Bad Habits are Hard to Break
All of us have at least one unsavory habit we’d like to break, whether it’s biting our nails or saying “like” too much when we talk. But aside from these kinds of bad habits, there are other bad habits we engage in that are more detrimental to others and ourselves.
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Several factors contribute to our bad habits, ranging from the bad habits we observed in the adults around us when we were children to the bad habits that emerge as a result of self-consciousness or even stress. Breaking a bad habit isn’t easy, but it is necessary, and we can start by acknowledging our bad habits in order to do the work to overcome them. Not sure which of your habits are bad or good? Here are six bad habits to consider.
1. Listening to Your Inner Critic
No matter how self-assured you are, you likely have a voice in your head that pops up every now and then with something negative to say about your looks, your weight, your life choices, your relationships—you get the picture. If you give in to this inner critic, you’ll likely manifest whatever it’s saying. This is negative self-talk. It’s demotivating and has the potential to turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy. Rather than let yourself fall into a pattern of giving this voice credence, combat the negativity by counteracting your inner critic with positive thoughts or simply using deep breathing to silence its harsh voice.
Women especially fall into the bad habit of saying “I’m sorry” far too often, and for no reason at all. Apologies are made in various mundane situations. It could be while scooting past someone in the grocery store to retrieve an item or when telling a waiter about a dietary restriction. There’s nothing to be sorry about! While it’s important to apologize when an apology is due, constantly saying “I’m sorry” is a bad habit. It puts you in a position that makes you seem subordinate, and therefore not as worthy of respect.
3. Being Passive-Aggressive
People have a tendency to be passive-aggressive as a way to cover up how they really feel. Why does it seem more socially acceptable to skirt an issue and hide anger instead of just coming out with it? But choosing to hide your emotions confuses the person on the receiving end of your passive-aggressive behavior. Rather than masquerade behind your true feelings, commit to being authentic, even when it’s not easy to do so.
4. Worrying About the Hypothetical
Envisioning worst-case scenarios comes easy for some of us, but it’s one of those bad habits that cause intense stress because we get caught up in an endless circle of what-ifs. Dwelling on potential negative outcomes not only makes us anxious, but it also prevents us from seeing the positive in any given situation and eats away precious brain space that could be spent enjoying life as it is now. Habitually worrying about the future will only make you unhappy and fearful of whatever is to come, rather than open to the amazing possibilities that may unfold for you.
5. Always Needing to Be Right
When it comes to interpersonal relationships, this bad habit is one that can really take its toll. Whether you’re clashing with your significant other, a family member, friend, or coworker, defending your position at all costs will cost you: The person on the receiving end of your need to be right won’t feel valued or heard and you’ll come off as closed-minded and intolerant. To quote the truism attributed to Dr. Wayne Dyer, “When given the choice between being right and being kind, choose kind.”
6. Putting Yourself Last
Some of us stretch ourselves so thin between work, family, and social obligations that we never take time to check in with ourselves, or even engage in self-care. The idea that you need to put your own oxygen mask on first before helping others is at the heart of letting go of the bad habit of putting yourself last. Unless you take care of yourself, you won’t be able to be the partner, friend, parent or colleague you truly want to be. As a result of always putting your needs and wants last, those around you may even tend to devalue you. After all, you set the example by devaluing yourself. Instead, commit to putting yourself first, or at least higher on your list. Strive to be the best version of yourself you can be.
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