While I usually like to focus on implementing positive habits on this blog, it’s also important to highlight the habits that make us miserable.
When it comes to positive thinking, making positive changes to your life and adopting positive habits is obviously bloomin’ fantastic.
The more you surround yourself with positivity and inject it into every facet of your life, the more positive you’re going to be.
Makes sense, right?
As I talk about in this post on positive habits, small changes can make a huge difference to your mindset. For example, just making sure you make your bed in the morning means that you’ve already gotten up and achieved something for the day.
However, this also works in the other direction.
If you’re struggling with positive thinking, there’s a strong possibility that you’re still engaging in bad habits that you don’t even really realise are having an impact.
22 habits that make us miserable
Here are some habits that you need to stop in order to truly think positively, be happy, and basically be a complete Goddess.
#1. snoozing your alarm in the morning
The earlier you get up, the more time you have to be productive.
Your most productive hours are usually in the morning, so by waking up earlier, you’re practically making more hours in the day!
But, let’s face it, while some total badass ladies can basically somersault out of bed at 5am, cartwheel over to their yoga mat and get journaling, most of us can’t.
Getting up early is HARD. And you know what makes it harder?
Snoozing your damn alarm.
Snoozing your alarm means that, when your first alarm goes off, you don’t really listen to it. Your brain doesn’t recognise that you have to get up now… so it doesn’t… and before you know it you’ve snoozed your alarm six times and you’re still in bed.
Set one alarm and get out of bed straight away.
You snooze, you lose (yep… I did just type that.).
#2. looking at your phone
This is my worst habit.
I’m constantly looking at my phone and switching through the same three-or-four apps… as if something mind-blowing will have gone down since the last time I looked 10 minutes ago.
The thing is, social media is a massive time-suck. You can lose hours a day just mindlessly scrolling through Instagram or Twitter. Hours you could spend on self-care, your business, or seeing REAL PEOPLE in REAL LIFE.
Next time you find yourself mindlessly grabbing for your phone, try to stop yourself.
#3. forgetting to journal
Planning ahead in my planner helps my anxiety so much.
I should out my daily goals and plan out my entire day the day before.
This way, when I wake up, I know exactly what I need to do and how long I need to spend doing it, which also helps me to be more productive and stop procrastinating.
Stop underestimating the power of planning!
Also, try to set aside a few minutes to journal.
Practising gratitude, laying out your thoughts, and focusing on the positive aspects of your life can not only improve your mindset but boost positive thinking and your mental health.
I have a post on habits that changed my life if you want to check it out.
#4. Making excuses
Making excuses can be a slippery slope as, once you start, they’re very easy to keep making.
It’s one of the habits that makes us miserable.
Now, I’m not saying don’t be kind to yourself. That’s basically my f***ing slogan. But hold yourself accountable for your wrongdoings, mistakes, and growth as a person overall.
You’re responsible for yourself, no-one else, and learning how to be a better person, forgiving yourself for being human, and owning your mistakes is super-rewarding.
Our brains hate us stepping outside of our warm, cosy comfort zones.
If we try to do anything our brain thinks is a little risky because it’s not used to it (e.g. starting our own business), it starts telling us not to do it. It fears the unknown and wants us to stay safe.
This can lead to self-sabotaging.
Self-sabotaging behaviours usually include making excuses, procrastinating, and picking other priorities that don’t work towards our goals.
I used to be the WORST at this. Instead of sitting down and sending out freelance writing pitches, I’d find myself sitting down the pub, wondering why I was so poor.
If I sent out those pitches, I risked rejection and my brain knows I don’t deal with rejection all that well, so it pushed me in another direction that avoided it.
Recognise when you’re self-sabotaging and nip it in the bud straight away.
#6. comparing yourself to others
I don’t know whether it’s modern social media or if humans have always been like this but we’re a competitive bunch.
We’re always comparing ourselves to others and feeling negative as a result. We feel like our lives don’t match up.
Remember, social media is a highlight reel. People hardly ever show you their down days or their losses, only their wins.
Everyone’s life and journeys are different.
Be grateful for what you have in your life and try to stop comparing yourself to other people.
#7. saying ‘yes’
For a long time, it was thought that the secret to happiness was saying ‘yes’ to everything.
It was supposed to open you up to new opportunities and make you more outgoing.
However, by saying ‘yes’ to everything, you can actually end up impacting your mental health in a negative way.
