Habits can be crucial or detrimental to your life and well-being, depending on what they are. This post focuses on habits to stop. In the future we’ll discuss habits to start. Many of these habits I still haven’t broken out of. So not to say that they’re easy to stop, just that in the long run it will be healthier if you stop these habits. If you direct your energy and focus on other habits instead of these, you’ll be healthier and happier, which is what everyone wants right?
Comparing Yourself to Others
If you do compare yourself to others, it is a difficult habit to break. It’s still on my list of habits to stop. Especially with regular media and social media, you often just see the highlights and most positive aspects of people’s lives. You see photoshopped and posed pictures, then wonder why you don’t look like they do constantly. You spend time wondering why this person has a better job or why this person is in a happy relationship and has 20 kids and you’re not. Little extreme there. I don’t know anyone who has that many kids. But my point is that everyone is different and often they just show the good parts of their lives, so it’s not fair to yourself to compare your whole life to the best of theirs.
Since this can easily become a habit and subconscious, try paying more attention to your thoughts when you compare yourself. If you just let the thoughts go through, they’ll stay a habit. If you consciously try to figure out why you’re comparing yourself and why you shouldn’t, you’ll put more thought into stopping. Focus on yourself and improving your life to meet your standards.
Being Overly Competitive
Being overly competitive is connected to comparing yourself to others. But it can even go beyond that. I am overly competitive with myself as well, which can lead to problems such as getting discouraged at the gym. If I’m not improving in every lift, then I get frustrated because I don’t think it’s good enough. Often on Instagram, people say things like “your only competition should be yourself”. But if you have an unhealthy level of competitiveness, that can be just as bad for you. Competitiveness alone does not get you anywhere. Having a growth mindset and allowing yourself to make mistakes without comparing yourself to others or yourself too much will get you farther.
Only Caring About the Present
I don’t think anyone says YOLO un-ironically anymore. Other than Evan sometimes. But YOLO is definitely not how you should be living your life. Being present in the moment is good, but living as if tomorrow doesn’t matter isn’t healthy. If you’re not preparing for the future, then it’ll be rough when the future is the present. You shouldn’t only focus on the future, but balance enjoying life now and saving/investing for later on. Investing not just financially, but also investing in your mental health, relationships and connections, education, etc., anything that will benefit you later.
Plenty of people don’t invest in those things and don’t save money. So when things like Covid-19 happen, they’re not ready. I’m obviously not saying to hoard toilet paper or canned goods, but have enough money saved up so that if you lose your job, you’ll be ok for a couple months. Get out of the habit of buying everything you want and forgetting to save money.
Also don’t let any toxic traits remain in your life when you could work on them in therapy. For example, if you’re single right now and you have some mental health issues to work through, but it doesn’t really affect anyone else, don’t wait to work on them. Help yourself get healthy so that in the future there’s no chance they will affect others. Just because you’re fine now, doesn’t mean you should stop working to be your best self for the future. Thinking that your actions now won’t matter in the future is one of the habits to stop.
Valuing Others’ Opinions
I believe I’ve mentioned this in previous posts. Don’t live your life based on others’ opinions. Especially when you’re young, you may be in the habit of doing things based on what other people expect from you. One example is going to college. College isn’t the right path for some people, but in American society and in many families, it is expected of you. It’s really easy to care a lot about what other people think of you rather than to follow your gut and live your life your way. You may not be happy with yourself and your decisions if you mainly rely on other people’s judgment and opinions.
Living beyond your means is an easy habit to start when you first start making money when you’re young. It’s also one of the habits to stop. It’ll be harder to get ahead in life later if you’re constantly stressed about money and don’t have enough to cover the bills. Read about smart spending here. We do talk about spending, saving, and investing very often, so I won’t linger on this too long. Just be smart about how much you’re spending vs. how much you’re making and saving. You’ll save yourself stress.
