Decisions, decisions, decisions. A seemingly simple choice you make can trigger an entire chain reaction of habits that slowly gets ingrained in your lifestyle. At some point, we’ve all been guilty of unknowingly clinging to toxic habits. Engaging in such causes unnecessary misery but some people might not even realize that they’re doing it.
To save you the trouble, here’s a list of some toxic habits you might be doing that should immediately be put to a stop if you want to lead a happier life.
Comparing yourself has to be the mother of all toxic habits. It’s inherent in everyone, especially with those who are overachievers. Nothing good ever really comes out of nitpicking tiny flawed aspects of yourself and comparing it with a glorified version of another person.
In rare occurrences, comparing yourself could be a positive act if you take your remarks as constructive criticism to better yourself. However, if you notice these notions impeding your mental health, maybe it’s time to step back and recalibrate your thoughts.
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Abiding by perfectionism
When you think about it, being a perfectionist isn’t really that much of a compliment. Even though it’s masked under the notion of a good work ethic, this is one of the toxic habits that you should stop this instant.
Sure, there’s a chance that you may get lauded whenever you submit your perfectly executed work but more often than not, this trait pulls you back and limits your potential. For each fleeting minute you spend incessantly revising and polishing your work, more opportunities slip through your fingers. When this happens, there’s a high probability of you ending up even more frustrated with your work and experiencing burnout.
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Contrary to popular belief, multitasking is one of the toxic habits that are ineffective in terms of doing focus-intensive tasks. You would think that you’re more efficient since you’d feel like you’re getting more things done. As good as this feels, the fact of the matter is that you’re just unnecessarily spreading yourself out too thin.
Sure, you could squeeze in a few other tasks if you’re just waiting for your cookies to bake. However, if both of your tasks require heavy mental or physical power, you might just want to do these tasks one at a time. If you don’t, you’ll just take a longer amount of time doing both of these simultaneously and you’ll end up tired more than usual.
If you let this bad habit perpetuate, you can easily experience burnout that dampens your overall productivity in the long run.
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Searching for validation from others
Searching for validation elsewhere is also high up on the list of toxic habits that people still engage in until today. Don’t get me wrong, it’s perfectly fine to ask for someone else’s opinion on a certain thing. It just becomes increasingly dangerous if you start depending on these nuggets of validation frequently.
Usually, most people seek for validation when they’re doing something that’s against their natural system of beliefs. Some, on the other hand, do this due to the fear of possibly making a mistake.
You shouldn’t be looking for validation from anyone else besides yourself. You don’t have to live up to their expectations of who you should be. You’re the only one who can dictate that for yourself. Once you get past that hurdle, you’ll feel more empowered to do the things that you really want to do even if they’re out of your comfort zone.
Surrounding yourself with wrong people
If there’s one thing I learned during freshman year, it’s that quality trumps quantity when it comes to the people surrounding you. A lot of good people can lose their sense of direction just because of the type of people they hang out with. If they don’t identify with your beliefs and principles, then maybe you shouldn’t be sticking with them in the first place.
Truthfully, it doesn’t really matter whether you surround yourself with a large clique or even with just 2-3 close peers. As long as they are sources of good influence and positive energy, you should be good to go.
Depriving yourself of self-care
Depriving yourself of self-care is one of the toxic habits that present its repercussions in the later parts of your life. You can tolerate the “I’m busy” excuse all you want but sooner or later, you’ll notice your performance slowly decreasing. If you keep on neglecting these needs, you’ll never be able to achieve your best self. Needless to say, practicing the art of self-care should be a non-negotiable service that you should be providing yourself with.
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Leaving life up to chance
A single seemingly unimportant decision can greatly affect the rest of your day or even your entire life. If that’s the case, then you might as well make all your decisions worth it.
“If it’s meant to be, it will be” has been my go-to mantra whenever I’m too afraid to achieve something. I hid myself behind this excuse too many times already and whenever I look back, I just ended up regretting my decisions.
At that very moment, I realized that I’ll never run out of excuses but I’ll run out of time. Chances are, you’re also holding back on doing something that you’ve been wanting to do for a long time already. Don’t wait for the universe to hand you your dreams on a silver platter. Be proactive and take matters into your own hands. This way, if you still don’t get your desired results, you can argue that you gave it your best shot.
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Even with just a few months left for this year, it’s never too late to drop all of these toxic habits you know you’re guilty of doing. Trust me, you don’t need to postpone this much needed habit detox until the new year.
Breaking toxic habits proves to be just as hard as initiating good habits, if not harder. Your brain’s already hardwired to think a certain way and successfully changing these thought patterns can take some time—but that’s okay. It doesn’t really matter if you’re going slowly; little progress is still progress.
Don’t worry if you slip up every now and then because that’s totally normal too. Belittling yourself for not being strong enough to stick to your plan isn’t going to help anyone. Relieve yourself of unnecessary mental and emotional burden by just being kinder to yourself.
You might think that you’re weak but in reality, actively choosing to be a better version of yourself takes a great amount of strength. With that in mind, give yourself enough credit for all the great work you’ve done whilst treading the path of self growth.
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brie LaPrell says
A toxic habit that I have been working on is my perfectionism. I have dealt with it my entire life and it has harmed my mental health severely. I think these toxic habits are relatable, because almost everyone does them. I mean, who doesn’t compare themselves to others? I have found a great way to stop doing that is to get off of social media – Instagram specifically for me. Thanks for this awesome post! Another good suggestion – if people are reading this comment – choose one habit to work on. If you try to change too many at once, it can become overwhelming and nothing gets changed. I learned that from the amazing book, The Power of Habit!