You feel anxious to attend every social event, take every assignment, and take part in every single activity, no matter how uncomfortable it makes you.
While I agree that we should push ourselves to venture outside our comfort zone once in a while, I do believe we should also learn to prioritise our own mental health and say ‘no’ when we’re not happy or prepared for a situation.
Strike a balance between saying ‘yes’ and pushing yourself, and saying ‘no’ and knowing when to take a break and prioritise yourself.
Procrastinating is dangerously easy.
One minute you’re writing a blog post, the next you’re watching The Walking Dead reaction videos on YouTube.
It’s especially easy if you work from home and feel as if you have all the time in the world.
Spoiler alert: you don’t.
At least, not yet.
Put firm rules and boundaries in place for yourself.
Don’t allow yourself to visit certain websites – or even download an app which temporarily blocks them – if that’s how you choose to procrastinate.
Commit to not even glancing in your phone’s direction for an hour-and-a-half while you complete a task.
Set strict time limits on each goal.
In time, you’ll learn how utterly useless procrastinating is and just get on with the job at hand.
#9. Putting off following your dream
I get tons of emails from people saying that they want to start a blog or business, but are waiting for x, y and z to be perfect before they do so.
DON’T do this.
The biggest advice I have is to just start, because the sooner you start, the sooner you succeed!
Nothing is ever going to be perfect.
Done is better than perfect.
So get it done and stop worrying about the stars aligning for you to pursue your dream.
You’re never going to regret chasing your dream or trying to better yourself.
#10. Putting stuff off in general
In addition, stop putting off stuff you DON’T want to do.
You know? Like making that dentist appointment, or calling that ex to ask them to come get their stuff, or going for your cervical screening.
Just do it. Get it out of the way.
Take it out of the back of your mind – where its festering away as background anxiety – put it in the front and SORT IT.
I promise you’ll feel SO much better afterwards.
#11. Waiting for things to happen by themselves
Unlike the movies, good things don’t usually just land in our laps. We have to MAKE them happen ourselves.
Stop waiting for that promotion to be given to you, go get it.
Stop waiting for your perfect partner to find you, get out there and find them.
Stop waiting for your dream job to just happen to you one day, create it yourself.
#12. Being a perfectionist
As I said earlier, ‘done’ is better than perfect.
This is especially important when it comes to being productive.
Stop staring at the same blog post for hours at a time until the words don’t even make sense. Bang out a rough draft in under two hours, let it stew for a day, and go back and edit it.
Publish it, then leave it.
You can always go back and improve it further later, but just get it done and out into the world.
#13. Dwelling on the past
This can be a tricky one because some of us have particularly painful pasts.
I’m here to tell you that laying awake at night thinking about these things will only negatively impact your mindset. Trust me.
Stop stewing on stuff that you can no longer change.
Learn to process it in a healthy way through therapy and shadow work.
If you’ve suffered past trauma and/or you’re having trouble moving past something(s) that happened, please consider seeing a therapist so that you can work through and unpack it all in a healthy way.
#14. Surrounding yourself with negative people
One of the biggest and best steps to cultivating a positive mindset that I’ve found is to cut toxic, negative people from your life.
Negative thinking attracts more negative thinking and, often, no matter how positive you are, negative people can really pull you down.
Cut these people out of your life and avoid toxic situations. It’s not easy but your mental health will thank you.
#15. Doubting yourself
For some reason, society tells us that we need to be self deprecating and teaches us to constantly doubt ourselves.
It’s why many people don’t follow their dreams or try to improve their lives – they doubt they can do it so why even bother setting themselves up for disappointment?
STOP doubting yourself.
Think about all your amazing achievements, whether that’s relating to school, work, health, exercise, mental health, relationships, family, charity – ANYTHING.
Realise that, if you can do this, you have that determination in your locker. You can do this. You’ve got this. You always had and you always will.
#16. Putting self-care on the back-burner
Oftentimes, we feel too busy to justify making time for self-care, especially if you work from home.
When you’re at home, you always feel as if you should be working, at least until you’ve making x amount of money a month. Only THEN will you allow yourself some rest-bite…
Except… you won’t.
Make time for self-care – schedule at least an hour a day in your planner.
Start with making sure you’re making time for the basics – eating, exercising, practising personal hygiene.
Self-care is SO important for our mental health and, when your mental health is in a good place, your business will be as well. You’ll find yourself being more positive, productive and active.
Stop putting self-care on the back-burner and realise that you are worth it.
