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I truly believe happiness is a journey, not a destination. It is very common to think “when I achieve ____” or “Once I have _____”, I will be happy. But while looking at the big picture and setting goals for what you want in life is an important part of happiness, it isn’t the only contributing factor. Sometimes it is the small everyday things that play a bigger role in your overall happiness than any other factor. It is your habits, how you spend your time, who you spend your time with, how you treat yourself, your attitude, your thoughts, etc.
So again, while looking at the big picture is great, and setting goals and working toward them is positive and beneficial, your happiness should never depend on something in the future. You should be focusing on the current and the now. What can you do RIGHT NOW to be the happiest with your life?
So this post is about just that. Small changes you can make in your life right now to be happier NOW. Actually, this is going to be a two-part post. For Part 1, I want to talk about the habits you should STOP doing if you want to be happier with yourself and your life, and in Part 2 I will talk all about the habits you should START doing to be a happier person.
So let’s jump right in to Part 1!
How to Be Happier: 10 Habits You Need to Quit to Live a Happier Life
1 | Comparison
Comparison is honestly the thief of happiness. For example, maybe one day you are feeling great about yourself. You have been eating well and being active that past few months, and you are really seeing results.You are wearing an outfit that makes you feel confident and are feeling so happy with your changes. You decide to take a selfie because you are feeling great about yourself in that moment, and you post it on Instagram. Then, you start to scroll through your Insta feed, and you see your beautiful fit friend, the 10 super fit fitness influencers you follow, a million extremely attractive celebs, etc. All of a sudden you are comparing yourself to these people and their perfect lives, and you no longer feel so confident or proud about your accomplishments.
This. This is the problem. First of all, Social Media is a highlight reel, and overall pretty unrealistic. Second of all, we are each unique and on our own unique journey in life, and the only person you should ever compare yourself with is yourself. All we can do is strive to be better everyday.
Comparing yourself to others will never be beneficial. It will steal your happiness, It will distract you from being proud of your accomplishments, and it will make you give up on dreams and goals out of fear of never being as good as other people.
When you catch yourself falling into the comparison trap, remove yourself from that situation, and then think about or write down 5 positive things about yourself, and also remember that someone else’s success is not your failure.
2 | Making Excuses
Excused prevent positive growth. They prevent change, and they give us a reason to stay stuck in a variety of situations. There will always be an excuse not to do something. The timing will never be perfect to change. You will never have enough time. And so on, and so on, and so on.
Stop letting the excuses be your reason for not being happy. If you are unhappy with your job, stop using excuses to prevent you from getting out there and finding something else. If you are unhappy with your body, stop saying you have no time to exercise, or your too busy to meal prep. We are all busy. If you make it a priority, you will make it happen.
Stop wasting your energy thinking of excuses, and instead, use that energy on creating a plan.
3 | Getting Caught Up in Self Doubt
Speaking of excuses, one of the biggest reason we use excuses to avoid things is often because we doubt our abilities to achieve those things. So, we make excuses as to why we can’t actually try.
Self doubt will 100% affect your happiness. Self-doubt and negative self-talk are two very real factors when it comes to people not pursuing their passions. I know for myself, it is something I have always struggled with throughout my life. We have all been there, we have this great idea, or something we really love, but we let our own insecurities and self-doubt get in the way of ever achieving it or even pursuing it. When we don’t pursue something out of fear of failure, it is hard to grow or change as a person. It can make us feel stuck, and can have a big impact on your happiness.
Related Reading: How to Overcome Self-Doubt and Achieve Your Goals
4 | Being Judgmental
What is accomplished by judging others? Does it make you feel better? Why do you think that is? Honestly, whatever you are judging someone about probably says a lot more about you than it does about them.
Usually when we judge others it stems from our own insecurities and unhappiness. Let go of that negative habit, and when you catch yourself talking negatively or even thinking negatively about someone, make it a point to stop.
As you work on quitting the other habits in this list, your overall happiness should increase, and hopefully your need or desire to judge others will decrease.
There is actually a great book to help you overcome this particular habit that I highly recommend called The Judgement Detox by Gabrielle Bernstein. A great resource for overcoming our instinct to judge others and increase our own happiness without the need to judge of bring down others.
5 | Laziness
It is so easy to get caught up in the lazy lifestyle. I have been guilty of it myself. We go to work, come home, eat dinner, watch TV for a few hours, go to bed, and repeat it for 5 days a week.
