress, but it’s hard to move forward when you’re constantly looking back.

Dwelling on past mistakes or missed opportunities can keep you stuck in a cycle of regret and self-doubt.

It’s important to understand that everyone makes mistakes.

What matters more is what you learn from them and how you use those lessons to shape your future actions.

Because the truth is, living in the past robs you of the potential to enjoy and make the most of your present.

That’s why it’s crucial to let go, forgive yourself, and focus on the here and now. It took me a good while to learn how to do this, but once I let go of every grudge, embarrassment, and mistake from the past, I felt incredibly light and liberated. 

5) Avoiding tough conversations

pic1684 9 self-destructive habits that block progress in your 30s

Whether it’s a disagreement with a colleague, a conflict with a friend, or a tough discussion with your partner, avoiding difficult conversations can be tempting.

But this habit can lead to more harm than good.

When you dodge these conversations, issues don’t just disappear.

They fester and grow, leading to misunderstandings, resentment, and strained relationships.

I learned this the hard way – like most people, my family are experts at brushing problems under the rug. I tried that all throughout my 20s and early 30s before realizing it simply doesn’t work. 

Facing tough talks head-on, while uncomfortable at first, can lead to better understanding, resolution of conflicts, and stronger relationships.

So don’t shy away from these conversations.

Approach them with empathy and openness. You’ll be surprised at how quickly your relationships change for the better when you start confronting your issues instead of burying them.

6) Comparing yourself to others

In this age of social media, it’s all too easy to fall into the trap of comparison.

You see your friends buying houses, climbing the corporate ladder, or traveling the world, and you can’t help but wonder if you’re falling behind.

But here’s a reminder – life isn’t a race.

Everyone’s journey is unique, with its own set of challenges and triumphs.

And let’s be real here :

Comparing your chapter 2 to someone else’s chapter 10 won’t do you any good.

Instead, focus on your own growth.

Celebrate your small victories, learn from your setbacks, and strive to be a better version of yourself each day.

As Baz Luhrmann says in “Everybody’s Free” (excellent song by the way):

Don’t waste your time on jealousy
Sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind
The race is long and in the end, it’s only with yourself

7) Neglecting personal relationships

On my journey for professional success, there was a time when I let my personal relationships take a backseat.

I was so focused on building my blog, that I forgot about the people who were there to support me. Calls and texts went unanswered, and birthdays were missed. 

But here’s what I’ve realized after a year or so – no amount of professional success can compensate for a lack of meaningful relationships.

Our connections with family and friends are what truly enrich our lives.

So, no matter how busy life gets, make time for those you care about. Call up an old friend, have dinner with your family, or simply spend quality time with your loved ones.

These moments are precious and far more rewarding than any professional accolade.

8) Not setting boundaries

Ah, the mistake we all make in our 20s!

Setting boundaries, whether it’s in your personal or professional life, is essential for maintaining your mental health and well-being.

Without clear boundaries, you risk overextending yourself and burning out.

Essentially, it’s about understanding your limits and communicating them effectively to others. It means saying no when you need to and not feeling guilty about it.

If you’re constantly feeling overwhelmed or taken advantage of, it may be time to evaluate the boundaries you’ve set.

Establishing these limits allows you to protect your energy and prioritize your needs. And if you don’t do it in your 30s, when will you?

9) Avoiding self-improvement

And finally, if you’re not consciously working on improving yourself, you’re unknowingly blocking your progress. It might sound harsh, but sadly, it’s just the simple truth. 

Don’t think of self-improvement as just acquiring new skills or knowledge.

On the surface, it might seem that way, but in reality, it’s understanding yourself better, overcoming your weaknesses, and striving to be the best version of yourself.

Whether it’s reading a book, attending a workshop, or simply reflecting on your actions and decisions – every step towards self-improvement counts.

So embrace the journey of self-improvement. It’s the best investment you can make in your 30s.

Final thoughts: It’s in your hands

The journey through your 30s can be a rollercoaster of experiences and emotions, filled with both ups and downs.

It’s a decade of transitions, growth, and self-discovery. However, it’s also a time when self-destructive habits can subtly creep in and hinder your progress.

Whether it’s neglecting self-care, living in the past, or avoiding self-improvement, the power to alter these habits lies within you.

Your 30s are not just about surviving but thriving. And that journey begins with you.

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Tina Fey

Tina Fey

I've ridden the rails, gone off track and lost my train of thought. I'm writing for Ideapod to try and find it again. Hope you enjoy the journey with me.

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