#17. Being sedentary or picking the ‘wrong’ exercise
The impact of having a sedentary lifestyle on our mental and physical health is undeniable.
Not only does exercise help keep our muscles, joints and bones in good health, it also promotes happy chemicals in the brain for our mental wellbeing.
Making sure we don’t just sit at a desk all day is imperative and simply putting it off every day is such a bad habit to get into.
It’s important to find a type of exercise that you enjoy so that you don’t dread it and are therefore more likely to be consistent with it.
If you try to force yourself to do a type of exercise that you actually hate every single day, not only are you likely to stop and go back to being sedentary, you’re going to be miserable.
If you don’t like running and would prefer to lift weights instead, do that.
If you don’t really get yoga but love swimming, do that.
Pick something that genuinely brings you joy so that moving your body doesn’t feel like ‘work’.
While eating a balanced diet that consists of foods that make your body feel good and foods that make your soul feel good is great for us, DIETING is not.
The stress that restricting calories and obsessing over our weight causes us is really underreported.
Probably because the diet industry is a multi-billion dollar industry that doesn’t actually want people to succeed or else it would be out of the business… but that’s just a wild guess…
By ditching the diet, learning to eat intuitively and working on self love, you’re much more likely to feel mentally healthy than if you’re restricting and fretting over every bite of food.
Eating intuitively means we’re no longer stressing about what we’re ‘allowed’ or not allowed to eat or whether we’ve lost weight.
You simply eat what you like.
With time, your bodies hunger cues level out and you realise how truly obsessed with eating you used to be.
#19. Giving toxic people our energy
If I could go back in time and take back all the energy that I’ve given to toxic people in my life, I could.
A toxic person might be:
- Verbally, physically and/or emotionally abusive
- An energy vampire
- Passive aggressive
- Overly negative
- Put you down or belittle you
- Stonewall/ignore you
- Gaslight you
It was a habit that made me not just miserable but truly depressed.
I would want to fix everyone without realising that these toxic people were damaging me in the process.
I invite you to finally cut ties with anyone toxic, who makes you feel negative when they’re around, or saps your energy.
Be ruthless, if you’re in a position to be. (I realise that in some toxic dynamics, it’s not always safe or possible to just up and leave.)
It’s hard at first. Really hard.
Toxic people want control; they don’t want to be cut out.
If you love them, it can feel like you’re making a mistake.
Soon, the fog will clear and you’ll realise how much brighter your world is without them in it.
#20. Isolating yourself
One of my worst habits is isolating myself.
Half the time, I don’t even realise I’m doing it.
When you work from home, it’s even easier to isolate because you don’t actually have to see anyone.
Before you know it, you’ve gone weeks without seeing another human apart from the pizza delivery guy and you’ve now actively avoiding making eye contact.
The problem is, I’m an introvert, so I naturally prefer my own company anyway. Therefore, it’s kind of hard to spot when I’m isolating myself ahead of a depressive episode.
Disappearing inside our own heads in our own spaces can feel safe. We’re free to be as sad as we want here, free from judgement. No one can hurt us.
We busy ourselves with our own interests, away from the prying eyes of other people who might want to – shock horror – CONVERSE with us.
However, humans are social creatures. We need at least SOME human interaction sometimes – even us introverts.
We need to talk to other people some times.
Some people even thrive on it. (Can’t relate…)
Even if it’s just a phone call with a friend or walk in the park with a family member. Just getting some interaction is a positive step.
#21. Caring too much about other people’s approval
What’s the phrase? “What other people think about you is none of your business.”?
Being in the habit of constantly people-pleasing, trying to force people to like you and basically police their thoughts not only sucks your energy, it’s a huge waste of time.
Ultimately, if you’ve done nothing wrong, there’s not a whole lot you can do to change other people’s opinions of you.
Constantly trying to gain their approval is only going to leave you feeling frustrated.
Surely, if someone doesn’t like you for just being you, then they shouldn’t be in your life, right?
Consider why you so desperately want other people to like you or approve of you.
Most of the time, this is a habit we’ve formed in childhood because we were desperate for the approval of our elders. If we don’t process this need to please, it’ll only carry on into adulthood until we do.
#22. Neglecting sleep
This should go without saying, but sleep is so so so important.
So often I see people forgoing a good night’s rest in favour of work, socialising or procrastinating.
It’s thought that the average person needs between six and eight hours of good quality sleep every night to function to your fullest potential.
Can you honestly say you get that?