We develop habits in our younger years. When actions results in favorable, outcomes we will repeat that behavior; through frequent repetition and reinforcement, we will become conditioned, like Pavlov’s dogs.
Whether habits are good or bad is a matter of opinion, but there are definitely patterns that are proven to provide more health, happiness and prosperity. Many habits we mistakenly think are making us happy are in fact causing our demise.
Let’s start creating new pathways but first, let’s learn about four habits that are making you unhappy.
1. Overindulging on good things
It's true that there is too much of a good thing. You might start a healthy habit with good intentions, but those intentions can soon be replaced with obsessive, dangerous behaviors. Obsessing about your diet or fitness regime can lead to very negative effects. It’s OK if you miss one yoga class! Stop replacing the potential benefits of healthy habits with guilt, anxiety, self hate, and judgement.
Happiness is a balancing act, and that includes balancing the good stuff. As Oscar Wilde once said, “Everything in moderation, including moderation.”
2. Clinging to relationships
Your values, morals and interests are likely different than what they were 10 years ago. Have you made the appropriate changes to keep up with your shifting values? Are you still trying to be the same person you were when you were 25, hanging out with the same people? Is it possible that your routines are no longer in line with your values?
Does this relationship serve you?
Who you hang out with has a great impact on the person you are and the person you become. For example, if you've developed an interest in being healthy, instead of feeling obligated to continue your usual routine of chicken wings and beer at the pub, you could consider joining a running group or a sports team?
If certain relationships are negative or unhealthy, you might want to realign yourself. It’s OK to admit you’ve changed and that a relationship might not be in line with where you are or want to be.
Don’t be afraid to get out and meet new people! Be you and don’t apologize for who you are or for any changes you have made.
3. Resisting change
We fight change like gladiators. But we can’t avoid change, and although we think we're playing it safe by staying in a dead end job or bad marriage, we aren’t. We need to accept change and the refreshing opportunities it brings.
Some things you can change and other things you simply can not.
For those things that you can not change, choose acceptance, which is relaxing the tension, letting go of the clenched jaw and resting the energy and pull of the mind. Accept the things that are out of your control and change the things that are in your control.
4. Buying things we think will make us happy
Happy people rarely keep clutter around the house because they know that extra belongings weigh them down and make them feel overwhelmed and stressed out.
You might think that the new big screen TV will make you happier. While it might provide an instant rush, the long term stress from debt, clutter and never having enough will create anxiety. When you seek happiness in material possessions, you'll never be fulfilled, no no matter what you buy it. So start to rewire habits; change your thoughts, change your behaviors, make room for new pathways and open up your mind and life to new possibilities and chances.