The thing is, laziness breeds laziness, and it really can create a vicious cycle that is hard to shake. Have you ever felt more tired and lazy after a day of doing nothing, than you do after a day that is jam-packed and productive. That is what I am talking about.
Laziness prevents us from being productive, trying new things, growing as a person, etc.
Laziness gets in the way of our happiness by preventing us from setting and accomplishing goals, chasing our dreams, having new experiences and adventures, and living a full and well-rounded life.
Get off your butt and go do something that will make you a happier person!
6 | Living an Unhealthy Lifestyle
When we do not take care of ourselves, we are basically throwing our happiness out the window. How can we be truly happy when we are eating poorly, sleeping poorly, and engaging in unhealthy habits? Doing these things makes us feel badly about ourselves and in return decreases our overall happiness.
Some specific examples of health-related habits you should give up to increase your happiness:
- Going to bed too late or not getting enough sleep
- Not drinking enough water
- Drinking too much alcohol
- Eating processed foods or from fast food restaurants often
- Stressing about things out of your control
- Not exercising regularly
7 | Being a People Pleaser
When you learn to live your life for yourself, and yourself only, you will find a whole new type of happiness. I have always been the type of person to put every other person’s needs and opinions before my own. I have done this in relationships, in friendships, and with my family. What I really mean when I say that, is that I let their opinions and their ideas of what life is supposed to “look like”, impact my own life choices.
When someone you love laughs at your dreams, you can let that crush your dreams and quit, or you can take their opinion with a grain of salt and remind yourself that not everyone in your life will always agree with everything that you choose to do. While feedback is great, in the end it’s your life, and you can live it however the hell you want to.
Never compromise your own happiness or life goals to please someone else. If your afraid of losing someone because your making a life choice they disagree with, then you are probably better off without that person in your life anyway. If the people closest to you are not supportive of your choices and would actually allow a difference of opinion to ruin your relationship, than you need to seriously consider if that is someone who you really want in your life. Shouldn’t the people closest to you want you to be happy and living your best life as your true self? Yes. Yes they should.
Live your own life, be your own person, and never ever compromise your passions or happiness to please another person.
8 | Negativity
Sometimes, it really is all about your attitude. We can turn ANY situation into a negative one. But, we can also turn any situation into a positive one as well. I always like to say even the most negative situations will, at the very least, provide you with a learning experience.
By letting go of our negative attitude and practicing gratitude and positivity instead, we can see a HUGE shift in our happiness.
Next time you catch yourself complaining about something, take a step back and try to look for a silver lining or a positive aspect instead. This also works when having a bad day, or when you feel like you have a storm cloud following you around. Stop, think of 5 things you are grateful for in your life, and watch your mood shift.
9 | Holding Grudges or Being Resentful
Holding onto anger or resentment is honestly more hurtful to you than it is to the person your angry with. Learning how to forgive and move on is the best thing you can do for your happiness.
Holding a grudge over something that happened in the past has ZERO benefit. When we forgive and move on, it is for YOUR benefit, not the other persons. No one is saying you have to forgive that person and then be their best friend or even have them in your life at all. But, learning to just accept the past, and let it go, will allow you to rid yourself of that negativity and anger, learn from the experience, and move on with your life as a better person.
10 | Procrastinating
I will be the first to admit I procrastinate more than I would like to admit, and most of the time I end up stressed out and rushed because of it. Not to mention I get angry at myself for doing it every damn time!
Procrastinating can definitely take a toll on our happiness. It makes us feel stressed, and can even make us feel negatively about ourselves for putting things off and not being proactive. I know I have half assed things because I left them till the last-minute, and then felt super guilty for not doing a better job or being more organized. And honestly, it’s a bad habit I am trying to break, because I know it is a habit that always leaves me feeling negatively.
When we stop leaving things until the last-minute, and start being more organized and proactive, we have more time to do our best, and also tackle unknown circumstances that may get in the way. It makes us feel less stressed and in control, and also leaves us feeling better about ourselves overall.
So there you have it, 10 habits you should give up if you are looking to improve your happiness and self-love. By giving up any (or all) of these 10 habits, you are taking a step toward self-improvement, betterment, and overall happiness.
Next week, I am going to write about some habits you should START to increase your happiness! So, stay tuned for that!
What habits have you given up in your own life that have improved your happiness or self-love and made you a better person overall? Let me know by leaving a comment below!
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