Caressa Walker says
Perfectionism and multitasking are definitely toxic habits that I have and I have gotten worse with them after having a child. I fight perfectionism by only giving myself an allotted amount of time to get the work done which has helped alot.
Cassie Webber says
This is a great post! I am sure others can agree, comparing myself to others is a huge downfall that I know I need to work on. It is so difficult with the amount of social media we take in. I know I am able to control that, so I definitely need to take more control of my life and not leave my life up to chance like you said! This is awesome. Thank you for sharing!
Searching for validation and comparing yourself to others are huge ones because it can make you so unhappy. Great post!
I love your article, it’s so true! Few weeks ago I posted article about toxic people and that leads me to think more about toxicity in general. It’s crazy how it can effect our life in so many ways
Stephanie Pick says
Such a great post, thank you! I am definitely guilty of the multi-tasking habit, I need to work on that!
eeK! I do a few of these… I need to work on that!
Nancy Richardson says
I definitely am a perfectionist in recovery! I am learning to embrace my “imperfectness!” Lovely article.
These are such good ones, especially the abiding by perfection. We really need to think about standards by which we’re abiding and if those make sense for our individual lives.
Anitha D'Souza RN MSN says
Truly said. Comparing ourselves to others perhaps is the mother of all bad habits. Multi tasking, aiming to overachieve, perfectionism all are good in their own little ways. But when it begins to infest our minds like the plague, or disrups our peace, that’s when we know when to stop. Being a mental health nurse myself, I have often been teaching my clients to focus first on their peace and joy and all the rest will follow. Proper coping skills are key to mental health and wellness. Thank you for spreading this awareness!
Excellent points here. I’m a nightmare for multitasking, and do find it can take me much longer to complete tasks.
At least I’m a pro at blocking toxic people on social media!
Thanks for sharing
The hardest habit to let go for me is “comparing myself to others” and “neglecting self-care”, thanks for the push
these habits need to be taken serious care of.
thanks for sharing this.
will surely recommend it to people struggling with these issues!
I just recently posted something along these lines! I love the different insight that you give regarding multitasking and leaving it up to chance! So interesting and I can honestly say that those make so so much sense as being toxic. Super helpful in daily life! Thank you so much!
Jen @ JENRON DESIGNS says
So many great tips! You will find as life goes on that the quality versus quantity calculation becomes so important in all aspects of life, friends, family, experiences, trinkets, moments, conversations it is truly the quality that matters.
Love this post, such a good reminder! I am still working on perfectionism, it is a constant struggle for me! I used to pride myself in being a “perfectionist” but I have realized how bad it really is and I’ve held myself back from doing a lot of things I would have enjoyed for fear of not getting it right the first time. Not anymore!
Madi Rowan says
Amazing advice!! I have to say I’ve improved on many of these areas throughout my life over the last handful of years, it takes time for sure! Still working on moving through my perfectionism tendencies – that’s always been a tough one!
-Madi xo | http://www.everydaywithmadirae.com
I am certainly guilty of a few of these, constantly working on my perfectionism and comparing myself to others. Leaving life up to chance is an interesting one, I am both a planner and a ‘it’ll be what it’ll be type of person’, I guess it’s all about balance! Great post 🙂
Yes! So hard to break these habits but important.
This great! Unfortunately I’m guilty of more of these than I care to admit. 😬
I’m certainly guilty of a few of these, especially leaving life up to chance. I need to work on letting these habits go!
Puja Kumari says
This is like a remind for me what I need to leave right now. Comparing has always been a problem for me, I always compare myself with other. Although, it push me in some ways but it also demotivates me.
Such a great post, great reminders! Comparing yourself to others is a killer of potential and growth!
I definitely should quit multitasking, it puts so much stress on me sometimes….
Ok, multi-tasking got my number. Need to take a serious look at that and make some life changes. Thanks for the info!
This is a really good list, I am guilty of all of these. I’ve actually gotten a chance to see how I can do better in some of these areas during these quarantined months. I haven’t been around negative people, for example because I’m in my home with my husband and son and I have much more control over who I contact and how and when I contact them. It’s been so nice. I am going to work really hard to continue that once things go back to “normal”. Thank you for these reminders!
I totally agree about cutting out toxic people! I try to recognize if people are being toxic early on, and if they aren’t going to change their behaviour, I’m saying bye bye! It’s awful to let other people control your life, and you feel so much better when you let those rotten people go!
I am so guilty for doing pretty much everything on your list and I didn’t even know it! I just kept making excuses for myself but after reading this, I know I need to break these habits. Thank you for sharing!
This post is amazing! I struggle with perfectionism and multitasking. These are the two toxic habits I’ve been trying to get rid of recently. I know how destructive both habits can be, so I’m making every effort to change the way I do certain things.
Erika Ravnsborg says
Man! It’s amazing how we do this to ourselves and not know it. We compare ourselves and not always to other people but almost a make believe version of what we should be.
Ouf! I think I’m guilty for all of these things on your list! For the moment I have been working on perfectionism, looking for validation from others, and comparing myself! I really would like to nail these things this year. Thank you so much for sharing and putting these things in perspective for me. Very much needed. <3 Do you recommend any type of exercises that I could do to work on pushing some comfort zones? Thanks!
I think due to lots of social platforms. We compare ourselves a lot. We all are beautiful and perfect in our own ways.
Kelly Krebs says
Yes to all of these! I love what you write about not wainging until next year to stop all these toxic habits. I feel like I’m always comparing myself to other moms and other women. Thanks for posting this! it’s such a good read!
Yes, I just caught myself comparing again… ugh. Thank you for reminding me! ^_^ Very good post, well-written and easy to understand.