Teens can be pretty judgy. People in general can be, but I remember being more judgy and feeling judged in high school, which I think most people can attest to. If you don’t get out of this habit early on in life, then it can lead to plenty of negativity. You don’t know what’s going on in someone else’s life, just like they don’t know everything in yours. For instance, I’ve been struggling in the gym lately because of migraines. I don’t lift as much. My workouts aren’t as long, and I have to take longer breaks. But you can’t tell from looking at me that I feel sick. People have hardships and different lifestyles. Being judgmental doesn’t benefit them or you. You can use your brain power can be used more productively in other ways.
Valuing a Relationship Over Yourself
What I mean by valuing a relationship over yourself is kind of two-fold. Two different points, but the heading summarizes both. First, I’ve come across many people who care more about getting in a relationship just to be in a relationship than they care about themselves or their mental health. It’s not that they really love someone, it’s that they just want to say they’re in a relationship. I’ve never understood that, but it happens.
I had a friend a few years ago who was in a truly unhealthy relationship. She broke up with her boyfriend eventually. In talking with her after the breakup, I knew she had a lot of mental health and co-dependency issues to work out. She agreed with me and said she would go to therapy and focus on herself before pursuing a relationship with anyone else. Less than a month later and she met someone new.
I also know of other people who jump in to relationships at exceedingly fast paces just for the image. Every relationship has a different pace and they shouldn’t be compared, but when you barely know someone and you move in with them, but fight daily, that’s probably not your best decision. So, my point is that if you’re going to be in a relationship, you should do so for the right reasons, not just so you can tell your friends you’re in a relationship. I think this is more of a teen/young adult thing, so maybe people outgrow that in time. If not, it’s another of the habits to stop if you notice it being a problem for you.
Valuing a Relationship Over Yourself Pt 2
My second point in this section is that you should value a relationship, even a healthy one more than you value yourself. Especially when you’re in a first relationship or early on in a relationship, you can get wrapped up in it and lose your identity. While it may not be a habit, it’s a lasting behavior that isn’t helpful to you. Relationships can be great, but to be happy with yourself and your relationship, it is important to remember that you are an individual. You’re not just one half of a whole. You are a whole person and your identity should not rest just as “so-and-so’s significant other”. You have more to offer the world.
Sidenote: Does anyone else find it kind of weird when people put in their Instagram bios stuff like “marine girlfriend”? Again, being overly judgmental is bad, but I’m really just curious if people whose only identity is a relation to someone else are happy and if they have anything else going on in their lives.
Living for Social Media
If you couldn’t tell, we’re really against living your life based on other people. We moved to New Mexico from California. Needless to say, people thought it was a weird decision. But here we are. We’re still happy and having new experiences in a state completely different than the ones in which we grew up. Despite having a blog and an Instagram page, we do avoid living our lives for social media. What we mean by this is that we don’t do things just so we can post them on the gram. We’re still pretty dang bad about not taking pictures we do fun stuff. So if we happen to get pictures of something cool going on, we’ll post them. I do take selfies at the gym, which I’m sure you’ve seen, but we don’t go to the gym solely to take pictures.
It seems common for people to go places and do things primarily with the focus of generating content for their pages rather than just living life and enjoying it. Sure they may have fun with Instagram and get some serotonin from the likes and comments, but they could be missing out on the experience itself. If you do that long enough, it forms a habit, where your mindset is on social media rather than experiences. That’s one of the reasons why we don’t take a ton of photos. We’d rather spend time with each other and focus on whatever is going on rather than trying to get the best angle. Realistically, Instagram isn’t the most ideal platform for us because of our lack of inclination to take photos, but Facebook doesn’t fit with the blog too well and I can’t figure out Twitter.
So, live your life, focus on the good stuff and don’t worry about whether other people approve.
We all have bad habits. This list fo habits to stop is supposed to bring up a few that you may not consider to be habits or may not really think about. Ultimately, the goal is to break any habits that aren’t benefitting your life and could even be harmful.